By Dada Ahmed
A 52- year-old man living with special needs, Alhaji Tanimu Baba Abdullahi, who became a cripple at the age of seven says he has defeated disability by engaging in the transportation business to earn a living.
Abdullahi says he earned up to N5,000 daily, depending on the business climate of the day.
According to him, he drives his tricycle to carry goods and services across the nooks and crannies of Lokoja town and its environs.
He said he refused disability to kill his ability by obtaining his ordinary NCE level school certificate, learned shoemaking, engaged in sports (table tennis), and presently, the transport business to fend for himself and his family.
Abdullahi, who displayed five of the laurels he won in table tennis from various sports festivals in the country said: “Though as a man with a disability, I hate begging because it is debasing.
“Some members of the public present fetish things to beggars, pretending to be magnanimous whereas they have devilish intention.
“Disability is not an excuse for People with Disability (PwD) to indulge in begging for alms, because experience shows that we have the ability in disability.
“All we need to do is to demonstrate this in practical terms.”
Abdullahi, who is married with three children, aged between 10 and 18 and lives in his apartment, said he was given the title of “Sarkin Guragus” (leader of the cripple) in Lokoja because of his dogged determination to make it in life through hard work and resilience, despite his condition.
He disclosed that he began transport business many years ago in Lokoja, however, conveying cows, beans, and rice among others.
He expressed concern that society does not recognize PwDs as persons who could make it in life.
“In many cases, customers hire my service with lower price, erroneously believing that I would not be able to measure up to the standard of the abled-bodied counterparts in delivering the service.
“I have no option but to accept the price if I must earn a living but that shows the negative perception of the society against members of PwDs which need to be changed.”
He noted that much as he and many of his colleagues in the world of disability would have loved to meet the Governor of the state, Alhaji Yahaha Bello, to present their problems to him, “being a nice man”, the bureaucracy made it impossible.
He called on his colleagues to stop bemoaning their condition and take their cross by engaging in meaningful means to live worthy life like their abled-bodied ones in society.