Pastor Jummy Adetoyese-Olagunju, Barrister Adesola Ajayi and Fummilayo Adetoyese-Olagunju at the event

Mary Ekah

It was a moment of joy and excitement as members of the Praise Arena-Kingdom Light Christian Centre celebrated the graduation ceremony of Barrister Adesola Ajayi, a visually impaired Attorney of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He was one of the beneficiaries of the scholarship programme of the church for vulnerable and less privileged people in the society.

Ajayi is one of the visually impaired lawyers who graduated from Law School last year December. He is also one of the five students under the educational support programme for the physically challenged and vulnerable students of the church.

Ajayi, who was elated at the thanksgiving service, recalled how he became blind. He said: “When l left Lagos to my home town in Ijebu-Ife in 1996, I was sighted but l became blind within three days in Ijebu-Ife after experiencing pain in my eyes and that led to a dramatic change in his life.”
He noted that life was unbearable as having to cope with his new condition then was very difficult. “But I am very hopeful and optimistic about life in spite of the odds around me,” he said.

He narrated how he met the Pastor Jummy Adetoyese-Olagunju, the Senior Pastor of the church. He said: “Radio was my companion and I heard him preach on his regular Kingdom Life Family programme on Eko FM and I called his number and narrated my story to him and he requested to see me and he came to my rescue at a crucial time in my life.”
He noted that Olagunju paid “my way through primary and secondary school and supported me greatly during my Law School programme in a way that amazed me.

“I was in Primary six when my eyes went bad and it was very difficult for me to cope in school and I had to seek for help and help came. God gave me divine wisdom when initially, reading with braille proved difficult but today all is history,” he said.

On the reason for reading Law, he said “l want to be a voice for the voiceless, defenceless and the vulnerable people in the society.”
He asserted that there are millions of visually impaired persons in Nigeria who need support and policy framework that would include them in governance.

“I have discovered that across all sector of our national life which include: transportation, housing, environment, education; visually impaired persons go through harrowing experiences that need urgent attention,” he said.
While he commended the Lagos State Government for enacting a Lagos State “Special People’s Law” in 2011 aimed at protecting the right of people living with disabilities, he noted that the enforcement of the law is poor.
Ajayi asserted that the visually impaired and physically challenged communities are made up of industrious people who have amazing talents, skills and potentials if given the right environment. He added that the support given to him by the church can never be forgotten for a long time.

In his words, the Senior Pastor Praise Arena, Pastor Jummy Adetoyese-Olagunju, who was grateful to God for the successful completion of Ajayi programme, said “We are only pencils in the hands of God. Our mission is to help the needy and provide safe haven to the less privileged in the society.” He appealed to well-meaning organisations, parastatals and government institutions to provide employment opportunity to disabled and physically challenged people like Adesola Ajayi.