Overcoming Disability Through Purpose Discovery

I was born on the 6th of January 1981, the last of six children. My mother said that I was like other children. She said I seem perfectly normal until about three months after when she began noticing my clumsiness. My father was not always around because he was a military officer in the Nigerian Army. It was my mother who served the family in all parental capacities. She became very worried about my discomfort and decided to seek medical attention. She quickly took me to the University Teaching Hospital in Ibadan from where we were referred to a hospital in Kano. There, her worst fears were confirmed; her son had been blind in the womb, and nothing could be done to restore his sight.

From the day my mother discovered I was blind; I was never treated like a dependent. I was shown where everything I needed in the house was few times, and I was allowed to get them myself in subsequent times. Although everyone at home showered me with love and affection, they were there to answer my questions, took particular interest, but they spanked me when they thought it necessary. Childhood was interesting, and it was fun. I did everything I was big enough to do. I ran around, played with motor-tyres, jumped staircases and did all kinds of stuffs. I was just that kid who was around. I got into fights and was competitive. I was a very adventurous kid with an event filled childhood.

At age six and seven, I used to puff my cheeks and play the twelve buff blues. I also used to drum and make music with everything in the house, from the dining table to barrels of water, my chest, stomach and anything I could lay my hands on, so my mother encouraged me by buying musical toys for me. Soon people in our barracks started enjoying my beats, and I organise concerts in our neighbourhood, drumming on my mother’s barrels of water.

My father played a lot of music around. When I replicated some of the songs I’ve heard; drumming and trying to sing them, it’ll be my own style, and my audience enjoyed them. All the kids from the neighbouring block would come, and we’d hang out, and we’d make so much noise. My music talent became more evident as I grew older. I started to play the piano at about age 8 or 9. When I was nine years old, I was already playing for my church.

In their bid to make me independent, my parents sent me to boarding schools; Pacelli School for the Blind and King’s College Lagos respectively. Academically, I was doing very well, and I always had good results. As a student, I regularly strolled out of school and go in and out of the studio to work on commercials, jingles and other kinds of stuff just for fun. I started meeting some of the big names in the Nigerian music industry like Faze and the Plantatun Boiz, Maintain and others. Some of them took a chance with me and liked my productions. At age 16, I started producing for some of these artistes.

My musical journey, however, seemed to come to a halt a few years later when I entered the university to pursue studies in law. I like Law, and I am fascinated by its academics and practice. I was studying Law, but I spent more time in the Music Department. I was always playing the piano and hanging out with Musicians. I was a friend with people like Darey, who was studying Music in the University of Lagos. We would hang out and play music and just have a good time. My room then was almost like a mini studio.

After three years in the University, I started sensing that law is not my purpose. Music had always been in me, and I think it was time for me to face facts and ask myself if I was ready to be doing litigation in wig and gown or not. Soon I realized that I have to follow my musical passion, I left university to embark on a path that, for a young blind musician in Nigeria, was far from easy to tread. I had an interesting academic record. So when I opted for music, my parents knew it was out of passion and not because I was failing as far as academics were concerned.

At the beginning, it was not easy. I had to sleep on studio floors all across Lagos, worked at different studios, worked without pay. I had to convince people that I could do it. I had sessions that were cancelled because they weren’t sure I could deliver either because they thought I was too young or maybe as a blind person. However, it didn’t take long for me to prove myself as my musical talent soon began to shine. Over the next few years, I went on to work closely with internationally-renowned artists such as pop sensation Asa and R&B star Darey and the demand for my skill, musically, kept building. I have also produced work for Yinka Davis, the Rooftop MCs, Charlie Boy, Mode 9, Sasha, Omawunmi, Timi Dakolo, Banky W, Sound Sultan, MI, Style Plus Tuface, Timaya, and that’s only about a quarter of the list. I wrote and produced work for a number of organisations as well: MTN, Zain, Globacom, Etisalat, Stanbic IBTC, Close-up, Reltel and so many others. A major breakthrough came in 2005; I signed on with Sony ATV London as a songwriter and in 2008, I clinched the Hip Hop World Award Best Producer of the year.

Currently, I am raising young outstanding artistes through Cobhams Asuquo Music Production (CAMP). Some of our labelled artistes are Omolara, Bez, Joan, Pheel and Shamel. Bez’s debut album ‘Super Sun’ was highlighted on The Boston Globe’s top ten list of best ‘world music’ albums of 2011. I am also married, with a son.

Lesson

Physical disability is not purpose disability. Your bodily challenge doesn’t change your purpose or passion. Your challenge is not a passport to change your passion. It shouldn’t make you do anything because you are capable of doing them. You have a purpose to pursue and achieve; your physical challenge cannot change it. You must fulfill destiny regardless of the challenge you face. Physical challenge is not a permission to be pushed around by relatives and friends to do any job.

Furthermore, you don’t choose a field because somebody that has the same challenge with you is in that field. Your friend is a doctor, and he is an amputee like you is not a guarantee that you will be prosperous in the medical field. You are not called to be a blind musician because Cobhams is successful. Any physically challenged person can spur you to pursue your passion and not to duplicate his own career except you are passionate about the field.

Nobody should force you to do what you don’t have passion for. Allow people to encourage you to pursue your passion. You are created to do what you are designed and empowered to do and not what is available. You are created to do what you are created and empowered to do and not what your body permits you to do. Not having arms cannot disqualify you from becoming a writer. You can skillfully write with other parts of the body. Nobody should choose a career for you, follow your passion. It is your passion that fires up your vigour to pursue your purpose. You cannot succeed in every profession, except you are passionate about it.

It is passion that makes you outstanding in a field. It is never too late to start pursuing your passion. Excellent results come speedily and cheaply when you are passionate about what you do. Your stardom is tied to the actualisation of your purpose. Your fame and wealth are in your purpose no matter how simple or irrelevant it seems. It is never too late to be right.

The ability to overcome opposition as you pursue your purpose is packaged in the process of achieving just your vision. Your helpers in destiny and those that matter to your advancement are all positioned only in your area of passion. Working outside your purpose brings struggles and fruitless efforts. You’ll find contentment when your talent is fully developed and your passion is wholly pursued.

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