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World of a blind lecturer eyeing professorship

Posted by By SUNDAY AFOLAYAN on 2007/10/11 | Views: 2582 |

World of a blind lecturer eyeing professorship

The story of Emmanuel Olurotimi Olubodede, a 43-year-old lecturer in the newly created Department of Mass Communication, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, and PRO of the National Association of the Blind, who has traversed about sixteen states of the federation without a guide is that of ability in disability.

The story of Emmanuel Olurotimi Olubodede, a 43-year-old lecturer in the newly created Department of Mass Communication, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, and PRO of the National Association of the Blind, who has traversed about sixteen states of the federation without a guide is that of ability in disability.

With a Masterís degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, he teaches courses like News Writing and Reporting, Advertising and Public Relations. In this interview with SUNDAY AFOLAYAN, he bares his mind about his ambition in his chosen career and other sundry issues.

I am Emmanuel Olurotimi Olubodede, a native of Owo in Ondo State. I was born in 1963 to the family of Ibukun Olubodede. The original name was Ogunbodede. My father changed his name to Olubodede during baptism after he joined the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), that was years before I was born.
I was the 2nd to the last of my family. I got completely blind at a very tender age, precisely at age five, which prevented my education from starting on time. I started my primary education at the age of 12 years in 1975, before proceeding later to the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos, between 1985 and 1991.

I had to contend with series of challenges before, during and after this period. For instance, my admission was delayed as a result of the late release of WAEC result of the blind candidates in 1991. None of the blind candidates had ordinary pass in English Language. We were all scored F9. My school protested and sent back the result and when it was released again, I was scored D7 in English and A3 in Literature-in-English. Although, before the result was rectified and released, I gained admission to study Law in Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti, now University of Ado-Ekiti, I couldnít go because of my grade in English.

Instead of staying at home doing nothing, I secured appointment with the state in 1992 as Assistant Librarian at Owo High School, Owo and I was there for 5 years. I later went to obtain GCE form and passed all the subjects I sat for and put in for another UME. This is how I was given an admission to study Mass Communication at the University of Lagos and thus ended my ambition of becoming a lawyer.

I suffered a lot of setbacks because of my poor background. When I wanted to enter secondary school, problems started at first. When I passed the Federal Government College examination, the state promised to sponsor me but painfully, the government, at the eleventh hour, turned its back against me when the admission letter came. Luckily, the principal of the school was sympathetic to my situation and explained all that happened to a church, and the authorities of the church took charge of my schooling throughout my days at the Federal Government College, Lagos. That was how I was able to go to secondary school.

Ambition as a teenage school boy
There is nothing that a normal person can do that a blind person cannot do. The only difference is that they can see things with their eyes and the blind cannot. But remember that your eyes are just one of the six senses of a man. When a blind man is sound in mind, he can use his gumption, his initiative, his faculty to do what other people do with their eyes, and even sometimes better than many of them.

At my tender age, I had interest in three professions: law, journalism and teaching. I had wanted to study law because, I hate people being cheated. So, the burning ambition in me then was to be an advocate. What really prompted me was the case of a woman whose shop was broken into by burglars but because she did not have people to support her, she could not get justice despite the fact that some of the stolen goods were discovered in the shop of the alleged thieves by the police.

I changed my mind to Mass Communication because as a journalist, I wanted to change the society through my ideas and programmes. My intention was to go into radio broadcasting.

Greatest desire
I want to have position impact wherever I find myself. I believe in putting in my best in whatever I do. Now I donít have interest in going into broadcasting because God does not want me to be there. This is because all my efforts to be a broadcaster proved abortive. Now that I am a teacher in the university, my ultimate is to become a professor, probably, the first blind professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria or in Africa.

I canít be the first blind professor in the world because many other blind people are already ahead of me educationally but if God permits me, I want to be a professor because that is the peak of teaching profession.

My greatest problem now is how to get a supervisor for my doctoral programme. Apart from the fact that there are very few professors in Mass Communication in Nigeria, non of them has shown any interest, so far, in taking up a blind person as a research student. But people should understand that if a blind could go to the university and read up to a Masterís degree level, with very good grade, if given opportunities, then, he could still perform very well as a doctoral student.

Embarrassing moments
I have really faced many embarrassing situations in life. It is a common thing. To be embarrassed has become part of oneís daily routine. I donít allow them to weigh me down, however. Many times when I stood by the roadside wanting to board a vehicle or wanting to cross to the other side, some people could just come to me and drop some dirty notes, sometimes as little as N5.00 on my palm as if a was seeking alms. They should have asked me what my problem was before giving me their money. To them, every blind person in the street is an alms seeker. This notion is wrong.

The society should change their orientation towards the challenged people. What we need is love not alms, we need understanding, not condolence, we need kindness and not sympathy.
I remember a day I wanted to cross to the other side of the road to board a taxi when a small boy just ran to me and dropped one dirty N5 note on me. The situation is as bad as that. Sometimes too, some people make uncomplimentary remarks about a blind person just because he can not see.

Marital plans
For now, I donít have anybody in mind to marry. I couldnít plan to marry because I had no job and you know what it means to marry without a stable job. I donít keep girl friends because this is against the injunction of the Holy Bible. Now that I have a job, I think, I can now begin to give it a serious thought. Godís willing, I hope to get married in no longer a time.

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