My Marital Life...Part 4 (Final)
Dear Mrs Moronke Akindele,
Before sending the three earlier parts of this series to press, I took steps to notify you of my intentions in advance by sending you a draft and requesting that you edit it by way of additions or subtractions to the body of the text....on points with which you were not in agreement.
By sending copies of the draft to your close relations and friends, I also served them notice to the same effect. But you ignored those notices!
I had no prior intention of writing the fourth part of this series save for the manner in which you ignored the earlier parts.
First, you sent a lurid message into my Facebook Inbox the wordings of which were so unprintable that I can only render a more civil interpretation lest I stand guilty of aiding and abetting the use of gutter language on the internet! You meted out similar wrath to the hallowed pages of the Nigerian Voice!
You visited all your atrocities with a blanket denial through a proxy and called me mad for daring to say the truth! But we are in the court of public opinion...
You would agree that instances of unplanned pregnancies in daughters are usually viewed with shame and the family of the girl is subjected to utter ridicule and derision...as she is made to face a disproportionate fraction of the societal wrath.
Her male counterpart and his family go relatively unscathed! His education and future plans stay on course....while that of the pregnant girl is thrown into disarray.
This didn't happen to you...kudos to my singlemindedness....as I stuck to my guns against all pressures to "fashie" you.
I felt a sense of duty to prevent....or at least mitigate.....the sure societal ostracism that your family stood to face consequent upon that pregnancy. I resisted all ambient pressures to divest myself of such encumbrances....from relations. And friends.
I often wonder if you would have married me had we swapped places....you the doctor....and I the high school certificate holder in LUTH's account department....with a "strong" face and temper to boot! Not for the name, the connection....or my father's money.
Please recall also that your father was an elder in the Christ Apostolic Church. He was also a Senior Admin Officer in LUTH.
In addition, he was not hostile to me or averse to my relationship with you. I felt welcome to your house in Lawanson. Thus, my thinking was: Impregnating this man's daughter at age 22 was "bad" enough. How could I live with visiting the same man with multi-pronged shame and embarrassment from his church and his office? And of course, there was the option of an abortion!
Recall clearly that I secured accommodation in General Hospital, Lagos barely 3 months to the conclusion of my housemanship. A miracle....you must agree! And it was to this tiny flat that bridal possessions were moved right on the night of our "pajawiri" wedding!
It was also into the same flat that Tofunmi was moved at birth! A double face saver that flat was!
Recall that my basic monthly salary as a house officer was N410.....an abysmally low amount even by the value of the naira in those days. And added to locum jobs....evenings and nights....it was this "salary" that I expected to use to cater for self, wife and child! Getting married on such stipends sounded stupid! Of course I had zero savings....couldn't invest in any guise and kept shifting forward any plans on further education.
Low income! Zero time to spare....as a full-time nanny and resident doctor in private hospitals. Residency meant sure accommodation...for wife and kid...but low bargaining clout....and low wages!
Recall that in those days, an advert needed to come with the phrase "Accommodation Available" for me to give it a second glance.
Recall the pains of Shomolu and Ajegunle.... Face-me-I-face-you and its politics....and queues....and slime! A 3-year stopgap as I left Tolu Medical....and gathered money to rent Lawal's house near Itamaga, Ikorodu.
Recall that your fixation to proceed with higher education (ATS) shortly after weaning "our" baby meant I had to babysit full time.
Recall my firm resolve to name my practice after Tofunmi, "our" daughter....fondness of father for "daughter" knowing no bounds!
Recall the incident of that night when you trekked twice from and to Itamaga....an aggregate of 4 trips....to my hospital at Ita Aro to make a scene at 2 am with little Tolu strapped to your back. You dragged me home from the clinic and from a recently operated patient....screaming at the top of your voice as we headed home! I had to put on my clinical coat and wear my stethoscope around my neck on that trip so that "oro" people may believe my claim of being a doctor should we encounter them!
Recall your sojourn in Unilag. Though you deny abandoning your family, you weren't taking your kids along to lectures, were you? Yet, you did full-time studies....not part-time or weekend courses! You weren't taking them to work either, were you?
Recall your repeat absence from home years after qualifying to attend to "functions" for days at a stretch.
PANDERING TO YOUR WHIM.
You insist that I "spoilt your life" by impregnating you...even though you have been a barrister for over a decade. You also possess an ATS from ICAN. And even after close to a quarter of a century since I took steps to remedy the situation and pander to your whim by:
1. Accepting such pregnancy when I visibly lacked the means to father and raise a child.... A mere house officer squatting in the students hostel! My rare struggles to graduate still fresh in mind!
2. I did more. I went ahead to marry you...even though I did not have to....as mere acceptance of the pregnancy should suffice! The sheer incredulity of such an action prompted some friends to call me mad then. Some even suggested I was bewitched by you! "Fashie e joo!"...they kept prodding. Now it is you that calls me mad!
3. As you tricked the kids away from me, I refrained from contesting that fact....concurring with your thinking that you "needed" to monopolize their love....This was in spite of the fact that I was the one who nannied and babysat them....during their Nappy Days. You consequently deprived me of an opportunity to watch "my" kids grow! You set out to reap the fruits of my labour by poisoning the minds of those kids against me....yet still complain!
4. As you convinced Tofunmi to read Law, I again silently gave in.... As usual, it must be your course that she read....and nothing else....or I stood accused of bullying! I recall the humiliation I suffered at the Indigenship Interview at LASU....and the indignity of appealing to the interviewers even outside the precincts of LASU....all in an effort to ensure that she was duly recognized as an indigene of Lagos State and exempted from school fees. A right due her as a daughter of Ikorodu. My paternal efforts and paternal validity was relevant then.....but not relevant as she graduated and got called to the Bar!
5. As you yet again monopolized the glory of her graduation from the university....and Bar call, I again relinquished all my rights to her fatherhood....requesting that she even drops my surname for your maiden name! You claim that I was unreachable to receive the news of her Bar call and invitation to so attend....yet I always maintained contact.
You had no quarrels with my parents, my four siblings, and my cousins.....yet you refused to inform any of them about these events. You also tutored "our" daughter to follow suit. Were my relations also not reachable? They were reachable when they chipped in their widows mites during her studies....but not at graduation time! My mother is now reachable by you and your daughter as you complain to her that I am the one "abusing" you on the internet.
6. As you are clearly regretful and resentful of our marriage....showing clearly in your attitude, aversion for family duties and body language, I requested you to revert to your maiden name and drop my surname....while we take step to draw up our divorce papers....
Afterall:The inscription "Daughter plus granddaughter....both Barristers-At-Law"....etched on your father's tombstone should be a laudable epithet in his "cherished memory"!
And as you achieve a clean divorce, you would have finally divested yourself of all "control" by any man...achieving your ultimate quest for freedom!
You would realise that in all these, you have been the one dictating the pace....calling the shots....and I merely granting your wishes....at your whim. Yet, you complain!
7. I offered no resistance as you packed out of our home in Igbogbo....just to concur to your quest for singlehood.
8. In fact, the names the kids bear are those given by you. With you, anything short of always having your way is tantamount to bullying!
9. I am fully cognizant of the fact that all my written submissions may be used against me in a court of law...
Please let me know what your further wishes are...and I should endeavour to pander to them....so long as it is within my capabilities to do so!
Dr Tosin Akindele is the founder of Analytical Minds and Animal Rights Advocates. He is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.