"I Became Disabled At The Age of 3": Physically Challenged Keke Rider Narrates His Ordeal, Seeks Help

"I Became Disabled At The Age of 3": Physically Challenged Keke Rider Narrates His Ordeal, Seeks Help

When he was 3, Francis Akande twirled around his beloved mother one day when she was going to the farm. Like every other kid in those days, following his mother around was an enjoyable recreation.

Of course, kids follow their parents to the farm not to help but just to play around or to watch them work. This was the case with Francis.

Francis Akande, a physically challenged Nigerian man who rides Keke Napep in Ibadan.
Francis said he got disabled at the age of 3. Photo credit: Francis Akande.
Source: Original

Once at the farm, his mother went off to work while he played around. Like a bolt from the blues, an ant emerged and bit him on one of his legs. Within days, his two legs became swollen and unrecognisable.

Francis was rushed to various treatment centres, but none could find a remedy for his swollen and hurting legs.

Days went into weeks, weeks into months, but his situation worsened as his legs began to weaken. It would later lead to his physical disability. This is all Francis could remember when Legit.ng asked him to trace the genesis of the issue.

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Francis is confined to a wheelchair

Now 56 years old, Francis Akande, an indigene of Egbeda local government of Oyo state, grew up with difficulties that confront most physically challenged persons in Nigeria.

Life wasn't easy for him, but at some points, Francis was engaged by the Oyo state government as a secretary grade II in the ministry of information and social development.

Francis told Legit.ng that he got a call for ministry from God and decided to resign voluntarily from his position. He said God called him to become an evangelist to preach the gospel to physically challenged people.

Francis' life in God's ministry

How is a physically challenged person going to preach the gospel moving from one place to the other, given that he has a problem of mobility?

Francis posed the same question to God:

"I resigned voluntarily from my work. God called me to go and preach the gospel to people with disability. So I queried God, saying how can I reach all the places since I'm a disabled person? God told me not to worry."

How Francis started riding Keke Napep

Francis thereafter went to a Bible school and was ordained as an evangelist. To solve the problem of mobility, Francis said he converted a small bike into a three-wheeler that he can ride. But after 6 months, he developed an interest in tricycle popularly called Keke Napep. He was able to buy a second-hand one through hire purchase.

Francis, who has a diploma in Adult Education from the University of Ibadan, recalled what happened in 2019:

"I said I can ride Keke, though they use leg for the brake. So I took the Keke to a welder to reconstruct the brake so that I can use my hand for it instead of leg. That was how I started riding Keke."

The Keke has, however, packed up as he no longer uses it to make the little money he used to make. Francis is seeking public help to get a new one so that he can go back on the road and feed his family.

How Francis got married

Before the struggle to work and fend for himself and family, Francis had fought and won a different battle.

When it was time for him to get married back in 1993, it was a daunting challenge. In all, Francis was rejected by four different families before he was able to get the lady he got married to.

However, Francis told Legit.ng that he had to put his lady in the family way before her family accepted him.

And as fate would have it, the pregnancy came out as twins. It was only then that his in-laws accepted his marital proposals.

"I got married in the year 1993. In all, I have seven children. My 4th child is at the Ekiti State University Studying Economics. Before I got married, my wife's family refused. I had four disappointments before I met the one I married.
"I had in mind to do an elaborate wedding, but the lady got pregnant. Her family now rejected her, so she had to follow me. I think they thought all my children will come out disabled. But that didn't happen. So they now accepted me. The pre-marital pregnancy was twins."

I need help, Francis says

Presently, Francis says he needs help to get a new tricycle and then pay the fees of his son at EKSU.

My son, my greatest achievement on earth, says disabled mum

Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that a Nigerian lady named Oliver Joy said having a son to call her own is her greatest achievement on earth.

According to Joy she was disabled from birth as she has a medical condition that makes her weak and unable to walk.

Joy, however, defied all odds to get married and bear a son with her husband named Goodnews.

Source: Legit.ng

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