By Sola Ogundipe
On July 4, 2013, Jude Ikegwuonu, a broadcast journalist, sustained a spinal injury in a road accident. He injured his C5/C6 vertebrae and has been quadriplegic (paralysed in both arms and legs) ever since. Nnenna Brown, his fiancée, who has stood by him all through his travails, however says Jude being in a wheelchair or being bedridden hasn’’t in any way affected his positive outlook and personality.
Nnenna who hails from Abiriba (small London) in Abia State, was born in Lagos where she has lived for 27years. As a young lady that is trying to make a career in the Hospitality industry, Nnenna is blessed with a lot of potential and prospects. In this encounter, she describes her relationship with Jude as special. Excerpts:
Jude Ikegwuonu is my fiancé. We were engaged on the 3rd of November 2014, on his sick bed about a year after the accident. I have known him for six years now, we actually met at SuperScreen Television around 2010-2011. I got to know him as a colleague, but there was nothing serious and we didn’’t become friends until a year after we both left SuperScreen.
Fate brought us back together when I was just strolling around computer village where we met again and that was how it all started in earnest. I just knew that God had something in store for us. When the accident happened, I said to myself, I’’ve known him for a year and a half; there was no going back because he is a promising young guy, full of hope despite his condition.
When I hear his voice, it sparks something in me. I just decided I’m not going to let go.Regardless of the accident, Jude is still the same person I have known and fallen in love with. His being quadriplegic doesn’’t make him odd or unusual. I love him. He’s a wonderful person that is so positive and doesn’’t take anything for granted. He is nice, caring, and very understanding.
He is okay mentally and emotionally. If he was taking two steps before, now he is taking five steps. He is better now than I have known him. He is one energetic man. Sometimes I am the one crying and he is the one consoling me instead of the other way round.
To be sincere, it hasn’t been easy, especially for someone that has been working and earning a living and suddenly this situation happened. At a point, some people tried to discourage me about him, but I pictured the future and would not to allow the situation weigh me down. There are times we have issues and he gets angry and irritated but I have come to understand him now than the way he was before and it’s really been working for us.
My parents didn’t get to know him until after the accident and it was very difficult for me explaining to them who he was. At first, my mother didn’’t find it funny but when she saw my strong resolve and faith, she accepted my decision. I’’m certain if they had known him before the accident, it would have been much easier for me telling them everything that happened to him.
The day we went to India for his medical intervention, I actually expected that my mother would not let me go, but to my greatest surprise, she did. Her actions made me to understand that God is involved in this issue and ever since then, my parents and sisters have been very helpful. They keep encouraging and praying for us.
Since the accident, the whole family has met him, checking on him and relating like they have known each other for a long time. His family is also very supportive.
Humanly speaking, it has not been easy coping but with God on my side, it’s been possible. On one or two or three occasions after the accident, we have gone out together. I recall the first time we went to Shoprite, he started crying. I understood why he was crying, seeing others on their feet while he was being pushed around on the wheelchair.
He could not reach out to what he actually wanted and it was not easy for him. In cases like this, one person has to encourage the other, so I had to be strong for him and encourage him. But to God be the Glory, during our second outing, it was different. He was livelier. We eat, chat and play chess together, it’s really been fun.
No one can question God. He knows why it happened, but I wish we were married and had children before his accident, but then, God knows best. I believe that very soon my wish will come true.
For people with loved ones, families or friends in similar situations like this, one thing I want to say is that they should have faith in God, trust God and be happy in every situation. It’s not about the question that is been thrown to you but what matters is the answer you give. And we should give life a positive answer.
I’m often approached by men, but I politely turn them down. I know what I want and I have found what I want and that is what matters. Jude is no different than anyone else and he being a quadriplegic doesn’’t make him odd or anything. I love him. He’s a wonderful person.
Jude needs assistance. The doctor has said that he can go back to work but in his condition, he wouldn’’t be able to do that on his own. He requires assistance by way of a motorised wheelchair, mobile ramps and wheelchair van. We need these three things so that he can actually put his life back together and function very well.
I want to appeal to all Nigerians to please come to his aid in providing these mobility aids. It would all cost about N25million. I am quite optimistic and very hopeful that little by little, we will get the money. Once he gets back to work, things will be easier for us. I just wish to remind Nigerians that we need these three items as soon as possible and I pray that people will come to our aid.
On October 1st, 2017, Jude will be having a thanksgiving ceremony. We are planning it together. Since the accident four years ago, he has not gone to church, so we will be going to church to thank God for seeing us through these years. There are people who have found themselves in similar situation and never lasted but God has kept us these four years plus. He has been our strength.