His name is Tomi Waziri. He was shot in the face by traffic robbers on September 12, 2019 at Apongbon area, near Eko bridge in Lagos. That accident altered all his life plans.
Life hasn’t been so fair for the young man who was raised by a single mother for half of his early ages but the attack at Eko Bridge was the biggest blow of all. After graduating from Kogi State University, he joined his two older sisters in the life’s hustles to cater for his younger brother and widowed mother. In doing so, he repaired and sold phone accessories at Computer village, Ikeja.
When one of his friends saw how ambitious Tomi was, he was advised to venture into e-hailing transport service. “The business was still very lucrative at that time,” he told FIJ.
He made legitimate cash working with Taxify (now Bolt) and sometimes took late-night trips to quickly generate what would be enough to establish his own electronic accessories hub at the business nerve of Lagos, and then return to school. Then came the night when he was robbed.
Well, that is no longer the story Tomi wishes to be remembered for; the focus now, according to him, is “to help people living with one form of disability or the other know that there is more to life than their weaknesses”.
“That there is so much God has put in each of us to be great with or without our deformities”.
ONE POWERFUL PRAYER UNANSWERED AND THE UNQUENCHABLE FIRE TO REWRITE FATE
On Wednesday, April 14, Tomi sat inside his living room in Ikorodu to reminisce about how a little act of kindness to a stranger earned him a huge prayer.
While in the scorching sun at Allen Avenue in Ikeja one afternoon some years ago, Tomi had seen a visually-impaired middle-aged man trying to cross the road. No one paid attention to the man but Tomi drew near and gave a helping hand. He also tried to make the man happy, chit-chatting with him as they both walked down the road.
“As I was about to go my own way, this man called me back and prayed that may I never experience darkness in my life,” he told FIJ.
“When I just lost my sight, I sometimes sobbed when I remembered that prayer point and question God for not answering the request but now I know better.”
Tomi said it was after his visual impairment that he found his purpose in life: “to make a million people and more smile”. Driven by the passion to motivate people living with similar predicaments, he enrolled at the Institute of Counselling Nigeria (ICN). He will become a certified counsellor in December.
Up till date, Tomi still carries gun pellets in his eyes, although the doctors said his body would expel them naturally, warning that any attempt to remove them would result in more damage.
Exactly one year after his robbery attack, he took his debut outreach to the Special Correctional Centre for Boys in order to preach to the underage inmates.
‘FEED THE DISABLED’ — THE MIGHTY NATION TOMI IS BUILDING
Straight to the core of his aspirations, Tomi, who has now nicknamed himself ‘Ambassador of Love’, recently took his latest outreach to the Local Authority Primary School at Ipakodo area of Ikorodu to empower indigent people living with disabilities.
In partnership with the Institute of Counselling Nigeria (ICN), the event hosted 40 people, including pupils with special needs. Tomi counselled them about how to live better lives.
The special needs children also showcased all sorts of performance talents at the occasion.
With support from various donors, he distributed foodstuffs to the indigent attendees and gifted 10 Taylor’s Frames to the schoolchildren. The learning tool provides a complete tactile solution for visually impaired users to learn mathematics.
Adeola Adesina, one of the teachers for the special needs of the school, expressed her excitement about the initiative, saying: “The programme will bring more spotlight on us that there are people with special needs in our school and encourage other parents to enrol.
“It’s a big relief to receive those learning aids because they will go a long way in easing the struggles of the children to learn mathematics. We are really grateful.”
But Tomi told FIJ that the dream is still far from accomplishment.
“I want to be able to reach out to as many people as possible even outside Lagos. Food is the basic need of any human being. I don’t want people to go hungry, especially people with disabilities,” he said.
“My dream is to have a food bank where people can get help in times of emergency. In times to come, I want to be able to take the help to people’s homes and provide help.”
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