When they say there’s ability in disability, Oseni Ibrahim is a perfect definition. His disability has never been a hindrance or deterred him from smashing and setting records. And even with challenges, he’s not slowing down. You don’t want to miss reading his story.
Can you please introduce yourself to us?
I am Oseni Ibrāhim, a Building Inspector Officer (BIO) with Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), a seasoned construction professional with 12+ years of experience in career construction management, facility management, and leadership roles to help others believe in their aspiration.
I am also an Athlete representing Lagos State in Para-Powerlifting and also part of the Team Nigeria contingent at the World Para-powerlifting event in Abuja 2020, hosted by the First Lady. I have represented Lagos State in a series of competitions and my team has won laurels for the State, the most recent being the National Sports Festival “Delta 2022.”
I am married to an awesome and very understanding woman. If you meet me at home you have to ask if all is well because I’m always engaged in different activities most times. She is also my No1 fan and supporter.
I am adventurous. I like to do the impossible. I’m Energetic, Jovial, and believe in this life and hereafter.
My goal in life is for people to see me and tell me they made it because I survived.
I am someone who loves Islām to be seen in me and not just seen as a Muslim.”
Can you tell us about your background and what growing up was like for you?
My childhood memories were not gratifying as other kids, I had polio when I was three which paralyzed my limbs and thus affected my mobility. The stigma affected my academic progression as my parent are not educated & didn’t believe in education for persons with disability. This stigmatization & discrimination made me spend a lot of time thinking about what other kids can do and I can’t. That gave me confidence and I decided that whatever they do I will make sure I do better.
My eldest brother & sister who were in a higher institution then persuaded my father to let me have an academic opportunity like my other siblings. Which was a dream come true for me. I went through primary & secondary school education and later to the Yaba College of Technology to study Building Tech. While at the college, I indulged myself in the acquisition of practical knowledge which made me (on my crutches) visit construction sites. On one of my visits, I met an Architect who came to the site on double elbow crutches, this was the scene that motivated my career path to further my study at the university After my OND I got admission into the prestigious University of Lagos, Akoka to study Building and I also obtained my Master’s Degree in Facilities Management at the same University.
One of my memorable moments was after my NYSC. I went to visit my dad in my NYSC uniform. When he saw me, tears of joy and happiness dropped from his eyes. He hugged me and said to me: “You said you will make me proud and today I am proud of you my son.”
Sometime in 2005, while I was in the second semester of my ND 2, I had an accident in the bathroom. I had cracks around my pelvis due to the fall. This was caused by someone’s nonchalant attitude by pouring soaked garri on tiles inside the bathroom. At the hospital, the doctor told my dad I would have to drop out of school. My father was like I have said he can’t go to school, but he is stubborn and won’t listen. So, this time I was locked up in the room, with no outing and no going to school. Miraculously, as Allāh would have it, the period of isolation made the wound heal quicker than the doctor had predicted. After my fourth X-ray, the doctor said the crack has been closed but partially.
After this period, I started appealing to go back to school and at least complete my OND. But Alhamdulillāh after my OND I got Admission into the University of Lagos.
The lessons from this are, we should be our brother’s keeper, we should watch out for each other, and let us not do things that will endanger another person’s life. The person who poured the garri in the bathroom (in 2005) has damaged something inside me forever and he wouldn’t have known but here I am still nursing the pain 17 years after. “
What are your principles in life?
“We only have one life to live, let’s make it count.”
You are a serial volunteer; what inspired you into volunteering?
As a serial volunteer for several NGOs, what inspires me to volunteer is that it’s not an act you find persons with a disability doing. Volunteering to me is also a service to life and humanity.
I have worked & volunteered for the following NGOs: Islāmic Medical Association (IMAN), Restore Eye Foundation for Child Sight, Glad Tidings Project (GTP), MyRamadān, Shoes of Hope, Life After Abuse, Noble Heart Children Foundation. Etc”
You are the founder of The Project Enabled?
Yes, and I am also a co-founder of the Glad Tidings Project.
When was The Project Enabled founded?
Project Enabled (TPE) is a dream I want to actualize because I want to be able to motivate and inspire other persons with disabilities in our society and also their parents. We are only victims of circumstances and not a curse to society. So TPE came to the limelight in 2019.
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What inspired you to start The Project Enabled?
The Project Enabled (TPE) as I said is a dream come true. And with my wealth of knowledge & working experience with different organizations, I thought of doing something for myself and my disability community. I recall the current General Manager of Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs once called me and said my community needs me for all the different projects I have executed, I should try and focus on the disability community as well. Several persons with disabilities have also called my attention to their needs, which I have started working on gradually.
The Project Enabled seems to still be at the baby stage, what do you wish to achieve with The Project Enabled Foundation?
Yeah, I kind of agree with you the project is still upcoming we are not there yet, but we have work scheduled for this year. What I intend to achieve with the project are two things:
- Have a food bank for persons with disability who cannot afford their daily needs.
- Found a workshop where walking aids and mobility aid are built locally for free for the disability clusters.
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What challenges have you faced in running The Project Enabled and how have you been able to overcome them?
Challenges I have faced? The major challenge is finance because the needs of persons with disability are enormous and just a few NGOs focus on this category. The other challenge is health, I undergo physiotherapy sessions weekly.
But I just have to overcome these challenges by remembering why I started, so I cannot quit because I don’t believe in impossibility, I believe in possibility.”
How do you combine work with being a serial volunteer and running The Project Enabled?
Working with other NGOs, I make sure our activities don’t clash, and also organizations that I work with I make sure there is a synergy between TPE and the organizations. Last year we gave out relief food packs twice to about 100 physically challenged families, which was powered by the Islāmic Medical Association of Nigeria (IMAN). Last year we also gave out Wheelchairs & Mobility Aid to about 20 persons, which was powered by MMARIF. This is a cause that is carried out yearly by these two NGOs. So, these are the synergy between the organizations I work with and TPE.
Any other information you wish to share with us?
I will just use this medium to appreciate and thank all my donors and supporters who have contributed to the success of all my projects so far and I want them to know we would not disappoint them in utilizing every kobo donated. Thank you for all you do.
What is your advice for Muslims?
My advice for Muslims is that Allāh alone gives and takes. We should be determined and focused on our dream. Allāh will surely make a way out.
Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity