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Ronke Abayomi had been frustrated since she got married to her husband, Jimi. The reason for her despair was not because he was having an extramarital affair; but because he snored loudly every night.
Abayomi was a banker and she usually left home for work as early as 5am and returned between 9pm and 10pm.
“We used to joke about his loud snoring a lot. But it got to a point I couldn’t bear it anymore because it was affecting my much needed night rest. On some mornings, I am usually very snappy because of sleep disturbance the previous night. One day, I had to tell him bluntly how I felt. He looked surprised and said he thought I was used to it,” she said.
For the sake of peace and rest of mind, Abayomi said they had to reach a compromise by sleeping in separate rooms. “It was not the ideal situation we would have wanted, but I couldn’t help his snoring anymore. Now he can snore all he wants and both of us are happy the next morning,” she said.
For James and Anna, the decision to sleep in separate beds was borne, not out of snoring, but of infidelity.
James stopped sharing the same room with his wife, Anna, the day she found out about his extra-marital affair. They had been married for five years.
It started a night when his wife, out of nagging curiosity, decided to pick his telephone call while he was in the bathroom. She had noticed that, for about two weeks since he returned from a business trip, he had been receiving strange calls at night and would excuse himself from their bedroom to pick the call in the sitting room.
When she picked the call, she heard a woman’s voice at the other end. “Hello, James. I have missed you, when are you coming to Abuja again?” The lady at the other end asked.
“You are calling a married man, and this is his wife,” Anna barked into the phone. The lady at the other end hung up immediately.
Seething with rage, Anna had confronted James when he came out of the bathroom.
“Even though this was not the first time of having an affair outside my marriage, I knew I had to act fast, so I told her it was a one night affair and a mistake because I was drunk at the party last week in Abuja. Since then, we have not been sharing the same room. It has put a strain to our marriage, but I prefer it that way. No one would snoop around my phone anymore,” he said.
They are among the 30 to 40 per cent of married couples who sleep in separate bedrooms, according to a 2013 study from Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.
The finding of the Toronto study was corroborated by a 2015 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, which noted that about one in four couples sleep in separate bedrooms.
Couples have different reasons why they choose to sleep in separate rooms, but the standard should be for them to share the same room, noted sex and relationship coach, Mr. Praise Fowowe.
He noted that there were many advantages that couples who share the same room enjoy more than those who don’t.
He said, “In the first place, why should couples even want to sleep in different rooms? Marriage is the coming together of two different people to form a union. So, they need to blend together; sharing the same room helps them to bond better and it is in the best interest of the couple. But imagine being in the same house and having to ‘travel’ from one room to another when one wants to spend time with one’s wife.”
Fowowe said couples sleeping in separate rooms could be allowed in some instances, like when one of them likes to be on their own. “But even if that is the case, then it means that person does not need to be married,” he said.
The Odions have been married for four years. Both husband and wife said they were indifferent to sleeping in separate rooms. “As a matter of fact, it works both ways for us. I like my privacy, so sometimes; I want to be on my own, without any disturbance. In times like that, I spend more time alone in the other room,” Peter Odion said.
“I knew he liked to enjoy his own space sometimes, even before we got married. We discussed this aspect and I was comfortable with it, although I would prefer it if we shared the same room all the time,” said his wife, Abigail.
Sleeping in separate bedrooms is a matter of choice for couples, noted Fowowe. “If it the arrangement is working for them, then it is fine. It should be a joint decision,” he said.
That arrangement doesn’t sit well with a mother of one, Mrs. Adeola Akpan. “My husband and I have been married for 10 years now and we have never slept in separate rooms. Couples should share the same room, that is why it is called ‘matrimony,’’ she said.
Akpan further said, in most cases, couples that sleep in separate bedroom tend to start drifting apart and hiding little details from each other. She said couples that share the same bedroom enjoy more intimacy.
“When couples start sleeping in separate bedroom, they start having secrets. Staying together ensures closeness, and that there are no room for grudges. But when they start sleeping apart, that bond is gradually being broken,” she noted.
An American emotional fitness expert, Dr. Barton Goldsmith, supported Akpan’s views.
In an article for , Goldsmith said the decision of couples to sleep separately could make it more difficult to resolve their differences, as well as cause damage to the foundation of the relationship.
“Without getting too here, I believe we do exchange some kind of energy with the person we are sleeping with, and sometimes it can be quite powerful and wonderful. When you don’t get the chance to experience that, you will feel that something is missing in your love life, though you may not be able to place exactly what it is. In addition, couples who do not sleep together tend to be less communicative with each other, which can have an effect on the entire family,” he said.
Goldsmith’s views are part of the reasons why Tayo Ogunjimi said he and his wife share the same bedroom.
He said, “My wife and I can’t sleep apart, even though we have two beds. I follow the principles of the Bible which says two are better than one. And when couples sleep together, they are one. Sharing same bedroom helps couples to build trust, as they can share and discuss their innermost desires and resolve issues between them.
Sometimes, my three-year-old daughter comes to sleep in our room; this helps us to encourage bonding and unity in the family. Togetherness is a key word in family, and a better family would make a better society.”
Contact: [email protected]
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On June 4, 2015, Mrs. Bukola Yusuf (not real name), a mother of three stormed out of her house in shorts, “I was prepared to engage in a fight with the woman who ‘stole’ my husband’s heart,” she told our correspondent.
She said she was fed up with the woman who constantly called and sent messages to her husband’s phone.
Yusuf said, “At midnight, my husband’s phone would ring; whenever I confronted him about it, he would say, ‘It is a useless woman disturbing my phone.’ I believed him because I trusted him.”
When she discovered that the lady disturbing her peace lived two streets away from hers, she became furious.
“That day-June 4, I was ready to fight; to put an end to everything. But my neighbours stopped me from storming the lady’s house,” she said.
Little did Yusuf know that her husband was having an affair with the lady. She didn’t suspect because he promised her he would never cheat on her. He constantly reassured her of his undying love for her, and like every ‘good’ wife, she believed him.
“My husband does not have only one girlfriend, I heard he has several girlfriends. I almost lost my mind the period I discovered about his cheating lifestyle. I would cry for days; I felt worthless. He couldn’t hold his emotions one night; he blatantly told me that he loves the woman that had been calling his phone. He confessed and said that they met some months ago and that he had been hiding it from me because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings,” she said.
Yusuf told that her husband shares his time between her and his girlfriends.
Yusuf isn’t the only one battling with a cheating spouse; Mrs. Toyin Oyebanjo (not real name) is paddling the same boat.
Oyebanjo believes her husband’s ‘womanising’ nature started before they got married. She said she thought he would change.
“I have been married to him for 15 years; we separated for two years. It breaks my heart to say that I’ve not been happy in my marriage since I got married. People may say I was stupid for marrying him, knowing quite well that he can’t remain with one woman. But I thought he would change; I thought his love for me would change him,’’ she said.
On several occasions, Oyebanjo said her friends had called her on the phone saying they saw her husband with a woman, adding, “It is as if he changes women every month.”
Saying divorce has never been an option for her because her religion forbids it, Oyebanjo said she decided to always pray for him with the hope that he would change.
She said, “My only hope is to pray for him; I believe this is a battle I have to fight. I don’t want to leave my home for another woman, my children would suffer. I know some day things will get better.”
It is not only men who cheat in marriage, women do too as it is the case with Mr. Sunday Godwin (not real name) whose wife regularly cheats on him.
“Over time, I realised she likes to date rich men. Men who give her a lot of money and buy her things I can’t afford. When we got married – five years ago – she was naïve but sweet. She was still in the university when we got married. I sponsored her education which I don’t regret because she is the mother of my two kids,” he said.
Godwin said his wife’s love for him diminished when she got a new job. He said she comes home late from work and gets upset whenever he confronts her about her lateness.
He noted, “I have decided to stop confronting her. She doesn’t know that I’m aware of her cheating habit. I have sources who constantly feed me with information about her whereabouts. I won’t cheat on her because she is doing the same. One day, she will get tired of her shameful act.’’
Unlike Godwin who is aware that his wife cheats on him, a man who this correspondent preferred to identify only as Mr. Olanrewaju, residing in Fagba area in Abule Egba, Lagos, is unaware that his wife cheats on him.
Neighbours, who discuss the couple, said on several occasions they had seen his wife alight from a sport utility vehicle.
A neighbour who chose to remain anonymous said, “I think her husband once caught her with another man. But he thinks she has changed; I wonder how he copes with such a woman as a wife.”
A professor of psychology at the University of Lagos, Oni Fagboungbe, said the reason spouses cheat is because they have an unmet need.
Fagbounge said, “Cheating in marriage revolves around need for satisfaction. Whether it is a man or woman that cheats, that person cheats to satisfy a need – sexual or material. When a spouse is aware of that fact that the other spouse cheats, the first thing he or she should do is to find out why the spouse cheats.
“However, the underlying problem results from one not having his or her sexual desires met. The cheating spouse has sexual desires that are not being fulfilled. Sadly, most cheating spouses are not willing to make this known to their partners – they ‘bottle’ it up. For example, a wife whose sexual desires are not being met by her husband would not want to open up to her husband, because he may think she is being wayward. Instead, she looks for a man who would meet her sexual needs. Cheating spouses are forced to look for alternatives because the need has become part of them.’’
The don noted that in other countries, when a man or woman finds out that his or her spouse cheats, both of them would go the extra mile to meet their sexual needs, even if it means watching films to boost their sexual drive or going for counselling.
“But in Nigeria, instead of seeking a permanent solution, couples prefer to seek a temporary solution,” he said.
Also, Dr. Chika Ndubuisi, a psychologist at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and marriage counsellor, advised aggrieved couples against fighting or confronting the man or woman interfering in their relationships.
He said, “Engaging in a fight with your spouse’s affair partner is not the best solution. I would prefer the woman or man to engage in a dialogue with the ‘cheating’ spouse. Make him or her realise the consequences of his or her actions. Effective communication is key to solving the issue of cheating in marriages. The wife and husband must be on the same page – they should be able to unravel the root cause of why other partner cheats.’’
According to him, any man or woman who cheats doesn’t understand what marriage means.
On his part, a psychologist, Dr. Nnamdi Ezeh, said counselling is one of the best solutions to handle cheating in marriages.
He said, “Coping with a cheating spouse needs a level of emotional support that is way beyond the life experience of most people. One way to deal with this is to seek assistance from people who understand what one is going through — therapists, family and friends who have dealt with similar betrayal in the past.
“However, one should not be spiteful with it. It’s one thing to enlist others for support; it’s quite another to tell one’s partner’s relatives or boss, about his or her behaviour out of spite. Couples most also remember that anything they say to their kids cannot ever be taken back. Hence, they should think twice about ‘badmouthing’ themselves.’’
Contact: [email protected]
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Raihana Ayomide Aliyu; she was born on February 28, 2017.
I got married on February 6, 2003.
It wasn’t an easy period but I had faith that one day, God would answer me. I tried to keep myself busy with counselling – I counselled people on various issues. I also tried to go out frequently; I realised that whenever I stayed at home, I felt more saddened about my issue. It was a trying period; there were times people would not want me to hold their children. I was constantly abused and tormented with hurtful words.
I went to several hospitals and places in search of an answer to my need. I underwent several rounds of In Vitro Fertisation – seven in total.
Yes, I also did four intrauterine insemination procedures. I also consulted the so-called helpers –the good and fake ones. My husband and I spent a lot of money within the period of 13 years. Each IVF procedure cost us about N1.5m; you can imagine how much we spent on IVF alone. Despite the failed procedures, I didn’t give up, I kept searching. Each time we tried a process and it didn’t work, I would almost give up but my husband kept encouraging me. He was so supportive, if not for him, I would have given up.
I would pray over their babies with the hope that I would become a mother someday. I tried as much as possible to remain confident of the fact’that someday I would hold my own baby. At some point though, one of my friends brought a pregnant, adolescent girl to my house. She advised me to adopt the baby when the girl put to bed – she was seven months pregnant. She said the girl was willing to sell her baby for N500, 000. I turned down their offer and told them never to enter my house again. The young girl was so willing to sell her baby; she was excited. I felt angered by their offer; I kept asking myself if they thought I would never be able to give birth to a child.
Yes I did, I was approaching 40 and the thought of not being able to conceive at 40 was loud and clear in my head. It was at that point I gave up.
It was around June/July last year; I got to a point where I gave up. I lost all hope of becoming a mother. I was fed up searching and trying to conceive by all means. My husband and I kept pushing hard – spending money, only to meet a brick wall. One night, I cried and cried and said all sorts to God. I challenged God; I said I was tired of trying to become a mother. I practically lost hope; I stopped praying. I knew I was approaching 40 and I told God that he if didn’t give me a child before I turned 40, He better not bother again. I was frustrated. To my surprise, that period, I conceived.
I didn’t know I was pregnant until I was about three months into my nine-month journey. I realised I had missed my menstrual period. Even when that happened, I still doubted that I was pregnant because I hadn’t begun to experience morning sickness. I went for pregnancy test but refused to collect the result. I didn’t want to hear ‘you are not pregnant’ again. The night I was rushed to a hospital was when the doctor confirmed to me that I was pregnant. I didn’t believe him; I kept telling him I had malaria.
I was on bed rest; I was too tired to observe his reaction. But I’m sure he was excited.
I was so excited; in fact words fail me to express myself. I was so anxious to see my growing tummy. I kept analysing my tummy. My neighbours too were excited. I didn’t let people observe my growing tummy until I was seven months pregnant. The day my neighbours saw me taking a walk, they gathered around me; there was a huge crowd, I felt so embarrassed. That was the last time they saw me take a walk. I preferred to take walks at night.
No, I made sure I didn’t check the sex of my baby. All I did was to buy unisex clothes. I wasn’t bothered if I was pregnant with a boy or girl. I had waited 13 years to have a child; the sex of my baby was not a priority to me.
After the day I was admitted in the hospital, I began to experience severe morning sickness but I was glad to experience it.
Immediately after my operation, (I had a caesarean section) I told the doctor I wanted to hold my baby in my arms. I held her with the umbilical cord dangling and blood all over her body. The doctors and nurses were surprised at my action – they didn’t know I had waited for 13 years to experience that scene. Even when they took her from me to bathe her, I felt they took a long time. I just kept staring into her eyes; I cried from 10am to 6pm. My mother bought N4,000 worth of airtime to call people; she was overjoyed.
I want to have as many as possible. If God decides to give me seven children, I’ll be happy.
They should be careful of fake doctors; many of them are out to exploit women. While I was running to different places in search of a solution to my need, I met people who told me to do all sorts. One told me to dry my faeces and take it with pap. I’m glad I didn’t listen to any of them. Patience is an important virtue in the journey of waiting to have children; women who are hoping to bear children should have patience. They should live a happy life.
She looks like her father; he is so happy about that. He helps me in taking care of her; he changes her diapers.
Contact: [email protected]
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GT: I first met her some years ago at a dry cleaning company where she was the new secretary. I had gone there to do my laundry. I gave her my number and asked her to call me. I was attracted to her; that was why I had to give her my number hoping that she would call. But she didn’t call me until after five days when she ‘flashed’ me.
Annie: We first met eight years ago before I gained admission into the university. Then, I worked at a laundry firm as a secretary. He had come that day to dry clean his clothes and I was the person that attended to him.
GT: What attracted me to my wife the first time I saw her was her beauty, then her simplicity. She was humble enough to want to be a secretary in a dry cleaning company. When I got to know her, I realised she was an amazing person and I fell in love with her character and everything. Her head is swelling as I say this (laughs).
Annie: I was attracted by his realness. He never tried to be what he was not. Also, he is hard working and a charming guy. But before then, I had a huge crush on him as an artiste.
GT: We got married on April 23, 2016.
Annie: Yes, but we had our introduction in March, same year.
GT: It’s been amazing. But it has also had its challenges, there have been ups and downs, but we always surmount them.
Annie: The journey has been a beautiful one, although we have our differences, we always find a way to resolve them. And now that we have a beautiful baby, it is even more wonderful and amazing.
GT: Very often, because we are two different people with different upbringings and views about life. There is to every possibility that we would clash at some point in terms of ideas and how we view life and issues. At the end of the day, what is important is always reaching a middle ground, including the fact that we love each other genuinely and want to make our marriage work. We consider each other’s point of view and settle for the best logical solution. We always settle it. It is normal for people to disagree and be angry at each other for a few minutes.
Annie: First and foremost, I don’t see having disagreement as a bad thing because the best decisions are often a product of a heated debate. Gone are the days when the opinions of women are thrown in the thrash. As a sociologist, I have strong and conservative opinions on certain issues. But, also as an African woman, I know how to express my views without being disrespectful. If it is intense, we give each other space as long as it won’t exceed a day. But then, he apologises first.
GT: For some very funny reasons, I find myself being friends with people who are not necessarily from my tribe or of my religion. My best friend in secondary school was a Muslim and most of my best friends are Igbo. That said, I didn’t know I would marry an Igbo woman. It wasn’t that I was looking specifically for an Igbo woman. But then, I fell in love with her and couldn’t help but to marry her. Travelling all the way to Anambra State was tedious but it was worth it.
Annie: It has been good so far. Being in love with a Yoruba ‘boy’ got so many people talking. They asked questions like, “Didn’t you see an Igbo man, as beautiful as you are? Do you want to ‘waste’ your beauty on a Yoruba man?” And I was like, “What has beauty got to do with who I waste it on?” This is the person I love; so I don’t play inter-tribal or ethnicity cards. I have wonderful parents and they didn’t see a problem with our relationship, because they believe that we are one Nigeria. They gave me their blessings.
GT: Sometimes, we go to a local bar to eat catfish and pepper soup, or we stay at home to play chess.
Annie: I play chess with my husband or we watch television and Mexican soaps. As a nursing mother, I relax when my baby is asleep.
GT: I believe parents are custodians of their children. We have been given a responsibility to look after and take care of them and breed responsible youths in the society. Being a dad for the first time was one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. I don’t think I can go a day without seeing my daughter’s face. The job of parenting is a tasking one. I would also like to appreciate my wife; she does most of the sleepless nights. The funny part is she wouldn’t bother to wake me up to support her, and she just allows me to sleep. It’s amazing.
Annie: My role as a parent has been a multitasking one. But I couldn’t have asked for anything else; having baby to nurture and cater for. I believe I will be the best parent and role model to her. Although at times, I feel I am not doing enough. It’s not easy, but at the same time, it’s really fun.
GT: It all depends on the couple. I and my wife don’t operate a joint account. But it is something we would love to do. It’s not compulsory. I’m indifferent to it.
Annie: The man’s money should be in the joint account while the woman’s money should be in her individual account (laughs). I’m just kidding. I’m also indifferent to it.
GT: Let me start with the entertainment industry. They say it would affect your marriage and all that, but for me, when I got married, that was when I even started to get more serious with my career. My wife has been very helpful and supportive. Sometimes, when I feel like not doing certain things, she is the one that ‘gingers’ me. When I write a song she is the first person that listens to it, and she would say, ‘no, I don’t like the way you sang it this way or that way. She points out all those little things before I record them. She sees all those little things. Also, another misconception is that some people feel inter-tribal marriage do not work. My father-in-law and mother-in-law have been amazing. It’s fun all the way. The only thing different is that I get to enjoy more of other people’s culture and their delicious food.
Annie: One of the misconceptions is that people believe inter-tribal marriage cannot work. When I was getting married to my prince charming, some people said all sorts of negative things about Yoruba people and that it won’t work, that it was always best to marry from one’s tribe. But they were wrong. I’m very happy in my marriage. Also, most people believe marriage is a bed of roses, it is not true. One needs to be well-cooked before entering the institution called marriage. Lastly, most people believe marriage can destroy one’s career, which is false. Even though I am yet to start working, I have dreams of being a career woman, and not just a housewife, with my second class upper degree in sociology. I’m waiting for the right time and opportunity.
GT: My wife doesn’t get jealous. She trusts me and knows what I can do. Also, she definitely knows the business side of music and she can separate the person from the personality.
Annie: I don’t think there is any cause for alarm. I trust my husband; he is very sincere and truthful to me. That is all that matters. The success of any brand can be measured by the love and appreciation he gets from the consumer. My husband, being a soulful singer, definitely attracts lots of attention and I’m excited about that. I’m not in any way jealous because the brand, GT da Guitar Man, is what we’ve nurtured together. GT da Guitar Man is the business, while the man behind the business is my husband.
GT: One of them was the wedding. I had to travel to Anambra State and the whole Igbo ceremony was amazing, from the introduction to the whole traditional rites. Another memorable moment was when we gave birth to our daughter in August last year. It was definitely one of the most memorable, if not the proudest, moment of my life. Every moment from then and now has been most memorable for me, because waking up to see two of them has been a dream come true for me.
Annie: I think my husband has said it all.
Contact: [email protected]
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My definition of fatherhood is traditional and to a certain extent, this traditional definition is worldwide except for the changes on issues relating to feminism, equality and so on. But the responsibilities as a father remain the same. One, if you decide to have children, ensure that you build them up within certain cultural frameworks. Two, you have to respect their traditions and cultures. Three, in respecting their traditions and cultures, they will in turn respect the values, ethics and integrity of the cultures and traditions.
Also, we live in a world where we give and take. The world thus becomes a better place if you think more of what you can contribute to the community rather than what you can take from it. There is a saying that a child does not belong to the parents alone, he or she also belongs to the community.
One of the other areas that people talk about in parenting is that one should give children good education. When one does that, one has given the children lifetime insurance because at a later stage, they can look after themselves. But one thing that is increasingly missing but I am happy that in most cases it is still there, is the responsibility of the children to look after their parents in their old age.
Nowadays, many children are lucky because by dint of hard work, their parents have achieved something. I am using the word parents because fathers alone cannot cater for their children. Mothers also play important roles. The combination of both parents is better than placing all on either the father or the mother. That is why, to a certain extent, I support those African women who say they are not feminists but womanists and they call their movement African womanism. This is important for all of us. One of the things I am disappointed with in Nigeria is the copying of European nations by the appointing minister of women affairs. To me, it is co-toeing blindly and stupidly adopting the European nations’ notion that women are suffering and therefore need a special ministry. Everybody knows that the family is the foundation of any community and communities are the foundation of any country. Therefore, we need a ministry of family affairs to replace women affairs. Now, we are seeing the declining roles of men and one day, we shall start finding not only feminism but also making men feel that they are not up to their responsibilities. But again, in the case of Nigeria, most African countries and in traditional African society, woman and men accept one another’s roles in bringing up holistic children.
I got married in 1967 and I think my first child came in 1970.
Yes, I was in the army. I got commissioned in the army in 1967.
It is a modern thing. In the past nobody bothered about that. We copy the . We believe that once the do anything, it must be right. In my own opinion, I do not see the need for it. It is not necessary. You are not the doctor, so what can you do? But if there are men who want to hold their wives’ hands during labour, I say good luck to them.
That is also a modern thing. Most households have house helps or relations who help with house chores. You must remember that at the time, few men were interested in doing that. There are some highly qualified women even abroad who have to stay at home to take care of their babies and resume work after weaning them. Now, things are difficult and both the husband and wife are working because they need more money. But I can tell you that there are still fantastic women in this world who are coping and love to take care of their babies. There are also some men who share responsibilities with their wives.
