First, I want to apologise for not having posted any story this year. I have been so busy with work and family events. However, I do hope to keep my blog running with posts as often as possible.
This post is about my dear friend, Okeoghene John Ighiwotho. His story might not be new to you but new to others. Oke was bedridden for six years due to a diabetic foot. Over the course of recent development, a lot of people have stood by him and others have doubted the authenticity of his story and have called him names ranging from scamper to fraudster. So, I thought this will be a great avenue to share with everyone my daily account and experiences with Oke. This is a story about hope, strength, faith, prayers, friendship, support, unity, love and the power of social media.
How it all began
It was a regular, Sunday evening, on February 19, 2012. I was placing my clothes, shoe and bag in preparation for work, the next day when I saw the red notification light, twinkling on my blackberry. At first I wanted to ignore the notification and finish what I was doing before reading my messages. I had just taken one step towards my wardrobe when I hit my right big toe at the edge of the bed, Aargh!!!
Finally, I sat down to grind on the pain coming from my toe and decided to view the messages on my phone. It was a message on Facebook from an ex-classmate (Federal Government College, Warri), Kevin Okeleke. Kevin is someone we often describe among ourselves as forward driven, committed and compassionate, someone I personally admire and respect.
So, when I read his message and Vanguard’s publication on Oke’s case, I knew it was serious and something I had to look into immediately. As usual, my classmates decided that I should inform others and see to them raising funds for Oke’s surgery. Oke’s surgery and up-keep expenses was estimated at N5million (Whoa!!! you would say), but our target was N1milion. We were hoping that we will get 200 people amongst our classmates to make a minimum contribution of N5, 000 but we never did.
By the end of that week, we were able to raise N300, 000 (part of this fund was paid directly into Oke’s account).
Till this moment, so many people assume that Oke and I were best friends right from our FGC, Warri school days and have doubted the fact that we have never spoken all our lives until February 23, 2012. I was still at the office, when it hit me that we had not informed Oke that we were coming to visit him the next day. His phone and house were already posted by Kevin on Facebook. A lot of my classmates have called but I hadn’t.
I guess I was afraid to call him because we did not know each other and I did not know the right words to say to him considering his ailment.
I could hear his caller tune ‘I have a dream’ by Martin Luther King, my hand was shaking and I was praying he would not pick and I would just send an SMS. Then I heard a voice, “Hello”, it was him… It was the most serene voice I have ever had in my life. (Call Oke and find out… laughing).
“Hi, my name is Ejiro Gegere”, I said with so much emphasis, expecting him to remember my name because I won the Most Popular Female Student in my set at FGC,Warri.
There were few seconds pause, and when I knew that my name will never click, I added, “I was in FGC,Warri with you, Kevin sent us your story and we will like to come pay you a visit tomorrow,”.
‘Okay, its fine, thanks so much” he said.
“Do take care of you and we will see you, tomorrow” I concluded
…………………………………………………………..To be continued