- Over 14k graduates were awarded degrees from the National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja, during their recent convocation
- A happy Joshua Sopeju, who is now a graduate of Computer Science, was one of them
- What makes him special is the fact he suffers from cerebral palsy
It is a known fact that faith and determination will take you places beyond your imagination. Having a set back should never be a reason to give up on life and this, a young Nigerian man suffering from cerebral palsy has proven.
Identified as Joshua Sopeju, he stands today as a proud graduate of computer sciences despite the curve ball life threw at him. He reportedly suffers from cerebral palsy – a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination and caused by damage to the brain – for 30 years.
This great achievement of Joshua has left his overwhelmed family with great joy and pride. Speaking at the event, his sister took to social media to reveal how his condition was due to poor medical handling: “For 30 years, you lived with cerebral palsy. Yet, you didn’t give up. Yours was a case of prolonged labour. As an infant, it took you almost a whole day to utter your first cry. I remember how we, your siblings, took turns to carry you on our backs to church and school. Our backs ached as you grew older. But we carried you all the same. We took turns to bath you, clean you up and get you set for the day."
“I remember why our youngest brother, Samuel, was made to write the Common Entrance Examination. Both of you moved on to secondary school. I remember when reality set in and Samuel gained admission into the university. You were alone, afterwards; staying indoors for 14 years. But you were strong. Now see how you have made of us proud!”
Despite finishing a 4-year course in 8 years, Joshua Sopeju attributed his success an achievement to God Almight. Speaking in an interview with the school's media correspondent, he said: “I was born with cerebral palsy, which affected my psycho-motor faculty. But it did not affect my intelligence. I gained admission into the National Open University of Nigeria in 2010. I chose the course because I had a passion for computers. As a young boy, I liked to play computer games. Also, because of my condition, my parents advised me to study something that I would be able to handle conveniently.”
He further revealed how hard it was for him, a physically challenged person to study a course like computer science. According to him, he faced several challenges at every turn and level.
“The greatest challenge was movement. It prevented me from having access to my facilitators. I was not able to ask them questions about the things I didn’t understand. As a result, I had to depend on my course outlines and on personal research. In addition to this, there was no time. At a point, I felt like giving up,”
He further urged other physically challenged people to stay focused and determined to havee a career in life. He also advised parents to be supportive of children with special needs.
“Parents should not give up on such children because of their special needs. They should encourage and support them in every way possible. My parents never gave up on me. If you add up all the money they spent on me to graduate from school, it is enough to finance the education of three or four children up to the university. That is what I call sacrifice,”
The young computer scientist revealed that his dream is to someday establish a firm where he will impact knowledge and practical skills to others.
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