When I left school in 1963, there were many opportunities. In King’s College in those days even before we completed our studies, people came to recruit apart from the recruitment into the civil service. I and other colleagues were employed by the Nigerian Tobacco Company as mangers in training. After a year, I found the job boring and I was interested in electronics. There was a day I saw an advertisement of the Nigerian Army. I decided to apply for the fun of it. I was shortlisted and I took an examination and they said I passed. Later, we went for a test in Kaduna.
I was the goalkeeper for the Nigerian Tobacco Football Team when I was there. We went round the states to play football. Also at King’s College, we were encouraged to participate in sports such as cricket, hockey etc. Nobody was allowed to be idle. Inter-house sports competitions were also intense at the time. All these helped me in the Nigerian Army when I joined because I was physically fit.
Anyone who has no time for his family must be searching for money rather than creating time to discuss and relax with them. As a soldier, one thing I never did was to beat or spank my children. I never did that. What I did was to sit and talk to them if they did anything wrong. I would let them know that what they did was wrong. At the end of the day, they would be ashamed of what they did. If the offending child is the elder, I encourage the child to set good examples for the younger ones. I think to a certain extent I have been lucky in that regard.
I told you that I was only very lucky. Yoruba say ‘abi ko’ and ‘ako gba.’ The first, the child is not trained and the other, the child is trained but he or she refuses training. Some children only behave well when they see the cane. Parents have to look at the psychological makeup of a child to know how to handle the child. Each child is different and children often look at the way one treats other people to learn. For instance, a child comes to ask for a wrist watch because he or she saw one with a friend; you do not want to buy it and tell the child to wait till he or she attains a certain age. In many cases, the child will cry. In that case, I would give the child two options: either move into the house of his or her friend if he or she desires a new father or get the wrist watch in place of other vital things.
I never did. From my experience in the army, I was not too impressed with its incursion into politics. I have been opportune to travel a lot because the army was very kind to me really. Because the army was in politics, those of us who decided to stay outside politics were not given the opportunity to run the army properly. Some of the brilliant officers needed in the army were given political positions. Also, those given political positions were there because of what they could get and not for what they would do. This created careerism in the army instead of professionalism. Thus, I did not want to encourage any of my children to join the armed forces.
No, I would not. I had a great time in the military. If I had another option, I would join the army but one that would not join politics.
As much as possible, I try to keep my family out of what I do. My wife has her own profession. She does what she can do in her own way. She does not need to introduce herself as wife of Gen. Ishola Williams to be recognised in her profession.
She is a retired professor of agricultural economics at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. My children are also doing well in their chosen disciplines. There are certain expectations I have about them not in terms of career but behaviour and their attitude to life. I always tell them to be selfless and be kind to others. And that in all they do, they should reflect on the saying that, (A good name is better than riches). I also told them never to underestimate their potential and differentiate between their needs and wants. If they fulfill their needs, their wants are luxuries. Hence, if there is anybody with unmet needs, they should take from their needs to help the person. They try as much as possible to live up to expectations.
You will need to ask them if you see them. But I can assure you that they are not into anything that is bad.
I cannot say that because the past is gone and it is gone.
My father was a disciplinarian and he taught me discipline even before I joined the army. I learnt from him not to smoke and the need for one to fulfill one’s responsibilities and carry out any given task dutifully. One thing I did not learn from him was his dress style. He loved to dress in suits and other attire. I was not interested in that. He wanted me to be a civil servant like him but I refused. He loved lawn tennis and also wanted me to learn it but I had interest in other sports.
There are some things that no matter the period or society one belongs to, they are bad if one does them. No society encourages stealing for example. Our young people are now chasing money. I always say that in the past when two young people intend to build a future together, they say, , suggesting that if they work hard, things will take shape. Later, lovers mumbled, , which means: to God be the glory for being introduced or told who to marry. Of course, nobody wants to marry a jobless person. Now, it is ; meaning if they want to marry, it is either parents of the boy or the girl are rich. Also, the case is now , suggesting that either the boy or girl’s parents have stolen so much or claimed they worked so hard to become billionaires. So, most young people will want to marry .
Corruption is a structure of Nigeria. If we do not change the structure, we cannot tackle corruption. I am surprised that Nigerians are still saying President Muhammadu Buhari has not eradicated corruption. The crooks are the governors and members of the National Assembly. Why did I say this? If the governors and lawmakers say they want to change Nigeria today, all they need to do is to amend the constitution to embrace a federalist structure that all can be proud of. Then pass the law to the state houses of assembly. If the president refuses to sign, then two- third of the House will override it.
Contact: [email protected]
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A popular online platform posed an interesting question and answer, “If a husband earns N20,000 as monthly salary, while the wife earns N100,000, what is the total amount or money in the house? Answer: N20,000.”
In a study of 1,051 couples in the United States, a group, Fidelity Investments, discovered that 40 per cent of couples got the question wrong when they were asked separately how much their partner earned. It noted that one in 10 misjudged their partner’s income by more than $25,000.
While there are no available statistics in Nigeria on that, some men who spoke to differed on whether they would tell their wives about their earnings.
A banker, Mr. Andy Ubong, identified lack of trust between couples as responsible for the lies they tell one another about their earnings.
Ubong, who has been married for 13 years, said, in some situations, husbands are forced to lie to their wives about their actual earnings.
He stated, “They may lie for various reasons, which could include lack of trust or a cheating spouse. But I must also say that when one keeps lying to one’s spouse, one is courting trouble. I have learnt from past experiences. But for very rich couples who seem to have everything and pay all the bills, it may be unnecessary, especially where it seems one party may take advantage of the other. But it’s usually better if both parties discuss and reach an agreement on which situation suits them best.”
A businessman, Mr. Bode Fagade, who has been married for six years, said there was no need for him to tell his wife his monthly earnings because he ‘pays the bills.’
“If a husband knows exactly how much his wife is earning, he may want to shirk his financial responsibilities. I think the key word here is balance. In my case, although I am a businessman, I don’t let my wife know how much I make even though I trust her to be responsible with money. But since I take care of her expenses and that of my children and the home, there is no need for that. But for some men, they don’t trust their wives with their financial details because their wives are spendthrifts or heavy shoppers,” he said.
A communications expert, Mr. Obiora Chidi, noted that some men do not like revealing all their earnings to their wives because of their financial responsibilities.
He said, “Men are expected to be the bread winners of their homes. Thus, they have to be more accountable concerning their income and spending, especially if the income is meagre. But if the husband earns so much and is a ‘big boy,’ his wife doesn’t have to know exactly how much he earns as the bills are paid and other demands are met.
“My wife has always known my earnings. However, I try to keep away information on commissions I receive as I notice that once my wife knows I have extra cash, impromptu demands start arising. But, since we are quite close and open, I often do not keep such information for too long because I cannot make significant purchases without her asking questions,” said Chidi who has been married for five years.
However, it is not only the men that do not think it is necessary to disclose one’s salary to their wives. For 41-year-old mother of two, Ngozi Chima, it depends on how much trust the couple has built over the years.
Chima added, “I have been married for about 10 years but I have never disclosed my actual salary to my husband because he is a typical African man; most of our men like to be bossy and controlling because of their ego. They may feel slighted or inferior if they discover that their wives earn more than they do and may think that the woman would use it against them in the future. So, it is better for the wife to say she earns less than her actual salary because it would make the man feel more important.’’
Nevertheless, a banker, Mrs. Gladys Okon, said husbands and wives should be transparent about their earnings. She said she and her husband of eight years were open about their finances from the beginning.
She said, “It’s not an issue because we have always been open to each other about our finances right from the time we started dating. Married couples should be open to each other about their earnings; after all, they are both running the home.”
A businesswoman, Mrs. Moyo Adewale, said, “I know how much my husband earns and he knows how much I earn monthly, but he does not know about the worth of my quarterly payments, benefits, and so on.”
Adewale noted that this slight adjustment of available facts helps her to save for the rainy day and take care of personal expenses.
“To be honest, I don’t really care about how much he earns as long as the bills get paid. If he is unable to meet obligations (which should not be recurrent), then I can assist. What he earns is up to him. Obviously, it’s wrong to lie. If your spouse asks, tell him or her how much you earn. Both parties should have a fair idea of what each party earns; ‘fair’ being the key word,” she further said.
A marriage counsellor, Mrs. Bose Fawehinmi, said the ideal situation is for couples to be transparent about their finances from the start.
She said doing so would eliminate suspicion among couples and give them peace of mind.
“How much one earns should be communicated and there should be no secrets or hanky-panky,’’ she noted.
Fawehinmi further said keeping secrets jeopardise relationships, especially marriages.
She added, “If the woman earns more and she doesn’t want the man to feel threatened, if she decides to be cagey or secretive about her earning, there might be trouble the day the husband finds out the truth because it would look like a betrayal. The woman is simply postponing a problem that may arise in the future as a result. If the man is not secure enough to handle it, that may cause a lot of problems.”
The marriage counsellor also noted that couples would gain more from their relationships if they were open to one another about their income.
She said, “If both are transparent about their finances, they would be able to plan very well, because they both know how much they earn. The wife would not be making undue demands on the husband because she assumes he has N500,000 kept somewhere. If one doesn’t know, then one can assume, and assumption can be faulty.
“Another benefit is that it saves them from habitually lying about their finances and relieves them of unnecessary pressure. When one tells a lie, one has to keep telling more lies to sustain the first lie.’’
For couples who attach a caveat to their marital oath of faithfulness and honesty, especially regarding their incomes, Fawehinmi advised them to be more open to one another.
Noting that husbands play vital role in managing the financial responsibilities in homes, she advised couples to merge their incomes into one that belongs to the entire family.
Contact: [email protected]
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I’m a businesswoman and mother of triplets. I’m happily married to someone I call my best friend. We met when I was just 18 years. But we didn’t really start talking until about six months later.
We began dating roughly a year after we met; we courted for three years. We got married January 8, 2015.
I call them baby one, two and three. The first is Alison, the second is Audrey and the third is Alexis. I gave birth to them on July 1, 2015. They are my first and final set of children (laughs).
Giving good education to triplets is not a joke. At their ages, I know how much my husband spends on tuition. I don’t plan to have any more children.
Not at all; that is not my case, I conceived them naturally. What would a girl of 22 years be looking for at a fertility centre? My mother is a twin and she gave birth to a set of twins. My grandmother is a twin and her twin sister also gave birth to twins.
I didn’t even know I was pregnant until I got to the hospital. I was already two or three months into the pregnancy. I decided to go to my family hospital for checkup when I began to have strange stomach pains. When I got the hospital, the junior doctor on duty ran a scan and he was surprised by what he saw. I still remember his words, “I don’t understand what I’m seeing. I don’t know if they are two or three.” I didn’t take what he said seriously. When I looked at the scan screen, I saw three babies. I closed my eyes and opened them again, but this time I saw two babies on the screen. He said the third baby may have ‘hidden.’ I left the hospital not bothered by the scan result; I thought it was false. The senior doctor then called me on the phone and asked me to come back to the hospital. He said his colleague alerted him that I was pregnant with twins. When I went back, he ran a scan and said I was pregnant with triplets. I jokingly told him to check properly, he might see the fourth baby. I still didn’t take him serious. I began to laugh and cry at the same time; I begged him to please run another scan. At that point, the fact that I was pregnant with triplets hit me hard.
I called my mother on the phone and told her. She just said “Okay, go home. Well done.” I never imagined I would be pregnant with triplets. When I called my husband on the phone and told him, he said I was joking. He didn’t believe that I was pregnant with triplets until I put to bed. Whenever I came home with the three scan results, he would say it was one baby’s scan result that was split into three places. I always begged him to buy three set of clothes, but he would object, saying I needed rest. After some time, I decided to buy my babies’ clothing myself. I ensured I bought three set of each outfits.
My family members said I was stubborn. I drove until a day before I put to bed. I also wore high heels; being pregnant didn’t deter me from looking good. Everything seemed normal until the day I put to bed. I needed to be delivered of my babies because of the body pains I was feeling. When I went to the hospital for checkup, my blood pressure was about 140. I was discharged after the tests. But around 2am that morning, I wasn’t feeling good; I begged one of my neighbours to drive me to the hospital. When the nurse checked my blood pressure, it was reading 160. By then my legs were swollen. I eventually gave birth to my babies when I was just seven months pregnant.
I felt so relieved; I was speechless and excited. I shed tears of joy.
My mother, siblings and relatives. They were very supportive. After I gave birth, I usually had about 17 people in my house; they were all there to assist me. Being a mother of three babies hasn’t been easy. Since they were born, we have spent so much money.
I don’t know who shared it; all I did was to post a picture of myself with my girls. Before I knew, it was all over the Internet. But I’m grateful to whoever posted my picture because it made people show love to my girls. They received many gifts.
When they turn their back; I can’t tell who is standing in front of me if I don’t see the face. Even when they are sleeping, I cannot differentiate them except I see their faces. When they were younger, I used to bathe one baby twice; I was confused with their resemblance.
Yes, I knew how each of them behaved right from when they were born. My first girl truly behaves like an older sister, as if she knows she came out of my womb first. My second girl has been nicknamed ‘inspector general.’ Whenever the three of them are sleeping and a stranger walks into the house, she wakes up. She studies whoever that person is, if it is a familiar face, she goes back to sleep. But if it is someone she isn’t familiar with, she begins to cry and tries to wake up her siblings. The third girl is on the quiet side; she minds her business.
I think my second girl; she behaves like me. But they all resemble me.
I am grateful to God that I am alive. After I put to bed, I lost a lot of blood. My blood level was down to 19 per cent. My doctor was scared that I was going to have cardiac arrest. It was a challenging period. Every time I look at my girls, my heart is filled with joy.
Contact: [email protected]
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Deji: I met my beautiful wife at the annual area youth convention in our church, The Apostolic Church. We attended different branches but would meet at the area convention annually. Aside from that, some other church programmes would also bring the youths together at least six times in a year. I had observed her for a while and I liked the way she carried herself and engaged with her sisters, her demeanour and humility. Her presence comes with such a sweet graceful aura that would compel you to want to come closer.
Yemi: I met my husband in 1985 in church at the choir rehearsal for our annual convention in Ikenne, Ogun State. I simply thought, ‘Hmmm… here is a fine looking guy, too dark, but not bad looking.’ That was all. There wasn’t really a ‘toasting’ as such. We became friends, we wrote to each other regularly and I suppose the content of our letters spoke plenty without being direct. We became so fond of each other so much that things naturally fell into place.
Was it love at first sight?
Deji: Ours was not love at first sight! It was a love that evolved, developed and blossomed over time; nurtured by us, encouraged by close friends and blessed by God. As I said earlier, we met at one of the church’s youth programmes and we liked each other. We became so close that we discussed private and personal issues and we were always looking forward to those meetings. Eventually, it became obvious to us both that it was not a thing we could stop or wish away!
Deji: To be honest, from the onset, she stood out in so many ways; and that was one of the things I liked in her. They were six of them that were outstanding in the whole youth then, and they were all from the same family, herself and her sisters. Her father had just retired from Shell Petroleum in Port Harcourt and had brought all of them back home. But among the whole girls, she, though the shortest, (not the smallest) stood out clearly in so many ways!
Yemi: I became attracted to him as a result of his sincerity and kindness. He’s very genuine. He’s never afraid to admit to a mistake and apologise for it. He sees the good in everyone and always has a kind word for people. He is nice to a fault but I love him like that.
Yemi: While I was hoping that he would one day ask me to marry him, I wasn’t sure how he would do it, so when he pulled that stunt and I saw him on his knee with cake in hand one afternoon, I was overwhelmed and said a resounding YES! By then, we had been dating for five years, I was crazily in love with this dude and even more so now.
Yemi: We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs in our marriage. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly and we made the best of it all. This year marks our 25th wedding anniversary and we intend to celebrate it in a special way with close friends and family. The first few years were challenging but God saw us through it all. I think we were able to weather the storm those tough times because of God’s grace and mercy, the genuine love we had for each other and our friendship. Beyond being husband and wife, we are best friends. We talk and chat a lot, argue, quarrel, disagree to agree about so many things and we laugh together a lot. He makes me laugh so much and has made me cry in times past. We’ve done it all together. We have learnt so much and grown together through it all. We now share what we’ve learnt over the years with anyone who desires to make their marriage work through our DY Relationship Clinic. We are business partners and the best part is that we work together, so we get to mix business with pleasure a lot. Every business trip is a ‘holiday.’ We make the best of it. Plus we spend a lot of time with the children when we are home to make up for when we are not. Our kids are grown and are still growing, so they have become accustomed to us being away often.
Deji: We quarrel a good bit. It looks like quarrelling has become a tonic to the relationship because it has helped us to get along really well. Where two highly intelligent people come together in marriage and they truly love each other, they cannot avoid quarrelling, unless there’s some pretence all along. And I’ll say also that it is not healthy for couples to run away from quarrelling. In our relationship, there’s no pretence, malice or any form of ill-feeling. However, I need to say clearly that, we are very mindful of how we quarrel. We are great friends and there’s no compromising that. So, we don’t quarrel with our eyes closed; but instead, we quarrel as friends. When we quarrel, we focus on the issue, not on ourselves. There’s never a situation of name calling or insults. Naturally, we both respect each other and we appreciate that a lot. I always say that I don’t think there is a happily married couple who quarrel as much as we do.
Deji: Well, that depends on who overcomes the state first. There’s no set pattern for apologising first. What is important to us at this stage is not apologies but the understanding that has grown and keeps growing between us.
Yemi: He has always had women around him from the first day I met him not just as an actor. He sowed his wild oats with admirers in the early years of his acting career and at this stage of his life, he has drawn the line. He is a fine man and any woman’s dream-man, so if he didn’t have admirers, that would be a surprise. But that’s all they are, admirers. I know many would give an arm and a leg to be more than admirers, but that ship sailed long ago. Everyone likes to, and needs to be appreciated; it is part of life, so I love watching him enjoy the attention. It’s good for him and indeed anyone for that matter who knows their onions. On numerous occasions, I have been the ‘photographer’ for some of the female admirers who see him and get all excited and mushy. Then they ask me “please ma, do you mind if we take a picture with him?”and I go “of course not, where’s your phone, I’ll do the honours.” Then they start to giggle like school girls and ask him loads of questions. Now it’s like watching a movie and I love it. Once the conversation starts, I take a step back and watch. He’s very good with them. He tries to answer as many questions as he can.
Deji: We don’t keep a joint account but we keep common interest. One mind, one direction, one goal; and that I recommend to couples. It is not easy to achieve that but if it is set out, it can be achieved. Whether the money is in your account or mine, it is our money and we both need to know that. Whatever money is spent on has to be in the interest of both parties in marriage. No selfishness in spending. There’s a whole lot to be said about this joint account issue. But for the purpose of this interview, I want to say clearly that, joint account does not guarantee happiness or peace; rather, it brings a lot of headaches if not well handled.
Deji: My wife’s pet name is ‘Ibadiaran’ and she calls me Val!
Deji: We love to excite ourselves, especially now that we are still very young. We make a conscious decision to go on dates and holidays. We have our ‘nights of pleasure,’ when we send the kids with messages to each other, we watch movies together. I love cooking for her and she makes me feel so good because she gives my cooking the best compliments and enjoys them thoroughly. We share our thoughts and ideas with each other, we cuddle and kiss a lot. My wife loves that so much. She is so cosy to cuddle and she is a great kisser which makes it hard for me to keep my hands off her. We intend to continue to sustain that for as long as we both live, because for us, those are good ways to relax, catch up and get some excitement. We love to be in each other’s company, and we don’t pretend about that. At the moment, we work together in the same company, and that too was deliberately planned. God has helped us so much that, we trade in the same field of endeavour; even though we did not start out like that, it gradually panned out that way. We work together in our own company and that too is excitement for us. We look out for each other and we have each other’s back any day.
Deji: Two outstanding moments would remain the most memorable time for me. One would be the unimaginably exotic surprise 50th birthday my wife organised for me in Dubai, bringing some of my good friends together, in a top class arrangement. She blew my mind! I cannot say enough “thank you” to her in this life. And the other would be that special grace God granted me, that I was able to give my own daughter’s hand in marriage. The glory and honour for that to the Almighty!
Yemi: Be sincere, fear God, love, respect and be faithful to your spouse. Don’t be selfish, marriage is not all about you. It stopped being just about you when you said “I do.” Enjoy what you have right in front of you as what you’re struggling to have might either never come or might come at a time when you are too old to enjoy it. Life is too short, enjoy the time you’ve got. Show your children good examples. They follow what you do, not what you say.
Contact: [email protected]
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One of Nigeria’s foremost lawyers, Yusuf Ali, SAN, tells MOTUNRAYO JOEL some of his experiences as a father
A father to me is somebody who is responsible for his children and knows that children are a gift from God and they must be treated as such. A father should know that children are entitled to good education, welfare and proper behaviour. A father must be a role model to his children. As a father, you must also be kind to your wife.
It is a mixture of good and bad. When I lost my wife in 2004, the full weight of parenting fell on me. But I was lucky because I was close to my children. The transition was difficult, but it wasn’t an impossible task for me. I didn’t find it hard relating with them. In my little way, I tried to fill the gap left by their mother. While my wife was alive, she was virtually the only one who visited them in school. But when she passed on, I had to fill that gap. With the little time I had, I had to create time for that. I had to do the things she used to do. Other memorable experiences were my children’s graduation and weddings – they were all memorable and happy occasions for me. My grandchildren’s birthdays are also memorable.
I have four children and two grandchildren.
God has been kind to me since it happened. It was easy for me to understand that her death was an irreversible occurrence, which made it easy for me to move on. I summoned courage and forged ahead. And because of my faith, it was easy for me to understand that God gives and takes. It was God’s doing; He can never be wrong. I had a duty to be there for my children despite her death. Family and friends were also very supportive.
We were quite close before their mother passed on, and they all reaslied that I was now their mother. Once, one of my daughters called me on phone from England to wish me happy mother’s day. She said I doubled as their mother and father. Whenever they had any challenge, they confided me. That strengthened our bond.
It made me realise that life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect it to be. One should not also rely on anyone but God. I still recall gathering my children together and telling them that. I also told them that the only way they can have a peaceful life is for them not to depend on anyone. After their mother’s death, I told them not to expect people to rally round them; they should not even expect their mother’s friends to come around. I think that helped them and made them stronger.
Yes I did, I assisted my wife in caring for our children. In fact, I think I ‘backed’ all of them while they were babies. I would do this whenever they were crying or needed to sleep. Though there were things I didn’t do, but I played with them and fed them. Once, I travelled with one of my daughters to Ibadan, Oyo State. It was just me and her; she was about a year old. Most men would feel scared travelling such a distance with a year old, but that was not my case.
Every day of our 20 years of marriage was memorable. For 20 years, no third party got involved in our marriage. We lived a happy life. Each day we spent together was blissful.
I was tough on them, but I’m glad my tough nature paid off. Whenever they misbehaved, mere looking at them sent shivers down their spine. I was a bit hard on my first two children. I had this anxiety of not wanting them to be spoilt. I think every father passes through that phase. My last two children didn’t receive as much hardness. They learnt from their siblings.
It has made me more responsible and to also appreciate life more. No doubt, it has brought me joy. Watching my children grow up and give birth to children of their own is a thing of joy. Seeing them excel in their professions brings me joy. I have learnt that the role a father plays in the lives of his children is extremely important.
