Mashman Jeremiah Aaron became blind at a tender age. But he has, no doubt, refused to let go his talent as he proceeded defiantly to carve a niche in radio broadcasting and music. SOLOMON AYADO reports on his encounter with the on-air personality.
Listening to his shrill voice that is pitched with rhymes and lyrics leaves even an award winning musician to take a bow and pay tribute to this erudite on-air personality. Although he limps as a result of an injured leg, his eloquence which attract a large congregation shows a sharp contrast with the closure of his eyes.
Looking at his baffling condition which entails that he must be held by hand before moving to anywhere, one can quickly accept the widely recognized fact that there is ability in disability. Another cursory look at his physical appearance, one is tempted to imagine why such a rare gem full of talent can be living in a seriously battered condition. But a smile must irresistibly fall on the face of anyone who meets and listens to him. He is a high bred radio presenter and a singer of repute.
It was thrilling in Abuja during the Night of tribute for the late Collins Adeyemi, a former governor of the Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) FCT chapter. There was standing ovation as soon as everybody in the arena noticed the sudden presence of the blind on-air personality.
All over the country, many people believe that anyone with such a grossing challenge of sight will not be able to school properly. Untold numbers have not been able to make use of their talents and cope with their disability in order to harness their potentials. But that is not the case of this erudite broadcaster cum musician.
38-year-old Jeremiah Aaron, popularly known as ‘Mashman Aaron’, was born in Jos, Platuea state. He started his primary education at Hill Crest, went to Blind Children School Gindiri and thereafter studied at the University of Jos where he got a National diploma in Mass communication. He gained admission through JAMB where he enrolled in the same university and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
Those who are familiar with entertainment and broadcasting in Lagos and Abuja can attest to the fact that this blind but tenacious on-air-personality is a household celebrity, hence his varied contributions to success of musical shows, upbringing of artistes, actors and actresses accordingly.
Mashman lived as a child with his parent in Jos but spent much of his growing-up years in the boarding school. His father, the late Haruna Ladikan was a senior civil servant with the then federal ministry of mines and power, while his mother was a business woman.
But the sad story of Mashman started at the age of three, while he was playing with his peers. Although looking emotional whenever the sad story of his disability has to be told, he insists that he is happy to have been alive to pursue his carrier and contribute his quota in the development of the society.
The sagacious broadcaster has refused to go cup in hand begging from people on the street. This is moreso, that he is well schooled and passionate about what he really wants to achieve in his carrier. He is hilarious and seriously committed to what he knows how to do and can resist stigmatization at all instance.
But humanly, Mashman feels terribly bad with the incident that led to his becoming blind. He told LEADERSHIP Weekend it all began after someone pushed him and he fell into a ditch. “We were actually playing, when I was pushed and something stab my eyes. I was taken to the hospital where I had a surgical operation on my eyes.”
According to him, the doctors behaved unprofessional and mixed up certain things during the operation which resulted to his total blindness. One good thing about Mashman that has gained him acceptance everywhere he goes is that he is highly conversational, very fluent in spoken English and has blatantly refused to let go of his passion for broadcasting and music.
Life seems not to be the end of the road for this intelligent handicapped person, as he went to school of the blind and passed through elementary studies to attain post primary education before he became a graduate. At some point, he had taught English Language and Literature at United Thompson Fellowship college in Jos before finally venturing into his desired carrier of broadcasting and music.
Of course, the case of this dedicated on-air-personality who is a performing musician seems to be few among many. It is obvious that many blind persons have taken to the street begging to fend. At varied instances, cases of blind beggars taking over the streets abound, with many of them allegedly engaging in illegal businesses.
For those beggars who hang on the streets and hover around drinking spots requesting money from people, they do not think of engaging in handiwork or utilizing their God-given potentials in one way or the other. Many of them end up involving in criminal activities and doing all manner of unwanted things just to survive. But that is not the case with Mashman.
Since he became blind, he has not thought of hitting the street to beg. He started his broadcasting carrier in 1994 where, after secondary school, he picked a job with radio Plateau, 90.5 Fm. He told LEADERSHIP Weekend that because of his brilliant performance, he got mentors like Abraham Dough who rendered him every assistance needed during the time. Also, that this was what prompted him to do a basic announcing course in Radio and Television.
“After that I relocated to Kaduna where music and broadcasting continued where I worked with the Kaduna Radio corporation. That is where I met my friend, Solomon Nda-Isaiah who is now the Governor of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) FCT chapter, through Baba Kingi and Ibro. Then we started doing things together. We did a lot to perfect shows”.
When asked what job he is doing since he is not working with any radio station at the moment, Mashman said he wishes to launch a radio and television show where he would derive connections of addressing the rigors of the less privileged.
“ Nevertheless, I have been doing a lot of things with some radio stations but what I really want to do is to create my own programme on radio and television which will be about the less privileged in the society. This will be about proffering solutions to the many challenges faced by the less privileged,” he said.
Asked whether he intends to concentrate on music or broadcasting, Mashman explained that he has recorded about 12 songs which he will launch and make available in the market.
“And I don’t want to say the album of 12 songs is good or bad but so far, I have got more than 10, 000 listeners on the social media, including whatsup listening to my hit songs. One major song titled ‘My Life’, is a single I am supposed to launch immediately. Why because I want to do what people have long expected me to do. So, I am trying my possible best to do all things. It was lately when I convinced my younger sister who is based in London to send me musical equipments so that I can start a recording studio,” he said.