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Former NSMQ Star ‘Shark’ Now Lives In Pain Due To Bipolar Disorder And He Needs Help

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In September 2022, JoyNews’ Mahmud Mohammed-Nurudeen travelled to Jirapa, Upper West Region to meet Ningwie Leonard Lanyeli, who was rumored to be suffering from a mental illness.

But Leonard was nowhere to be found when the team arrived. His mother sat with her two hands on her cheeks, a sad and depressed expression on her face.

Leonard had left the house many hours before, and his mother, Ningwie Gladys, had no idea where he had gone. We needed a search team to find him so we could hear his story and experiences. Leonard had known for months that JoyNews would be visiting to interview him.

Leonard was found about 30 minutes later, and he was overjoyed that the JoyNews team was there to see him. He arrived pumped up and spoke as he’d never spoken before.

“I’m ecstatic. Your presence here is sufficient,” he said after seeing the team.
Leonard expressed his appreciation after a brief discussion on his entire life.

 

 

 

Leonard’s JHS/SHS days

Long before he left senior high school, he was popularly referred to as ‘Dr.’ Ningwie Leonard Lanyeli, due to a childhood ambition to become a medical doctor.

But after senior high school, misfortune and pain dashed this childhood dream, as Leonard dropped out of school.

Medical reports describe his condition as Bipolar Disorder II.

 

33-year-old Leonard said – he was born for a greater purpose to impact lives and be a change agent, but his life has been full of pain.

Leonard completed Ganaa Memorial Junior High School where he did excellently well. With an aggregate of 8, he was the best performing student at the school.

“See! I had aggregate 8 in both my junior high and secondary education. I sometimes get disappointed because I have really done it all and nothing came out of it,” Leonard said.

He proceeded to St. Xavier Seminary Senior High School, where he studied General Science.

Leonard was known and addressed as doctor at St Francis Xavier Junior Seminary because of his outspoken aspiration to be a medical doctor.

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“Back at St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary, he used to say there must be a ‘Dr’ attached to his name. So we called him ‘Dr’,” one of his senior schoolmates, Emmanuel Belig, now Pharmacist at the Wa regional Medical stores said.

 

According to records, Leonard was a brilliant student who excelled academically at senior high school.

“Leonard was among the team of students who represented St. Francis Xavier in the National Science and Maths Quiz in 2007 and he is a genius. You wouldn’t find him reading regular science books. He was extremely good in Chemistry and very industrious,” One of Leonard’s senior schoolmates, Emmanuel Belig said.

According to Dr. Ivon Kuutiero, an optometrist at the Tema Government Hospital, Leonard would hardly miss a biology or maths question, “he was the main powerhouse in the team that went for the NSMQ.”

Same year, Leonard wrote West African Senior School Certificate Examination and he did just as well as Ganaa Memorial JHS. He had an A1 in all subjects except biology, English, and Social Studies, which were B2, B3, and B2.

Leonard’s University Education

His admission to the University of Cape Coast was thwarted because his parents could not afford the high tuition at the time.

Leonard was then admitted to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology the same year, this time to study for a doctor of optometry.

“I gained admission to read medicine at the University of Cape Coast at the cost of GHC4,100 a year and my father was a teacher who couldn’t afford to pay the fees, so I opted to read Optometry (Dr.) at KNUST.”

During his first four years at KNUST, he performed admirably. Leonard said, “You can go to KNUST and check my academic background; I was doing very well until this mental health issue came up. I always encourage myself and wouldn’t want to go back to those days when they say I am not sane. I don’t how you media present issues like this. I was the best in the class.”

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“You know the number ‘Pi’, I know that what we are using now is wrong? I have also approximated a lot of things. When I was at the university I traced ‘Pi’ and I know why ‘Pi’ is wrong. The current one we using now is 3.142. The 22 ⁄ 7 is wrong. I presented it at a conference when I was at KNUST. I have done a lot of work.”

 

Leonard’s life caught off guard

But what has since appeared as a permanent condition caught Leonard off guard in 2012.

Ninwie Gladys, Leonard’s 60-year-old mother, stated that one of Leonard’s university friends took him to his home town and he returned with the condition.

“I had a hint that a friend at the university took Leo to his home town and he came back with this condition,” she said.

Leonard was forced to take a break from his university studies in order to seek medical attention at the Pantang Psychiatric Hospital in 2013. Doctors then diagnosed him with Bipolar Disorder 2.

“There is a certificate hanged in that empty room that shows that I still hold the record as the winner of spelling in Pantang Hospital when I took part in a quiz contest during my stay to get medical health. I tell people I am sensible and can teach a crowd,” Leonard said.

Leonard later returned to the university in 2014 to continue his studies, but his stay was brief.

Dr Kuutiero indicated that, after a successful rehabilitation process, Leonard was re-admitted to the University and performed well at the end of the semester exams.

Both his senior high and university friends are stunned by the turn of events.

Many of Leonard’s classmates are medical doctors, engineers and other professionals.

Leonard, given his circumstances, should have been one as well.

Another colleague of Leonard’s, Dr .Patrick Seidu described his current condition as disheartening.

“It is disheartening seeing a young man who is very brilliant and could be very resourceful to Ghana in such a condition.”

Former Biology tutor at St. Francis Xavier Junior Seminary said Leonard was in contact with some of them until he got admission to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

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Former Biology tutor at St. Francis Xavier Junior Seminary,Sixtus Bayaa described him as intelligent and could have been one of the best Scientists or Medical Doctors in Ghana if he didn’t suffer the medical condition.

 

Gladys, his mother, says his son’s predicament worsened when his 57-year-old father, Ninwie, died in 2011.

Leonard’s father died on August 13, 2011. Gladys stated that Leonard didn’t want to see her when he first arrived home.

“Immediately I saw Leonard in that condition, I collapsed. Before I realized I was in the hospital. After eight days, they discharged me. I came home Leonard said he would not stay with me. That I am looking strange – I am just looking like something,” she said.

Leonard promised his mother when he was a child that he wanted to be a doctor. But that dream appears to have been dashed.

“Leonard promised me of becoming a medical Doctor when he was still a child. I want Leonard to go back to school and complete. Because it is a promise he made,” according to the mother.

So what does Leonard want now?

“I want peace. I respect my mother and that is a responsibility, I respect humanity and that is also a responsibility. What I expect from my family is care.”

Leonard says he will return to school if the opportunity comes again.

“If I get another opportunity, I would like to go back to school again but, I just want a simple course – community health nursing or teachers training college so that I can help my colleagues. I really know how to help.”

Friends, family and colleagues believe Leonard was born great, and that greatness is still alive if he receives immediate intervention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading from TodayGhanaMedia.com as a news publishing website from Ghana.

 

 

Source:  JoyNews / Mahmud Mohammed-Nurudeen

There are four types of content published on  TodayGhanaMedia.com  daily: curated content; syndicated content; user-generated content; and original content.

 

 

 

 

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