I don’t think so; I think I have lived a consistent, one-way life. I am happy with the way my life has turned out to be and I am happy with all I have instilled in the lives of my children.
I think it is silly to think that way. When one tells that they have given birth, I don’t ask them for the sex of their child. There are millions of women who may never bear children, why then should one be bothered about the sex of a child? One should be grateful one has a child. The only thing I pray for is to have a healthy child.
My second child is a lawyer; she was called to bar in 2007.
No, I never did. All I advised my children to do was to follow their passions. I advise parents not to influence their children’s career choices. I am happy all my children are in different professions.
My first child is a chartered accountant; the second is a lawyer; the third is a medical doctor and the last is an engineer.
Not all; in fact I never wished for that. I know families of all lawyers that have become problematic. I am happy all my children are not lawyers. Variety is the spice of life; I am lucky to have my children in different professions.
I have a child who is rounding off his PhD, whenever I give him pocket money, he must give an account on how he spent the money. It is my money, so I should know how he spends it. For me, children must be taught how to be accountable. I don’t believe that children should be spoilt with money. Whatever money I give them, I request an account on how it is spent.
I advise them to pray hard, but work harder. They should do to others what they would want others do to them. I tell them to be fair and just in their dealings with people. They should not cheat or build a life of fraud. They must be able to justify all they have achieved in life.
They live a private life. Apart from family occasions, you would not know they are my children. They live a quiet life and are well behaved.
He was a civil servant. One of the greatest things I learnt from my father is uprightness and integrity. He was a strict disciplinarian. We used to call him a ‘hard’ man; he never spared the rod. When my siblings and I were younger, we used to think he was our enemy. It was when we became adults that we realised he did all he did out of love. He was a loving father in spite of his strictness. Surprisingly, he wanted me to study agriculture. He worked at an agricultural research institute and had young guys ‘boss’ him around because they studied agriculture. He didn’t like the way he was treated, so he said if I studied agriculture, I would be able to ‘boss’ people around too.
Contact: [email protected]
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Married couples share their opinions about the implications of checking one another’s mobile phones with GBENGA ADENIJI
Mrs. Bisola Oluwole used to enjoy checking her husband’s mobile. She told that she wasn’t expecting to see anything unusual on his phone but she did it out of love.
The businesswoman added that she stopped doing so when she noticed that he did not like it.
She said, “My husband and I have different views about certain messages. In my opinion, I think it is best if married couples do not check one another’s phones. A spouse that will cheat will cheat whether one check’s his/her phone or not.’’
Phone privacy is a major issue in many homes. While some do not see any big deal in their partners checking their phones, others detest such and do not hesitate to say so whenever the need arises.
One of the latter is a UK-based comedian and compere, Ebenezer Oloyede, who strongly objected to partners checking one another’s phones.
He said, “It is about privacy and everybody is entitled to privacy.’’
Also, a care giver, Mrs. Folashade Adewole, said women should not check or snoop on their husband’s phones to avoid being troubled by startling messages.
“There is no need checking one’s hubby’s phone unnecessarily. If you have reasons to make use of your partner’s phone, that is understandable. Even if you have the password to his or her phone, give him or her the deserved privacy. However, if your hubby is fond of using a password for his/her phone and picks calls far away from you so that you do not eavesdrop on conversations, then it calls for suspicion,’’ she said.
Saying she does not check her husband’s phone, Adewole added, “What am I looking for? I’m too busy to have time for such frivolities! However, that does not mean I do not use his phone if the need arises.’’
A UK-based accountant, Charles Amadi, noted that there should be no good reason why married couples should be checking one another’s phones.
Amadi said, “In my opinion, either of the couple should cultivate the habit of not checking each other’s phone. They should remember that before agreeing to say ‘I do’, they must have been convinced about the persons they desired to spend the rest of their lives with. Why the doubt afterwards that make partners start snooping on one another’s phones? Trust me, that’s the beginning of losing trust and sooner than expected, such would tear the relationships apart.’’
He also recounted an event that almost broke his marriage. “Before I got married, I had some messages and pictures of my ex on my phone. Honestly, I didn’t even remember them until my wife started fiddling with my phone. She started asking questions upon questions. Then she came with the thoughts of infidelity. It was so bad that I nearly gave up on the marriage that night. But thanks to God, we were able to resolve it the following morning,’’ Amadi noted.
A civil servant, Mrs. Adunni Lawani, also shared Amadi’s position. She noted that married persons, especially women, should know that it’s unsafe to check their husbands’ phones if they wished to keep their marital sanity.
Lawani noted, “There are many temptations out there for men and women. Married couples should treat their spouses’ phones as private. Personally, even if I have the opportunity, I will never check my husband’s phone, not because I am afraid, but because I want to keep my peace.”
Another lady, Serah Eloho, however, said there was nothing wrong in married couples checking one another’s phones.
She said, “I believe husbands and wives should be open with each other in all things. I know the password of my hubby’s phone and he has mine. I am free to pick up his phone and use anytime I want to. He does same with my phone. Both of us are comfortable doing that.’’
A lawyer who currently works in the US, Mr. Tosin Agboola, also argued that when two people get married, they become one.
Agboola said, “I believe couples should have access to one another’s phones. There should not be any big issue regarding phones. A man loses his privacy the day he gets married. A married man should not hide anything from his wife.”
A new twist was added by a bank worker, Mr. Samuel Adigun, who said he decided using an android phone with a fingerprint sensor to prevent his wife from snooping on his phone.
Adigun, who works with one of the leading commercial banks in the country, said, “I use a phone with a fingerprint sensor to avoid trouble. Even if the manufacturer allows about five prints, my wife’s will not be part of them because I do not want trouble in any form. I do not pick her phone and I do not expect her to pick mine.”
A study conducted in the UK and published in noted that many partners who didn’t give free access to each other’s phones or email accounts do snoop.
According to the study, 34 per cent of women in relationships, and 62 per cent of men, admitted to snooping through a partner’s phone.
It added that among those who snooped, 89 per cent admitted that they did it to determine whether a partner was cheating — and in nearly half of those cases, their suspicions were correct.
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08173842942 (sms only)
The first thing you need to do is to stop feeling sorry for yourself and forgive yourself for the past mistakes you made. Don’t let these incidents affect your confidence; but learn to be more attentive to your parents and focus on doing the right thing always. I believe your parents love you and only scold you because they want you to become better. What are the things that make them happy? Do more of it. I have no doubt that they love you. You may consider writing them a letter about your feelings. It’s sometimes helpful.
Underage drinking and smoking are legally wrong. As a teenager, you may get drunk if you take excess alcohol and invite disease if you smoke. Because some of your friends go behind their parents and engage in such activities doesn’t mean you should also do so. Focus more on doing other fun and educational activities and cut off from those friends. They will envy you in future when you begin to reap the fruits of your discipline.
Saying sorry is not a sign of weakness but strength. It does not matter if the person you offended is a lady. You should learn to respect the feelings of others and try not to hurt them. Even though it is sometimes hard for you to admit being wrong, it is the right thing to do. You will reap from doing so in future. You can begin by writing to apologise if it’s difficult to say it.
Contact: [email protected]
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Wearing identical clothes with her husband to social functions is something Mrs. Mayowa Bamisaiye treasures. The chubby, fair-complexioned woman does not see anything odd in the practice commonly called ‘anco’, particularly in the South-West.
The Osogbo, Osun State-based businesswoman said, ‘‘It shows a kind of togetherness in a relationship. I value it and cannot stop doing so for anything.’’
A teacher, Godspower Godwin, also said married couples should not be ashamed of wearing similar clothes to social or religious events together.
He said since the two had been joined as one, they should not hesitate to do things in common.
“Why should I be ashamed of putting on identical clothes with my wife? She is my spouse and by the solemn union we are one. The faith which I believe approves both of us to be one. We share and pursue same vision and motives. If it comes to outings, we will wear the same clothes for the occasion. It will give us a common identity,’’ Godwin added.
It is common to find young and old married couples in Nigeria wearing similar clothes with same colour pattern to social or religious gatherings. However, it is not all married couples that like the idea of donning same clothes with their partners to events. One of them is a teacher, Mr. Dare Adeyemo, who teaches in a private secondary school in Ogun State.
Adeyemo feels the idea does not connote love or unity as proponents of similar clothes earlier argued.
Adeyemo told that such ‘family uniform’ design had never been appealing to him.
He noted, “I don’t really like it. I had a little issue with my wife over it. I grudgingly agreed to wear same clothes with her on few occasions.’’
Mr. Rotimi Oyeneyin, who is a language consultant, noted that he used to agree to wearing matching attire with his wife to events but had stopped doing so.
He added, ‘‘I do not do that any longer. The reason is simple. Men’s favourite clothing materials are quite different from women’s. Men now appear more mature in plain materials while women feel more comfortable with lace, coil and other flashy and flowery materials.’’
According to him, married couples can be dressed in same colour which he said is okay to him but not same clothing material based on the reasons he already outlined.
An Osogbo, Osun State-based political activist, Mr. Segun Fajoyegbe, also faulted the idea.
He said he would only consider doing so if his family members were to compulsorily wear similar clothes to a particular occasion without anybody having a choice not to be part of it.
An entrepreneur, Mr. Gbolahan Edunjobi, however supported Bamisaiye and Godwin in their submissions. He added that his penchant for wearing matching clothes with his wife started a long time ago.
“I do that all the time. It gives me joy to do that with someone I love,’’ Edunjobi said.
On his part, a legal assistant in a popular Lagos-based hospital, Mr. Olumide Olasunkanmi, said it was customary for married individuals to wear similar clothes to outings together.
“In Yoruba land, when couples wear same clothes to occasions, it creates bonding beyond its customary importance. It is a good for spouses to wear same clothes when attending same event. Apart from the customary practice attached to it, it also serves as a means of identifying the couples and proving the existing love among them. I love wearing same clothes to any outing with my spouse, ’’ he stated.
An insurance practitioner, Mr. Babatunde Awofisan, said there was nothing wrong in married people putting on similar clothes to events, adding that such would go a long way in bonding the family.
Awofisan said, ‘‘To me, there is nothing wrong in couples wearing same clothes. It often shows those who encounter them that they belong to one family even without them explaining anything to anybody.’’
A father of one, Mr. Adedotun Eyinade, said he was indifferent to the idea of couples wearing similar clothes to same events.
Eyinade, who is a masters student of public policy at the University of Oxford, England, noted that many married couples see the idea as a way of exhibiting their togetherness.
He stated, “I suppose most couples see it as a way of exhibiting their unison to the public and the Yoruba that popularised the culture of literally translated as family attire consider it a family uniform of sort. On the whole, it’s different strokes for different folks.’’
For Mr. Fisayo Alo, he sees nothing wrong in married couples spotting same attire at events.
According to him, doing so gives more identity to the family.
Alo noted, ‘‘It also promotes love between the husband and wife. I wear same outfit with my wife occasionally. It helps to link the couples together.’’
The estate surveyor and valuer also ruled out the possibility of wearing same clothes with one’s wife constituting a security challenge, adding that the benefits were more.
“On whether the wearing of similar clothes can create security challenge for couples by making it easier for undesirable elements to identify or easily get at them, it can actually strengthen security and weaken it depending on the situation the couples find themselves. But on the whole, the advantages are huge.’’
A lawyer, Mr. Oludotun Ajamobe, said he could put on same attire with his wife, noting that such would be occasional and not taken as a tradition.
‘‘I really do not mind wearing same outfit with my wife but it won’t be a frequent activity,’’ he said.
Contact: [email protected]
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Fatherhood is the state of being a father. How do you become a father? You become a father by embarking on procreation first. After procreation, you start nurturing the child up to adulthood and beyond till you expire.
Yes I did. I had wanted to be a father a few years before but I had to wait for my wife to graduate.
Absolutely no fear at all until the moment my wife entered the labour ward. I was scared because she was in the labour room for over 24 hours. I almost broke down due to anxiety.
I became a father March 1985.
It was marvelous. I saw myself as the happiest man on earth. I saw it as a transformation from being a big boy to a man. The boy was also a replica. I remember my wife saying that he was a reduced photocopy of me.
Honestly, I cannot remember when I caned them last. My grandfather and father were great disciplinarians who never spared the rod. My father was the first to cane my son when we went visiting on a Christmas holiday. He was barely five years old then. Caning is no longer in vogue today. I remember one of my twins told me when he was barely six years old that he would report me to the police if I canned him and I would be jailed for child abuse. We were living in Germany then. He must have been influenced by his teachers and peers at school. So the milder persuasive method took over and it worked before they all left home.
As a lecturer, you should trust me on this. My wife is also a lecturer. We never imposed anything on them. Career choices started from the schools they attended. The role we played was to offer a back-up. By back-up I mean guiding them in having a second choice if the first fails. The first two were lucky. They got their first choice. The last two are twins. They got their back-up. They graduated last year.
I made all of them know that the academic profession is the best in the world. It didn’t work with my first son who trained as a lawyer. He prefers the hustle and bustle life of the business community. However, it appears to be working with my daughter who trained as a medical doctor and whose ambition is to be a consultant in a teaching hospital. The twins also are youth corps members now having graduated in microbiology from Bowen University last year. They are warming up for higher degrees in their field of study.
It did to a large extent. We lived a quiet life in Obafemi Awolowo University Staff quarters where the next neigbhour may be a friend from a great distance. We never dressed flamboyantly. Only our place of work, the church and a few occasional social gatherings took us out of the home. I spent more time in my study at home than in the sitting room and ‘the other room.’ I remember there was a day my first son came to join me in the study, drawing his cartoons. He was below 10 years old then. When my wife called us for dinner, my son said, ‘We are busy!’ Up till the time they left home, all my children spent more time in their rooms doing one thing or the other. I believe that habit hasn’t changed in their various homes now.
I never faced any extraordinary challenge. The challenges I faced are the normal challenges of any father: School fees, levies, etc. All my children lived in the boarding house in the secondary schools they attended. There was no adverse report on any of them.
I learnt cool-headedness and patience. I remember my daughter used to walk away from the lesson teacher at home without taking permission, on the flimsy excuse that she wanted snacks. The day I first noticed this, I was furious but the young lesson teacher told me not to get upset at that. She went to the corner where she was and used biscuits to persuade her to join her and her elder brother. It worked. The lesson I learnt from that is that a father should restrain from scolding his child at the slightest sign of misdemeanor. A child must be studied with patience for adequate understanding and effective correction.
Never. All I did was to hold on to their head and start praising them with rendition of the family panegyrics (oríkì). My daughter enjoyed the panegyrics so much that she never wanted me to stop. I also remember asking my wife to prepare their favourite meals (e.g. vegetable salad with various tasty ingredients) to celebrate their success. Gifts were meant for birthdays only and they are modest gifts that started with toys and ended with story books, novels, etc. as they grew up.
My wife belongs to the old school. She would have cleaned the whole house before anybody woke up, most especially on weekends. As the children grew up, my wife assigned house cleaning work to them in turns. I remember there was a timetable that indicated who cleans what and when. The opportunity of joining them in domestic chores never presented itself.
No hard part to it. My church (Methodist Church, Nigeria) gave me the mandate of moral regeneration which I carried out to the last letter. I addressed the students every Monday morning at the weekly devotions. It was christened ‘VC’s Charge’ by the university chaplain. Each message was on moral regeneration without quoting from any holy book. It was filled with philosophical messages from credible personalities in past and recent history. At the first graduation in October 2013, a compilation of the VC’s Charge’ was given free to every graduating student. Copies were dropped in the university’s bookshop for every student to possess. The students didn’t see me only as father figure; they saw me as a role model. I have chaired the wedding of two of them and I will chair another one this month. I have served as referee (and still continue to serve) to many of them who are now undergoing their postgraduate studies in the country and abroad. Right now, I am editing a book on moral regeneration written by one of them. She is a postgraduate student in the University of Ibadan. I remain in touch with a lot of them on telephone and email, exchanging pleasantries, mentoring and offering parental advice.
That was very simple. Being a new university, they were not many in number. So, I was able to handle them. The school’s anthem was composed before they resumed and it was handed over to them on their first day of resumption. The contents of the anthem helped in influencing their thinking. The students’ handbook too spelt out the rules and regulations as well as punitive measures for every offence. I made sure that disciplinary measures were applied to the letter without fear or favour. The problem I had was with certain parents, guardians and staff who felt that concessions should be given to their wards. I dealt with them decisively. The positive thing about being an unrepentant disciplinarian is that compliance with rules increased among the students with time. By my fourth year in office, offences that attracted capital punishment (i.e. expulsion) had decreased significantly. On restiveness, regular quarterly meetings with the Students’ Assembly as well as a very effective proactive security unit took care of this. Problems were nipped in the bud.
Life is not a bed of roses. Many obstacles are not real. They exist only in the imagination of cowards. At the beginning of each year, they should pray that their roads are rough. This means praying for challenges and the wherewithal to surmount them.
I have always praised her for her moderating influence in my life. She is a fantastic gift to me from God Almighty. I suspect I would not have been successful in marriage if I had married another person because most women don’t know how to cope with workaholics.
The first two have been trying as young people to find their feet and settle down. The other day I saw one of the twins with an android phone which his sister bought for him. I was so happy that she relieved me of the burden of buying the phone. Each time my first son, my daughter and my son-in-law travel home from Lagos to greet us in Ibadan or Ife, they bring along with them foodstuffs etc. I have started eating from my children but I thank God that I don’t depend on them for food.
They should be tutored on the notion that a child is a child irrespective of the gender. Many people don’t realise that their son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws are their children too. I have a friend in Ife whose children are all girls. All the girls are now married. He is one of the happiest fathers on earth. His son-in-laws are fantastic. I also know people with all boys who are not as happy as fathers should be. My advice to gender specific African fathers is to discard this chauvinistic notion and see every child as a gift from God irrespective of the gender.
After a heavy schedule at work, I rest for about one to two hours. Resting means stretching my body in the horizontal plane without any visible movement. My senses of sight and sound however remain active as I listen to and watch programmes passively on television. One of this is Pastor Ashimolowo’s ‘Winning Ways’ on . After this, I eat light food such as blended paste of plantain or fried crayfish from Àsejìré and cooked or fried fresh cheese (wààrà) from Ede Junction. On top of this light food, I pour a few glasses of red wine to take care of my heart that has been beating non-stop for more than 60 years.
Contact: [email protected]
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It is ‘beautiful, exciting and demanding.’
I would say time management and a lack of sleep. Twenty-four hours seem not to be enough time for a day. It would be nice if mothers could have like two or three extra magical hours daily. Motherhood comes with a lot of responsibilities and my baby usually takes most of my time. Even when we are not together, I am still thinking about her. The luxury of waking up late or sleeping all through the night is totally gone. I wake up to feed her and also check if her diaper is soiled and needs to be changed. I actually remember the first few times she slept all through the night, I kept waking up to see if she needed anything and she just kept sleeping peacefully. By the early hours of the morning I couldn’t bear it any longer; I just had to carry and cuddle her.
The funny thing about taking care of babies is that everything looks so programmed, yet un-programmed, because she is constantly growing and changing. For example, when I am trying to adjust to a particular habit, she picks up a new one and I just have to follow the tide. The day you expect her to sleep early, she might decide to stay up late and play; she is a very cheerful child. There are days she insists on taking breast milk only. When she began to crawl and move around the house, I literarily became a monitoring robot. Sometimes, I have to pull her out from under the table to ensure that she is not playing with anything dangerous so she doesn’t hurt herself. Still, it is a very beautiful and exciting experience, but I usually cannot get things done as fast as I used to before now.
I would say the difference is absolutely clear. Before I had my baby I could go anywhere at whatever time I felt was okay, but now I have to consider her before going anywhere and there is this silent sense of urgency I can’t explain; I always need to return home on time. Every outing is planned, and I only attend ceremonies or meetings that are important. I also have to ensure that I feed well to enable her get the right nutrients. If she is stooling a bit more frequently than normal, I have to cut down on vegetables and fruits; if she is not stooling as frequently as she should, I have to cut down on bread and eat more fruits and vegetables. Everything revolves around my baby. Babies are the true definition of ‘small, but mighty.’
She was born on March 25, 2016, and christened Neriah, which means Light of God. Prior to her birth, I had a challenge conceiving. My doctors had informed my husband and me that my situation may not improve, even after receiving treatments. My husband then decided that instead of using the money he had set aside for my medical treatment, he would sow it as a seed to God. I still remember seeing him pray fervently; asking God to intervene. I also made a vow to God that if He blesses us with a child; he /she would serve him and be his representative here on earth. I took in without any medical help. Every time I look at my daughter, my heart is filled with gratitude to God; she is my miracle.
I know that there are two types of surrogacy: the traditional and the host surrogacy. The traditional one requires just the man’s sperm and a surrogate, while the host uses In Vitro Fertilisation on a surrogate. I have no objections to the host surrogacy; it is a beautiful thing to hold one’s child and know the joys of motherhood. With respect to the traditional method, I have strong reservations, probably because I have watched too many Nollywood movies. I would simply advice, if the woman is still producing eggs, the family should opt for the host method.
Yes, IVF crossed my mind but I did not let the thought linger. A friend of mine had done it twice and it failed, so I was a bit sceptical about it.
I think my social life actually changed the minute I entered the delivery room. Everyone else was locked out, and from that minute, all that mattered was my baby. The three months I spent at home on maternity leave also changed me a lot. Anywhere or anything that is not comfortable for my baby is also not comfortable for me. I still try to attend some events here and there, but not like before. Also, most of the events I attend are children parties. My daughter’s social life has indirectly become my social life.
My feet, it’s a size bigger now. It was surprisingly easy for me to shed the weight I added during pregnancy, and I was careful not to overfeed in the name of breastfeeding. My baby will clock one soon and I am glad I’m back to shape. But my feet have refused to go back to their normal size; they have remained the same.
My mother always say I should make sure I do my best, but I should have it at the back of my mind that God is the only one who can protect a child. My mother was with me from the very first hour; she and my husband were with me in the delivery room. I was very nervous after my baby arrived and I could not sleep for the first three days. I guess I was overwhelmed. When I finally got to sleep, the slightest sound or movement woke me up, but my mum helped me to calm down. She encouraged me to do my best and pray about everything.
Yes, when my baby started crèche, I stayed there with her the first two days. We both resumed crèche and closed together. I did some unexpected things. That was how nervous I was, I just always wanted to be sure she was perfectly okay.
Yes, my husband and I have that in mind. In fact, we had been doing that before she was born. Even the financial gifts we had after her delivery were put in her account.
I would like to travel with her to places like Kenya to see the wild. Now that we have good trains in Nigeria, a trip from Abuja to Lagos to visit Lagos beaches would be a good idea. I visited the bar beach a couple of times before it was reclaimed. Also, a road trip to Ghana and a visit to the Ooni of Ife’s palace are places I would love to visit with my kids.
Contact: [email protected]
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Temitope: I would say it is the grace of God. My husband and I couldn’t have made it thus far on our own. I’ve heard of marriages that started strong but some years down the line, the couples separated. I’m very sure no one gets married with the intention to separate from their partner some years later.
