Frustrations of a blind man
By Lawrence Enyoghasu
Mr. Odigie Osagie was one foot away from earning a doctorate degree in Mathematics. Only a thin line was between him and the realisation of his ambition. Then suddenly, the unthinkable happened. His eyes failed him abruptly. Subsequently, he became blind and so could not continue with his ambition. But now, he has a brand new idea. He wants to teach.
Osagie is convinced that his blindness is not a hindrance to becoming a lecturer. To him, it’s even a boost to aspire for success. And with the adaptation he has undergone at the Federal Nigerian Society for the Blind, he believes that he has acquired knowledge that has prepared him for the outside world since his eyes failed him in 2010.
According to the man, who has a Masters degree in Economics, he also has the advantage of tasting two worlds – the world of the blind and the world of the sighted.
“It was after my Masters degree, as I was heading for my PhD, that my eyes shut down in 2010. I have been taught how to cope with my environment, how to communicate with people without letting them see me, as a visually impaired person. Apart from the eye, there are other parts of the body, which help in communication and mobility.
“I know my eyes have failed, but if my brain stops working and if I stop imparting knowledge, I might die before my time.
“The job I think I can do now is lecturing and administrative work. Some might think it’s not practicable, but I strongly trust myself. I am blind but knowledgeable. To me, knowledge is the ability to put theoretical analysis into solving problems in real life situations. I want to use my situation to educate the young ones,” he stated.
He further told Daily Sun his reasons for desiring to impact on the society through lecturing. He insisted that the society, especially the students, needed more than just lecturers. In his words, students needed to be inspired by willing lecturers like him.
“I aspire to be a lecturer because of the society, especially for the sake of the students. They need, and I think they will learn more from an inspired lecturer. If someone wants to aspire, he has to get to the zenith of life and pull up those ones who are down, because the life you live is not meant only for you. I was on my way to the zenith before I was affected by my sight, but that should not stop me. If one is thinking of oneself alone, then the society will lose much talent. And many talents will live and die without impacting on other people. If I allow my loss of sight to weigh me down, I might not be judged right on the last day. I primarily don’t want my talent to die with me,” he stated.
Osagie said if he wasn’t allowed to teach and impart knowledge to people, he would not live a fulfilled life. To him, all his years of struggle to acquire certificates would have been wasted.
“In Mathematics, there is a concept called real analysis. Everything depends on everything to stand. What I am saying is that if I don’t become what I want to become, the pattern of life might not be complete. And it will be a waste to me and my generation,” he stated.
So how did he become blind?
He said his predicament started when he was a diploma student at the University of Benin. He said he managed the condition till he had his Masters’ degree. Then things fell apart for him.
“I worked at Business Labicoral Ventures Limited, an Agro-Allied Industrial firm. I worked as the Head of Marketing and the General Manager before the eyes deteriorated. When my eyes went off, it was like a sudden switch. It was like being in a world where they ride bicycles, and all of a sudden, the area gets flooded and you just have to dump your bicycle and learn to swim.
“Each time I remember this I always want to weep, but tears never flow. And when it flows, I don’t see it, which is a plus for me. It is not in the African tradition for a man to cry. There are so many people that look with their eyes, but very few see.
“When I was at the University of Benin, doing my Diploma at that time, I was not seeing the board clearly. It continued till I graduated. When I was graduating, as one of the best students, I was always asked to point to something or another on the board. You can imagine what was always happening to me.
“Then I visited many clinics and they kept giving me recommended glasses. I was told that there was no light in my eyes. So, after my graduation, my situation worsened. Eventually, I became blind.”
But even though he’s blind, Osagie has said he would never beg for alms. He would also not stop seeking knowledge. So, when he was offered an opportunity to study more, he grabbed it with both hands.
“From there, I went to request for a job and I got it. When my former employer saw my result, he asked me if I was going to like to study for my Masters. This was after I had acquired my first degree in Mathematics. I positively accepted the offer at the Delta State University, Abraka. I studied Economics. When I graduated, a doctor offered me employment, and he said I should be assisting him in his department. I accepted but my eyes did not allow me to concentrate. At that time, I had enrolled for my doctorate degree.”
He was on the verge of bagging his doctorate degree in Mathematics before his sight collapsed.
“In Mathematics, before you offer a solution to any problem, you must first look at the theoretical problems. If you don’t find the etymological problem, the situation will become carbon regimental. It was at that level of looking for the basis of my sight problem that I discovered that I had been suffering from what they called glaucoma. Even the last time that I went to the hospital, I was told that the percentage of light needed to operate on the eye was not enough,” he stated.
But Osagie has remained undaunted. He wishes to go back to the university to complete his doctoral programme. He would then love to commence a career in the university, teaching, researching and imparting knowledge to the younger generation.