After losing both legs in auto crash, my two marriages failed –Toyobo, Labe Orun producer

Toyobo

Toyobo

With tears in his eyes, Segun Toyobo, a 45- year-old journalist who produces the popular television show, Labe Orun, said his mother’s favourite prayer is, ‘you shall not move on the road when it thirsts for blood.’ Unfortunately, on October 3, 2000, it seemed the prayer was not answered as he was involved in a ghastly auto crash that almost claimed his life. Unfortunately, the accident claimed his legs and that was the beginning of his problems. Although from a polygamous home, Toyobo is the first of 12 children. Ever since he was a youngster, he has been saddled with the responsibility of taking care of his 11 siblings. Hoping to get a greener pasture, the journalist decided to leave Ibadan, the city he was born and bred for Lagos. It was during his journey to Lagos that he had the ghastly accident which made him become a physically-challenged man. Toyobo told Saturday PUNCH that because of the accident, his status quickly changed from being the breadwinner to a beggar. He said, “Since the accident, my mother has been living with me. She is the one taking care of me, she bathes me when my wife refused to stay with me. My mother had to quit her job as a midwife because of me. I used to be the one that sponsor my younger ones but not anymore. Because of my plight, friends that I had helped have abandoned me.” Asides from losing his two legs to the auto crash, the 45-year-old also had two failed marriages as the women he thought loved him could not endure the hardship he was faced with. Giving love another shot, he said that his current union is on the verge of collapse because his wife always quarrels with him at the slightest provocation. The journalist said, “The woman I first married left me because she was fed up with living in the hospital with me. I was lucky to get married again and the woman stayed with me for about eight years before she packed out as we did not have a child together and she could not cope with my predicament. Now I have another wife who stays with me but we fight everyday and I cannot blame her. When a man cannot perform his duty as the head of the household, there is no way there would not be disagreement at home.” Recounting the incident amid tears, Toyobo said he was on his way to Ibadan to cover an event for a Fuji artiste when he was involved in the crash. He said both legs were affected and when he woke up he found himself at the hospital. Unfortunately, the accident happened when doctors were on strike so he did not get medical attention on time. He said, “On October 3, 2000, I had a programme with a fuji artiste, Askari, in Ibadan. He had got to Ibadan ahead of me and at that time there were no mobile phones for us to monitor each other’s movements so I decided to meet him in Ibadan. Before we got to the Redeemed Christian Church of God Camp, I was involved in a fatal auto crash which affected my legs. From the accident scene, I was taken to the general hospital but doctors were on strike. After three days in the hospital, my legs had begun to rot and there was no one to attend to me. That was why I was taken to an orthodox bone setter where I spent six months before I was discharged.” Fully aware of the fact that he could not afford to be bedridden for long as he had many mouths to feed, he decided to visit several orthodox bone setters so that he could be back on his feet as soon as possible all to no avail. “Because of my problem and the doctors’ strike back then, I had to go to at least seven orthodox bone setters and I spent minimum of five months at each of these places. It has been like this for me since the incident occurred and it has affected my work because I cannot move around like before. In October, it will be exactly 14 years that the incident occurred,” Toyobo said. He needed surgery urgently but could not embark on one due to financial constraint. Toyobo told Saturday PUNCH that he needed about N450,000 and he used his platform, Labe Orun, to appeal to the public to assist him but he got little or no response. He said, “In 2007, when I wanted to do an operation at the General Hospital, they said that I should bring N450,000 to treat both legs properly. When we announced on my programme to solicit for help, people did not respond because my programme was being sponsored by YEMKEM. People expected that I could easily get money from YEMKEM but things did not work that way.” A ray of hope, however, shone on him as he was fortunate to meet with the owner of Slot Systems, Nnamdi Ezeigbo. Toyobo said he and Ezeigbo were friends and used to be neighbours. Ezeigbo knew when the accident happened and when he saw Toyobo he decided to help him. The Slot Systems boss suggested that he travel abroad to get treatment immediately, Toyobo agreed but was quick to point out that he did not have the financial muscle to foot the bill. “He told me to find out how much it would cost and he would sponsor me to be flown abroad. He was true to his words and I went to India last year for an operation,” Toyobo said. He went for