The story of Solomon Ogboghro is one that will bring tears to your eyes and attracts sympathy but most importantly, a rare life lesson for a complex society such as Nigeria.
Tribalism has caused grave harm among the people of Nigeria, has darkened the concept of diversity among people of different ethnicities but this story you are about to read will open your eyes to a new reality and an opportunity to learn that tribalism could be a tool to solving complex issues.
Mr. Ahmed Saidu Keana is from Nasarawa state while Solomon Ogboghro is from Delta state but they met during their university days in Bayero Univerisity, Kano.
They were both coursemates studying sociology and friends too, it was also told that Mr. Solomon Ogboghro was a promising student but was experiencing an early stage of mental illness as sometimes, his words were incoherent.
Mr. Saidu Keana said:
The whole story started way back in 1994 when we were in Bayero University Kano. Solomon Ogboghro and I were in sociology department. He is handsome and intelligent. We began to notice Solo’s mental instability when we were in level three. He contributed a lot during lecture. But most times his contribution did not always rhyme with what the lecturer was teaching. There was his disconnect between what he normally put across and the topic of discussion. But he was neat and always in suit.
Halfway through their four years course, Mr. Solomon dropped out and was nowhere to be found not until later years when Mr. Saidu came across him on the street of Obalende Ikoyi area of Lagos state roaming aimlessly, by then it was clear that Solomon was now a blown-out madman.
Consequently, Solomon Ogboghro could not cope academically because the mental illness was detoriating so he dropped out of school. We graduated in 1997 without Solo. As sad as destiny would have it after our NYSC, I was in Lagos sometime 1998. I came across Solo at Obalende Bus Stop, South West Ikoyi, Lagos. He was in possession of so many books. I engaged him he was telling me disgusting stories that I could not understand. And we departed.Said Saidu Keana.
The story didn’t stop there as Mr. Solomon continued to roam from one city to another city in Nigeria without any medical help or family to carter for him.
Fate they said could lead you anywhere and bring your path to inexplicable circumstances, and so it seems in the case of Mr. Saidu and Solomon Ogboghro as their path continued to cross over the years.
Mr. Saidu narrated further how he gained employment a year after he bumped into Solomon in Lagos and work took him to Kaduna state, the northern region of Nigerian. While in Kaduna, Saidu Keana came upon Solomon Ogboghro in Kaduna still roaming the street of that city aimlessly. Read Below.
Subsequently, I started working with Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) in Kaduna, my office was at golf course Ungwan Rimi. On one faithful afternoon I was on my way to my office after lunch break I saw solo at Golf Course walking I stopped. We got chatted still his story was not connecting, Solo’s health was getting worse, I just squeezed something for him and we departed our ways.
By now, though Mr. Saidu Keana was sympathetic with Solo’s case but was helpless at the time to help and didn’t know what the future had in store for him and Mr. Solomon. it was not yet clear to Saidu Keana that fate was going to use him to play a huge part in Solomon Ogboghro’s situation.
Read the rest of the story below and find out what happened to Mr. Solomon after decades of roaming from one city to the other with a mental disorder.
Sequel to the problems of privatization of government enterprise in Nigeria, NITEL was privatized with a lot of issues, then we were disengaged and I found myself working in one of the Federal Government Agency in Abuja in 2011.
In 2015 on my way to office again I came across Solomon Ogboghro along Ladoke Akintola Boulevard, Garki II Opposite Security Ministry and Printing Company walking under hot sun. in my usual self I had to stop and check my mentally challenged class mate and a friend who is walking aimlessly to unknown destination. This time around Solo’s case has worsened. He was holding all sort of things in “Ghana must Go” bag. It was at this point that I asked myself “Where is Solo’s Family”? why did they allow him to be roaming from one city to the other. I shed tears and I managed to give him some change. I decided to call few of our classmates that are working in Abuja and narrated the whole ordeal and situation that Solo found himself. But nothing was done.
In addition, one awesome Saturday that turned out to be sad precisely 2017, I was with my mechanic going to Apo mechanic village to fix my car, Alas! Guess what? Here came Solomon walking weak, talking in a very tiny voice, with heavy sack on his back. In fact he has become completely mad. I asked my mechanic to pull over and I chatted with Solo briefly and I left. I told my mechanic who solo is to me, he was shocked. We proceeded to Apo and left Solo walking to nowhere.
Finally, what broke the camel’s back was in December 2018 on my way going to office is one cold Monday morning. Along Abacha Road, I saw Solomon holding so many things including small jerican with water. I stopped and I walked up to him. One interesting thing about him he recognized me each time we met and he called my name. it was at this point that I asked myself, why is it that it is only me that our creator always made me to cross the path of solo? What can I do to change his situation? A lot of rhetoric questions kept on crossing my mind.