Temitope: Yes, it is one that I can never forget; I describe it as a wonderful experience. We met in church; Christ Apostolic Church to be precise. I was a chorister in the church when he was transferred to there as pastor-in-charge. I was not in church the first few Sundays after he arrived; I was in school. But my friends in church kept telling about him. Apparently, he was loved by youths in the church. They just liked his charisma. They referred to him as a youth pastor. But when I finally got to meet him, I wasn’t as thrilled as I thought I would be.
Temitope: He has a jovial personality which was why youths in the church liked him. He is a good at making people laugh. Whenever we are together, he always makes me laugh. Till date, there is no dull moment with him. He has a great personality.
Olamide: There were qualities she exhibited which I appreciated. She is bold; that alone drew me closer to her. Also, she is intelligent. Right from the outset of an issue, she already knows the solution. She thinks very fast. Also, I realised that we were compatible. I had seen other ladies, but she was different. I had heard so much about her before meeting her.
Olamide: There is no good man who hears her voice who wouldn’t fall in love with it. When I want to minister, I always prefer she ministers in songs before I mount the pulpit. Her voice is captivating. Her voice won my heart.
Temitope: He was special and different. Immediately, I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, I turned a blind eye to other suitors.
Temitope: At the initial stage, when he approached and made his feelings known to me, I wasn’t receptive. In fact, I did not pretend about how I felt about him. I told him I never intended to marry a pastor. I also informed one of my brothers about his proposal with the intention that my brother would embarrass him. But the reverse happened, to my surprise, my brother liked him and was even pleading with me to accept his proposal. That still didn’t convince me to accept his proposal; I really gave him a tough time. My ‘toughness’ lasted for about three months. It wasn’t until one day after I had prayed about him that I heard God tell me vividly that he is my husband. After then, my approach towards him changed.
Temitope: It lasted for about three years.
Olamide: Yes they did, she was the one that was a bit uninterested at the beginning. She didn’t want to marry a pastor. I’m glad she eventually agreed.
Temitope: I never felt jealous because I had already prepared myself. That is his personality; he is one that easily pulls a crowd. I would only be doing myself harm if I got jealous with the fact that people like him.
Temitope: It has been wonderful; there is always something different about one’s marriage when one marries one’s friend. God has been faithful to us. Getting married to him is the best decision I’ve ever made. He has made me a better woman and artiste too. He strengthened the vision and goals I had for myself. I believe our ministries align; I’m incomplete without him.
Olamide: Every day, I thank God for bringing her into my life. She is a blessing to me. Through the help of God and her help too, I’ve opened up. Before meeting her, I usually kept my feelings to myself. If anyone hurt me, I would bottle up my feelings. She made me open up.
Temitope: Before we got married, my husband said he found it hard apologising. I was always the one apologising. But he has since changed; now, he easily apologises. In fact, he could apologise 100 times if need be.
Olamide: She is correct; she used to be the first to apologise. But I’ve learnt to apologise. We don’t sleep over quarrels; we settle misunderstandings as they arise.
Temitope: No, I never doubted his love for me. When it comes to showing his love for me, my husband is excellent. He never for once gave me a reason to doubt his love for me.
Temitope: Many years ago, he bought me a cord lace material. I really cherished the fabric.
Temitope: I would say many things but God is the number one factor needed for any marriage to succeed. There must be genuine love and trust too.
Olamide: Couples must love themselves. If there is no genuine love, that marriage will not last.
Temitope: My husband was the one that enlightened me about the issue. He advised me on how to handle the issue with wisdom. I’m a gospel artiste and I am always careful with how I handle such situation.
Olamide: I trust my wife
Olamide: Marrying a celebrity is a good thing if one trusts one’s partner. I trust her; I have nothing to worry about. She travels frequently and I have no problem with that. In fact, I see her trips as a blessing to the family.
Temitope: I’m in no place to put the blame on anyone. Sometimes, one may not know that one can do some things or behave in a certain way until one finds oneself in such a situation. That my marriage is intact till date is because of God’s mercy. But I always say that when couples make God the foundation of their marriage; they will not fail.
OIamide: Love is the foundation for all other things in marriage. Before couples can do anything together, they must love themselves.
Temitope: Yes, he helps me a lot in that area. My husband can be described as someone who is extremely neat. He always helps out with house chores.
Temitope: I call him MD (my dear).
Olamide: I call her MD too.
Contact: [email protected]
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I became a father in my early thirties. The experience was a very pleasant one. Being a father gave and still gives me joy and a sense of fulfillment.
Fatherhood means being responsible, disciplined, dedicated, loving and caring. It is also synonymous with being responsible for the welfare, well-being and all round progress of one’s children and younger ones. Fatherhood is also about being a mentor and role model.
I have learnt personal discipline and responsibility. As a father you have to lead by example. Children learn by imitation; they do as you do. You cannot say one thing as a father and do the opposite of what you say. Such behaviour would make the children disrespect their father. Patience, understanding and the need to support our children’s dreams and aspirations are some of the lessons I have learnt as a father. Fatherhood has significantly altered my perspective about life and living. I now know that life’s journey is not solely about me; it now includes my children. It has made me more cautious in my relationship with other people. I make deliberate efforts to live a healthy life and be available to witness the growth and achievements of my children. The major lesson in being a father is my appreciation of the fact that children are gifts from God and parents are trustees of their children. As trustees, parents must faithfully discharge their duties by ensuring that their children embrace the right values.
I am fortunate to have been blessed with a dad who is a friend, confidant and mentor. My dad is disciplined, caring and loving. I have embraced these core values, which I have also transferred to my children.
The major challenges of fatherhood can be narrowed down to financial, emotional and spiritual challenges. From the angle of financial challenges, it is the desire of every responsible father to be able to cater for the needs of his children. As a father, one desires the very best for one’s children within one’s resources. One wants the best education, best environment for them, and so on. I also say there are emotional challenges because a father needs to be emotionally mature in order to ensure the sound development of his children. Emotional maturity requires the ability to manage the home by providing leadership, direction and guidance for the child/children. Also, a father must be prayerful. Long hours of work and time spent in traffic hinder the achievement of a proper balance to fatherhood and being a provider for the family. But a father should strike a meaningful equilibrium between his busy schedule of work and paying special attention to the proper development of his children in their formative years.
Fathers, as head of their respective families, are in vantage positions to lead their children in the right directions. If fathers behave responsibly and offer leadership at home, their children would become better citizens and the nation would be much better for it. Fathers have primary responsibilities of ensuring that their children embrace the right values. Messages of love, peace, kindness, avoidance of greed and corruption should be preached by fathers to their children. Most unfortunately, on account of economic and social pressures, some fathers have been unable to discharge these responsibilities. Primacy is being given to money, material things, corruption and bad conduct by some fathers. If the nation is to produce good citizens and leaders, the starting point is the home, which is headed by fathers.
They should “be prepared” to lead their children in the right direction, to share their time and resources with them. As a father, one must be prepared to ensure that one’s children are good citizens.
The Child Rights’ Law and the Matrimonial Causes Act can be amended and improved upon in order to address the current predicaments being faced by children of tumultuous marriages.
It is generally accepted that our educational system is flawed. The system needs to be improved upon to emphasise the role of fathers in nation building. The awareness that will be created from such teaching would go a long way in helping to build a better society. Education should be total. It should not be confined to academic work. Education is about learning and character. But the society places high premium on the academic side and neglects character and strong moral upbringing. The various faith-based secondary schools, until they were taken over by state governments, were able to take care of academic and character development. A return of such schools to various religious bodies will ensure that the aspect of character and moral values are restored.
I have tried to apportion my time in such a way that I do not rob Peter to pay Paul. During weekends and holidays, I try to make up for lost time by ensuring I use that time to bond with my children. I have always felt and seen myself as a responsible man who has a role to play in moulding the lives of the younger generation. Today, it is practically impossible for a man to retain and abide by what is perceived as a traditional role. Men have to become more involved in running the home. Fathers cannot leave the task of raising children solely to mothers. It is a joint responsibility. Raising children and homemaking are collective responsibilities of both parents.
There is no perfect person or perfect relationship. The young ones must be patient and appreciate each person’s strength and weaknesses. They should avoid forcing their partners to behave in a particular way. When there are issues, they should be discussed and resolved amicably.
I value good conduct. I can hardly tolerate misbehaviour. Good conduct and ceaseless prayers are the precious gifts from my wife and children.
Contact: [email protected]
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Two Saturdays ago, the 16-year-old daughter of a school proprietor, Mrs. Abiodun Oyebode, had insisted on going a date with one of her male friends, despite her mother’s refusal.
Oyebode, who is sometimes referred to as ‘Margaret Thatcher’ by some pupils in her school, because of her strict mien, said she literally had to lock all the doors in her house to prevent her daughter, Josephine, from leaving the premises.
“Since then, my daughter has refused speaking with me. She now relates more with her father instead of with me,” the mother of three said, adding that she took the drastic action to protect her teenage daughter.
“I would probably allow her go on a date when she turns 18 or 19. But at 16, I feel she is still too young for that. I don’t even know why she is desperate to go on a date; she should be thinking about her academics,” she said.
Oyebode said the issue of allowing her daughter go on dates has led to a series of heated discussions between them.
“I don’t tolerate inappropriate behaviour; but I find hard to control my only daughter. Ever since she turned 16, she thinks she is now old enough for such. What does she know at 16? I didn’t grow up that way; my parents never allowed me go out with boys, even when I turned 20. I know times are different, but I think my daughter is too young to go on dates,” she said.
Another parent, Mrs. Folusho Alimi, said even though she had reservations initially, she allowed her daughter to start dating officially when she turned 15.
“Some of my friends said I shouldn’t have allowed her to start dating so early. They felt I was being too soft on my daughter. But I trust my daughter, and at 15, she should know what is right from wrong,” Alimi said.
The mother said she set ground rules for dating recently.
“My daughter once flouted her curfew time by 15 minutes and I grounded her for a week. Since then, she has kept to all my rules,” she said.
Some experts recommend that 16 should be the appropriate age for teenagers to start going on a one-on-one dating.
However, a psychologist at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Mr. Orijiakor Tochukwu, believes that when it comes to teens and dating, the higher the age, the better.
Tochukwu noted that the maturity levels of the child should be the most important factor in deciding when that child should be allowed to start dating.
He said, “I believe that the appropriate age to allow a teen go on a date should be 18. By then, he or she is mature enough to make decisions. However, I think parents should spend more time educating their children about sex and what it entails. Times or trends are changing across the globe. Some countries are campaigning that the age of consent to sex should be reduced to 13. They believe that at their age, children are aware about relationships and sex.
“Studies have shown that in some parts of the world, like Europe and America, the average age for a teenager to start dating nowadays has dropped from 16 (from decades ago) to 13. This is attributed to several factors such as exposure to all kinds of information in a technology-driven age.
“This is the dilemma of some parents, especially in this part of the world where traditional values frown against such practices for young teenagers.”
Tochukwu said this is the more reason why parents should focus more on sex education to avoid the consequences of their children engaging in pre-marital sex.
He said, “A lot of teenagers nowadays are influenced by peer pressure. So, parents should educate their children about sex at an early age so that they don’t make mistakes. An innocent teenage girl may decide to go on a date without having any ‘bad or wrong’ intention. But what if her male partner has wrong motives? Does she know what to do if her dating partner asks her to have sexual intercourse with him while on their date?”
The psychologist added that parents don’t necessarily need to have a lot of knowledge or technical information about sex. But he noted that having the conversation is important.
“The consequences of not talking are simply too great. Talk openly and honestly, answer your kids’ questions, and seize opportunities to help them make smart decisions about their relationships and behaviour,” he said.
However, an associate professor in Psychology, Uzondu Nwachinemere, said he does not support putting an age limit for dating because it would create room for misbehaviour.
Instead, he advised that parents should spend more time in schooling their teenage children on the pros and cons of dating at an early age, especially when the teenager is not mature enough.
He, thus, advised that teenagers should only be allowed to go one group dates, but not on one-on-one dates, until they are ‘mature enough to make wise decisions.’
Nwachinemere added that binge drinking, date violence, and date rape are far too common. Hence, teenagers should not be allowed to go out on one-on-one dates.
He said, “Teenagers would always behave like teenagers. Once you give them a particular age in which they can go on date, they would go overboard. In such cases, the parent may end up regretting why he/she put an age limit. I believe teenagers should not be concerned about dating until they are much older and are young adults. For now, they should have their minds focused on their academics, until they are mature enough to make wise decisions on their own.
“I believe the ultimate reason why people date is to find someone to marry. Teenagers have no business looking for whom to marry. Once a person has found someone to marry; he or she no longer dates. Hence, dating should be for persons that planning to get married,” he said.
Another psychologist, Dr. Moses Mbah, agreed, noting that the right time for dating should be based on a person’s emotional maturity rather than the age.
In his view, the appropriate dating age should be 21. At that age, he noted, a person is mature enough to be responsible for making decisions on their own.
Mbah advised parents to protect their teenage children from pain that comes from heartbreak or dating gone awry by educating them properly.
He said, “Some teenagers are more mature than others. But many teenage relationships lead to major heartbreak and pain. Dating and relationships gone bad are harder to deal with when one is not physically and emotionally ready to handle them.”
Contact: [email protected]
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Mutiu: I met her through a friend. I still remember all that transpired that day as if it happened yesterday. My friend and I were to meet at a place. He was with his girlfriend (now his wife). Apparently, my friend’s girlfriend and my wife were heading somewhere; she (my wife) came afterwards to meet us. On seeing her, I was attracted to her aura, but I didn’t show it. I kept saying to myself, ‘There is something special about this lady.’ She was unlike any other lady I had met; she was different. The way she spoke and comported herself kept me glued to her.
Bimpe: We met just as he said it.
Mutiu: Yes, it was. I got attracted to her beauty and her gentleness, and I just felt the magic immediately I saw her. I love her simplicity and attractive looks. She melted my heart, if I may use those words. After we got to know ourselves better, I realised how wonderful she truly is. She has a kind heart; I don’t think I’ve met any woman like her. I always say she is a rare gem. The moment I saw her, I thought to myself, “This is the mother of my children.”
Bimpe: For my husband, yes, but not for me. I guess it was probably because I did not have any intention in mind when we first met. Although I was single at the time, I was not searching.
Mutiu: Our relationship progressed naturally; I didn’t go down on bended knee. I was in Spain while she was in Nigeria. She visited me frequently and as time progressed I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. During one of her visits, I woke up one morning feeling the time was right. I told her how much I cared about her and how we both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Without wasting much time, I threw the question at her; I asked her if she would marry me. She answered in the affirmative. I couldn’t express how excited I was to hear her kind words; I had this big smile on my face. Now, I am happily married to the love of my life.
Bimpe: I was happy when he proposed. Everything about us and our relationship just flowed naturally; so I had no reason not to answer his question in the affirmative. Everything just progressed naturally that I don’t even remember if he proposed (smiles). We just felt we were for each other and all the magic followed. Ever since we met, I have had no cause to worry, not even during the period when he was an international footballer. We had our engagement in 1992 and did the official white wedding in 1995.
Bimpe: No, I didn’t, because he made (and still makes) everything look normal.
Mutiu: Yes, they gave me a warm reception.
Mutiu: I am a ‘homeboy.’ Moreover, I met her before I travelled to Spain and we already had a great relationship. While I was away in Spain, I missed her dearly. I knew I had somebody waiting for me at home (Nigeria), and I didn’t see any reason why I should be with a foreign lady; I was comfortable with her.
Bimpe: Honestly, no, because I know he is a very traditional person. Apart from that, we were already dating and in love before he travelled. And I didn’t think he may be dating a Spanish lady because I trust him.
Mutiu: Many years ago, while I was in the junior team of Real Madrid, my coach said that if I had to play in the senior team, I needed to get married to a Spanish lady in order to nationalise my stay. This was his suggestion. Apparently, at that time, only three foreigners could play in the team. But I turned down his suggestion because I knew I had a lady back at home. This happened in 1989; I met my wife in February, 1989 and I travelled to Spain in August, 1989. It happened after the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, Saudi 1989.
Career wise, I wished I had played in the team, but I have no sad feelings about it and I never regretted my decision. I wouldn’t have gotten married to a Spanish lady to nationalise my stay. I love my wife and my heart was and still is with her. So, it wasn’t a do-or-die situation for me. The way things operated back then with Nigerians players playing in foreign teams is not what operates now.
Bimpe: He mentioned it in passing. It wasn’t a formal rule or law; it was the coach that suggested it to him. Aside from that, I felt good about his decision.
Mutiu: In my mind, I knew what I wanted. I was sure about what I came there for and I was determined to achieve it. I never once doubted my love for her. I remained focused.
Bimpe: My husband is down-to-earth; he made our relationship as normal as possible. I was so sure of his love for me. I had no reason to worry about his female fans.
Mutiu: All moments are memorable but I would say the most memorable one was the birth of our first daughter. My club, Racing Santander, then got a very important promotion to the first division a day after her birth.
Bimpe: Without any doubt, it was the birth of our first girl.
Mutiu: We usually don’t dwell on quarrels or misunderstandings. If I make a mistake, I apologise immediately. And if the mistake is on her part, she apologises. Using the word ‘sorry’ comes naturally with us. We hardly have disagreements, but if there is any, we sort it out immediately.
Bimpe: Honestly, quarrels don’t exist between us; we’ve grown to understand ourselves very well. Hardly do we disagree because we have a very good level of communication.
Mutiu: I call her .
Bimpe: I call him MD (My Darling) or .
Mutiu: Yes, we have a joint account, and also our individual accounts. However, we always take joint decisions concerning our finances.
Bimpe: Yes, we take financial decisions together.
Mutiu: Nothing at all; she is perfect to me. I love everything about her. I would not want to change anything about her.
Bimpe: Same here; I love him just the way he is.
Bimpe: He is (laughs).
Bimpe: We are not thinking of that now because our kids are still in school. We would start making plans to relocate to Nigeria when they all complete their education.
Mutiu: Love, respect and understanding.
Bimpe: I share his view – love, understanding and respect.
Contact: [email protected]
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Fatherhood is an interesting and exciting experience with some challenges. But it is rewarding and fulfilling.
As a father, I have learnt to be caring towards my wife and children as well as doing my best to provide for their needs. It is important to be there for them. In addition, I am lucky to see my children from the cradle to adolescent age, see them marry and play with my grandchildren. In addition, I tried to discipline them right. I also made them realise that their mum (my wife) was right in disciplining them, while at the same time ensuring she was not too hard on them. It was often a balancing act, which varied as the children grew.
We had the children abroad, so it was not easy combining fatherhood with postgraduate studies. I remember one of my professors asked me, “You mean you are married with children and studying for the PhD?” Fortunately, my wife was wonderful in playing not just her role as a mother, but always reminding me not to forget that I am also a father. I was always glued to my studies during my postgraduate days. Another challenge was that of having the resources to raise the children, especially when the family returned from the United States. Then, I was a youth corp member and also a lecturer at the University of Calabar; not only was the salary inadequate, but it was also irregular. Hence, financial resource was a challenge at various times. But we survived. In terms of education, I’m grateful for the quality of the university’s staff school at that time and the instalment payment system.
Again my wife, in spite of her working schedule, made sure the home front was intact. As vice-chancellor, there were times my kids would come see me in the office complaining that they had not seen me for a long time. Even before I became a VC and in most of my assignments, I would have left the house before the kids left for school and returned when they were asleep. Most of my friends describe me as a work horse. As DG, my kids are now adults, so we communicate on the phone and see each other once a while; though they are always around, whether I am in the house or not. Most times, they would wait and vow to see me in person no matter how long the waiting period was.
I did school runs in the early stages of my career in the University of Calabar and as a visiting professor at the University of Zimbabwe, Harare. My wife did most of the school runs and we hired a private driver thereafter to assist.
My wife has raised the kids to be humble, well-behaved and, above all to have the fear of God – a very precious gift. For my children, it is the gift of being responsible. We all now debate issues and live as a happy family. My wife made the children to know God from their childhood even before she got the calling to serve God; she is a pastor after retiring voluntarily from the University of Uyo as a deputy registrar. Furthermore, my children understand the society in which they live; they are against exploitation and oppression and wonder why things are not working well in the country. One of my children once utilised her entire National Youth Service Corp allowance to cement the floor of a primary school located in one of the slums in Lagos. She came home crying about the state of the school where she was serving. For me, their understanding of the contending social forces that shape society is a gift I cherish. Their socio-economic and political consciousness is another gift.
Definitely, my late father had a lot of influence on me and on how I have been a father to my kids. My dad was a disciplinarian but he never used the rod on me. But the way he talked and scolded one, one would wish he used the cane. He was transparent with all his children. I came from a very humble background – not rich, but we never starved. My dad would let you know what he could afford and what he could not provide and why. He was passionate about education. I remember him selling his new shirt and an accordion he enjoyed playing to pay the school fees of his children. When he sold his new shirt, he told me, “Take this money and buy the book (Kraken Wakes) you need so that your life can be better than mine.” He did his best, with the full support of my mum, to ensure all his children had a solid foundation in education. I have always told my children that I would go any length to give them education if they so desire. When I am around I always request that my children eat with me. My dad did the same with me. Sharing of meals cements the bond between father and child. As a devout Christian of the Qua Iboe Church of Nigeria, my dad insisted on following the ways of God. I have put my children on the same path, though they now attend Pentecostal churches.
It is difficult to remember. But I know that when we had twins, I would place them in different rooms and was amazed how they cried at the same time, changed positions simultaneously, get sick at the same time, cough at the same time, and so on. As they grew, they played similar pranks. It was a delight watching them grow.
In the African context, it is rather difficult not to have a father figure if one loses his dad. However, children without a father or a father figure can still have impeccable character, be well-behaved and become good citizens. In a case like this, the mother would have to fill the gap though it could be challenging. There is always a solution.
The aggregation of a good and happy family would form a good community which would translate into building good citizenship for a country like Nigeria. Leadership emanates from the home before it manifests itself in schools and beyond. In the home, the content and character of a child is shaped. Leadership qualities start in the home, then school, community and then country.
I became a father at the age of 24 and it was an experience of joy, excitement and wonder, especially as I physically observed the birth of our first child who is now married with children.
Be caring and do your utmost best to instill discipline, hard work and humility in your children in order to make them responsible citizens of Nigeria and the world.
Always save for a rainy day. Do not be wasteful. Go at your own pace. Calculate your risk; the experiences in the world are not linear, but full of ups and downs. However, with proper planning, focus and hard work, success is guaranteed.
I once made my oldest daughter, when she misbehaved, to write, “I am sorry and I will not do it again” 500 times. When she was half way, I asked her to stop. She has never forgotten.
I am happy that they have grown to become useful citizens in the society they find themselves. Also, they are very loving and caring to my wife and I.
I would change nothing. I would raise them same way.
Contact: [email protected]
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I plan to support her and give her the freedom to make some choices on her own when she attains a certain age. I believe proper guidance between the periods when a child graduates from the university up to when he/she is planning to get married is usually underestimated. Many youths miss it then because they are ‘expected to be adults,’ but that particular phase of life is a sensitive period in the life of any young person. My prayer is for my daughter not to make any decision that would affect her future. I also plan to give her anything good she asks for without having to make excuses or give her reasons why she can’t get it.
My baby was born on Sunday, July 3, 2016.
No, there is nothing. Everything I experienced in my childhood made me who I am today. I am happy with who I am, while I’m working towards becoming a better me tomorrow.
I am proud of my association, all the people I have or have had in my life — God, my family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances.
