ArticleOpinion

ILORIN SCHOOL OF SPECIAL NEEDS: THE FAILURE IN US ALL

By Abdulrasheed Akogun

Birthday only come but ones in a year, that’s why rational beings are usually divided between either to celebrate or be sober, nag over unfulfilled dreams or count blessings, envy those above you or pity those below you, salivate over the sumptuous meal on the table of your contemporaries or feel anger and pain seeing people wake and sleep without food on their table.

I’ve been fortunate to experience both sides of life and I’ve come to the conclusion that our happiness which we ironically search from birth till death where we along the line cause sorrow, hardship on people actually lies where we least expected (serving humanity).

All I can do is pray and wish for on my birthday (March 3 of every year) which signifies that I’m a year older and a day nearer to the grave is God’s forgiveness and guidance. I also use this opportunity to apologise to whoever I might have offended through my actions and inactions to find a place in their heart to forgive me.

As my tradition over the past few years, which is to always celebrate the gift of life, while also using the opportunity to do a retrospective soul search, which often times leads to sober reflection and realisation of God’s unmerited, underserved favours and blessings.

My birthday yesterday took me to Kwara State School for Special Needs, in Ilorin. This is a school dedicated to cater for the basic and post basic educational pursuit of children with challenges ranging from hearing impairment, dumbness, blindness among others.

While I knew these special set of people are usually treated with disdain in this part of the world, I never imagined the level of decay, abandonment and neglect the school have been made to go through in the hands of the government (owners of the school) and we all as human.

After presenting materials which my lean resources could accommodate to the students, myself and my team embarked on a tour of the school premises and hostels. The sight was gory, embarrassing to the eye and injurious to the soul.

The reality in that school sums up the trajectory of our living as human thus far, it also offers a glimpse into our blink future as a people unless something drastic happens urgently.

Seeing the level of infrastructural decay and abandonment the school and students are subjected to, it would have been expected that as a front line opposition figure (courtesy of my being the Media Director of the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq Gubernatorial campaign organisation) I should have shouted to high heavens by putting the blames hundred percent in the door steps of the outgoing government, for neglecting the citizens that deserves special attention, I would have gained cheap political mileage for my principal and the OTOGE movement.

However, it’ll only generate opprobrium for the government from usual quarters, while the government on its part will activate all at its disposal to rationalise the obvious unpardonable and inhumane neglect.

Would that have satisfied my conscience? would I have served humanity by seeing nothing but political gain in the plight of the needy who I could have helped facilitated reprieve for.

How would I have been able to be at peace with my conscience knowing the system and society have conspired to deprive school children of the basics of life, like a dignifying restroom. How do we all intend to sleep and hibernate knowing some of these special children sleep on matress-less bunk in their dormitory, while the few with mattresses have no beddings.

The condition of some of the classrooms is best suited to accommodate recalcitrant pets, yet that is the learning environment with which we want to use in transforming the disabilities of these innocent citizens towards making them useful for themselves and the society at large.

I’m bringing these horrible pictures out not to score cheap political mileage, but to awake our consciousness, towards waking up from our deep slumber.

I therefore implore us all, to please rise up, join me and my team towards changing the narratives of these students, they deserve the basics of life.

Below are some of the humanitarian needs of the school

(1) Mattress
(2) Toilet
(3) Classroom Furniture
(4) Ceiling fans
(5) WAEC and NECO fees among others.

It is my hope, that we’ll join hands together towards changing this sad reality.

Thanks and God bless.

Abdulrasheed Akogun is a journalist, social crusader, humanitarian and a conscientious being. He can be reached via: shoboiakogun@gmail.com.

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