I asked him so many questions, but all his answers were not corresponding, I asked someone to snap us. I posted the pictures to some of our classmates and I seek for their advice. One suggested that I should send the pictures to Bayero University Kano Alumni and make a brief on Solo’s case. And I did immediately, as God will have it the sight of the pictures and my presentation aroused the interest and sympathy of the whole group. The group was tensed. A lot of suggestions were preferred. The prominent is to take him to rehabilitation for treating and I was directed to forward my account details for individual’s contribution. Before the click of an eye I started seeing alerts from all over the world, some of our members from USA, UK, CANADA, SOUTH AFRICA and NIGERIA made their contributions and substantial amount of money was realized for Solomon Ogboghro.
At this point the whole assignment was rest on me. But I will not do it alone. I thought of Welfare Committee that we could work together and we formed it which consisted of Dr. Musa Olaofe, the chief imam of Annsaruden Mosque, Wuse Abuja, Hajia Maryam Yusuf, a politician and business woman in Abuja, Rabi U. Muhammed of National Judiciary Council, Abuja and I Ahmed Saidu, National Commission for Mass Education, Abuja.
The real challenge for me was how to locate Solomon Ogboghro and take him to rehabilitation home. I had to put the horse before the cart. I started making some enquiry about rehabilitation home in northern Nigeria including Abuja. I was satisfied with the one in Kaduna and Keffi. I went to Karu Local Government Secretariat and lodge a complaint at social welfare department and also seek for their opinion and assistance on the matter. They concur with the ideas and they were willing to assist. The rational behind this was because Solo was found at the Jurisdiction of Karu local government and we want to handle the issue within the ambit of the law. From there I proceeded to Abacha Road police station where solo was found and explain to them on our mission and their assistance too in case solo might resist going to rehabilitation home. They also agreed.
It was at this point that the journey began. I had to take one week leave from my office to execute this task. The issue was Solo has no home, he is always on the road walking to no destination, so how to locate him was the challenge. I went all over Mararaba asking for him and the people always said they know him that they see him around but they did not know where he use to sleep.There was a day Dr.Olaofe came, we went round Mararaba up to Masaka but we could not see Solomon it was a real challenge. It took me three good days looking for him. I was worried? His money was ready for him to be taken to rehabilitation but he was nowhere to be found. The fourth day Maryam Yusuf joined me in the cold morning of January 15, 2019. Already I have distributed my phone number to people that know him so that they can call me if they see him. We stationed ourselves in one position where he normally passes. We were reliably informed that he actually passed there on that faithful day. We waited for hours waiting for Solo to pass but all in vain.
Until when I suggested that we should go to Karu LGA. Secretariat on our way we saw Solomon walking. I asked Maryam to pull over. She was the one driving I asked her if we can we do this together? She agreed. I had to employed psychological method to convince him to enter the car. Some of the things I told him was that I told him lets go for lunch. He said we should better give him the money instead. And when I said Maryam I want to take him out in the car. He now said with this kind of body and the things he was carrying? We said no problem.
At this juncture, he willingly entered the car and he put all his belongings inside the car. All my fears and expectations for sourcing for police assistance in case he becomes violent were dashed. I directed Maryam to drive the car fast to keffi. Because that is the nearest place we can take him to. We started talking not up to a kilometer Solo started sleeping. This guy has just gotten a little comfort and he started sleeping.
Within an hour we were at the rehabilitation home. The place is located of Off Nasarawa Road, the place is called Gauta. It is a private owned center. It is purely a traditional medicine center. But well organized. There are medical personnel, reception where they attend to people, pharmacy section, mental illness section and the rest. We went to the reception we bought a card and they ushered us to the medical personnel and we explained the whole story to them. They said they are used to such cases that they have the capacity to cure this kind of illness. That what distinguish their approach with other rehabilitation home is that once they cure a patient, he or she will not go back to his/her old habit of substance abuse as the case may be. That they can cure mental illness that has to do with Drug Abuse, Jinn Attack and Men Attack, and mental illness that is hereditary and the rest. It is revealing to state that most the patients found there are drug abuse related. Most of them are aged from 18 to 35 years. Some of them are even graduates.
Finally Solo was taken to rehabilitation after making part payment of the medical bills we also paid for his monthly feeding. We left him there with the new clothes we bought for him, his provisions and mattress were bought for him and other things that will make him comfortable.
We made an arrangement of visiting him every Saturdays. Our first visit was very interesting. Maryam, Rabi and I visited him on the 18th January, 2019. We asked him a lot of questions concerning himself and his family; he was able to tell us the name of his family members. The eldest among them is Vincent Ogboghro. That he is from Oleh in Isoko South Local Government Delta State, South, South Nigeria.
My dilemma was how to link up with Solo’s family. I thought of his next of kin when we were in Bayero University Kano. I Put some calls to some of our classmates in Kano to go to the university and enquire about Solomon’s records at registry section. some of our mate were indifference and careless about the matter except Hajia Zahara’u Wada who said I should give her sometime and she will get back to me and after some days she got back to me with the information that Solo’s next of Kin was Mr. Vincent Ogboghro who was working at one Merchant Bank, Awolowo Road Ikoyi Lagos. But no phone number and this kind of bank are nonexistence so I did not know what to do.