the operation and his left leg was treated, but the other did not get any better. To compound his problem, Toyobo said that he got stranded in India. “Being a place where I had no one, I was stranded in India because what we had bargained for before leaving Nigeria was not what we met when I got to India. The money for accommodation, drugs and feeding in India was quite expensive and the operation cost about $10,000 which Slot gave me. I went a second time for medical check-up and it was still Slot that paid the bill. They put a cast on my leg and said it should be taken off after three months but the cast has been on my leg for seven months due to the ongoing strike by doctors,” Toyobo said. His experience during that period was not one he would forget in a hurry. Because some of his bones have been infected while some broken completely, he had to undergo bone grafting. Simply put, some bones had to be cut from his waist to be joined with his leg; it was screwed together with metal. Unfortunately, the bone is infected again, but this time there is no one to help the 45-year-old man. He told Saturday PUNCH that he was fed up and wants the leg to be amputated after living in such a pitiful condition for over 13 years. He will need $20,000 for the surgery alone. Toyobo said, “When I went for an x-ray, I was informed that the leg was infected again because when I went to India, they did bone grafting for me. They opened my stomach and took some bones from my waist because when I had the accident, some of my bones had broken and they needed to be replaced for me to walk. Some of the bones had also been infected and began to rot so I had no choice than to agree to the bone grafting. “When I went for the x-ray, I was told that the grafting had been infected and I had to come and do it again. I was actually given two options, either they do the bone grafting again or they amputate my leg and put an artificial limb. That is where I am having problem. If they would do all that, it would involve money and I was told that the operation would cost $20,000, beside accommodation for two months and feeding. When I heard that, I called my benefactor, the Slot System boss, and when he heard the price, he was not forthcoming any longer. I have no one to meet and I don’t know what to do other than to beg him not to get tired of helping me. At least if I use artificial limb, I would not be using crutches to aid my walking. I don’t mind them amputating the leg at this stage because I am tired of the predicament.” He stated that the incident had turned his life into a living nightmare. Prior to the crash, he was at his peak and was on the path to success but now he has turned to someone who relies on help to survive. “This accident has turned my life into a nightmare. It is because of it my marriage crashed twice and the third one is shaky. I cannot do my job like I am supposed to as I cannot move around without assistance. I was the one in charge of recording for the show, I have my cameras and I also have people I supervise on the job. I was about starting a programme on radio but had to halt the process due to my plight because only someone who has a sound health that he can work adequately. When I was stranded in India I was told that I had to pay additional money because it was more serious than they thought and that was after I had paid the initial amount we agreed upon. I had to call Nigeria to solicit for help before I could leave India. “The left leg is better now. It is the right leg that is giving me problems. I am begging well-meaning Nigerians to help me. The accident has made me realise that even if someone is poor but has good health, he should be thankful to God,” the 45-year-old said. Toyobo said that it was sad that although he helped some Yoruba actors who are famous now, they have deserted him at his time of need. “As grown as I am, I don’t have freedom, there is nothing I can do on my own except someone comes to assist me and I have been like this for over 13 years. It was worse in the beginning because it was not easy to believe that I have become physically challenged. I come from a poor family and I am the first of 12 children because my father married four wives. My mother has only five children. “Before my problem started, I did not only help my siblings, I also helped my people from Ibadan. For instance, some Yoruba actors like Olaniyi Afonja and Adekola Tijani popularly known as Sanyeri and Golugo came to meet me when they first came to Lagos. When they saw me in some movies they believed I had become successful and they came to meet me. I was really doing well because I used to take some artistes to meet the Alafin of Oyo back then. He knew me but now I doubt if he would recognise me because it has been a long while. The last movie I did with Bayowa Film International was Obadan featuring Obesere. It was shortly after that the problem began. Anytime I want to meet those I thought were my friends, they give me one excuse or the other. So, I decided to stay on my own. I don’t have anyone but God now.”

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