Mr Adelani is a civil servant at the Federal Capital Teritory. He is a seasoned Deaf politician
Meet Mr. Mohammed Adelani as he shares inspiring story to encourage others:
My name is MOHAMMED Q. ADELANI, I’m a native of Osun State, Nigeria.
THE JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF DEAFNESS
It all started like a child play while still in the senior primary class. Mump was a common disease those days and our parents have become much used to treating the infection with sand scratched from wasp nest in the corner of the house. So when I got infected with this particular mump, it was seen as the normal mump infections that could be cure the usual way. As days passed by, the situation continued to deteriorate resulting into another illness. Within weeks, I started losing weigh considerably. It got to a stage that I could hardly walk. I still remember that evening I was on the way to ‘ile Kewu’ (Islamiyyah school) which was just a stone throw to our house then. About 20 meters to the school, I was staggering and losing balance, fortunately, some elders noticed my strange movements and supported me back home.
I was immediately admitted in one of these nearby clinics where I spent over a month. However, I noticed a gradual decline in my hearing which my parents mistakenly assumed to be the effect of my sickness and hoping that once I fully recovered, I would regain my hearing. Fortunately or unfortunately, this was not to be and thus the journey into the silent world of deafness was completed. At first, it caused confusion in the family, which was followed with several visits to various Clerics, Pastors, Alfas and even Traditionist, all to no avail. I could remember how my schooling was always hampered with visit to various healing centres. Sometimes, my father would come to pick me up in the school for trip to these healing centres. Thus one week in and three weeks out of school became my routine until I completed the then, five-year Secondary education in 1988.
There and then, the confusion as to what to do next came in. Fortunately one of my elder brother advised my parents to allow me sit for the then Polytechnics/Colleges of education matriculation examinations (PCE). I sat for the exam in 1991, three whole years after graduating from secondary school. That was how I got admitted into the Federal Colleges of Education (sp) Oyo. As at the time of my admission into the College, I have no idea of anything about sign language. In fact when I saw fellow Deaf students who are already versed in sign language, I used to wonder. Sign language interpreters were always available during lectures, but since I didn’t understand sign language, it was extremely difficult to blend in.
One of our interpreters who took special interest in me then was the Late Mr. Rauf Ademola (may his soul rest in peace). He took it upon himself to teach me sign language after closing hours. My fellow Deaf students were also helpful then. Gradually, I became more and more interested in sign language and by the end of my first year in the College, I was able to communicate easily with and among fellow Deaf students. One thing I observed was that my ability to communicate in sign language coupled with my associating with Deaf and hearing students who are seriously committed to academic excellence aided my academic performance in the College. Those were the days of reward for academic excellence, and so when I was called to receive Provost award as the 3rd best student in the NCE 1 examination for the 1991/92 session, I felt on top of the roof and it increased my motivation for academic excellence. The Late Prof C.A Bakare was the then Provost of the College and I can imagine myself standing respectfully in front of this great man, hand stretched forward to receive his warm handshake, with a white envelop containing a letter of award. I still cherish the moment up till today.
At the College I developed interest in activism and leadership. I was elected into the Executive council of many College Associations then. We spent 4 years instead of the usual 3 years for the NCE due to Aluta activities and the June 12 débâcles.
After graduating from the college in 1995, I proceeded further to University of Ilorin to pursue a degree programme in the Department of the then Educational Guidance and Counselling. Sadly, the sojourn in the University was also marred with series of Aluta activities, the after effect of June 12 debacles, strikes among others. Anyway, I was able to graduate in the year 2000. And again, I won the Vice-Chancellor awards for academic excellence as the 2nd best graduating student in my Department.
While in the University, the zeal and valour to serve fellow Deaf through Associations never weaned. I was elected President of Nigerian Universities Deaf Students’ Association, Unilorin, also State Chairman of my state, Osun State Association of the Deaf while in the University.
After graduating from the University, I served at the then West African Portland Cement plc (Handicapped School) in Shagamu-Ogun State where I was retained as a permanent staff after my service year. Immediately after my service year, I enrolled for my postgraduate studies in the same University of Ilorin and obtained my M.Ed degree in 2004.
To the glory of God, I have served as the National Secretary General of the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf, National headquarters and presently the National Vice-President of the Association. This has enabled me to contribute my little quota to all-round development of the Deaf in Nigeria.
ADVICE TO PARENTS OF THE DEAF
I must count myself lucky to have parents who have been very supportive and understanding throughout the struggle. This has been source of inspiration and propelled me to aim high. Parents of Deaf children should therefore extend same hands of cooperation, encouragement and understanding to their Deaf wards/children. Education is the best legacy parents can give their children, whether Deaf of hearing. With this said and done, the sky is not even our limit…