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I think of marrying, having children everyday — 47-year-old Paralysed son of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi
Mohammed Fawehinmi is the first child of late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi. After a car accident in 2003, the 47-year-old lost his ability to walk.
According to Mohammed Fawehinmi, the thought of marriage and having kids is what he thinks everyday. He told Eric Dumo how the 2003 accident changed his life and how he has managed to keep hope alive. Read except below,
You were not born with disability; at what point did this challenge occur?
I was coming from the chambers at night on the evening of September 23, 2003. The accident happened around 9:48pm. I used to stay at Ajao Estate then and I usually took the airport route to connect Ikeja. It was a Mercedes E320. By the time I got to the toll gate, I bought call card and prayed, something I had never done before because when I was at that place, I didn’t usually stop. I thereafter turned to link the express, as I approached a popular filling station on the axis, my car skidded off the road and leaped into the place. As the car landed, I tried to apply the brakes but it wasn’t responding. Eventually, the outlet where they used to check for petrol gauge stopped the vehicle. The airbag from the front came out and pinned me to the seat while the one from the side shifted me and broke my neck. After about one-and-a-half minute of struggle to burst the airbag, my entire body went numb. It was a naval officer who stopped to rescue me from the car, otherwise I could have been burnt alive in it because petrol was already spilling from it.
The first hospital I was rushed to at Ajao Estate said they could not handle my case, so I was taken to Maryland Specialist Hospital where we were advised to go to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi. It was while I was there that my parents were informed that I had been involved in an accident. I was there for about two days before my father secured a visa and moved me to England for further treatment.
I underwent several scans and examinations over there but the specialist surgeon said he didn’t see anything. I had to be operated upon. After the operation, the surgeon said I could have been walking the following week after the accident if not for the way I was handled at the hospital in Nigeria. He said the particular spot where the injury occurred should have been frozen with a special spray after the accident rather than being handled anyhow. That spray cost about N8,000 when converted to our local currency. It is so common abroad but up till now, many hospitals don’t even have it in Nigeria.
However, I was told that by 2006 I should have been walking. That year, I went for check-up in Isreal where they removed my bone marrows to go and inject in Turkey. After that procedure, my legs and hands jerked as if they wanted to detach themselves from my body. But since that time, I have not seen any sign of walking. I have been to several places since then for solution but there has been no significant luck.
Apart from not being able to move around freely, what other areas would you say the accident of 2003 has changed your life?
I am a man who was trained to work through the night. This accident has affected me in this regard because I am not able to do that now. The pain I go through at night is too severe for me to even think of doing such.
Also, the number of cases I’m able to handle in a day and week has reduced. This is a very painful restraint for me because I am somebody who loves to multi-task.
The accident has also affected my social life. I am somebody who loves to go out and have great times with friends but since this restriction occurred, I have been forced to abandon that aspect. But once in a while, I go out to eat ‘isi ewu’ and ‘nkwobi’.
You are yet to marry, what is the reason behind this? Is it that you’ve not found the right woman or your taste is high?
I certainly wish to marry and have children but then, there are so many things responsible for why I’m yet to do so.
I was around 32 when I had that accident and I already had a lady I wanted to marry. She was a very beautiful Igbo lady I met close to my father’s chambers. Even after the accident happened, she still wanted to stay with me; I was the one who advised her to move on because she may not be able to cope with the demands of my new condition. I couldn’t do anything on my own but depended on the help of others to survive. I didn’t want that huge burden on her, so I told her to move on and get herself another man. I was just being considerate. The lady went away disappointed.
I just felt that I shouldn’t bother any woman with my condition. I didn’t want anybody to marry me out of pity. Even though I always have females around me, it is not every woman that can stay with a person with disability of my kind. Most of the women I have met in recent times are not the ones that can stay with a man, they are the type who would want to attend parties and keep all sorts of friends instead of looking after me. Of course, a few have come close to what I want but the temperament is nothing to write home about.