Forget the son of whom you are!
It was a normal Wednesday for most people save that it was rainy and a little bit cold but for me, it was a special day. The wet morning would mark the beginning of a life voyage. I was ready to start the first part of a journey that would constantly take me away from home for a long time. My brother and I would be traveling with our uncle to Ilesa - his base - on the day and two days later, on Friday 03.09.76, we would complete the second part of the journey from Ilesa to Efon Alaaye, a hilly town in Ekiti state on the border with Osun state that is about 32 km away from Ilesa. It was a day; I'd been looking forward to see since my dad decided that I would join my brother in the same boarding school.
Having passed the entrance examinations, I have been offered admission to St Charles grammar school, Oshogbo , a catholic secondary schools and C.A.C grammar school, Efon Alaaye. My dad had a dilemma choosing which school I should attend. As a devoted catholic, he had thought I should attend a catholic school in furtherance of his commitment to the faith. Many devoted parents in those days would like their children to attend catholic schools with the hope that one of them would go further to a major seminary to become a nun or a priest. This thought was always a big contemplation in some families especially those from hometown and it was always a pride to produce a monk in the family. I didn't know why my dad gave up on St Charles but I suspected it must have to do with the fact that my immediate junior brother had already showed interest in being a reverend father even from as early as he could babble words from his buccal cavity. Dad must be giving this a considerable thought and it really helped to remove pressure from the rest of us. For one reason or the other, he ended up not being one.
The choice of Efon Alaaye, according to dad, would afford me the opportunity to acquaint with my root - the birth place of both parents - where I remembered I had visited twice before I went to write the entrance exam and the subsequent interview for the successful candidates. This was the same reason that motivated the enrollment of my senior brother in the same school a year earlier. Thanks to the choice, it gave me the main touch of my place of origin to date.
Finally, as we were set for the journey, dad called us to give us his last words which ended with the phrase 'remember the sons of whom you are.' As an 11 year old, I took it in an unthinking way. It didn't make much meaning to me neither did I inquire. This later became a ritual that I'd be told each and every time that I needed to leave home for school till I was in my third year in the university when daddy would say it to me for the last time before he went to meet his Creator. May his perfect soul continue to rest in perfect peace?
After hearing the phrase a few more time, I inquired from dad why he kept saying this when it was as plain as the nose on my face that I couldn't forget my father. Dad took time to explain to me that it is the wish of every parent to see their children grow up to be honest, obedient, God-fearing, respectful, hard-working, even-tempered, meticulous, selfless etc. “These are exactly what you see in us - your parents.” Daddy was an embodiment of virtues. He also told me that parents are expected to set good examples and standard for their offspring. They should tell their children the same thing he was telling me so that they would remember the house they come from. Parents expect their children to even better than them.
Many years on, I still remember the son of whom I am. Expectedly, in the course of life, I did a few things that dad mustn't know about especially in the school but there were so many things mates could do that I couldn't because my dad's words keep echoing. Did every parent tell their children this? Are all parents telling their children this? Can all parents tell their children this?
What would some parents be telling their children? What will that stealing government money thereby invoking poverty on the masses tell their children? What will those on the EFCC list tell their children when they remember that their children also read newspapers? What will those reckless and selfish politicians who kill directly or indirectly tell their children? What will those who flaunt ostentation with no legitimate means that support their lifestyle tell their children? What will the money launderers, 419 fraudsters, drug traffickers and addicts; prostitutes, armed robbers, pen robbers, corrupt officers etc tell their children? What will those who have waited for Obama and Hilary Clinton to tell them that they failed their people woefully tell their children? As dad said that it is the wish of every parent to see their children grow up to be honest, obedient, God-fearing, respectful, hard-working….in life, if they want their children to be honest and God-fearing, they have nothing else to tell their children than FORGET THE SON/DAUGHTER OF WHOM YOU ARE!.
What would you tell your son or daughter? Remember or forget the son/daughter of whom you are?
God Bless Nigeria!
Nigeria Go Better!
By Rufus Kayode Oteniya