In a bid to inspire other physically challenged people in the society, a fine arts graduate from Rivers State, Mr. Pius Barikume has shared his experience on how he has been able to brave life oddities despite his condition.
Among the experiences he shared with TNN is having to drive from Nigeria to Ghana.
Barikume, a graduate of what is now known as the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, who has been confined to a wheelchair for over a decade now, told TNN in an exclusive interview that he was passionate about transportation business.
He said in addition to commercial driving, he was also into the production of foot wears for all genders.
Barikume who is married with three children said: “One of the things I discovered is that sometimes when you are challenged God gives you multiple abilities to cover up for your disabilities, so you discover you could do this, you could do that. If you don’t know how to harness this concept together they become a problem to you first and even if there is someone to help you, they may not know where to handle you from.
“I am an artist. A graduate. I have done commercial taxi driving, it is a very good business and it’s one of the things I want to major in right now.
“I have driven from Nigeria to Ghana, can you beat that? A lot of drivers on the road haven’t done that before. I am married with three kids, my first son in UST. I just want the world to know that no one is disabled, we all have abilities, we are all blessed and gifted by God.
“If I can drive from Nigeria to Ghana then what can they not do? They should not settle for self pity but just discover yourself and live it. I want to set up a platform where I do something like, in oversea countries they do stuffs like that, when somebody decides to run from Port Harcourt to Abuja and use it to get support to push a project. If I can drive from Nigeria to Ghana then I should be able to do something like that that should get support for something.”
Speaking of his challenges he said “challenges for me has been harnessing all my ideas together because before you talk about assistance; finance, you need to discover yourself, your ability and how to kick start your business after planning, writing down your visions and all of those things.
“So sometimes when I am done putting my acts together the next thing you want to talk about is who believes in what you are doing, the little resources to help you push through and then keeping focus to do them and then believing in the beginning stage of what you are doing.
“I look around and see a lot of physically challenged people with diverse giftedness but you see everything you do takes time to grow. Do you have the stability to stay watch that thing grow? I think these are some of the major challenges.
“Again, I will also not do away with the fact that a playing field is needful. Talk about Nigerian green goals, female football, there must be a playing ground. In Nigeria we don’t really have a playing ground, you create that for yourself which is not easy as it were. In foreign countries the platforms are there, structures are there, you could go to so, so, so office, acquire this, ask for that, support will come, here you work it, you strain it and sometimes before you even get to it you are worn out either in age or in ability.
“I want to encourage those of us the world calls physically challenged to know that we have more abilities and can achieve anything. Just think it, plan it and work it out.”