By Wole Mosadomi
He was not born crippled. He was merely a victim of polio. He has not, however, allowed the situation to bother him. Instead of it weighing him down, it has spurred him to greater heights.
Abubakar Galadima was born in 1976 hale and hearty, and without any deformity.
But, in 1984, he was struck by polio.
Neither the parents nor relatives realised what had actually befallen their young and promising child at the initial stage.
To them, at that stage, it was devil at work and, having done their best by waging war against the perceived enemies and failed, they gave up. Abubakar is today the Niger State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Disabled Members.
Parents’ reaction to disability
The aim of his parents was to see their child grow up without any hindrance.
However, their hope was dashed as their son met a setback in the condition occasioned by polio.
“My parents were dejected over the sudden and strange ailment that befell me but they soon put it behind them hoping for the best”, he said.
“For me, as a human being, I felt so bad too as I grew up but l summoned up the courage to forge ahead and determined to succeed.
“I quickly realised that there were some of my contemporaries who were able but have died but me, as a physically challenged person, I could move from one place to the other. “With that inspiration, I was determined not to resort to begging for alms as a source of livelihood but to work hard and fight it out with my counterparts who are able and succeed in life.
I went into the importation of Tokunbo vehicles and l made a success of my life”.
Role as the Chairman of people with disability in the PDP
He said the Peoples Democratic Party is a party that accommodates all Nigerians to prove their worth without discrimination.
Before his current appointment, Abubakar had served as Senior Special Assistant to the Governor in the last PDP administration in Niger State.
“PDP is the only party Nigerians can rely on because the All Progressives Congress (APC) has failed Nigerians”, he said.
“There is hunger everywhere, unemployment everywhere, killings, kidnappings and insecurity in most parts of the country and, with PDP’s scorecard when it ruled this country, when Nigerians felt secured, with gainful employment for the youths and with economic stability, there will be smiles on the faces of Nigerians if given another chance to rule”.
On his role as Chairman, he said there are about 5, 0000 physically persons he coordinates.
“This is a re-branded PDP and we the physically challenged persons have been given a constitutional role by the national body of our party to have a sense of belonging, to vote and be voted for and we have been playing this role effectively”, he told Sunday Vanguard.
“At the grassroots, we are closer to the people more than anybody else because even where able-bodied people went to resolve political issues and failed, we have succeeded because the electorate give us their listening ears and most issues are amicably resolved.
“In other words, our campaign is not limited to the disabled persons alone but to all party members no matter their status and, by the grace of God, we are succeeding”.
“Because of the recognition our great party has given us, we must be seen to be playing our role effectively at the local government, state and national levels.
“At the local government level, one of our members is warming up to contest the Chanchaga Local Government Chairman seat and we are going to give him maximum support and also mobilise able-bodied members for him to win.
“For me, I hope to go the national level to pave the way for others because if I am at the national level, my other members aspiring for positions at the local, state and even at the national levels can look up to me and will be inspired to follow through on their aspirations”.
Politics as a profession
“I don’t see politics as a profession; it should be a part-time thing.
No matter the success you may have recorded as a politician, there must be a second address and this is the only way to curb the do-or-die attitude of politicians aspiring for public offices. Politics should be regarded as a game where there must be a winner and a loser or an avenue to serve genuinely and if you fail in an election, you should take it in good faith.
“Those who want to win at all costs are those people who have seen politics as a profession and have nothing to fall back on.
“Before I went into politics, I was into importation of Tokunbo vehicles and I am still involved in it and I see it as something I can fall back on rather than seeing politics as a full-time and a do-or-die affair”.
For the 2019 general elections, Abubakar said his group was mobilising party supporters and non members to shun violence and avoid money politics and vote according to their conscience.