Every morning, Sulaiman Muhammad, alias Sule Makaho, leaves his family house at Sauna quarters for his stall located along Hadejia road, Kano, without the aid of a walking stick or a guide.
Immediately he reaches his stall, Makaho will first of all, sweep the place and use a rag to mop the dust off his small plastic table and chair.
After mopping and sweeping, he will move into a nearby garage where he keeps his umbrella. Without soliciting assistance, he will unfurl the large umbrella and wedge it between two large stones under the table. One thing the blind man never does is part with the pouch containing the cards.
Being the breadwinner catering for his two younger siblings and an aging mother, Sulaiman Muhammad said he subsists on recharge cards business, adding that he struggles to put food on the table for his ‘dependants’, and at the same time, attend school.
After spending about a year in the business, Makaho’s table is now gaining prominence as many customers have come to discover the truth about a blind man selling recharge cards. And they buy the cards from him in order to find the truth.
Makaho revealed that recharge card dealers have never cheated him and that they always marvel at his sales. “I rake in about N400 to N500 profit daily and I use the money to help my family, sustain my life and pay some school fees,” Makaho disclosed.
Continuing, he said that no customer has ever cheated him, just as no card dealer has ever defrauded him. “Neither my customers nor the card dealers have ever cheated me. I think they have sympathy for me,” he said.
He avowed that he has a lot of customers who come from far places to buy recharge cards from him, saying that considering his ability to overcome his handicap, many people patronise him. “The bulk of my clientele are not passers-by but loyal customers who come from some distance,” Makaho stated.
According to him, resorting to begging because of disability could be the last thing he would do. “I pity those who beg because they are blind or lame. I consider disability a challenge to create ways to earn a livelihood,” Makaho revealed. He said but for his ability to start this business, he would not have been able to attend school.
Makaho’s sense of adaptation is as sharp as his ability to identify naira notes and recharge cards. When Weekly Trust doubted his ability to count the money given to him by customers or sort a particular type of recharge card when needed, this reporter shuffled some naira notes and asked him to count.
Rubbing his fingers against each note, he arranged the money one after another in a value-order and declared the amount given to him. Demonstrating how he sorts the recharge cards, he said that in order to ease sorting, he usually places the cards in different compartments of his small bag.
“If I put them in different sections, it becomes much easier for me to sort. But to be sure of the card I am giving to a customer, I rub the area where the silver panel is placed,” he said.
According to him, while other cards have their silver panels covering the secret codes placed at the centre of the card, others are placed below the centre. “The silver panel of Glo and MTN cards shift to the side but Glo’s panel is placed farther a little,” he said.
Sule Makaho, 27, said he lost his sight when he was a toddler after a severe measles attack. “You know I was too young to remember how the world looks like,” he said.
Rising up without sight, Makaho could not ward off the taunting scamps in the area. They named him Makaho because of his sight defect. But once he felt some sense of dejection and ostracism, Makaho at that time usually takes solace in his creative ability as his age mates come to him to create toys for them.
According to him, he can fabricate a car when he rubs its contours and when he constructs the toy car, it stands out among others made by his peers. That ability was what earned him fame in the area.
On how he finds his route to school and his business point, Makaho said once he is taken to a place, he can go to the place next time by himself without a guide. “Although I usually board commercial motorcycles to school, but I can equally know my way if I am to go on foot,” he said.
The card vendor however revealed that since the death of his father, the little parental support he got ceased and his dream to enrol into a special education school was also delayed until recently when he became financially sound enough to foot his tuition bill.