I graduated with first class to pass strong message – Visually impaired man

A visually impaired graduate of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State, Emmanuel Nweke, says he used his stellar academic performance to fight stigma.

The 31-year-old man who was in the Department of Social Work, bagged a first class at UNN, and said he worked hard to achieve the feat so that he could change the narrative surrounding people like him.

He also said that he wasn’t born blind, however, he faced stereotypes and stigmatisation because of his condition.

Nweke said his achievement has paved the way for other visually impaired people and it’s the legacy he’s leaving at UNN.

Speaking on how he bagged a first class despite being visually impaired, he said; “Wanting to change the narrative ignited my passion. Naturally, a visually impaired student will be seen by others as someone that won’t do well. I wasn’t born blind, so, facing all manner of stereotyped stigmatisation, I felt that I could as well do it (graduate with a first-class degree) and make people believe that I can do it.

Vision is propelled by the heart and not sight. I wanted to just change the narrative and make a new landmark. So, I just wanted to do something remarkable.

I felt fulfilled. I felt I had laid the foundation for any other visually impaired person coming to Social Work. I know it’s a legacy that I have left at UNN.

On the flip side, in the Nigerian system, people don’t appreciate bright and intelligent minds. So, the question that pops up in my head is, “What’s next?” I was happy and grateful to God for making it a reality but the phobia of the larger society on how to pay my bills and all that is the situation for me.”