It has changed a lot. Let’s start from my meal type and sizes. I eat more now and also try to concentrate on food that improves breast milk production without making me add much weight. I am awake before the rest of my family does for the day. My normal sleep schedule is now interrupted by several breastfeeding sessions and it takes me more time and energy to do chores. Whatever we’re to have for dinner, I try to include something for my baby as she is over six months old now. Wherever I am, I have to hurry home in time to attend to my baby. I am no longer able to exercise, but that would change as soon as I can add it to my schedule. Evening strolls with my husband now includes a third person or the entire family. Generally, my life and the lives of my family members somehow revolve around my daughter, Zikora, and her comfort for now. But I know that by the end of her first year, our routine will have taken on a new kind of ‘normal.’
I am making steady progress; my husband and I know that the growth of children is rapid, so as a mother, I’ve learnt to adjust rapidly too.
Yes, I am. I can’t possibly take care of my children or anyone else if I am not in good health. You can’t give what you don’t have. If I let myself have a cough, for instance, not only would I be too sick to care for my baby, I would have also put her in danger since I am the most important person/ person in closest contact with her for now. I could forfeit my wants but needs are needs — they are priorities.
I miss my ‘me time.’ Sometimes, I wish I could just dump my family with someone else for some hours and have some time on my own. My favourite leisure activity used to be reading novels. I don’t think I have read any since I got married or maybe since I started having children.
I talk to my husband, my mother, other mothers with young children and health care practitioners when necessary.
Surprisingly, a few hours ago, I was just talking to her, telling her that I expect her to grow up to be like me and even better than me, without my flaws. I mentioned the flaws I know to her. I hope she grows up to be a strong woman, an embodiment of godly character, a leader, role model, pacesetter and trailblazer in whatever field of endeavour she decides to explore, and in everything she sets her heart to do. I pray she grows up to become a better mother than I am, a better wife, daughter and sister. I hope that she will fulfil all her days and the purpose for which she was created.
During my pregnancy, I didn’t have time to sit down listening to superstitions or false traditional beliefs. She is not my first child; so even if I was told any tales, I wouldn’t have taken it to heart. One of the dreams I had (when I was pregnant) was of me being delivered of a baby girl. I was so happy. I remember seeing myself jumping up and down, and attending to her in the delivery room. I really wanted to have a girl. I had some nightmares too, but I try not to keep negative things in my mind. Besides, I already knew that most nightmares during my pregnancy were just that — nightmares.
I assess the stranger and if I feel okay with him/her, I let them. If not, I give an excuse why they can’t hold her. I do it to friends and acquaintances too. Apart from security reasons, the person must, at least, appear clean before I can allow him or her have access to my daughter. Caring for a sick child is not fun at all.
I prefer a day-care where the deeds of the caregiver can be supervised by others. I leave her there when I am at work.
Contact: [email protected]
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Mrs. Yewande Jubril, a mother of three, almost lost her three-year-old child after he was force-fed by her housemaid.
Jubril said she had instructed the maid to feed her son pap which she already made for him.
“My son is a picky eater, even at his age. So, I usually have to force him to eat. Even though I am guilty of force-feeding sometimes, I dance and sing to make him eat. My housemaid, on the other hand, never exercised that level of patience towards my son. I had warned her several times against forcing my son to eat, but she constantly turned a deaf ear to my pleas,” she said.
To date, Jubril said the thought that he would have died still haunts her. She said the incident made her wary of hiring housemaids or even allowing strangers to feed her child in her absence.
She said, “I was desperate to have someone watch over my son while I was at work, which was why I endured the maid’s terrible behaviour. That morning of the incident, apparently, my son had refused eating his food and my housemaid forced him to eat. She said she only held his nose and tried forcing the pap down his throat, when my son began to choke. Thank God for my security guard who heard his screams, rushed into the apartment and grabbed my son from her and took him to a nearby hospital.”
The mother of two said she only learnt about what happened when she got home from work as the guard intentionally didn’t inform her on the phone about what happened not to create panic.
She added that apart from sending the maid away, she tried to exercise more patience in feeding her son.
Force-feeding, experts say, is the practice of feeding a human, in this case, children, against their will. Force-feeding children is a common, especially among impatient parents.
According to experts, most parents force feed their little children because they want them to be healthy and strong. However, they warned parents that, if care is not taken, much can go wrong.
A nutritionist, Dr. Chioma Ndiokwelu, said force-feeding a child is wrong.
“Most parents force-feed their children because they want the kids to grow up to be healthy and strong. But these children know when or how much to eat. Human infants — like those of any other animals — are programmed to survive, and therefore, know exactly when and how much to eat. The real reason parents force-feed is because the parents feel insecure about their kids’ physical stature. Parents want their kids to grow big physically,” Ndiokwelu said.
She added that the problem with force-feeding is that it leads to unhealthy food habits. According to her, individuals who were force-fed as kids may also suffer psychological damage.
“Parents may argue that inflicting such psychological trauma is necessary to achieve the desired effect. But, findings show that those who are force-fed end up developing healthier eating habits—and putting on weight—only after they leave home,” Ndiokwelu noted.
Unlike Jubril, who has decided to stop forcing-feeding her son, Mrs. Yinka Abiodun, a mother of four, said she still force-feeds her four-year-old son, Lanre.
Abiodun said, “My mother force-fed all her children and she thought me how to do it. Lanre is my last child; I force-fed his siblings. I see nothing wrong in force-feeding a child. Is it better that the child starves? Some children don’t like eating, so they need to be forced to eat. Since I’ve been practicing force-feeding, nothing has happened to them. I know nothing would happen to my son. I am doing the right thing.”
The nutritionist said parents who force-feed their kids tend to think of themselves in glowing and noble terms.
She added that forcing kids to eat food could be tasking, noting that those who do it think of parents who don’t as being lazy.
“Force-feeding a child might lead to choking. Some years ago, I heard of a mother who force-fed her one-year-old child to death. It was a tragic occurrence for her. Her ignorance caused the death of her baby; she might not be able to forgive herself knowing she used her own hands, although unwillingly, to kill her own child. I am totally against force-feeding,” she said.
In the same vein, a medical practitioner, Dr. Leye Abidemi, said force-feeding a child would heighten the child’s dislike for food.
He said, “When a child has a feeding problem, he or she becomes scared during mealtimes as anxious and frustrated parents try to persuade the child to eat. A feeding problem is often the result of parents coercing their children to eat. In most cases, this backfires. Forcing your child to eat will only worsen the situation because it reinforces the child’s dislike for food.”
Abidemi added that meal times should be pleasant affairs. He advised parents to avoid making their child’s eating habit a bone of contention at every meal.
“This will make the child dread meals even more. Make every effort to make your child look forward to mealtimes. Give your child the food she likes best for two to three months and omit all the foods that she dislikes. This will help to make her less suspicious and tense about food.”
He advised parents not to force-feed their children or ‘choke them in the name of love.’ “It’s dangerous and has killed many children. Without autopsies, it’s easy to cover-up this type of death, as it happens in Nigeria,” he said.
Similarly, a respiratory physician, Dr. Cajetan Onyedum, said force-feeding could trigger pneumonia in a child.
He said, “Most times when mothers are force-feeding their babies, little contents of food end up in their lungs and trigger pneumonia. Fussy eating is common amongst toddlers. The trick is not to worry about it. Remember that they have smaller stomachs and don’t need as much quantity of food as adults. When a child eats small amounts of food, it is fine. As long as the child gains weight and is healthy, parents shouldn’t worry. They should, instead continue offering different varieties of balanced meals. Their (children’s) taste buds are evolving, and they may reject a particular food initially, and eat it the next time it’s offered.”
Contact: [email protected]
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Thirteen-year-old Helen Chizoba, a pupil of LadyBird Secondary School, Lagos (coined school name), is obese. Her family members say her battle with obesity started when she was a toddler.
Her mother, Mrs. Uloma Chizoba, who is slim built, said she has tried to curb Helen’s ravenous eating habits, but to no avail.
She said, “My husband and I are not fat, although my mother was a bit on the fat side. I’m not very knowledgeable in that area of genes and DNA; but I know that my daughter’s challenge with obesity is because she finds it hard to control what she eats. I’m really pained about her weight.”
She added that Helen, unlike her siblings, had a big appetite for food and loved to eat chocolates. On several occasions, Chizoba said she had tried depriving her daughter of food but it didn’t help matters.
“I couldn’t allow my daughter to starve. But I knew I had to do something. So, I tried getting her a nutritionist, someone to monitor her food intake. After some time, the man gave up on her. I have decided to leave the matter, hoping that she would lose the body fat as she grows older,” she said.
Obesity is a condition where a person has accumulated so much body fat that it might have a negative effect on their health, noted a nutritionist at the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Okunola Oladimeji.
Thus, parents should balance the calories their child eats and drinks with the calories used through physical activity and normal growth, he noted.
He said, “Overweight and obese children should reduce their rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development. Don’t put your child on a weight-reduction diet without talking to an expert. Starving your child of food is not the solution to obesity.”
Moyinsola Olakunrin is another child battling with obesity. Unlike Helen, who is in her teens, Moyinsola is only eight years old. According to her mother, Mrs. Ebun Olakunrin, Moyinsola does not enjoy physical activities in school.
She said, “I tried speaking with the Physical Education teacher in her school to get her involved with sporting activities. But he said Moyinsola always complained that she was tired. He said it got to a point that she misinterpreted his caring nature and felt he was always picking on her.
“The honest truth is that Moyinsola loves to eat; you can be sure to catch her with something in her mouth all the time. Some of my friends advised me to put her in a boarding school; they said that way, she wouldn’t be able to eat what she likes. But I wonder if that is the solution; I am a little confused about the whole situation.”
Oladimeji further said parents like the Olakunrins should offer their children nutritious meals and snacks with an appropriate number of calories it would help them develop healthy eating habits.
He said, “Try making their favourite meals healthier and focus on reducing calorie-rich temptations. Don’t use food as a comfort measure; this is one mistake parents make. Whenever a parent wants his or her child to do something or behave in a certain way, they offer the child food. That attitude is wrong; food should not be a yardstick in making children do what you want.”
He advised that a lot of fruits and vegetables should be incorporated into the diet of children to avoid weight issues like obesity.
“During meal time, provide plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products for your child. Also include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish and beans for protein. Beans is extremely rich in protein; encourage your child to love beans. When serving their meal, serve reasonably sized portions; don’t fill their plate with food. Children don’t really enjoy drinking water; they prefer fizzy drinks. But encourage your child to drink lots of water and limit sugar-sweetened beverages,” he said.
The good news, Oladimeji said, is that parents have influence over their child’s lifestyle and weight. Therefore, he urged them to do more research on how to deal with obesity in their children.
He said, “Another advice I would give parents with obese children is that they should put a limit to their children’s television-viewing time. There is a direct relationship between the amount of time spent watching TV and degree of weight gain. This habit is also common with us adults. You can sit in front of a TV and finish a packet of biscuit quickly. TV-viewing can directly cause obesity through replacing physical activity, increased eating while watching, and reduced metabolism while watching.”
In the same vein, another nutritionist, Dr. Mrs. Chioma Ndiokwelu, said helping children who are obese could be a huge problem for parents.
Thus, Ndiokwelu advised parents to seek the help of paediatricians when they discover that their child starts showing signs of becoming overweight. This, she said was necessary because of the risk factors associated with being overweight.
She said, “Childhood obesity is a complex health challenge that is due to several factors; some of which are genetic, lack of activity, improper food choices or a combination of two or more of these factors. Sadly, overweight children are at a high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults, placing them at risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes later in life. Physical activity is very important. Children need about 60 minutes each day for that. It does not have to happen all at once. Several short periods of activity during the day are just as good.”
Similarly, a dietician, Dr. Tunde Olatunbosun, advised parents to set a good example for their children with their daily exercise routines.
He said, “Start adding physical activity to your own daily routine and encourage your child to join you. Some examples of moderately-intense physical activity include brisk walking, jumping rope, playing soccer, swimming and dancing.
“Children grow at different rates at different times; it is not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. Body Mass Index uses height and weight measurements to estimate how much body fat a child has, and can be used to screen for weight and obesity problems from the age of two. However, while BMI is usually a good indicator, it may not be a perfect measure of body fat and can be misleading in some situations.”
Olatunbosun said understanding how children become obese or overweight in the first place is an important step towards breaking the cycle.
“Most cases of childhood obesity are caused by eating too much and exercising too little. Children need enough food to support healthy growth and development. But when they take in more calories than they burn throughout the day, the result is weight gain. Some mothers are now too busy to cook; they cook less and eat out more. These mothers also prefer fast food and junk food. I would not advise any mother to quit her job, but she must make out time to cook for her family. There is always a solution for every problem. Junk food are not healthy for obese kids,” he said.
According to the expert, cooking at home allows one to choose healthy ingredients and control portion sizes. He added that sitting for family meals also decreases the risk of obesity.
Contact: [email protected]
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Yes, I wished he was born on Christmas day though; it would have been nice to have a ‘Christmas baby.’ But I’m glad all the same; I call him my little king.
His name is Ziahn Olu-Philips.
As a little girl, I desired to become a mother at the age of 25, but that didn’t happen.
I am 29. A lot of people tell me I don’t look my age though.
I wanted to have four kids before I clocked 30. Clearly, that can’t happen now. I really love children, and as a little girl, I saw myself as one who would have many. I also desired to have two set of twins – two girls and two boys. However, I doubt the chances of it happening anymore. My childhood wish list on motherhood is endless!
No, my husband and I had lots of discussion (and we still do) on the number of children we hope to have, their names, choice of schools and so on.
The transition has been an interesting one. Before now, I had been prayerfully, emotionally and mentally preparing myself for the role of parenting. I think the transition is not a one-off thing due to the various stages involved. I would say being a parent is still very much a work in progress.
I coped well. I enjoyed being pregnant and I constantly received lots of care and attention from my husband, family and friends. Also, being pregnant gave me the privilege of getting quick responses whenever I went to public places such as banking halls. In terms of morning sickness, my experience was on the mild side. I also craved for funny foods and snacks, so much so that I didn’t mind trekking for miles just to buy them whenever the desire arose. The only seeming health problem I had was incessant back ache almost throughout my pregnancy up to the point of delivery.
Not really, but my husband and I wanted a girl. I had a feeling I was going to have a female child. I only got to know that I was going to have a boy some days before delivery.
My contractions started mildly on Christmas Eve, but being a first-time-mother, I did not understand what they meant. The following day, I went to church but I felt funny all through the service. When I couldn’t bear the discomfort any longer, I packed my belongings and left for the hospital. On getting there, I was told to drop my belongings and go back home. The nurses said I had not begun to dilate, so they asked me to come back by 7:30am the following day. Surprisingly, the following morning I woke up quite late and found my bed soaked with water — my water broke. I quickly called my mother, who is medical personnel, on the phone. She rushed to my place with all her medical gadgets. I eventually gave birth to my baby at home.
No, that never crossed my mind. I am lucky that my mother is a professional nurse. She solely handled the birth of my child.
I felt at ease knowing I was in safe hands.
I was afraid of undergoing a Caesarean section, having morning sickness and swollen feet. But thank God, all that never happened, rather I looked radiant and chubby throughout the duration of my pregnancy.
The joy I feel on a daily basis is indescribable. Having a child is a dream come true. I have joy like a river, as a popular song goes. I know that it’s not by my doing or power, but rather a function of God’s grace and faithfulness.
For me it is all about being creative; variety is the spice of life. We try to spice up our marriage with fun-filled activities, pleasant surprises, vacations and outings to romantic and exotic places. We constantly engage in selfless exchange of gifts. I believe children should not, at any point, be the reason for a passionless marriage.
My advice to them, as they intend to begin their own families, is that there is no such thing as a perfect family; such only exists in novels and movies. There would always be hitches, high and low moments, and sweet and sour times. But with genuine love, commitment and prayers, one’s marriage can become the best. Like the popular saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day; so also a great and happy family does not happen overnight. It is not a product of chance; it involves lots of hard work, sacrifices, resilience, diligence and patience.
Contact: [email protected]
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Fatherhood is about shaping a life at the early stages, then coaching the child midway about how to think and not what to think. The example one sets as a father is like an unspoken word that says to one’s child, “this is what I want you to become.”
The whole business of raising a child into a responsible, happy adult is a daunting, but at the same time rewarding task. Thus, the challenges that come with it are ultimately reduced to nothing. Striking the right balance between being accessible to my kids at all times and allowing enough room to be able to enforce effective discipline when the need calls for it, was monumentally challenging especially from birth up to their teenage years. Of course, as they grew older, the nature of the relationship obviously edged closer to that of friends and mates, but with enough margin to remain a father figure to them. One additional challenge for me was raising my sons in Europe, a cultural environment that is dissimilar to Nigeria, our home country. The values systems of both environments are different and sometimes even conflicting. Finding a common ground could sometimes prove quite challenging. Talking about those cultural conflicts, even when they are not resolved, is very helpful.
The system and structure in the Diaspora appear to compel fathers to be more actively involved in the upbringing of their children. Of course, some Nigerians in the Diaspora insist on maintaining the traditional way families are run in Nigeria, but that leads very quickly to conflict situations to the point that either the father mends his ways or the family suffers breakup or instability. Even back in Nigeria, men are fast recognising the shifting domestic roles of fathers, more equal rights for women and they are doing well in adjusting to the changing times. In raising my kids, there are certain things they find difficult to understand or accept, but have to comply with because that’s our culture. For example, my boys address older Africans here as ‘uncle’ or ‘aunty,’ even though they insist that it is not normal to do so if they are not our relations. They show understanding and acceptance on other issues. On the economic side of things, I believe there is a slight advantage in the Diaspora because the family support network for the needy is better developed. Also, a bright and focused child, blessed with parents that understand his priorities but have a lean resource base, is more likely to attain his potential in the Diaspora. Generally speaking, an equal level of dedication is required from a father, whether out here in Europe or in Nigeria, in other to guide the children to succeed in life.
Being on the same page with my wife in matters pertaining to the children’s upbringing is important. I have also learnt over the years that monoculture does not exist. A family has to develop its own set of core values and as head of the family, a father has a key role to play in defining and establishing those core values and setting the boundaries. Both parents need to be flexible and ready to adapt to the circumstances of their kids, but there are a few non-negotiable values that they need to take with them from home, such as common decency, lack of greed and respect for fellow human beings.
We had Tonna, our first son, when I was 29. It was a magical feeling, right there in the delivery room at the hospital, hearing his first sharp scream of life and in a burst of joy I responded, rather unconsciously, “I hear you buddy, I’m here and will always be here for you.” It was a special mixture of joy and pride, but also anxiety. As we watched our tiny creature over the next 48 hours, we started to bond and things began to happen that reassured us that we were up to the task.
I show more understanding, empathy and I’m more tolerant and patient. As a public policy expert, it has helped me to relate better with young people and families. I see things around social justice from different perspectives. I recall a quiet meeting I had with a Nigerian ambassador. Before the meeting, I had the impression that he wasn’t really interested in what I wanted to talk to him about. All that changed at some point in the conversation when I told him that I was spending my time on the issue in discussion, not for my personal sake, but for the sake of my children, their generation and future ones because it’s a responsibility every decent father, including him, should take more seriously.
Although he is not well educated, my father, Obi (Eze) Adigwe Nweke, is perhaps the greatest philosopher I have ever met. He has a great mind, is deeply thoughtful, always calm and a stoic leader. I can only aspire to be like him, especially the inner tranquillity that he exudes. Sometimes in conflict situations, I ask myself, how would father handle this or what would he advise? He shaped any good you may find in me today. Up till now, I still dip into the reservoir of wisdom he deposited in me to guide and mould my boys right.
I think what I have managed to do well enough is not to leave my wife and kids in any doubt that they are my first priority. I am only a phone call away even when I am thousands of miles away. Sometimes in the middle of a meeting, I drop a message, a joke or comment on the forum for just the four of us. I’ve always made it clear that having a meal together as frequently as possible is not a goal in itself but a means to a goal. The main goal is being together.
There are quite a few, but the one that readily comes to mind is a recent interaction with one of the boys. He had been spending a lot of time on computer games, which was fine because it was the holiday/ Christmas period then. I interrupted his game time and told him to start focusing more on his studies for the next semester. He agreed and dashed off to resume playing his games. When I called him back and sat him down, he remarked that his last semester results were fantastic and that maybe I should begin (the talk) by showing appreciation for his efforts. I said I did, but he said I didn’t, at least not sufficiently. I then apologised and pointed out that I deeply appreciated his efforts. Later, we laughed about it and talked heartily about his workload for the second semester. Fatherhood teaches one how to climb down from the high horse if one wants to make progress on important family issues.
Times are changing and we need to change with the times. There was indeed a time when homemaking was the exclusive reserve of the woman. This was not true only for Africa but even out here in Europe. As a matter of fact, back then in Europe, the education of majority of women was limited to home management or home economics. Coming back to Africa, the average African woman is an upwardly mobile, a strong, working class person with the right to have big dreams, and that must be encouraged. I don’t have a daughter, but I always tell and encourage my nieces to aim as high as they possibly could and the man that has a problem with that has no business being around them in the first place. Roles have changed drastically in our society today. Every family should determine for themselves who does what. In an environment of love and care, I’m sure no partner would be happy seeing the other being domestically overworked and one simply lets it be because of the ‘African culture.’ That is not right. Also, the earning power of women is increasing dramatically and they are consequently stepping in to the rescue on major family expenditures.
It is important to cultivate the habit of communication in a relationship. There will certainly be conflicts and misunderstanding, but talk it through. When asked the secret behind a 75-year-old marriage, a 101-year-old man in my constituency said, “When I was a young man, we fix things when they get broken. Now they just replace them.” We need to start fixing things again, relationships included.
It was a birthday celebration in Lagos with members from both sides of the family, including nephews and nieces, who used the opportunity to bond with their cousins, my children. We had our wonderful mother-in-law over at our place throughout the period of our rather long summer stay in Nigeria. I guess it was the longest time she had ever spent with her grandchildren, our sons, which was a really good thing in terms of getting to know her grandchildren better and vice versa. The thoughtfulness of my wife and kids in putting the birthday dinner together was the best gift I have ever had.
Contact: [email protected]
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Muyiwa: I met my wife in January 1998 at the African Studies building which houses the Dramatic Arts department, Pit Theatre and other departments at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. Her beauty, well-shaped body structure and lovely smile caught my attention and that was how our love story started.
Adeola: We met at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and he was my senior at that time.
Muyiwa: She mesmerised me with her beauty, smile and kind nature. The attraction was also enhanced by the fact that she likes to live a private life and that goes with my nature too. As an actor, I like to be in a quiet after performances. The serene atmosphere helped to create a bond because we both lived off campus and we were always together most evenings.
Adeola: As an undergraduate, I didn’t want to enter into any relationship. However, when we met, I didn’t really think that our friendship was something that would blossom because I was skeptical initially. As time went by, I saw his sincerity and some of my friends would tell me, “Adeola, you better don’t miss your husband and make him your boyfriend.’’ One day, he travelled to Nsukka, Enugu State and when he returned from that trip, he came to visit me at my off-campus residence. It was very unusual of me to be home at that time because I was always on campus. He took a bike to my house and brought me a loaf of bread. I know ladies of nowadays would say he should have probably bought me a phone, but I really appreciated that loaf of bread and the good intention behind it. Sometimes, he would travel to Lagos for work and on one of such occasions, he bought me a pair of trousers. Simple gestures like that really resonated with me.
