Igberhi Justice, popularly known as the Grand Commander of Blind Comedians in Nigeria (GCBCN) is the only sightless comedian in Nigeria’s comedy industry. The 28-year-old Igberhi came into limelight in 2001 after a tough competition where he emerged the last man standing. He was discovered by a comedy icon, Ayo Maku, popularly known as A.Y. Since then, he has not looked back, with his unique style setting him apart among the crowd. One incident the Delta State act would not forget in a hurry was when his best friend took advantage of disability to sleep with his girlfriend. “I don’t like to recall my past relationship because it ended in a heartbreak, the memory of which will linger for a long time. My best friend, (name withheld) knew the babe was my girlfriend, yet, he went ahead to betray me. Though, I knew when he started dating her, but decided to leave them to enjoy themselves, since there was nothing I could do in my condition. To be sincere, he took advantage of my condition to sleep with my girlfriend.” To Igberhi, that is now in the past as he has moved to the next level of his career. He was one of the comedians at the launching of the pet project of the reigning Most Beautiful and Fashionable Girl in Ikeja, Queen Omotola Fashoro. Igberhi said he has never allowed his predicament to weigh him down. He also spoke on his career, family background and many more. Excerpts: Family background/education I hail from Delta State; I am a Warri man, born to the family of Mr.& Mrs. Ogene Igberhi. I had my primary and secondary education at the special school for the blind in Lagos, but could not go further because there was no money to do so. I hope to go back to school some day because that has being my dream. I got blind on a football field If it were possible for me to come face to face with God, I would have demanded an explanation from Him on why I went blind (laughter). To be sincere, I was not born blind. I never thought I would go blind. I lost my sight at the age of 11 years while playing football at a community field in my state. It was a mystery because I was totally fit when I left home that fateful morning, but when we started playing, someone asked me to pass the ball to him. As I made to do so, everywhere suddenly became dark, and I couldn’t see anymore. That was how I got blind. You can imagine an 11-year-old boy getting blind, how do you think he will cope? Thank God that my parents did not abandon me, they tried their best to ensure that I went to school, despite the financial challenges of the family. I remain grateful to them for not killing me, as some others in their position had done. This is a country where anything can happen. We have heard of situations where parents kill their children and throw them into waste bins. Challenges confronting the blind It is not an easy task. You will understand better by closing your eyes and attempting to walk around. It takes the grace of God to survive as a blind man. You don’t have control over yourself. You have to rely on other people to do some basic things you ordinarily would have done on your own. This means you are permanently at their mercy. But God has his own way of raising a helper for the helpless. In most cases you are lonely and you feel like going out but because of your condition, you have to remain indoors. I want to thank some of my friends, who, despite my condition are always there for me. They come around to keep my company, to at least make me feel like a human being. Talent discovery I came into public reckoning during the A.Y. Talent Hunt in 1996. I bought the form like every other contestant. We were 96 comedians in all, battling to gain entry into A.Y comedy show. Mind you, the talent hunt was not meant for the physically challenged, but thank God, there was no discrimination of any sort. It was basically for able bodied men and women, but I did not allow my condition to abort my dream. I said to myself, despite all odds, I will make it if I contested. And I did not allow anyone to discourage me. Of course, life is not all about our present condition, but what the future has for us. It was a very tough competition, may be, because of the mouth watering prizes attached to it. After some days of the competition, the 10 best finalists emerged and by the grace of God I was one of them. I emerged the overall winner one week later at the grand finale, thus the beginning of the good things of life for me. I am the only sightless comedian in Nigeria. I have not allowed what people feel about me weigh me down. Moreover, my fans can not organize any event without inviting me. Cracking jokes I have my own way of cracking jokes which is quite deferent from that of other comedians. I will say my style is what stands me out. I pick my jokes by listening to radio and television. Of course, what is happening in the society are been discussed on the radio and television. I pick them and turn them into jokes and life goes on. Though, it is not easy as a blind comedian because to be successful as comedian, you need to travel often. But I can’t do that unless someone goes with me. I thank God that He has been bringing customers that I hardly travel for shows. I don’t imitate any comedian, I crack my jokes. MBFG Event I have always been the number one comedian/artist at the Most Beautiful and Fashionable Girl (MBFG) in Ikeja pageants. The chairman Mr. Gbenga Soremi is one of the men of God who believe in the empowering the younger generation for the future. He saw the talent in me and I believe he has made up his mind to encourage me. Because the MBFG event is not a small event where people like us could be consider to perform. As I am speaking with you now, the next edition is going to be the biggest ever in the history of MBFG and I have also signed a deal with the management to manage the laughter stage for them. To be frank with you, I am very grateful to the organizers of MBFG Beauty Pageant. Encouragement The Nigerian society care a little about the well being of her citizens. Only very few individuals believe in the young. One thing you have to know is that people will rather encourage you negatively than to show you a positive way to survive. Look at what happened during the celebration of Nigeria’s Golden Jubilee, no disabled artistes was among the pack of those who performed, from the comedians to musicians etc, they should encourage people with disability. Relationship Presently, I am not into any relationship. The most important thing now is my career. I was once in a relationship but I made a very big mistake by having a betrayer for friend. I don’t like to recall my past relationship. It ended in a heartbreak that I can never forget in a hurry. My best friend knew the babe was my girlfriend but still went ahead to sleep with her without even caring about my predicament. I knew when he started dating her but, I was helpless, so I had to allow them to enjoy themselves. To be sincere with you, he took advantage of my condition to sleep with my girlfriend.” Advice to disables They should stop seeing themselves as slaves, beggars, etc. They should make efforts to identify the gift God has deposited in them and of course make use of them. I am a musician; before I went into comedy, I have recorded many albums with good songs. You can do it and earn a decent living if you believe.
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