A 25 –year-old physically challenged graduate of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri in Imo State, Mr Christantus Onyekwere has sent a desperate appeal to Governor Ikedi Ohakim and other well-meaning Nigerians to rescue him from unemployment and financial mess.
Onyekwere in an interview with Daily Sun says he needs urgent empowerment to enable him cater for his family and get married like his other compatriots.
He claimed that his father who is now late passed on at the time they needed him most and it was his petty trader mother that carried the burden of the entire family with an occasional assistance for good-spirited individuals.
Onyekwere, a Cooperative Economics graduate told Daily Sun that he had the intention to study law having passed his JAMB examination and gained admission into the Evan Enwerem University (EEU) Owerri (former Imo State University) but opted out because of the inability of his mother to fund his studies.
My name is Christantus Onyekwere. I am 25 years and a graduate of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri. I studied Cooperative Economics and Management. I am from Oparanadim in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State and I am the only son from my mother's womb. My father left us when we needed him most and four of my sisters are graduates, but they are all unemployed. And because of my condition, I cannot do anything without reading and writing and I am the only hope for my family at moment. As a result of my present condition I cannot do anything hard because of this wheel chair I am using; if I used it for a long distance it will be disturbing me. I need a situation whereby I can stay in one place and read or write. I need something so that I can sustain myself.
I came from a polygamous family and the other children from my father's wife are small before my father died leaving only me; and you can now see my condition. It is most unfortunate and God knows the best.
Trying to gain admission
I have earlier applied to the Imo State University, Owerri to read law, but I was unable to make it because of financial problems. My mother, a petty trader cannot bankroll it, so I have to wait and applied to the Federal Polytechnic Nekede and fortunately I got admission. It is unfortunate that the state government did not give me scholarship in spite of several attempts. I tried my best and with the help of good Samaritans I was able to raise the school fees of N27,000 to complete my National Diploma programme.
For now, the load is too much on me and those who have been assisting me told me to look to other directions to fund my education. I have tried different places including the state and local governments but they have not responded. The government has seen my problems and condition, they know that without furthering my education I cannot get my daily bread. I am pleading to the Imo State government in the name of God to look into my problems and assist me. The state government should assist me by offering me employment.
Right now, my mother is a petty trader and she lives in the village and things are getting rough for her. My target of study is to read law and if government can empower me I can achieve my life desire.
If I have the problem of hands and legs, my head is there and I have to utilize the one that is all right. As I said, begging is not good and since my hands cannot work normally let me make use of head effectively.
Hope for marriage
I am 25 years of age and I intend to marry because marriage is good and necessary if I have something to maintain my family because you cannot marry doing nothing, therefore; if I marry without any means of livelihood it means I will come to the streets begging for alms. Presently, I don't have any partner that I intend to marry. I am very happy that people see me and encouraged me and discovered that I have something upstairs and because of my financial handicap they always see me as a burden. The people are the ones that advised me to go to the government for assistance.
My political life
After my studies, I intend to go into politics to give my people effective representation. I like politics very, very well because I discovered that it is a game of intelligent people. Today, in Nigeria some of the politicians are retired people. I love politics, but because of my physical disability I discovered that politics is all about mobility, but I have the belief that I have the ability to deliver. If I have the opportunity to be in politics I will start from councillorship and my performance at that level will promote me to a higher level. I am saying that nobody knows who will be the next Prof Chinua Achebe.
The government and the physically challenged
I don't think that government has been fair to the physically challenged persons in this country. If the power that be can make themselves available and allow the physically challenged persons come closer to them, they will discover the potentials of these physically challenged persons. Whenever I see any physically challenged person begging for alms on the streets I always encourage the person to learn a trade and be useful to himself and the society . I told them that disability in them can be converted to ability.