Muyiwa: I knew she would be my wife. Because of the bond we had developed and with God on our side, our relationship worked out despite the several distractions that we experienced. Notwithstanding, I proposed to her in 2003 and we were both excited.
Adeola: When he proposed, I said yes without blinking.
Adeola: Yes. We had been courting for a while, so I had been anticipating marriage. I am glad that it eventually happened with him.
Muyiwa: We got married five years after we first met. We became man and wife on December 19, 2003. We could have gotten married earlier, but I wanted her to graduate from school, so that we can both focus on raising a family. I cherish the family values I enjoyed while growing up with my parents, and I wanted my own family to enjoy same.
Adeola: Our journey has been a tough turf and full of fun at the same time. It hasn’t been a bed or roses, but one thing that has helped us to sustain our marriage throughout the years is the fact that no matter the challenges, we have refused to leave each other, so we stick together through thick and thin. No matter what comes our way, our marriage must work.
Muyiwa: It’s been full of adventure; I mean the good, not so good and exciting times. We have scaled these hurdles by learning each day and trying to be more patient with each other. We had our expectations when we got married, as it relates to having few children, but God has humbled us and we now appreciate the fact that God’s plan is better than man’s expectations.
Muyiwa: There is no manual for a successful marriage. You just have to understand your uniqueness as a couple, learn to adjust and improve daily. Definitely, there would be good and bad times. There would always be things you would struggle with, challenges that you feel you may not overcome but with patience, a forgiving heart and humility, your love and affection for each other will grow.
Adeola: We’ve had challenges as a couple but no matter the circumstances, we still push and pull through. We are both determined to make our marriage work against all odds. Hence, we have found strength in each other and we are determined to push through.
Adeola: That’s an interesting question; the apology depends on who has erred. If I am wrong, I apologise to my husband after some ‘shakara.’ I make him realise how much I love him and say I’m sorry for what has happened. Likewise, he comes to me and apologises when he is wrong. You know sometimes, men can be egoistic but in the long run, they always come down from their high horses. We are not a couple who takes grudges to bed or stay two or three days without talking to each other. We quarrel once in a while and thereafter, we settle things amicably.
Muyiwa: We disagree sometimes and we make up easily. When we know that we do not have any other life that we may live, one way or the other,we resolve our issues and move on. Conflict is the soul of our drama and it sometimes helps to lubricate our love engine.
Muyiwa: Let them forget the world and think of themselves first in all that they do. Couples need to concentrate on themselves first and foremost before any other thing. Just like an actor needs full concentration to play a role and give it a good interpretation, the same thing can be applicable to couples. When an actor loses concentration, it can destabilise the role he or she is playing. Couples should also pray together and put God first in all things. That way, they’d be able bond and become better every day.
Adeola: If you are about to get married, you must first of all be sure of yourself: do you like him or her and vice versa? Quite frankly, it doesn’t have to be love at first sight so we shouldn’t get things wrong. One can develop your love in marriage. The basic qualities that you admire in your partner should be more important. One must have a very strong likeness for the person because people often delude themselves by saying it was love at first sight. Sometimes, it’s not. Having a strong likeness for your partner is key and when you get into marriage, both of you will discover many things that will make you and your partner inseparable as you go along. In marriage, couples should be determined; whatever comes their way, they must be able to make it work. On both sides, they must be able to handle pressure; from family members, in-laws and even challenges in the workplace. Making a success of their marriage should be their focus. In our own case, when challenges arise, we say to ourselves, “It is my Muyiwa, it is my Adeola that we are talking about here, I just can’t let go.’’ Hence, we work things out.
Muyiwa: She has a master’s degree in Theory and Criticism, after her first degree in Drama from OAU so, she’s artistically built. She appreciates watching me on television. In fact, she is my best critic; she tells me if I have played a role well or not. She is very sound in dramatic criticism much more than I am.
Adeola: I also studied Drama, so I know the terrain quite well. I don’t have issues with some of the roles that he plays. However, I noticed the tendency of him getting cast consistently as a police officer.
Adeola: I am not against it really, as long as the roles bring in money and put food on our table but I just wonder why he is often cast as one. When he goes on a location, I tease him that, “Are you going there to play the role of a police officer again?’’ and we laugh about it. Most times, I know some of his fellow cast members during a production, so I have no issues at all because I’m also a dramatist.
Muyiwa: Since I enjoy highlife music, I have been able to infect my wife with that. She likes to rock and dance too so we relax by listening and dancing to music. Fortunately, our son is also a music prodigy; he loves to sing, plays the saxophone and piano. So, most times, we are in one gig or another.
Adeola: We do not joke with our recreational activities. We go to watch life performances at Freedom Park, Lagos. We also visit the cinemas as well.
Adeola: We have a son who also sings and performs at highlife shows. We’ve nurtured him to have his own free mind and channel his own course. We support him all the way and guide him along the right path.
Contact: [email protected]
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Femi: I met her during the period I was into phone call business. At the time, she happened to be one of my customers. I was studying Electrical/Electronics Engineering and on my last stage of the National Diploma programme then at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State. It was later that I earned a Higher National Diploma in the same discipline and institution on part-time.
Sola: I met him when he was into phone call business as he said. I was his customer then. I used to make calls regularly then at the call centre he was operating. I am a trained teacher having studied at a college of education in Oyo State.
Femi: Our marriage is now seven years.
Sola: We have been married for about seven years.
Femi: Nothing really attracted me but I had a witness in my heart that she’s the best woman for me. I was also pleased with her appearance and mode of life.
Sola: I cannot really say what actually attracted me to him. I have unconditional love for him.
Femi: Her parents and family members welcomed me warmly when she introduced me to them. They gave me a warm reception having confirmed from her if she’s pleased to have me as her husband.
Sola: No. I do not call him Alfa Sule. In call him my love or special one.
Femi: I call her DG which means divine gift. The is an alias. It was the name of a character in our first production, (He’s been transfixed). The production also featured characters such as Woli Agba. Later, fans started calling us Alfa Sule because they were surprised about the featuring of an as a character in a Christian movie. To avoid confusion since they kept on identifying us with the name, I adopted it.
Femi: We never had major disagreements; we only had differing opinions on some issues in the past. But we settled them quickly without allowing them to fester.
Femi: Before the arrival of the children, we usually went out together anytime. We were like what you can call ‘5 and 6.’ But now, we go out occasionally because she does the major work of taking care of the children. I cannot afford to be putting her under stress anyhow. We still go out for bonding as family. We go out in company with the children.
Sola: There are challenges but God has been faithful.
Sola: I do.
Femi: Like I said, we had no major disagreements even when we were still new to each other but now that we are close, we have outgrown that stage. We understand ourselves more now than when we started courting. We do not quarrel not to talk of disagreement because of better understanding between us.
Femi: She is submissive, respectful, believes in my ministry and loves me unconditionally.
Femi: Any marriage that God is the foundation and built under His direction and guidance will definitely last.
Sola: It is love of course because God is love.
Femi: Yes, the qualities I first saw in her are still intact. One major one I appreciate in her is that she loves moderate lifestyle not a flamboyant or extravagant one.
Sola: I have no problems with his female fans because I trust my husband so much. I know that he cannot do without them because of the ministry he runs.
Femi: I cope with them very well because I know that it is the love they have for us that makes them to appreciate us anywhere they see us. Sometimes, after performing, many of them would desire to take pictures with us. If one does not attend to them well, one may be seen as trying to avoid them notwithstanding our busy schedule. So we try to give them the necessary attention. There was a female fan who called from the East last week. She said she had been trying to get my direct contact for about seven years. I was happy to hear her because it is all part of the love they have for us. I am coping well with all my female fans by the grace of God.
Femi: Marriage has made me a better person. That is to say it has made positive impact on me.
Sola: By the grace of God, our marriage has had positive changes and impact on our lives. I am fulfilled and pleased to be married to him.
Sola: No, I did not but I was aware of his ministry when the relationship started, not knowing that it would turn out to be a full-time ministry. I only thought he was using his gifts for the kingdom sake but God later turned it to beat my imagination.
Femi: We work together and she also operates a store where she sells musical items. Besides, she participates in our drama ministration. She features in our last stage drama, titled . She acts as the wife of my brother in the drama.
Sola: Our children’s arrival has not shifted attention from my husband. I am really ensuring that I balance attention between our children and my husband.
Femi: I cannot say I have given her any greatest gift because she is worth more than material things to me. All I can say is that I do buy gifts for her that surprise and make her happy.
Sola: We have not really done that. We hope to celebrate our wedding anniversary when the marriage clocks 10 years.
Contact: [email protected]
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Fatherhood is one of the most amazing gifts from God. It comes with a lot of responsibilities though. But I always say that it is not every man who has the capacity to give birth to a son or daughter that is a father. A father is that man who has children and lives up to his responsibilities; he deserves to be called a father. To be called a father is an honourable title.
I felt good but the first time I saw my son in the delivery ward, I lost control of my emotions. I was overexcited and confused. The nurse had asked me to get some water to bathe my son, I did not know she meant tap water; I went and got bottled water. She said she needed tap water to bathe him. I then went to buy a packet of water. I told them to use what I brought; I was confused. The experience was humbling, crazy, joyful – a potpourri of emotions.
I was present at the birth of my first two kids, but for my last child, I was unfortunately not around. I found out on the telephone that my wife had given birth.
Yes I did. It was easy for me. I love children. There is nothing called ‘your work’ and ‘my work.’ On some Sundays, after an event, I head straight to the market. I buy foodstuff to cook for my children. My children always tease their mother about my good cooking skills. Whenever people see me in the market, they yell, ‘What are you doing in the market’ and I respond saying ‘what are you too doing in the market’. Because you see me on television doesn’t make me a better human being than someone else. I tell my children they are not special because I am celebrity; I let them know that they are like every other kid.
No, I am not one that prefers a particular gender. I believe God blesses everyone with good children, whether male or female. I know families that have all female children and are happy. In fact, my father-in-law has female children and they take care of him so well. My mother and I were close too. The general belief is that female children take care of their parents better, which is wrong. I think that is old-school thinking. Things have changed. One’s prayer should be for God to bless one with a good child that will make one’s name bigger and better.
I kept asking myself if I would be able to take care of my child; if I would turn out to be a father that my child would be proud of. Will I raise him to be a God-fearing child? Different thoughts kept racing through my mind. Even till now, I sometimes ask myself if I’m doing things right. There are lots of books on fatherhood just like there are books on marriage. But two children cannot be the same; raising children is a thorough job. All one must do is to put in one’s best.
I like it when my children use words such as ‘I love you dad’, ‘You are the best dad in the world’. I love the credit that comes with fatherhood. I like it when people pass good comments about my children.
I teach them to respect and have value for money. When you have money, treat it as a tool to greatness. I also tell them that they are not the son or daughter of a big man; they have to work hard to succeed in life. Money worked for would be valued.
All my children are comedians; some of my best materials are from them. But I always tell them to focus on their first degrees, after that, they can pursue any profession which interests them.
My relationship with my father was not amazing. I had a better relationship with my mother. My parents broke up when I was quite young. But I was lucky to have grown up with a couple of uncles who treated me like their son. I saw the way they related with their children and desired to follow suit. I was surrounded with a terrific family while growing up.
All my children are in the university but whenever we are at home together, we have a nice time. They harass me and vice-versa. My relationship with them is a special one; I can be extra hard on them and other times very friendly. We relate like friends. When they were younger, we used to wrestle. But one thing I have discovered in life is that most times, these kids are your children not your friends. You must be hard on them and also make them your friends. I punish them when I need to. For example this year, they all went to school and did not call me on phone for a month. During their birthdays, I refused to send them birthday cakes. I wanted to pass a message about how to care for one’s parents.
I rarely travel with my family; my wife usually travels with them during summer. It always happens that when I’m free, my wife is occupied with work. When I am free, I travel with my kids. There was a particular holiday we travelled to Ghana; it was our best bonding trip. We all had a lovely time. I have been looking forward to such trip.
I am close to all my children but I’m closer to my daughter. My son is a little withdrawn from me but I’m trying my best to bond with him. He is closer to his mother; but my daughter tells me everything, even things she does not tell her mother.
She is turning 20.
Every human being must learn the act of balancing. I know sometimes work takes a lot of one’s time but as a father, one must not allow one area to suffer for the other. Thank God for mobile phones and free time. When one is at home with one’s kids, one should make it worthwhile. There is no excuse for failing to fulfill one’s responsibilities as a father.
Whenever they misbehave, I withhold things they like. But my kids are well behaved, I guess it is because while they were growing up, I was their friend and at the same time, an old-school dad. I did not tolerate naughty attitude. We understand ourselves; my children know when I am joking and when I’m serious about a thing.
It would be not giving them birthday presents. I intentionally withhold it.
I wish I was closer to my son, I wish I had invested my time in talking with him. I think if we had spoken more, he may have found it comfortable talking to me more now. But I’m still trying. He is not fully grown and I know that there is room for improvement.
I always let how know how thankful I am to have her in my life and she knows it. A good father needs the support of a good mother. If you are a busy professional, you won’t always be at home which is why you need a good wife to make your children grounded, firm and focused. I know that my wife would always have prayers with my kids in the mornings and evenings. No one is perfect in the game of child upbringing, there would always be challenges.
No, it is always important to let one’s children know the status of one’s finances. Whenever my children call me, they show concern about my work. One’s children should know what one is passing through. If you show your kids your worth, let them know what you can do, and also let them know that in life one doesn’t get everything one wants. That way, they would grow up well grounded. I have always wanted to raise my children who to be grounded. When you don’t pretend to your children, they would appreciate you.
No, I was not brought up to be a western father. I believe children should be brought up in a proper way. For example, I was happy when our housemaid left because I realised that she was the one doing the work, probably because she felt it was her job. Growing up, I learnt how to cook at a young age. In my house, everyone has a day to cook and clean. I always make sure that when our new housemaid is busy working; my kids are also busy working. Anyone who brings up his or her children to sit back while a housemaid does all the work is treading a wrong path.
A lot of times, it may not be their fault but they are missing a vital part which is in talking with their children and forming their habits in the proper way. Many children firm their habits based on what they see on TV and outside influences. Some parents do not take time to access their children’s academic work. However, I am not a perfect father. I am still learning in the game.
Contact: [email protected]
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My baby’s name is Temidayo Raifu. She was born on September 20, 2016.
Being a mother is a great job; I would not trade my role for anything. It makes one feel joyful, elated, empowered and invincible. You’ve just pushed another human being out of your body and you’re unprepared for all the things that come so quickly. While you were in the hospital, you got plenty of help, but when you go home, it’s all up to you. It’s an exciting time because of the newness of the experience but it is also a time of great uncertainty. It’s the first time we realise that it’s possible to love someone so much.
After marriage, we discussed on how many kids we wanted to have and how we wanted to raise them. We believe that couples should not have more than the number of children they can care for. Nowadays, you see couples who are barely managing to feed themselves having three, four children; it is wrong. For the rich, money is no problem. They can afford to have five, six children.
It took a long time for me to get used to my new role. In fact, it took me months but with time I adjusted. I think it took me that long because I was quite close to my parents. There were days I cried especially when my husband wasn’t around. I felt all alone, but I’m glad I adjusted well.
I had a special pregnancy in the sense that there were days I felt drained. It wasn’t a funny period at all; I constantly spat and vomited all through my pregnancy journey up until the day I was delivered. When I finally held my baby in my arms; I felt so relieved. Staring into her eyes, I told myself the stress I went through was worth it. I am glad I didn’t experience any health challenge.
Yes, I did, when I was seven months pregnant. I see nothing wrong in one checking the sex of one’s baby. There are people that do not believe it should be done. I believe that if you find out the sex of your baby, it will enable you to plan well. You will know the right colours and items that suit your baby’s gender.
I gave birth at a private hospital in Lagos. My husband and I opted for a private hospital instead of government-owned.
I was speechless; I just kept looking at her. I still could not believe I had just pushed out another life. Holding her in my arms, I kept singing praises to God. Once a woman gives birth, the pains she felt during labour become meaningless; all that then matters to her is her baby.
They are both special to me. Whenever they are not around, I miss them a lot. Despite their questions and constant needs, I love being their mother. My first child Temiloluwa, is a loving child. She makes us happy whenever she is around but she cries a lot. I am not bothered by her cries; I have gotten used to her.
Yes, I relied solely on my doctor’s advice. Sometimes, I went online to read up on pregnancy and child birth.
I loved the attention I received from my family and friends. Aside the morning sickness I experienced, I had a fairly good pregnancy.
Labour; I cannot think of anything else that scares a woman the most. Labour pains are every woman’s greatest fear when it comes to pregnancy and child birth.
My children are my joy. Watching how quickly they grow and spending time with them brings me joy. I wouldn’t give my two girls for the world. They changed my life and I thank them so much for that. Whenever I see them, I am filled with joy.
I have come to realise that everything I do and say affects them. That alone has taught me to be patient and mindful of my attitude and speech. Also, watching their unbridled love for life, people and their curiosity at almost every little thing amazes me.
Couples should promote intimacy. My husband and I always make sure we spend time together without our kids. Once we put them to sleep, we relax together. Couples must ensure they remain intimate no matter how many children they have. Taking care of children can be time consuming; each child desires attention 24/7. Balancing motherhood and being a wife is not an easy task. It is common for a mother to trade acting like a wife to her husband for baby bath time and other parenting activities. Many times, I lose balance from being hyper-focused on my baby to being a wife. But whenever I notice that I am not giving my husband enough attention, I call myself back.
If anything, it would be to ease the pains. That would be the only thing that I wish I could have changed. The pains I felt during my labour were bearable. I wish I did not feel any pains at all. Nevertheless, I bless God for giving me the grace and the strength to stay strong and be delivered of my beautiful, adorable and lovely daughter.
Contact: [email protected]
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Busola Bakre, 13, a pupil of Bloomshield Secondary School, Lagos (coined school name), often tells lies to her parents. This attitude has become worrisome to her parents.
Her mother, Mrs. Wunmi Bakre, who is a pastor in one of the popular Pentecostal churches in Nigeria, said they brought her up with godly values as Christians.
She said, “I have three children – Busola is my last child. Her siblings are well-behaved. I do not have any problem with their behaviour. At the moment, Busola is my only headache.”
Mrs. Bakre said she noticed Busola’s behavioural change when she turned 13 and started mingling with a group of teenagers in their neighbourhood. She added that Busola had always been a quiet child before then.
“I am confident that my daughter is moving with wrong friends. It is sad to say but the truth is that her friends are influencing her wrongly – making her to tell lies about everything,” she said.
Psychologists say Busola’s behavioural change may be due to the type of friends she keeps.
A Professor of Psychology, Ore Makanju, said parents who are dishonest to their children or other people end up raising lying and dishonest children.
“As the primary role models in children’s lives, parents play a vital part in showcasing honesty. They also have the most influence when it comes to instilling a deep-rooted commitment to telling the truth. As children mature, parents must help children differentiate between little white lies told to spare people’s feelings and downright dishonesty. Teaching children about the importance of honesty early and teaching them how to resolve situations so they don’t need to rely on lying will ensure they will be honest most of the time,” he said.
Makanju also stated that occasional lie about homework, and house chores would not be unusual for children but parents should always express displeasure about such.
“Create a clear household rule that stresses the importance of telling the truth. This will ensure that your children understand your expectations and values about honesty.
“When your child owns up to doing something wrong, praise him or her for being honest. Say things like, ‘I’m really glad you told me the truth. I like it when you’re honest.’ This sends the message that you won’t get upset if your child owns up to something,” he said.
Why do children tell lies? Makanju said children lie to cover something up so they don’t get into trouble or they want to see how their parents would respond when they hear them lie.
He said, “Once children grow old enough to understand the difference between what is true and not true, it’s good to encourage and support them in telling the truth. You can do this by emphasising the importance of honesty in your family and praising your child for honesty. You can also send messages about honesty by telling your child that you don’t like it when he or she lies to you. It’s equally important to talk about telling the truth versus being brutally honest.”
Jumoke Ibrahim’s story is similar to Bakre’s. Sixteen-year-old Jumoke tells lies about trivial issues; it is as if such attitude keeps her alive, according to her mother, Mrs. Funke Ibrahim.
She stated, “In fact, Jumoke tells lies all the time. It has become so bad that she tells lies over trivial issues that don’t warrant her to lie. I don’t know why she has become this way; I have prayed and done all sorts to stop her from telling lies, but my efforts have been to no avail.
“I do not remember behaving in such a wrong manner when I was her age. Several months ago, whenever she told a lie, her dad would beat her but now it is as if his beatings do not bother her. She doesn’t move an inch when he begins to beat her. I feel frustrated with the whole situation.”
Helping children who constantly tell lies could be a huge problem for a parent like Ibrahim and other mothers experiencing same with their kids.
Advising mothers, an Associate Professor of Development and Clinical Psychology, Mrs. Busola Akinsola, said being strict with a child who constantly tells lies may not be the best solution.
She said, “Adolescence is such a tough time; many times, kids feel unfairly judged or limited. For some, lying can seem like an easy way to deal with the stress of being a teenager. Chronic dishonesty and exaggeration, on the other hand, should be addressed – but maybe not in the ways some parents think. Being hard on such a child would aggravate the situation. Instead, the parents should communicate with the child and show more love towards him or her. You need to first acknowledge what you see happening. Open a discussion with them and find out what problem they are trying to solve. Are they trying to avoid trouble? Do they think it’s easier to lie than to risk hurting someone else? Do they believe that saying something dishonest helps them fit in? When they answer you, listen to what they have to say carefully.”
Similarly, an expert in Psychology, Dr. Ezeh Valentine, identified many reasons for compulsive lying as there are compulsive liars.
“However, certain general trends are common among kids and adults who lie out of habit. Your child may develop the lying habit as a form of seeking attention. This often starts with exaggeration and white lies, which can become part of the child’s personality. Low self-esteem also can contribute to habitual lying, as a child may make up stories to make him feel more interesting, appreciated or worthy,” he said.
Valentine said if one’s child has a bad habit of lying, a parent should develop a plan to help him or her re-establish trust.
“Consider establishing a behaviour contract that will help you know when your child is ready for more privileges based on his or her willingness to be honest. However, there are times when lying can be a big problem for children. If your child’s lying seems to be pathological or it causes problems for your child at school or with peers, seek professional help to address the behaviour. Compulsive lying may indicate an underlying disorder or it may be a learned habit. Any parent in this situation should consult their doctor for specific medical advice about their child’s development and behaviour,” he said.
According to the psychologist, if a child lives in an environment where he or she feels there is a constant threat of punishment – if a parent or caregiver is physically abusive or quick to lose his temper, he or she may lie compulsively to avoid harsh punishment.
Contact: [email protected]
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I booked for a pool birth.
I had intense labour pains for 15 minutes. I think all what I requested for during the birth of my child calmed my nerves. I had a pool filled with warm water. I also requested for tea candles and soft music. I gave birth at 6am, a few hours after I got to the hospital because I was experiencing slight cramps. The cramps weren’t serious; I still swam and had fun with my husband in the pool. It was after the nurse burst my water that I began to have intense labour pains. After two pushes, I was delivered of my baby.
