UNILAG responding well to students with Special needs- Musicality Winner

Musicality 2020 Winner, Mustapha Yusuf

Winner of Musicality and Department of Philosophy graduating Student, Mustapha Yusuf shares his experiences and challenges in his journey to fame as a visually impaired student in the University of Lagos. He also shares his journey to fame in this interview with CHRISTABEL IROEGBU, ANJOLA-OLUWA OTUBU, MIRACLE NWANKWO and OLUCHI OLARAM.

What was the inspiration behind entering for Philosophy?

What inspired me was that I needed a certificate. I wanted to study Mass Communication but I didn’t get the course. So I had to opt for Philosophy. However, the dream for Mass Communication is still there as I will still pursue it during my Master's.

When did your music journey begin?

I started music, like I say jokingly, from my mother's belly. I started at a very young age when I was as little as six years old. It has been a part of me and I just grew with it. Music for me is like literature, it's like drama to me and I believe that what you put out really matters, so I fell in love with it.

What was the motivation for entering into Musicality?

I'm just this person who always goes from home to school and from school to home and I have a choir that I oversee. By the grace of God, the Director of Bethesda home of the blind where I am affiliated to, Mrs. Chioma is sponsoring most of the blind people in UNILAG. So most of them usually tell me that they haven’t met anyone who sings better than I do in UNILAG. Then Musicality came up and they told me I could go for it. Because of how much they pushed me, I had to go. So my blind friends were my biggest inspiration.

Do you play any musical instrument?

Yes, I do. I play various instruments. I play the piano and it's the mother of all instruments. I also play the saxophone and drums.

What genre of music do you intend to do?

Gospel or inspirational music. It is really hard to find people in that line, especially in Nigeria. 

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A lot of people have misconceptions about the visually impaired. What misconceptions would you like to change about the visually impaired?

A lot actually but the very one about dating. Throughout my four years in the University of Lagos, I had no relationship and that was not because I did not want a relationship. I am doing well in my studies and go home by myself. My case is more intriguing. I say intriguing because throughout my four years in UNILAG, I stayed in the hostel only in one hundred level. From two hundred level to four hundred level, I stayed off campus and that's because of music. I had to mix music with my studies. People believed that they had to take me around, clean me up and that is not so.

In what ways has this condition shaped your views on life?

After studying philosophy, I got to realize that there is no need for me to want to see because I am actually enjoying being blind. There are certain sighted people who are sleeping under the bridge and are hungry. Well, here I am. I have eaten more than twenty times today already. You get to understand that I am not blind. Someone who is sighted will not understand the beauty of sight.

What are some difficulties you face on a regular day?

None. I would say none because it is only when you feel that you have a challenge that it would begin to come. For example, when motorcycles were banned, my friends were complaining but I told them that it was time to start enjoying the air conditioning in taxis. For example, in my four hundred level, I believed I did not come to life to suffer, so I used to order taxis to get home. If you ask me, money is meant for spending. When I die, someone else will still spend this money.

On a scale of one to ten, how has the University of Lagos done in responding to the needs of special students?

Nine and half. UNILAG is really the university of first choice and the nation's pride and on this disability issue, it's showing that. Trust me, I have heard from students in other universities and I can honestly tell you that UNILAG is really good.

READ ALSO: Implementing the National Ethics and Integrity Policy

In your experience, what has been the attitude of UNILAG students to visually impaired students?

They are friendly, very nice but even in other schools, students are also like that. It's normal because when you see a blind student that is up and doing, you will be naturally drawn to them to ask questions about how they manage to do that. Although, for the male visually impaired students, sighted students do not like to get into romantic relationships with us and this is the twenty first century so this has to change.

What has been your most memorable moment in UNILAG?

Musicality, musicality, musicality. Every time I pass by the main auditorium, all I think about is musicality. Apart from that, the most profound yet ordinary thing that happened was that when I was in year one, I was the only blind person in the department and lecturers would come to class and I would have read. Then the lecturers would be surprised whenever I asked questions because of my lack of sight and the students used to think I had attended another university before because I was much older than them.

Are there any artistes you would love to work with?

A lot of people. For example, in the Nigerian scene, I would love to work with Cohbams, Nathaniel Bassey, Waje and many other people like that. In the foreign scene, I would love to work with Tasha Cobbs.

What have you been up to since winning musicality 2019?

I've been up to music, music and music. For example, last year, my home hosted a competition for all blind people in Nigeria and by the grace of God, I was part of the show, trying to ensure everything was coordinated.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I see myself on top of the world, doing great things with music.


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