By Niyi Bello
The myth of the famous Idanre mountains in Ondo State, as a nearly unconquerable natural heights was shattered two weeks ago when a 10-year old boy, Sunday Akinwunmi, reached the summit of one of the rocks, climbing 2000 feet above ground level. Akinwunmi’s feat was recorded during the the grand finale of the Mare mountain climbing festival, organised by the Ondo State government and a private firm to market the rocks as a preferred destination for tourists around the world.
The most intriguing aspect of the Akinwumi feat, apart from his tender age, was that the boy climbed the mountain with bare hands even when professional mountaineers were using ropes and spikes, making him a perfect case of how, no matter the odds, one can conquer the heights literally and figuratively.
Akinwunmi, an indigent JSS student of Methodist High School , Odode, Idanre, where he is one of the 50 students in the overcrowded class of the public school, now has the world at his feet.
For his bravery, he was awarded a state-sponsored scholarship to university level, a trip abroad next year to prepare him for participation in international mountain-climbing competitions and the opportunity to be part of the re-branding process of Ondo State as the symbol of the resilience and determination of an average Ondo youth.
The little boy with lowly background has now climbed to the heights of popularity in the community and beyond. Everybody in Idanre now knows where he lives as seen last Thursday when The Guardian was on his trail.
But nothing about the frail figure of the young boy revealed the inner strength and determination that pulled him out of the corner of obscurity and poverty to the heights of opportunities.
A typical picture of a boy from very poor background, barefooted and wearing torn clothes, who probably has never had a decent meal, the little Akinwunmi is the fifth child in a family of six children.
At his family residence, a four-room mud-building without the luxury of cement flooring and toilet facilities, where poverty could be seen in its stark reality with rags hung on walls as clothes, his siblings gathered to witness another interview session with one of them who has brought fame to the family.