30.05.2018

Thank you for raising a son

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Can you share with us some of your fond childhood memories? Thank you for raising a son, the abduction of those schoolchildren in Dapchi, Yobe State, gives me a lot of concern.

I want them to be freed immediately and that’s what I’m praying for. This morning, I read the Bible and prayed for them at 4. 30am and I repeated the process at 8am. However, I believe that God would answer our prayers.

As Christians, we should put everything in the hands of God. Since we have done that, I believe that the girls will be freed. As regards my early years, I don’t really remember much of my childhood. Lafinhan, who I spent many years with while growing up.

She trained me because she was a domestic science teacher then. I attended an elementary school, and from there I went to a teacher training school in Sagamu, Ogun State. Later on, I was a teacher at the girls’ college in Sagamu, before I got married in 1954. How did you meet your husband? I was still living with my sister then.

He was a friend to my sister’s husband. I regarded him as an elderly person because he was 14 years older than me. After his training in the UK, he came to look for somebody else at the girls’ school where I taught. I saw him in the entrance hall and I greeted him. He expressed surprise at knowing I also worked in the school.

How did you feel when you first became a mother? I had my first child, Femi, on July 29, 1955. I was delivered of Yemi on March 8, 1957, and I had Akin in 1960. When I gave birth to my first son, Femi, I was so happy about it and everyone in the family was happy too. How was the experience like bringing up four boys? When you are dealing with boys, you don’t sleep with your two eyes closed, and I would give you some instances to buttress that point.

One night, I went round the rooms to make sure they had all slept. However, there was one empty bed and I wondered where the occupant of the bed could be at that time. I took a chair to the front of the house and I was there till about 4am, when one of my sons drove into the compound in my car. As a mother, you have to be active. Sometimes, you have to put on trousers and show them that you can act like them. I thank God that everything is alright today.

You had to sacrifice your career to be able to train your children. How did that make you feel at the time? I didn’t think much about it because my husband was very loving. He always did whatever I wanted and there was no cause for anxiety. I took to his words and concentrated on training the children. When they became grown-ups, I started a nursery and primary school because that is what I was trained in.

Did you have to use the cane or were there other forms of punishment you adopted? There are so many things you can do without using the cane. Once, when one of my sons was making trouble, I threatened that I wouldn’t refer to him as Mr. I told him that whenever I wrote him letters, I would just write his name without adding Mr. He cried and begged me to call him Mr. You may think it is insignificant but that threat changed the boy at that time.