Another idea now clipped into me. I thought of Delta State Liaison Office here in Abuja since Solo said he is from delta. I was able to locate the Office at Asokoro. I was able to see the Liaison Officer, Mrs. Ijeh and one lady from Oleh Miss Godbring. I explained the whole story and they promise to get across to Solomon Ogboghro’s family for me. The next day Miss Godbring called me and told me she got Solo’s family and she gave me the number of Vincent. I called him and we spoke at length and other members of the family also called me. They were worried and they expressed their appreciation that was on the 27th January. I promised to visit solo that day and to link them up so that they could talk. I did mention to solo that his family members wanted to talk with him. He vehemently declined. He was furious that he did not want to talk to them.
Solo has been taking medication, as days crawls by, he is responding to treatment. Until April 2019 when I asked he to talk with his brothers and he willingly agreed. They spoke atlength. Solo has really regained his health. My colleague and I have expressed our displeasure over the behavior of Solomon’s family, the zeal and enthusiasm about solo ended at once when they spoke with me for the first time. It is only the eldest brother Mr. Vincent that was keeping in touching though not regularly. But the rest since the first time they called me, up to this moment they have not called again. They even promised to come and see him after general election of 2019, even though one of them called around April that he was in Abuja and he wanted to see solo. Unfortunately, I was away and I asked him to wait till I come but he didn’t have time and he left. Therefore, since solo was taken to rehabilitation home for almost five months now none of his family members visited him. It’s quite disappointing and un-African. Solo will soon be discharged because he has regained his health considerably.
Mr. Solomon Ogboghro is over fifty years. He has never been married; he has no home for himself. He doesn’t know where he is. He has been walking for decades in the streets, from one city to another. But here we are Healthy. We have family and we are doing well in our respective ways. Is not that our creator loves us and hate solo. It is all the grace of God. We should reflect on Solo predicament and be thankful to our creator.
Secondly. As I stated earlier that most of the patients of the rehabilitation home are youth between the ages of 18 to 35 years. I was able to conduct preminary survey and I was able to discover the core factor that influences most of them to become drug abuse. The influence of friends is key; therefore, I would like to draw the attention of parents and wards alike to be watchful of their children and scrutinize the kind of friends they keep. The effect of drugs has reached an alarming rate in our society today.
LIFE OUTSIDE REHABILIBITATION HOME
Solomon Ogboghro has gradually regain his mentally health. He will soon be discharged from the home. His challenges have tried their best to take him this far. But that is the extent we may go because of some prevailing circumstance we are facing. Therefore, we wouldn’t like Solo to go back to the street again after treatment. On behalf of solo we the Bayero university alumni will like to implore and solicit for Solo’s assistance when he is out of the rehabilitation home by way of where he will live in any part of the country and a job that he can sustain himself . we therefore call on the federal and state government that may come across this write up to come to the aid of solo. Non- governmental organization, private organization, individual may assist him as well.
At this junction, I would like to express my profound gratitude and happiness towards the care and togetherness that we Bayero University Alumni have showed to our brother Solomon, your financial contribution, prayers and kind words here really make a difference in his life, is only our creator that can reward you. I would also like to thank Dr. Musa Olaofe for his continue support, Maryam Yusuf and our group admin. Mr. Akin and all our members. I would like to thank all Nigerians that were solidly behind solo at his trial moment. Thank you all, GOD BLESS.
AHMED SAIDU KEANA
Mr. Solomon Ogboghro was discharged a couple of days ago from the rehabilitation home and is doing well now, he has been taken back home to Delta state with the family that came to get him, where many are shocked and excited to see him after so many years.
Ahmed Saidu Keana, who has been the engineer behind the journey to recovery of Mr. Solomon mentioned how Solo, as he was popularly called back in the days, can now recognize things even his family members from the stack of pictures they showed him. Read below:
He has been at therehabilitation home since January this year. Almost nine months ago. We thank our creator SOLO has regained this mental state of mind and he has been discharged today . He can communicate well and he can even recognise everyone that he knows. I asked him of these people in the picture . He knows them and even called their names. I was able to traced the family for sometimes now. They are the ones that sent these youngmen in the pictures to come and take him home. SOLO is from oleh, Isoko South Delta state. I have handed him over to his family. They have gone home today. He said what he intends to do in future is business. I wish him the best.
Finally, i would like to sincirely thank Bayero university, kano Alumina worldwide for their support, my family and friends who have been accompany me to visit solo every week end. My wife and my children who have been very supportive. I sincerely thank Dr musa Olaofe the chief Imam of Assarudeen mosque , wuse 2, Abuja who has been prayerful and supportive financially and other wise. I will not leave mushibat Traditional rehabilitation home Gauta, kefffi out for their wonderful work . They are really curing people with mental instability due to drugs abuse, spiritual attack and any other attack everyday. My undiluted love to all Nigerians who have been praying for solo to recover not minding their religion and his or where he comes from. That means we still have hope for this country, Nigeria.
Finally solo has been taken out of the streets affter two decades back home to have a new life. I wish you the best. Thank Allah for making things easy for us. May you continue to bless us and make things easy for us. Ameen.
A fully recovered Mr Solomon Ogboghro with a grin on his face.