Special Report: Adesina: The Physically Challenged Who Still Practice His Trade

by frontiers | April 3, 2013 6:26 am

Blind Mr. Adesina with his wife

Mr. Theophilus Adesina is a Sculptor who plies his trade along Karu-Jikwoyi road, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory. He lost the use of his eyes after an accident at one of his sites where he had gone to work in Imo State. In a chat with our correspondent Benjamin Umuteme, the Adesinas talk about their job and the challenges of rising finance to grow the business.

“I am a 1983 graduate of Fine Arts from the Yaba College of Technology. After School, I opened an office at Mile 2 in Lagos. While in Lagos, I travelled to the South East to Work as a lot of Igbo businessmen take me to their town to work for them. That is where I met my wife. And since that time she has been with me. She now understands the work more than me”

These are the words of Mr. Theophilus Adesina, a blind sculptor who still practices his profession at Jikwoyi in Abuja despite his disability.

In a chat with FrontiersNews, Mr Adesina recounts the incident that led to his present state.

“This problem started where I was working in Imo State. A chemical we call Fibre Glass entered my eyes. We mix it with Catalyst Accelerator. It is also used by ship builders and automobile manufacturers.

We were building a water fountain with the Fibre Glass when the chemical mistakenly entered my eye-though it was no fault off my workers,” he narrated.

Some of his work

Mr. Adesina said that he tried to seek attention but finance was a major inhibition.

“In 2007, I went to National Hospital and they asked me to bring N150,000 for the operation. Since then, all my brothers that were coming to collect money from me ran away. My wife is the only one still with me and some of the workers.”

The Managing Director of Solid Rock Creative Works praised the resilience of the wife saying she has been a pillar to the family.

“My wife has been running this company. She does the mixing of cement, molding of pillars, POP ceiling, interlocks and Krebs. She goes to site with the workers; she directs them, moulds and designs many of the things we use for the job. People are surprised that they have not seen a woman that can designs things like these.”

Showing our correspondent the wife’s hand to buttress his point, Mr. Adesina said: “look at her hand, cement has eaten it.”

“This problem started where I was working in Imo State. A chemical we call Fibre Glass entered my eyes”

But Mrs. Adesina has God and her husband’s foresight to thank for the sustenance of the Company pointing out that he used to go with her to site wherever he had any work.

“Before the accident that resulted to the blindness, he tells me some of the things he use in mixing chemicals, the names of the chemicals, he showed me everything about the work. In fact I was the secretary.

“When he had the accident for two years, we tried several hospitals to see if he could be treated. And as the sight was not recovered, we decided to continue with, that was when I had to take over.

Not that I really took over because whenever we have jobs, he would tell me what to d, how to do it. And when we carry it out, the work comes out perfectly.”

She revealed that even after the accident, “we have trained 14 boys who are on their own. Some have married, some have bought cars.

Some of his works

On patronage, Mrs. Adesina had this to say; “some customers when they see the condition of my husband, they don’t like giving him job. That is why we don’t go to site with him to solicit for job. Rather he stays here; when customers come he talks to them. Some kind hearted ones when they see the situation; they still give us work not minding his condition. They give him the job to help him and his family.”

Mr. Adesina said he has tried to access funds to grow the business but it had not been successful. The last been a Micro-Finanace Bank that was willing to give him N1million but that he has to pay interest of N200,000 every month.

“My brother, I tried a micro-finance but their interest is too much, I no get the capacity to pay that type money. I no want involve myself.”

But the wife was more forthcoming as she explained to our correspondent, “There was a time we were directed to Ministry of Women Affairs, they said they were giving loan to physically challenged people. The Head of Department tried to help us but the assistant dribbled us. The Head of Department approved N500,000 for us directing us to a bank at EMMAB plaza. But the assistant refused to help us. She was the one that obstructed that loan. At the end we couldn’t get anything from the government.”

Mrs. Adesina acknowledges the challenge of having to train five children who are in school with the husband’s condition.

“We thank God who has been kind to us. With Faith and the word of God we hear from Church that we should do something with our hands that God will give us ideas. With that idea, we came here, it was a refuse site, but we were able to clear the place.

“God through his mercy has been bringing customers from Asokoro. People have been coming for one thing or the other; ornamental pillar work, window casting, POP ceiling.

Through all these means, we can erect our own little house now, bought our own land and we believe God for more things He is able to do for us.”

The Adesinas appealed to “government to assist us because if we have much capital, we can produce a lot of things that people will come and buy and it would be easy for us.

“If they can give us loan or give us contract. We are into interlocking tiles, POP ceilings amongst others. In the course of all these, if we can get government projects, if they can give us contract from there we will get some money to buy materials and produce things that people have been requesting from us. At times people come here and they don’t see what they want they would go.”

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