Blind boy rises against odds, now part four law student
By Gbenga Osinaike
The story of Chikezie Nwadike a part four Law Student of the Nnamdi Azikwe University is both troubling and exciting. His parents had no hope he would amount to anything. The fact that he was born blind was enough discouragement for them. Rather than look after him, they abandoned him to his grandmother in the village while they stayed in Owerri capital city of Imo State.
There in the village, Chikezie had no hope of becoming anything. He was at the mercy of her grandparents who were too old to lead him in the right direction. But then he would join young boys in the village to attend a children’s Bible class anchored by Rev Collins Anyaoha.
At that time Rev Anyaoha was a young secondary school leaver who had an undying love for children. He was the one in charge of the Anglican Children Ministry of the Anglican Church where he worshiped. Before then Anyaoha was selling spare parts in Owerri town. But he was not fulfilled. He felt he was not destined to do business. So, on his own he relocated to the village and took up the task of teaching young boys and girls. He was doing this against the wish of his father who felt he was lazy and useless to the family.
But a miracle was lurking for both Anyaoha and Nwadike. In the course of teaching the children, the Bishop of the Diocese of Okigwe South of the Anglican Church The Rt. Rev David Onuoha where he belonged instituted a competition where children were encouraged to read a large portion of the Bible. The Child who reads the most would get a scholarship.
Anyaoha took up the challenge. He gathered all the children in his care and informed them about the goodies awaiting any child that successfully reads the whole of the book of Ephesians which was the Bible book handed down by the Bishop for the competition that particular year. Some of them showed interest and he began to coach them. But then, Chikezie Nwadike who was about 8 years at that time and who has not been to school because of the indigent condition of his parents and the fact that he was born blind also came asking to be taught.
Anyaoha said, “When he came and asked that he would like to join those who want to memorise the Bible book of Ephesian I simply discouraged him. I said to myself those who have eyes have not been taught, how can someone who had no eyes learn in the first place. I was just saying to myself that it was not possible to teach him to memorise portions of the Bible. So I discouraged him.”
But Nwadike the blind boy would not give up. By the following morning of the day Rev. Anyaoha turned him down, he repeated his visit to Anyaoha’s house very early in the morning and pleaded that he would like to learn. Still, Anyaoha dismissed him. But as God would have it, Anyaoha’s mother overheard their conversation and pleaded with him to take up the challenge of training the blind boy. “My mother had to prevail on me. My mother said the boy did not come by himself that something must have been inspiring and pushing him. My mum encouraged me to teach him. I kept arguing with her that those who had eyes could not learn how could somebody who was born blind, who had not been to school memorise the portions of the Bible. But when my mum kept insisting, I summed courage. And decided to start training him.”
Incidentally, all the children who were coming to memorise scriptures no longer showed interest. They all disappeared one by one leaving only Chikezie the blind boy. Anyaoha said, “So the training began. I saw the zeal in him. On the first day of the training we were able to study chapter 1 v 1-10. The second day he repeated all that we practiced on the first day. I was shocked. That encouraged me.
“He would come around. I would read and he would respond. He was able to recite chapters 1 to 3 by heart after a few days of training. He went for the preliminary completion and won. Nobody could beat him. At the zonal level of the competition he beat the other contestants. He represented the zone in the diocese. By that time he was able to read the whole of the book of Ephesians by heart.”
He won the competition. The Bishop of the diocese, The Rt. Rev Onuoha was taken aback. He invited the boy and invited all the knights of the diocese to a special meeting and asked the blind boy to come and recite what he recited at the competition. And he did not disappoint.
Bishop Onuoha told our correspondent that he read the whole of the book of Ephesians observing the punctuation marks as used in the Bible. The Bishop did not hesitate. Pronto, the boy was taken to the school of the Blind where they examined him and found out that his intelligence quotient is high. Rather than start in primary 1 he was made to begin in primary 3 and was placed on full scholarship by the Diocese of Okigwe South. He did very well in his primary and secondary education and eventual got admission to study law at the Nnamdi Azikwe University. He presently in part four.
Nwadike the then blind boy, now a man who spoke with our correspondent on phone from his base on campus said it was a great privilege for him to be a beneficiary of the scholarship scheme. “Looking back I think it was God that made my scholarship possible because in the first place I stood no chance. But God gave me the chance.”
On his own part, Rev. Anyaoha who trained the blind boy got automatic job with the diocese. Shortly after, he secured admission to the seminary and thus became a priest in the Anglican Church. His parents, especially his dad who thought he was a lay about are now proud of having a priest as a son.