‘My father my pride’ is a phrase I have come to appreciate in recent times; most especially, after reflecting on my life so far. My dad has been my inspiration; his experience, demeanor and generosity are my learning points.
“my mother gave me my drive, but my father gave me my dreams”Liza Minneli – womansday.com
MY FATHER’S EARLY LIFE
My dad spent his early childhood in Cameroun with his parents and their large family. They relocated back to their home town in the western part of Nigeria in the early 1960s. On arrival, his parents went full time into fishing: the family’s business at the time.
The size of the family, undoubtedly, contributed to the reason the family’s income was insufficient, to care for the numerous mouth. My dad and some of his older siblings felt leaving for Lagos would relief the parents of the burden.
On arrival to Lagos; under the direction of an older family member, he started working by day and fishing by night. The work afforded him the privilege of getting informal education; and the fishing gave him the opportunity to care for his feeding and material needs.
LIFE HAPPENED TO MY FATHER
While working, he was a hard working fellow. One day, he was sent on errand to get some food for his master; and on his way to the food vendor, he saw a long queue of young men in a particular government building. He inquired of what was happening and he decided to join the queue; a government parastatal needed some workers. Fortunately for him, he was shortlisted on the final list for employment and that was the catalyst for his success over poverty.
He married my mum in the early 1980s; they were happy in the marriage until my mum died barely 5 years into the marriage, leaving behind 3 children. How my dad managed during those momentous times still beats my imagination.
Few years later, he married again and his family grew rapidly. The marriage was not without its challenges, many of which he often take care of, just like the super man he is. His mantra is a bible verse, 1 Corinthians 10:13
‘no temptation has come upon you except what is common to men. But God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out so that you may be able to endure it’.1 Corinthians 10:13
Twenty-four years later, we lost my step mum to the cold hands of death. That was quite perplexing for my dad and for the first time in so many years I saw my super hero cried.
MY FATHER FORSTERED UNITY
With my father, unity was non-negotiable. He ensured unity among all his children. To make this possible, he encouraged unity even in little things. For example, he made sure we all eat from the same plate at least once daily. You need to see the way we demolished mountain of garri or whatever food they gave us in matter of few minutes; no matter how hot it is.
To my dad, all children are equal, no matter the gender. He gave each one equal opportunity. We all attended reputable private schools both at primary and secondary school levels. He is a man of small means but he ensured to pay our school fees on or before resumption of every term. I owe him forever for this.
My dad spur me on to victory in almost every aspect of my life. The principles he instilled in me are priceless. I love my dad and I will do all within my power to make him feel this love for as long as he live.