I am not surprised when I hear some of my friends in Nigeria say that they want to give birth to their child in the United Kingdom. Nurses and doctors in the UK have value for women especially pregnant women. The type of love and care you receive from them can’t be compared to how pregnant women in some Nigerian hospitals (especially some government hospitals) are treated. I hear stories of how women in labour are maltreated and moved to tears.
The pampering and attention I received from my husband and passersby.
Yes I did. I enjoyed it more during pregnancy.
Yes, because they don’t have the slightest idea of the pain we go through – body transformation, hormonal imbalance, trauma, stress and fears. They definitely should have a taste of their actions. At least, maybe some men will then have more respect for their wives after the experience.
Yes for both kids. During my first delivery he was so pained and traumatised after seeing the pains I went through. After then, he said to me: “women are so special and should be treated as such.” During the birth of our second child, he was my gist partner and my back massager.
Olachi, Kalisha Andrew-Melekwe. She was born on May 30, 2016.
From her conception, I knew she was a special child. I had a very pleasant pregnancy with her. I was actually busy with things and did not even know I had missed my period until I was about 13 weeks gone.
I craved for Doner kebab at odd hours with lots of cream. Unlike my first pregnancy, I craved for the weirdest things around. Food like rice and groundnut mixed together.
It is an amazing; it feels divine. Nothing on earth will compare to the feeling of being a mother. Once you become pregnant, your life is not about you anymore. As much as that scared the living daylight out of me, that feeling of excitement was still there especially the day I held my baby for the first time. Nothing else existed around; that feeling is unique. Motherhood is all about unconditional love and selflessness. These become your daily attributes for the rest of your life when it comes to your child.
Child care in the United Kingdom is very expensive and as such, it affects the number of children people would love to have. Many of us have no assistance from our parents. We have to fend for ourselves. In the UK, everyone is busy with life and making money.
Yes. Immediately I had my baby, I felt light. The tummy came down and within four weeks, it became flat. But now, I am fully back to my desired size and right now, I feel perfect with my weight.
I think having a natural birth made it easy for me to lose weight. With natural birth, one goes home quicker after delivery. I was home two hours after I gave birth to my daughter. It gives you the opportunity to care for yourself and your baby as well. While with caesarean section, you have to nurture your wounds for weeks if not months. I prefer natural birth as long as I have that option because some people don’t have that option for either their safety or their baby’s and in some cases, both.
That is a tough question; being a wife comes with its own special moments and being a mother has its own special moment too. Being a wife is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am blessed with a loving husband who has a large heart. Being Kendra and Kalisha’s mother makes me so proud every passing second. The cuddles, kisses, attention they seek, make me feel special and adored.
Yes, my first child understands my local language (). She repeats after me when I communicate with her. Sometimes, she replies in English. My husband and I want to remain their first language.
My husband and I are happy with our two lovely daughters. They are our precious jewels. We are not desperate to have a male child. I also think I am blessed with a husband who does not nurture the thought of woman having a male child at all cost.
Contact: [email protected]
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Tolani Ilori is three but his mother started making him sleep in a separate room when he was two years old.
Mrs. Felicia Ilori; an events planner, said she took the decision when she realised that his continued disturbance at night was affecting her intimacy with her husband.
“It was the proper thing to do. I took the decision after proper consultation with my husband. We also felt that he was becoming aware of things around him and there was a need to take precaution,” Ilori said, smiling.
Just like Ilori, an entrepreneur, Mrs. Anne Enuenwemba, said she made her son start sleeping alone when he clocked two years.
Enuenwemba, however, noted that despite the arrangement, her son has not stopped coming into their room to sleep at night.
She stated, “It is important to get a cot for a baby at childhood so that he or she can get used to it. It will be easy to make the child start sleeping alone early when such arrangement has been put in place early in the child’s life. It is part of introducing discipline to the child from early years.’’
Another mother and businesswoman, Mrs. Bisola Ogunderu-Oluwole, urged parents to stop their children from sleeping in the same room with them as from age three.
According to the mother of three, at that age, they are likely to start thinking about what is happening between their parents at odd hours.
“Children are naturally inquisitive thus it is important not to arouse their inquisitiveness by handling sensitive issues shoddily. By age two, their brains are active and they can quickly start adding two and two together to get answers, even if unclear, to whatever they are curious about. They may also have started school at such age thus exposed to some things on social media,’’ Ogunderu-Oluwole added.
But a father of one and legal assistant in a popular Lagos-based private hospital, Mr. Olumide Olasunkanmi, disagreed with Mrs. Ogunderu-Oluwole.
He argued that kids could be made to start sleeping alone after reaching age five. Olasunkanmi said at that age, kids would have been mature enough to take care of little things like getting water if they woke up thirsty at night.
An Ondo State-based education consultant, Mr. Rotimi Oyeneyin, canvassed same position as Olasunkanmi. He said, age five should be suitable for them to begin sleeping in a different room from their parents.
On his part, a business manager at a Lagos-based firm, Mr. Babatunde Ayodeji, identified age two as the appropriate time to allow kids start sleeping in a separate room from their parents.
He, however, added that parents could use their discretion to either reduce or extend the age based on their children’s intelligence quotient.
Ayodeji stated, “It is difficult to know the precise age or when to stop one’s kid from sleeping on same bed with their parents. However, I think by the age of two, parents should let the kid start sleeping in a separate room. At this age, a kid’s cognition is developed enough to understand their environment. Moreover, letting them sleep separately improves their mental development. From there, they tend to learn through inquisition and curiousity. I think the pleasure of it all is sharing bedtime story with them in their own room before they finally sleep.’’
On her part, a care giver and teacher, Mrs. Ronke Ogundimu, advised parents to make their children start sleeping in separate rooms after clocking two years.
She added that children’s level of awareness would have increased at that age and their curiousity aroused.
Ogundimu said, “I have a six-month old baby now. The way she looks at me when I undress is scary.”
But another care giver, Mrs. Folasade Adeyemi-Adewole, added a new dimension to her position.
She expressed the view that the type of accommodation inhabited by parents would largely determine when their kids should be allowed to start sleeping on their own.
According to her, parents who live in a single room with two kids below five cannot be planning of making them sleep separately in another room.
“But generally on when kids should start sleeping alone, it is age two. A male or female child should not sleep in the same room with the parents again at that age except when sick, ’’ Adeyemi-Adewole added.
A father, Mr. Segun Obadare, canvassed one year as the right age to stop kids from sleeping in same room with their parents. He said, ‘‘But if the child is ill, one may take him or her in for monitoring. But as soon as he gets better, he should go back to his room.’’
A website on parenting, , noted that while sharing a bed might ease pressures on families while children are young, the habit of co-sleeping could pose problems after they attained maturity stage.
It explained, “By the time children are two and half years old, most parents will be eager to have them sleep easily through the night in their own beds. Extended co-sleeping can discourage children from achieving what’s known as ‘night time independence.’ Children with night time independence are confident that they can fall asleep on their own, and know how to comfort themselves if they are stressed or anxious around sleep.’’
It also stated that frequently, pre-school and school-aged children have fitful sleep cycles and having a child kicking, tossing and turning in their bed could interrupt parents’ sleep, leading to exhaustion and stress throughout the day.
Noting that couple intimacy would often be compromised when kids sleep on the same bed with parents, it added that such situation could be detrimental to a couple’s relationship, communication and physical closeness.
Contact: [email protected]
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Yemi: It was through the help of God because I met her after praying for one month in my church. On the day we met for the first time, I was driving out of a shopping complex when I saw her walk past with a little boy. I later found out the boy was her nephew. I gave her a lift and that was how it all started.
Abimbola: I was on my way to church when we met. He offered to take me to church in his car.
Yemi: As of that time, I really needed a wife, so I wasn’t looking out for beauty or any superficial quality because I had been praying about it and I believed that whoever God chose would be good enough for me. I wanted a responsible woman who would be the mother of my children and give me joy.
Abimbola: I was attracted by the humility and favour of God that radiated all around him. I had seen him in movies before then and I was his fan, but he had no airs and graces about him.
Yemi: Yes. After I gave her a lift, I collected her phone number and told my pastor about the encounter. He prayed about it and he told me that she’s good for me.
Abimbola: We started off as friends and dated for about six months before getting married. When a union is ordained by God, things would fall into place.
Yemi: As a man, I’m the one that is supposed to tell her I love her and want to marry her, and I carried out my manly duty in a normal way. She prayed about it as well, and she accepted though initially reluctant because of my job as an actor. My pastor helped to convince her.
Abimbola: He invited me to his house on that day, and asked me if I would marry him. I said yes and the rest is history.
Yemi: It has not been easy to be a husband and father. I will not advise anyone to get married unprepared because it comes with a lot of responsibilities. There are a lot of challenges in marriage but I was prepared for it. I was not caught off guard. No man can boast of satisfying a woman 100 per cent because it’s not possible. Sometimes, she complains when I don’t return from movie locations on time but I have to work in order to put food on the table.
Abimbola: God is the source of our strength, and we thank Him that love has never failed us in our marriage. We face challenges, but we always overcome them. It has been a wonderful and fruitful marital journey, and I believe in God that it will continue to be so.
Yemi: Marriage is all about tolerance; we should be able to tolerate each other and have patience. One also has to be prayerful and work very hard as a man. Women like money and if you don’t have money, she would not respect you. There is nothing like true love again; these days, women are only interested in money.
Abimbola: One challenge married women face is the issue of submission. You may want to express yourself, but they would assume you are being rude. However, when issues like that come up, I remember the Bible verse that admonishes wives to be submissive and God has been helping me.
Yemi: I am a public figure but that does not mean I cannot apologise to my wife. However, I don’t like saying sorry to women, so I try not to offend my wife. I can never beat my wife or maltreat her. Any man that beats his wife is playing with his future. If she annoys me, the most I can do is to leave the house and go somewhere to cool off. I’m much older than her, so I’m like a teacher to her.
Abimbola: I am usually the person to apologise.
Yemi: We argue a lot because my wife does not easily forget things. However, I consider that as normal in every relationship. And if we quarrel, she must apologise to me because God has put me in a position of leadership in the house.
Yemi: Whenever I’m outside, I see myself as a star that people look up to, but when I’m at home, I see myself as a normal husband. But that does not mean I’ll stop behaving like a king because God has made me the leader of the house.
Abimbola: I am a cool-headed person, and I come from a God-fearing home.
Yemi: I call her ‘Iya Lolade’ (Lolade’s mummy). The fact that I act as a lover boy in movies doesn’t mean that’s the same way I behave at home. It’s not just about calling her sweet names, it is more important for me to fulfill my responsibilities as a man.
Abimbola: I call him ‘dear.’
Yemi: By virtue of our job, we deserve a lot of respect, but women will not give you respect when they don’t see money. When you see homes breaking up among entertainment celebrities, I can attribute it to financial issues. But when the man has money, the woman will stick by him. Even if he sends her away, she wouldn’t leave.
Abimbola: If you don’t have God in your family, there is nothing you can do. The Bible says ‘Except the Lord builds a house, the builders build in vain.’ A family without God cannot stand.
Abimbola: Women play a lot of important roles in the home and society in general. We are mothers, mentors, teachers and house builders. Without women in the home, the society cannot develop. That is why the Bible says that the man that finds a wife has found a good thing. That is how valuable and important the woman is even in the sight of God.
Yemi: I don’t think there is anything special about wedding anniversaries; every day is special to me. I celebrate every day as long as I have money to take care of my family.
Yemi: Understanding is very important. A man must also play his role as the leader and the woman should never see herself as the head of the house. Money is also very important because it would make your wife respect you.
Abimbola: Even though money is important, the love of God overcomes all.
Yemi: I don’t have time for that. I am married to my business and that is what is sustaining the family. Like I said earlier, I celebrate every day if there is money.
Yemi: I will advise the husband most. He should work very hard to have enough money so that he will be able to take care of the family. The wife should see herself as an assistant to her husband in all areas of life because behind every successful man is a woman. Tolerance is also very important. Most importantly, you should also be close to God in prayers.
Abimbola: They should be humble and focus on God; the author and finisher of their faith. Whenever they have challenges, they should not run to any man but to God.
Contact: [email protected]
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I became a father about 27 years ago. My greatest fear was being able to cope with fatherhood, especially in bringing up my children in a God-fearing manner that would enable them cope with the challenges of life and being able to stand on their own.
On May 6, 1975 to be specific, I was then a postgraduate student on my PhD programme at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. When my wife was in labour, I had to accompany her in the ambulance to the hospital, Leeds Infirmary. On her admission into a private room in the labour ward, I was allowed to be by her aside. I was able to witness the pains and agony of labour. With all the gadgets attached to her, I was able to watch her uterine movement, heartbeats of mother and the baby (foetus). All of a sudden, the doctor and a nurse requested my leaving the room contrary to the agreement that I would be allowed to watch the delivery of the baby. It then dawned on me that perhaps, there was a problem. This created fear into me and I became nervous and afraid which made me to increase the frequency of my prayers. You can imagine the relief, joy, excitement and gratitude to God that I felt when the nurse came for me and announced, “Congratulations you have a baby girl and the mother is doing fine.” I was eager to see my wife and carry the baby which I could not do until after a couple of hours. Later, my wife being a nurse, narrated to me all she went through to have the baby.
That experience made me to appreciate the agony that women go through in child delivery and a practical understanding of what the Lord says, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.” The arrival of our first baby was a thing of joy and pride for me.
Having the first two babies – girls, as a student outside the country and in a society where raising children and household duties are joint responsibilities of husbands and wives; I did not find it difficult to imbibe the culture. I was involved in all forms of domestic duties – sweeping, cooking, and washing of plates and clothes. This was carried over to Nigeria when we returned home in 1978 and with the arrival of two more children — a girl and a boy. I could not leave home keeping and raising the children to my wife alone. Regardless of helping hands or not, I enjoyed changing wet or soiled nappies, washing of nappies, preparation of infant food and feeding babies (whether bottle feeding or spoon feeding on semi solid foods ).
As my children grew up, I ensured they developed the habit of cleanliness at home by ensuring that on most Saturdays, we would all be involved in cleaning the entire house – whether mummy was at home or not. I consider that the duty of a responsible father; there must not be a vacuum in teaching and showing the way in home keeping. This responsibility has to be shared by both parents with understanding, especially if one or both of them are in professions that involve shift duties.
The journey into fatherhood moulded me into appreciating the goodness of God. More importantly, it made me to understand and equally appreciate the Yoruba adage, — translated literarily, it is only God that can guide and ensure the survival of any child, especially in a challenging world that we all live in. Training and bringing up children is not a reflection of how good, holy or the measure of discipline applied. Fatherhood journey also enabled me to have a critical evaluation of the role of family in community or national development. It also increases my love life which enables me to appreciate my wife better than I used to.
Incidentally, our last born was 23 years old by the time I took up the appointment of vice-chancellor in 2006. He was already a graduate and on his Master’s programme in the Birmingham, UK. I must confess one important aspect of their lives that I missed most is monitoring their love lives. Before my appointment, I had been actively involved in university administration as deputy vice-chancellor and other positions; this created a huge gap in communicating with them as I used to. I did not fully know intimately enough their – would – be partners and be able to advise them accordingly. Be that as it may, I have had no cause to regret any of their choices. My inclination is that if I had taken up the appointment when they were younger, I might not have been able to fully play my fatherly role in monitoring, counselling and advising them.
There could have been a wide gap between them and myself. Nevertheless, that period of 10 years brought a slight gap in communication between my children and me. I had to rely more on information from my wife who was always there for them all. If one is not careful, the demands of the job would be such that one might lose control of the children who could easily be lost into the ‘world’ coupled with poor home bringing. One could find himself being successful without carrying one’s children along – a situation that leads to regrets and family agony. I’m glad I never had that kind of experience.
One important way is to nurture them in the ways of the Lord — Christian upbringing. Counselling is very important either individually or collectively at home. It is important to study and understand each child and handle him or her accordingly. Two children are never the same. It is therefore important to strive to be close to each child and communicate effectively and continuously. Regardless of the age of any child, one must draw him or her out of his/her shell. A father must know the behavioural pattern of a child and handle him/her accordingly.
Citing of notable examples whether good or bad within the community or times among their peers will also be of help. Monitoring them and the type of children they associate with, the type of novels they read and once in a while one eavesdrop on their conversations. All these would be of value in advising and moulding their lives.
I would say parental behaviour. It should not be “do as I say, not do as I do.” Parents, especially fathers, tend to underrate the intelligence of children. Children see and know more than we assume. Children take in a lot of information which will not be shared with parents, especially fathers, which will be shared freely with their peers. They can easily be influenced and misguided through such avenues, especially in this present age of social media. As a father, while my children were growing up, I strove to ensure that I avoided doing whatever would give them a wrong orientation which would negate their positive approach to life.
I disciplined them through counselling, spanking for very serious offences (this was not common) and sometimes temporary denial of what I believe a particular child likes most or wants at the time he or she misbehaves. As infants, I would ask any offending child to close his/her eyes, face the wall and or raise one leg. It could be for the child to wash plates or sweep the room when it was not his/her turn. There were instances I would entice them with gifts if they behaved well. I also encouraged the first born to hold forth when both my wife and I were away from home for a brief period. The younger ones were aware that they would not be spared if the eldest gave a negative report.
The most challenging aspects include academic performance, peer influence and teenage years when they are neither adults nor children and yet would want to be treated as one. One other aspect is their love lives and subsequent marriages.
Yes, many times, especially with my wife who had to bear the brunt of the demands of the job. Most of the time, I was not there for her. She would attend a lot of social and family functions alone. I would get home too tired and exhausted to listen to her. There were instances we were to visit the children together and she would have to go all alone. It’s never the same when the children and grandchildren would be looking forward to a family reunion and the father / grandfather would not be available – this was a common occurrence.
The harshest decision I ever took was to expel a student for a serious offence. It was very harsh but one needed to enforce discipline to serve as a deterrent to others.
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Mrs. Toyin Adebayo who lives in Fagba area of Lagos has five children all below age 15. She sells fairly used clothes while her husband is a commercial bus driver.
Eating of meat is outlawed in Adebayo’s household. She described giving children meat as a waste of resources.
“What does meat do to the body? I don’t give my children meat. As long as they eat and , I am satisfied. Solid meals make them healthy and strong unlike meat; meat would not even satisfy them. Children do not need to eat meat as far as I am concerned,” she said.
Unlike Adebayo who doesn’t give her children meat, Mrs. Favour Bassey, a mother of three, said she only gives her children a piece of meat at night.
“I give my children a piece of meat each during dinner. I dare not give them meat during the day because they will keep bickering over it. Whenever they begin to fight over who should get the biggest piece of meat, I just clean up the kitchen and go to bed. It is safer for me to give them meat at night because I know that when they get tired of fighting, they would go to bed,” she said.
One of her sons, Iniobong, 7, beaming with smiles, said that his mother acts unfairly whenever she gives them meat.
“My mother is trying her best for us but I think she should stop giving my older brother the biggest piece of meat. He doesn’t even work as hard as we do. Instead, he sits at home and sends my younger brother and myself on errands. I do not think he even deserves to eat meat,” he said.
Another mother of three living in Ifako-Ijaiye estate, Agege, Mrs. Vivian Ebere, said her children take a piece of meat each during their meals. She said giving a child more than a piece of meat per meal would spoil the child.
“Why should a child a child eat more than one piece of meat? When I was young, my parents never gave me meat. If we had stock fish or (cow skin) in our meal; we praised God. My mother was strict. Only she and my father were allowed to eat meat. Now that I’m older, I believe children should eat meat but it should not be more than a piece a day,” she said.
Ebere’s daughter, Lisa, however, said her mother was unnecessarily strict.
“My mother gets bothered about how we should eat our meat. She always insists we eat it after we have finished our food. And she says we should not put it all in our mouth at once; she prefers we cut the piece of meat with our teeth bit-by-bit. That is old school,” she said.
On her part, Mr. Omolola Bankole, a bank worker, said the number of the pieces of meat children eat should be commensurate with their age.
“Older children should get at least two pieces of meat while the younger children should get a piece of meat. Giving a young child two pieces of meat is considered as spoiling the child; my parents used to say that to me. I grew up with that mentality,” he said.
A teacher, Mrs. Funmi Collins, who teaches at one of the private schools in Ikeja, also said a child should not consume more than a piece of meat.
“Whenever I am feeding some of my pupils, I get shocked at the pieces of meat some parents put in their children’s food flasks. In a child’s food flask, I once saw cow liver, (cow tripe), (cow lung) and two pieces of beef – all for just one child? Because you have the money to buy a cow does not mean a child should be consuming three, four pieces of meat. It baffles me; some parents truly spoil their children. Moreover, too much of meat is not good for a child. It makes the child become greedy,” she said.
A businesswoman, Mrs. Bimbo Obawole, said she has no limit to the pieces of meat she gives her children.
“If it is about how many pieces of chicken parts I give my children, I would say one. But why should I count the pieces of meat I give my children? There is no big deal in giving children more than one piece of meat. After all, meat is not as expensive as chicken or turkey,” she said.
However, health experts say children should eat meat or chicken three to four times a week and two or more portions of fish each week. Protein food like eggs are a good source for breakfast too, they said.
A nutritionist at the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Okunola Oladimeji, stressed the importance of making meat part of children’s diet.
He said, “Meat is rich in protein, iron, calcium, fat and vitamins B. All these nutrients are important in children’s diet. They aid in growth and maintenance of their bodies. However, too much of anything isn’t good.
“There cannot be a general size (of meat) for all children; meat size should not be determined by how wealthy a parent is. As a parent, you need to consider the calorie need of the child, physical activities and body weight first. Meat is heavy in calorie and rich in fat. An obese child compared to a malnourished child would not require much meat in his diet. The age of a child can be considered when giving meat. For instance, the meat size for a two-year-old may not be the same for a 10-year-old child.”
Also commenting on the health benefits of meat, a nutritionist, Mrs. Olubiyi Sade, identified protein in meat as a source of energy for children.
She said, “Meat is a healthy source of protein that supports a child’s bones, muscles, blood, skin and hormones. However, if your child refuses to eat meat, replacing meat with alternatives is an important way to protect his health. Beans, when combined with rice, form a complete vegetable protein. Eggs and milk are also a good source of protein and vitamin B12. The best way to cover one’s child’s nutritional needs is to serve a variety of foods from each food group.
“On the serving portions of meat, I recommend a piece of meat during each meal. The piece, however, should not be too small; it should be fairly reasonable. Parents should not go overboard with it.’’
Contact: [email protected]
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Anyone can inseminate any other. Fatherhood is, therefore, for me more than the biological function of insemination. It is a very serious responsibility of trying to shape a better generation. I consider myself a father not just to my biological children but to a lot of kids in whose lives I have chosen to play a role.
Nothing prepares you for fatherhood. In some ways, life should. You come to it as a beneficiary of the combined experience of the fatherhood skills and values of those who did it before you, watching them; learning from their mistakes; and making the best of their virtues.
Uncertainty about the role and what it entailed as well as a sense of inadequacy somewhat.
Biologically, 20 years ago in 1997. But my would-be mother-in-law left me with her 11 year-old last son as she was dying in 1995 and he grew up as my first child pretty much.
