Friday, 29 June 2012

Have you bitten 'nicely' by the Olympic bug yet?

Countdown to the Olympics is now 28days and 61days to the Paralympics. And it's now London's turn to host.

So far this year has been quite exciting for a number of people. In particular, some deaf people and sportsmen/women/athletes; one of whom is Matthew Sykes who happens to be an old primary school mate of mine. Matthew was nominated to be one of the Olympic torchbearers. He currently holds the record of being the only deaf canoe slalomist in the world.

Matthew has competed on both national and international levels for Great Britain. After the Sydney Olympics in 2000, he had a 10 year break. Now he's back!

Photo from

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Today I would like to give a big shout-out to a budding deaf politician, Umar Tukur. At the beginning of June, Tukur was appointed the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Disability Matters to the Governor of Adamawa State beating the incumbent, Abubakar Hosere whose tenure has been constantly awash with allegations of fraud and financial impropriety.

Tukur became deaf at the age of 6 following a bout of meningitis when he was in primary class 2. He then enrolled in Special Education Centre in Jada, Adamawa State. Tukur attended Plateau School for the Deaf briefly before returning to Special Education Centre in Jada to complete his O levels studies. He gained admission to study Special Education in which he graduated with a 2.1.  Upon graduation, Umar served at Kaduna. He completed his service successfully late last year and joined politics.

Tukur is very active in the deaf community in NGR and served in different capacities. He wishes to make a great impact in the lives of the PWDs particularly the deaf in his home state. Tukur has always believed that education is the key and strives to enable more deaf indigenes in his state to have good educational opportunities similar to which he has been fortunate to have.

He has the eye on the big political fish down the line...
Here is to wishing Umar Tukur a very successful tenure as the youngest SSA on Disability Matters in NGR and to make great milestones not only in his state but the country.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Then for the good news!

It is no secret that deaf people particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa have low access to (good) education at all levels. Having no/poor educational qualification in this part of the world is like having a one-way ticket to poverty and a miserable life.
Deaf people face numerous and huge challenges in their pursuit of gaining education from lack of good quality special schools with no qualified teachers to lack of accomodation for hearing in 'normal' learning institutions. Very few governments make (good quality) education for Deaf People a priority.

Gallaudet University in the USA is the only university in the world that offers tertiary level education to deaf people. So the good news as shown on the Daily Trust newspaper is (

'Plans are underway by Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State to replicate the Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. in the United States in the state, Comrade Abubakar Hussaini, the state’s Commissioner for Education said yesterday. Hussaini, who noted that Gallaudet University specializes in undergraduate liberal arts education, career development and outstanding graduate programmes for the deaf, said Nasarawa is the first state in the country to seek the cooperation of Gallaudet. “The driving philosophy of Gallaudet is that no human being, no matter how physically challenged, is a waste. Gallaudet has provided the platform for the deaf and hard in hearing as well as persons suffering from other physical challenges, to play a role in our modern society, by equipping them with knowledge. That is what we want to replicate back home,” he said. He said the Al-Makura-led delegation met with the management of Gallaudet and extracted a commitment to collaborate with the administration in the establishment of the school. “We were challenged with the development of the students when we visited the university. They are good with modern technology, and we can have exactly that in our state,” he said.'

Now, isn't that cool? I had already mentioned on this blog that I think that this governor means well for deaf people and is working hard to make a real difference.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Sad news...

** Edited as I noticed that the original post was not published as intended- my apologies**

More than 3weeks ago on the 3rd of June, a Dana plane crashed in NGR which claimed the lives of all 153 onboard and an undetermined number on ground. I happen to know 4 people who sadly lost their lives in the disaster. A couple who made a lot of meaningful contributions in the lives of Persons With Disabilities (PWD). Ayodeji and Ngozi Cole were the officiating pastors of the Utako branch of TREM Church in Abuja.

Rev. Ayodeji and Ngozi Cole 

 I first met the very pleasant Mrs. Cole when someone directed me to her church  to carry out my project on sexual and reproductive health. It has the largest number of deaf members on their membership roll (over 150people) in Abuja and one of the largest in Nigeria. She was very excited and welcoming when I explained to her what I wanted to do. As she shared her passion for Special People which her church describes PWDs, was impressed with her empathy and vision which enabled  her and her husband oversee an organisation called 'City Shakers' Initiative' where they offer practical help to people. She not only encouraged me but also supported me by offering the use of the building facility to do the interactive sessions.

The last time that I saw Rev. Ayodeji Cole was at the Easter Christian Camp for Deaf People held in late March at Abuja where I volunteerred my medical services. He sponsored the program in which well over a 1000 deaf people attended.

The Coles are just among the handful of people in NGR who impacted the lives of PWDs particularly deaf people positively.

They will surely be missed.