Written by: Gbenga Ogbamola.
The city is high octane when it comes to sex; the stealth of opportunists and the prowl of ever ambitious corporate sharks collide, resulting in colors, lights and fashion that make the day glow; high-rise buildings that disturb the traffic of angels and the phallic ego that brought about their existence. In Lagos, traffic and drivers attitude can be likened to amorous tendencies; while some move slowly, some logjams like a frigid female lover. Shall I write about the drivers? Some are gentle and patient, while some can’t resist the thrust to hurry and ruin the mood, it all reminds an inventive mind of the human nature; which is geared by sex.
The Mega city is a place of ambition and tall dreams, it’s a stadium where survival depends on competition, dominion is key for survival and this leads to the obsession that life with some form of disability is weakness. Yes, the relevance of power in the city has put a lot of people at disadvantage; our attention is most times geared towards the survival of the strong while we leave behind those who grapple with challenges of everyday life. Every time I visit Mega city banks and see the security doors, I seldom wonder if those entrance and exit doors were installed with consideration for people with disability- it’s like the closure of a female private part against a partially erect manhood. Most Mega city bank doors are hardly spacious enough to contain wheelchairs and the mind wonders how well can a wheel chair go through the security doors in most banks with the metal detector? Again, this seems like a situation that prevents a condom from gaining entrance to the female vagina. I crave your indulgence to deviate a bit and I ask, do we have interpreters specialized in sign languages to attend to people with speech and hearing challenges or do we have brail forms and officials to attend to the blind or visually impaired people in most banks or offices? Personally, I am yet to see a sign language specialist or brail forms for the deaf and blind people respectively in any financial institution that I have been to and I will be glad to know if I am wrong. All the things stated above are basic things that we need to put in place for the physically challenged but in my opinion we seem to have failed in putting them into consideration as regards everyday financial transaction- If this is the case financially, then I wonder what these people go through emotionally and sexually.
Most times urbanization brings about a form of civilization- One may argue that civilization comes before urbanization, however when a people are said to be civilized, it means that their behavior and manners get better as time progresses but honestly, how civilized are we in the mega city? Most of us Resident in Lagos are judges of what is considered normal or an anomaly, we have no time to consider that what may seem right to some set of people might be abnormal to others and as such our tolerance for what we consider out of place is low and In this age and time, the discrimination against people with special needs and disability is apparent- The pattern of living we all seem to have adopted as normal has excluded the ease of living of people who are physically challenged-our roads are designed without provisions for sidewalk for people with disabilities, the relevance of entertainment or sports that concerns them is largely ignored- Our laws most times ignore the existence of these people even though we are aware of the discrimination they face daily. Let your mind take a trip to our constitution and let’s ask each other if we have adequate laws put in place to make physically challenged people feel accepted in a society which they have a right to be part of. Please permit me to deviate once again as I have cause to wonder if we have sign specialists in police stations who can take the statements of people who have speech challenge or if we have people who can help the blind identify criminal suspects? The answer is, ‘I don’t think so’- personally I have never seen such in all my days of visiting or being in any Nigerian police station and what this simply means is that people living with disability do not have any form of representation in a place set up to ensure that justice protects the weak. I am sure you will agree with me that these people whom I have written so much about are very vulnerable in our midst.
Now let’s get back to the emotional and sexual aspect of the life of a person living with disability; I have fears for the way they might be preys or targets of perverts and psychos. Let’s not forget that in a sane society (Italy) where the weak are protected, a catholic priest abused young boys who were deaf and dumb for years and no one knew this inhumane desecration of the human body was being perpetuated daily. So, you can imagine my fear of how a boy or girl with hearing impairment can survive on the streets of Lagos without being molested. I also have fears as regards how a person with hearing disability will be able to communicate his feelings to a pretty girl he loves when adulthood beckons- We all know this is a city where seduction is maxed up for the privileged and advantageous. My heart is frail, so permit to let you know it also skips at the thought of a visually impaired person falling in love and the horrors that might occur when the other party decides to take advantage of them. Furthermore, I still have fears for autistic people who wish to live a normal life and will one day crave for sex or the young crippled boy who might wish to make sexual overtures, I dare not be brave to imagine the level of rejection they might suffer. Honestly, it hurts to know that these are people who have committed no crime but are simply victims of our judgment as regards what we consider normal. How many of us have ever imagined it as being normal living with people with disabilities and special needs, how many young females have been brought up to see people with physical disadvantage as normal beings? How many young city boys have been brought up to never take advantage or exploit the weak or disabled? We all know the answers to these questions and how it tends towards the negative but what measures have we put in place to ensure that the vulnerable in our midst feel like members of the society and are comfortable living harmoniously with us? What have we done to take care of their emotional and sexual needs? Let your conscience prick you, I don’t need your answers.
I am aware that many people will feel my considerations as regards the sexual life of physically challenged people are out of place but please make no mistake, sex is top at the of hierarchy of needs and needs are not wants. Needs are natural human cravings which no one has a power or control over and it is naturally healthy for anyone to crave sex. We can’t afford to be hypocrites and act like people with disabilities are not at a disadvantage as regards sexual and emotional needs. I see a lot of them daily and what I see is their frustrations which most times cannot be communicated. It isn’t right for a people to be stigmatized because of their disability; anyone can become disabled at any time or period, so it is right that in all we do let us put people living with disability into consideration, let us learn to open our hearts to the fact that they are a part of the society and need to be protected- Let us be aware that they are vulnerable but with certain measures put in place they can become equal partners in this mega city we all live in.
Permit me to say, it is high time we realize that despite the high achievements of residents in mega cities, we are not gods, we are humans susceptible to accidents and what this means is that anyone, no matter how powerful you are, can become physically disadvantaged or disabled. The stakes that makes life a winner is that none of us is gifted guarantee of certainty- life itself throws us fate like cards and sometimes, the powerful might end up weak. There is a need for us to do better and ensure that our civilization which we act out as residents of a mega city is one that accommodates all, let us try and ensure that all men born into the system can feel safe, move freely and have access to interpretation when communicating. It is unwise to leave people living with disabilities out of the pleasures we derive as urbanized beings and what other pleasure exist that’s greater than sex?