It was mixed emotions. Fulfillment, relief and bewilderment. Labour was very long – over 36 hours. Mind you, I speak of labour in the technical sense of at least three centimetres of dilation. I was in the labour room through all but the first three hours of that. I needed to sign off work before getting in there. So, when the child arrived, all of us were relieved for different reasons: the medical professionals (nurses & doctors) that they didn’t have to go through with caesarean section which had already been prepared as both mother and child were showing signs of distress; the mother, that she didn’t have to endure that; and for me, I needed sleep!
No. I’m frankly not the type to look a gift horse in the mouth when it comes to this issue of sex of the child. I think it trifles with the value of human life to begin to think a particular sex is more useful or valuable or desirable than any other.
I had a dad who wasn’t averse to sometimes enthusiastic laying of hands for disciplinary purposes. So I grew up with an instinctive aversion for that. I believe children are very perceptive. I am very much against beating or spanking. My children get when I am unhappy or need something addressed with urgency. I don’t need to scream or shout about it. It’s in a bond and skill of communication. Sometimes it is unspoken indeed; at other times it’s humour. Sometimes their privileges are tampered with; at other times the tone of communication does it. Discipline also can happen in knowing when not to say anything.
Believe it or not, it’s keeping quiet; ignoring them. They will usually trigger a discussion. Parenting in my view is about enabling children to trust themselves, their values and their judgement. It means encouraging them to have and find voice. They can’t do that if I beat or scream it out of them.
My dad’s traditional title was “Eziafakaego” – A good name is better than money. The value I took away from him more than any was honesty and integrity. The one thing I find intolerable is lying to children. That’s not allowed.
In the beginning and always, it’s being able to provide for your children and giving them the best possible preparation for their own lives not for mine. Often we inflict on the children a burden of expectation for our lives instead of preparing them for their own lives.
I’m not always the most patient person. So, the one thing I have learnt from fatherhood is patience. Fatherhood seasons you. Alongside that comes tolerance and forgiveness. You can’t be a father if you can’t forgive your children or indeed yourself. There is an element of audacity that comes from being a father. As I like to tell my own children: we all learn madness from our children.
If I have given them anything, I would think it is enlightenment – a liberal worldview that does not discriminate or suffer discrimination gladly as well as a voice that must insist on being heard even in the face of considerable pushback. My children are not necessarily conformist. In a society like ours, I expect them to run into problems with the types that (Oyo State) Governor (Abiola) Ajimobi would describe as “Constituted Authority” and they often do. My duty as a dad is to let them know: as long as they have not stolen, lied, or assaulted or damaged anyone, I will be there for them. Above all, therefore, if you grow up in our household, the one gift you must be able to pick up is moral courage. If you make them unhappy, they will be in your face or will subvert your claims to authority.
We believe in God but we are not invested in forms or buildings for worship. Our children know faith is important but we also recognise that they will be responsible for any decision they make as to faith. There is no established form of worship in our house but we know how to pray. It is important to enable children to grow up balanced and some of the things we can subject children to in the name of religion can be abusive. I remember I once reluctantly agreed to allow my daughter to attend some “virtuous woman” workshop for kids when she was 10. She came back on the second day and reported how they wanted them to speak in tongues and accept these models of suffering in the hands of men. I promptly withdrew her and had to call on the organiser to remonstrate with her. I don’t consider it part of my parenting role to make my daughter believe she is inferior to boys and should suffer indignity gladly or our son to believe he is superior to girls and can treat them anyhow.
I don’t know what female roles are. Obviously, I don’t have mammary glands. Terry nappies were no longer fashionable by when I became a dad, so I didn’t have to wash nappies all over again (I did that for my younger siblings). But it absolutely takes two (or more) to do this thing. The sleeplessness of early parenting can’t be borne by one person alone. It’d drive you potty!
I don’t know whether I have been able to teach any “essentials of good upbringing.” A lot of our people in Nigeria have peculiar ideas about what is good or acceptable. For instance, my children don’t call anyone “auntie” or “uncle.” In our house, everyone has a name and when they meet you, they will find out your name and you will be called by Mr. or Mrs. or Dr. or Chief your name but not “uncle” or “auntie” etc. There is a good reason for that. A lot of child abuse is done by “uncles” and “aunties”; by people who are insinuated into the lives of the children through titles that import authority and familiarity but who should not be in those positions. In my own life also, I have come to the conclusion you can’t hold anyone accountable whom you cannot call by their name. “Uncle” is not a name, it is an institution. The burden of holding an institution accountable for abusing you is too much for a child to bear.
The problem is, many Nigerians will think the children like mine are rude because they have not been weaned on a diet of gratuitous “auntie” and “uncle.” I get very impatient with people who want to dismantle our house rules and think they are entitled to be called “auntie” or “uncle” by my kids. But those are the rules we have agreed to bring them up with and they have worked well so far. Our kids know to look after themselves and be respectful but not to suffer slavery or enslavement. I remember when my daughter was seven, my perfectly healthy sister-in-law came to the house, finished eating, sat down and asked her to go take down the plates. My daughter quietly told her to please take her dishes down to the kitchen and wash up and that her dad had warned her against child abuse. I sat quietly through it. My sister-in-law knew better than ask me. The following morning, my sister-in-law left the house. Children deserve respect and a voice. We can’t reduce them to fetching and carrying merely to satisfy the vanities of adults.
Well, I would have wished to have worked fewer hours sometimes or travelled less. But on the whole, I’ve been grateful for the challenges of fatherhood.
The children don’t and won’t remember the cases dad did or the picket lines he ran. Their memories are more prosaic and personal: the books; the meals; night time stories; embarrassing moments, school run. Children will humble you in ways you don’t predict. That’s what makes it such magic being a parent. It enables you to rediscover what matters not just the professional and other vocations.
My kids know that the only thing I ask of them is to be the best in whatever they choose to do or commit to. I am interested in helping them get the skills to be that. So language skills, inter-personal skills cross-cultural skills; skills of compassion and emotional intelligence; character assets of truthfulness, confidence, integrity, courage and values of basic decency, intellectual assets of positive curiosity and openness to inquiry. These are important. A child that has these assets and skills should make the right decisions about what or who they want to do or become.
I can’t give quantities. The one thing I have always enjoyed actually is school run. You learn a lot from it. Daddying up a daughter is a fascinating experience. In my house, it was my place to explain to my daughter what a period was and to prepare her for it. Her mum was like: no one prepared me for it but my view was, well, that was then. So she said: ‘okay then you go do it.’ We worked out a way to do it. With our son, his mother taught him how to use a condom. For us, sex education is central to living a healthy life and also to being truthful with your children. ABC is good but many people start and stop at A and simply live in denial about the fact that quite often our children will also need the C.
I cannot generalise about children, even about those who have no father figures. It is ideal of course, to have the positive influences of a father and a mother in the life of a child. Often this is not possible and without knowing the reasons why this is not possible in any particular case, generalisation can be difficult. The nature of the family is changing under all manner of influences. So, I try to be case-specific rather than generalise.
When he was 10, my son accosted me one day at home and said: “Dad, did you say marriage is an institution?” Innocently, I said “Yes.” And he retorted, “But why would anyone want to live in an institution?” That was a question I could never have dreamed up. I had no answer to that and still don’t. In our conversations, I simply try to encourage my children to value relationships built on trust and mutual respect. And to value those who respect their dignity. In the end, it is all about trust, dignity and mutual respect. It is not about forms.
Well, if we were speaking about tens or dozens or scores of children, may be. But I am not (yet) in that league as you can imagine. Every child is different and every child is unique. So, the idea of favourite children I guess would not arise for me.
It’s a huge sacrifice that women make in being primary carers of children, especially in the early years. Their careers, confidence, self-belief can take a bashing as a result. I think in our society, we take that very much for granted. If you had to hire a carer in enlightened society to do or help with that, you would appreciate it better just from the costs you have to incur for them.
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Evelyn: I would say it is the grace of God. He has been our sustenance since we got married. For a marriage to last, God has to be the centre factor.
Bright: God is important in every marriage. Marriages face challenges but when a couple puts God ahead of their marriage, those mistakes are quickly corrected. Little mistakes can ruin a marriage if not addressed with love and prayers too. For a marriage to be successful, God has to be the major player in the relationship and a woman has a role to play too.
Bright: We met in church; her love for God drew us closer to each other. I still remember that she lived close to where I used to train for Shooting Stars. On my way to training, I would always stop over at her place. With time, she got used to me and that was how our relationship progressed.
Bright: She didn’t. It took some time before she accepted my proposal. She really wanted to know me well. She wanted to be sure about my relationship with God and other things.
Bright: I am from a Christian home and when I had an opportunity to interact with her, I was impressed by her God-fearing nature. She never for once pretended to me. She had a great vision of a beautiful woman. After God, my wife has been the sustenance of our family. When a God-fearing woman takes a decision, it is always a good one. There is an adage that says a man is the boss in a home but it is the woman that makes her man the boss in the home. A man leaves his house without thinking if there would be food when he returns. It is the woman that ensures everything is in place. I always say men are there to help in a home but women are the executors. Their role in a home is important.
Evelyn: All I can say is that our relationship is one specially designed by God.
Bright: Not all women have the instincts to stay with a man. If a woman is focused on how she wants to live her life, nothing would distract her attention. The honest truth is that many women don’t want to suffer. They want a man from a rich background. My wife is different. She didn’t focus on material things while we were getting to know ourselves. Instead, she wanted to know if I had a good relationship with God. I have learnt a lot from her. She is an extraordinary woman with great qualities. I have no other choice but to comply with her demands because she does the same for me. It takes two to tango.
Evelyn: We do not. We have our personal accounts.
Bright: I am the first to apologise. I do not like a tensed atmosphere. Whenever we have a misunderstanding, I try to make her laugh for her to forget about everything. I have come to realise that there is nothing in this life. Life should be taken with ease. It is important for us to ensure that our marriages remain happy. Grudges and misunderstanding don’t help marriages.
Evelyn: Yes I do. He likes
Bright: There is no gift I get for her that isn’t romantic. Anytime I travel, I buy things for both of us. I put her needs first before I even think of my needs. My wife is my number one; she is always on my mind. When a man puts his wife first, she gains the respect of others. A man who talks down his wife in public should expect others to follow suit. And if they are praises, they come back to him.
Evelyn: Marriages differs. What operates in marriage A may not be what operates in marriage B. But love goes a long way; God himself is love. To live together, couples must love themselves. To another person, love may not work. To me, love is very important. It should not be a thing of lip service.
Bright: My type of job is one that involves me being in the public. At the time when I used to play, she was in the university. Moreover, she didn’t watch my matches. Hence, the issue of female admirers didn’t cross her mind. Also, while we were getting to know ourselves, she never for once met another woman in my house. After matches, I drove straight home.
Evelyn: Our method of discipline varies. We address issues differently.
Bright: No we did not, it just happened. I believe it is the will of God. Our children are a blessing from God.
Bright: I can’t identify her weaknesses because I don’t even think about them. I am very positive about her. My wife is extremely hard working. I don’t think I’ve met any lady who is as hard-working as she is. She works like a man and she’s always on the move. She doesn’t have time for frivolities. Every day I bless God for giving me a woman like her. She has a wonderful personality and always supportive.
Bright: When it comes to cooking, I am number one and my wife knows it. Whenever she says she is unable to cook probably because she is tired or not in the mood, I am ready to take over. I am a fantastic cook. Once, her sister visited us and when she tasted my food, she marvelled. I can make any type of food and mix all sorts of ingredients to make a delicious meal.
Evelyn: Very true, he is a fantastic cook.
Bright: I think that would be her smile. She has a beautiful smile. Her smile melts my heart. When I see her smile, I am happy. I become confident that she is happy too.
Evelyn: Couples should forget about unnecessary pursuits. Contentment is important in a marriage. Couples should not marry because of their financial backgrounds; God should be their main focus. They should avoid counting their chickens before they are hatched. Life is all about planning. When two persons come together to plan for a successful future, they would achieve great things. As the adage goes, two heads are better than one.
Bright: It is not sports personalities alone even in the film industry, there is a lot of divorce cases. Youths of today are carried away by many things that don’t matter. I always use Kanu Nwankwo as an example. He and his wife have been together through the years of his career. As a man, one has to be focused. If you have decided to be with a lady, keep to your word. And women should learn to trust their husbands. Sometimes, they need to block their ears and focus on what matters.
Bright: A man has to love God first before he can love his wife. If they both build a solid foundation, the marriage won’t crash. I will also add that many times, domestic violence is spurred by lack of finances. When a woman appreciates her husband and supports him, he won’t notice his inadequacies. Marriage is all about planning; one has to be content in life. I am someone who doesn’t care what people think about me. I am comfortable with my life. My wife is always appreciative of the little things I do.
Contact: [email protected]
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Fatherhood for me is a higher call of responsibility. It involves a lot of mentoring; a lot of hard work because every father wants the best for his children.
Sometimes as a father, there are things one wishes to do for one’s children. But because the financial resources are not there, one has to make do with what one has. Also, the society is a problem. There is a way that would lead to a better tomorrow for the children and one makes all the efforts to set them on that path. But the kind of system that we have in the neighbourhood, school, etc, are not helping matters. One thus needs a lot of extra work to deconstruct the things they pick up in school. You have to be on your guard always. Also, social media has come with a lot of challenges. The cartoons we thought were not corrupt have their own challenges including the movies and several things around us.
The word of God has always been the key. I always tell them the ‘reason why’ whenever I chastise them for doing anything wrong. I also use myself as an example.
I married at the age of 30 and by 31, I was already a father.
My first child is a boy and I have five children now; all of them are boys. I was really happy the first day I held my first child.
My heart was open. In the heart of every man, he would want a 50-50 gender of children; like having two boys and two girls or a boy and a girl. As the boys kept coming, my wife felt we would have a girl and that was why they became five. At a point, it became obvious that the will of God cannot be changed. But I have no problem with the gender because my boys are wonderful kids.
My children are still young because I am not that old. They have not reached the age of buying things to appreciate me. The appreciation I get from them is that when I give them instructions, they get to school, behave well and return with good grades. They also return home to tell me how they resist temptations. That is higher than any kind of gift they can give me. My eldest child is just about to clock 16.
I have appreciated my wife in different ways and I may not able to start mentioning them. She can testify to that including those closer to us.
It is very dangerous because it can cause friction in a family. Parents should be parents to all their children because they all have equal rights. Having a favourite child among children can cause sibling rivalry long after the death of their parents. It happened to Joseph in the Bible whom his father made a coat of many colours. It made his brothers jealous and they planned to kill him. Every wise father should be careful not to tread such a dangerous path.
I agree that social media is a kind of disaster for children. There are some things that young minds cannot control and only adults can. Even some adults do not have self-control not to talk of the young ones. The best thing parents can do is to also be scientific and Internet savvy. They should give their kids phones with no Internet if they have to use phones at all. It is the duty of every parent to monitor their use of social media. Children discuss a lot of things on social media with their friends.
I believe so much in discipline. The Bible says, ‘Spare the road and spoil the child.’ If you do not spank at all, it is bad but it must be done in moderation and the children must be told why they were beaten. I love my kids so much and I let them know what they do wrong anytime I discipline them.
My children have not seen all my movies but they have watched , and . The questions they ask border on technicalities. If they see a bomb explosion or blood effect, they want to know how I achieved the effect. I thus will explain it to them.
I am careful not to control their career choices because I believe that every child has a destiny. God has a career plan He wants each person to pursue. Though I will want to see one or two of them show interest in my work but I have been careful not to influence them. They tell me what they want to study in the university. I know that reality will set in by the time they become mature.
I have been a meticulous and careful person. I try to reduce my mistakes and do not have any regrets in that regard.
I told them that to make it in life, they must be humble. I taught them to respect everybody no matter the person’s status. My late father, Mr. Okoli Benson, was a civil servant who instilled good values in us. He was God-fearing, hard-working and did not believe in much pleasure and leisure. He believed so much in cause and effect; that whatsoever one sows is what one will reap. There was a day he called me and told me that anything I did would be on me and not on him because he trained me well. He told me that if I listened to him, I would turn out well in life. He added that if I became successful it would be for my own good. He was a kind and good father. I am trying to make my children imbibe the good values and principles I learnt from him.
Contact: [email protected]
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Mrs. Beatrice Nwachukwu is no stranger to stuttering. The pre-school and crèche owner in Iju area of Lagos State told that she noticed this speech condition in her five-year-old son and quickly consulted experts who guided her accordingly.
Nwachukwu stated that her early discovery of the speech deficiency helped her son.
“I first noticed that he took long to complete words. He used to closed his eyes while pronouncing two-syllable words. It was with the help of a speech therapist that I was able to quickly correct it. My other children don’t have the trait and that initially got me worried,” she said.
A consultant speech-language pathologist at Friends’ Consult Independent Speech and Language Therapy Services, Dr. Grace Ojeamiren-Bamigboye, described stuttering as a condition in which a child or an adult has difficulty in pronouncing a sound or block including repeating words or phrases.
According to her, it is usually caused by a group of factors including genetics.
Ojeamiren-Bamigboye said, “People in some particular areas stutter more than others and we do not know the reason for this development. Everyone stutters. Some people, when called to speak on stage, will develop what we call stage fright and use filters as they speak. They keep repeating words or phrases like, ‘you see, okay, you know,’ etc to buy time which are not part of the speech they are making.”
She added that kids between ages two and five hesitate while speaking and it could be termed ‘normal non-fluency stage.’ “They say call ‘mummy, mummy’ without knowing what next to say,’’ she noted.
The speech pathologist noted that types of stuttering included prolongation, repetition and blocking involving muscular tweaking or banging of tables during speech.
She stated that stutterers could be helped through the use of smoothie packages, fluency reshaping and psycho therapy. “In fluency reshaping, one will stammer and ask the stammering child to mimic one and also speak normally and ask him or her to do the same. It is a way of making the person’s speech fluent, ’’ she added.
Another speech pathologist, Mrs. Grace Ademola-Sokoya, who identified brain configuration, genetic and environmental factors as some of the causes of stuttering, advised early therapy for stutterers to check the condition.
She stated, “No matter the age, there are therapies that can be employed to help those who stutter to speak better even for secondary stutterers who do eye blinking, feet stamping and body tapping to get out their speech.”
The speech pathologist also said a child could start stuttering due to the pressure on him or her to speak better.
A US-based not-for-profit organisation, The Stuttering Foundation, also defined stuttering as a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables.
It noted that there might also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak.
According to the foundation, stuttering also referred to as stammering, affects more than 70 million people worldwide, which it stated, is about one per cent of the population.
On her part, a tutor with a popular school in Lagos, Mrs. Ronke Ogundimu, said infants who stutter need special parental love and support so that inferiority complex would not set in.
Ogundimu said, ‘‘Parents should instill boldness in their kids who stammer for them to be able to express themselves well among their peers. Caregivers should be patient and tolerant with them as they must be given equal opportunity to speak in class and not tell them to keep quiet. Speech pathologists and therapists are the best to consult when stuttering is noticed in any child. They are always ready to be of help and offer assistance. However, all hands must be on deck by parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers and the society to prevent any attempt to make them recluses.’’
Also, a youth advocacy worker, Francesca Adeola, explained that the only way to help stammering kids would be for their parents or guardians to seek the help of speech therapists.
She, however, added that the severity of the condition would determine the best step to take.
Adeola said, ‘‘The parents might also want to find out what causes the stammering. For instance, if the child starts stammering immediately he or she starts talking there maybe someone around the child who the child might be imitating. Children could imitate people around them and with time form a habit. If it is the case of imitation, then the parent can talk to the child (age appropriate conversation).”
According to her, parents should also reassure their children who stammer that they are normal because they might be facing ridicule from their peers and the reassurance will help them.
Contact: [email protected]
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Adedayo: She didn’t know me, my cousin gave me her number and I started sending her text messages frequently. She later got curious and started calling me. Then, we met and things began to take shape from there.
Morenike: I met him through his cousin. Although he started sending me text messages in October 2008, we met physically in February 2009.
Morenike: It wasn’t love at first sight but love gradually developed later.
Adedayo: Seven years ago. I always say that marriage is what one wants it to be.
Morenike: We got married in 2009.
Adedayo: There will always be challenges but it is not how many times a couple fight that matter, but the times they settle their differences.
Morenike: I have learnt a lot in seven years. I have learnt to be prayerful and that couples must not bring a third party into their marriage if they want to make a success of it.
Morenike: When we first got married, he used to apologise to me because I was very stubborn. My mother made realise that marriage is different from courtship and I had to adjust a great deal.
Adedayo: It is quite simple; what do you see in the other person that makes you want to spend the rest of your life with him or her? Couples must ask themselves that pertinent question before embarking on the journey. If you see a lady as someone not in your league, that perception stays with you. In the same vein; a lady sees a man and says he is handsome, rich and gets carried away by worldly things. When the lady sees the true character of the person, the marriage may crash.
Morenike: Intending couples must be prayerful. Get an answer from God before going into marriage. They should pray to God individually and collectively so that He can direct them. Another thing is that couples must be friends from the outset. Even when storms come their way, they must always remember their foundation of friendship, trust, understanding, obedience and forgiveness.
Adedayo: To an extent, I am an introvert and also my wife. Whenever we are at home, we unwind by watching television and discussing meaningful things.
Morenike: We watch movies together during our free time.
Morenike: I criticise some of his roles. Sometimes, I tell him when I don’t really like a role that he has portrayed I also tell him some of the things he could have done better. I have been privileged to be on set with him and I do know that it’s not easy to play certain roles; especially when the director keeps saying ‘cut’ all the time. That gave me a deep insight into what it entails to shoot a movie.
Adedayo: I act more of comic roles. The good thing about that is that I don’t have to hug or kiss someone on set. She is comfortable with that. When we got married, our honeymoon was cut short because I was called to be on set for a Wale Adenuga production. We packed our things and went straight to the location. We stayed for eight hours, waiting for my shoot. From the third day of our marriage, she understood the kind of job I do and what it entails.
Adedayo: It’s difficult to choose one over the other because it depends on what each couple believes in. You have to run the home with money but if couples understand one another, and know where they are coming from, they would be able to manage, especially in this period of recession.
Adedayo: I am a God-fearing, easy-going individual. I hate to be humiliated and looked down upon. I am a very simple person.
Morenike: I am the easy-going type so I am usually on my own lane.
Adedayo: I call her ‘Ke’ which is like a short form of her name and she calls me ‘daddy’ in return. We are still waiting on God for children and we believe that they will come at God’s time.
Morenike: I call him ‘daddy’ and sometimes he calls me by my middle name.
Adedayo: I am an African man so when I’m in the house, I’ll probably just cook a dish that we don’t normally eat in the house. I cook when I am free or feel like doing it. I could boil meat and leave the rest of the cooking to her. I love making especially the one called with seven lives (moin-moin elemimeje). My wife loves it when I make it.
Morenike: I can testify to the fact that he knows how to make and he does that from time to time. To an extent, my husband is domesticated around the house. Sometimes, he would have bought the cooking ingredients and boiled the beef for me to just start cooking.
Adedayo: That’s a tough one. It depends on the type of in-laws that one has. There was a time my in-law was very an angry with me that I do not call him from time to time. I replied that he should call my father who was alive at the time to ask him how many times I call him. I keep to myself a lot and people think that I am selfish or wicked but it’s just the way I am and can’t be helped.
Contact: [email protected]
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