Michael Showunmi, a physically challenged graduate of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH), has proved that there is more to life than wallowing in pity and making others bear his burdens.
In his interview with Our Agency, the mathematics teacher in his mid-twenties revealed what life has put him through and how he has succeeded in carrying his cross over the years. Showunmi is the last child of his family and has struggled to make something out of his life. He comes from the south western part of Oyo state even though he has lived in Lagos most of his life.
The young man’s disability has not hidden him from the world as he seemed to have been blessed academically; he attended Golden Angle college and left there as the best graduating student. He proceeded to the LAUTECH where he studied chemical engineering and finished with a second class upper.
Showunmi revealed that he was not born with any disability; however, things changed for him when he was about two years of age. According to him, his parents discovered he had challenges standing up as he kept falling back. They did not have any explanation for this and things remained that way for a while until he was old enough to research what his condition could be about.
The smart guy’s guess was acute flaccid paralysis; a condition that stems from polio. He stated that it was the best thing he could come up with. He also revealed that he was not using crutches at first as his siblings were available to move him around and help him get things done. At some point, he said that it occurred to him that life would not always be that way and he had to learn to do things by himself.
Tough as it was for him growing up without being able to move around on his own as a child, the brave man said that his mother pushed him beyond limits to be independent. He described her to Our Agency correspondents as a disciplinarian who grinds pepper to put him through school. To him, her role can never be overemphasized as he sees both parents in her after the demise of his father.
Showunmi who teaches mathematics and further mathematics in a secondary school in Lagos said that he can take any other subject so far it is within sciences. At his spare time, he also conducts tutorials for students preparing to write their school leaving exams.
When asked about the challenges he has faced so far, the young man recalled an unfortunate incident that almost claimed his life. He had gone for a home lesson session and was returning when there was a heavy downpour which made him fall into a canal. He was rescued by some people who went as far as pumping the water out of his system. That was a near-death experience, according to him.
In the exclusive interview he had with Our Agency at his house, he said that people pity him too much and that makes him feel bad. He does not like being pitied and hates to pity himself. He has responsibilities and cannot afford to sit at home idly.
Sowunmi’s childhood dream was to work in an oil company until life shaped him. He started his teaching career during his national service and discovered he is really passionate about it as well. He hopes he can still do something about his initial passion in the nearest future even though he is interested in giving back to the society academically.
While Our Agency crew was at his place, the young man moved around the compound to fetch water and tend to the things he had to do. He showed off his collection of damaged crutches and complained bitterly about some of them not too strong. He has made it a habit not to dispose the damaged ones as he often makes use of the spare parts of the condemned ones in fixing those that can be repaired.
Showunmi has dreams of furthering his education and has beckoned on well-meaning Nigerians to help him fulfill his dreams. What he makes is barely enough to put him through school and to survive at the same time. Despite this impediment to his dreams, he has high hopes that things will work for him someday.
He urged the disabled persons in our society not to dwell on their disabilities. He believes there is more to life than staying down after a fall. Showunmi will not stop proving himself to the people around him as he is simply unstoppable.