Love him or hate him, he still remains his humble self. Mr Banji does not mind whose ox is gored, he always love to express his mind. The lessons taught me by him are held close to my heart. I am so glad to have been fathered by him. We fight very well, no doubt about that but he is always the first to make up with me. As he attained sixty years on the 1st February, 2012 I could not but wish him many more years on earth.
I have always been a special child to him right from birth. We share a strange bond or tie that i cannot really explain. I do not fail to catch his attention and there is nothing i ask that he does not give me (only if he doesn’t have). He supports every decision i make whether he likes it or not. He does the same for every one of us as a matter of fact. He has succeeded in playing his role well as a father to everyone.
I am the first child of my mother, three siblings after me (a girl and two boys). I came immediately after the death of my paternal grandmother which explains why i am Yetunde (do i really believe in that superstitious name?) i went to a good nursery and primary school along Queen Elizabeth road, opposite UCH, Ibadan. Just two weeks ago, we were out with my mum and we drove to that area. He stopped the car and they said to me ‘do you remember this road, this school? Then they pointed and said that’s your class down there, can you see it?’ I actually didn’t know they would remember where my class was. He started the car again and we moved on.
Only I have the key to his wardrobe back then when I was in primary school. He would give me the key and ask me to bring money for him. I know when he has money and when he is broke. When he is sick, i wait on him by his bedside. I went off to the boarding house after primary school and he would come to visit me from Lagos. They sent our househelp to bring me lunch every Saturday afternoon. So i got to eat my home made lunch every weekend till i left the school and proceeded to a college of science where i was a day student in SS1(that was 1998).
My father reads two newspapers a day right from when i was young till now. I used to watch him read and i developed a keen interest for newspapers too. So after he has finished with it, i pick it up and follow suit. I think i started this in primary 2 or 3. I remember one of the important stories i read then; how Ojukwu, the igbo warlord got married to Bianca Onoh when she was still a very young girl, how her father kicked against it. That should be around 1991(was I in primary 3 or4?).
My father buys all the textbooks (even unimportant ones like akewi n ke and taa l’odaran by bade ojuade) and the current version of oxford dictionary at that time. Yes, i remember Holy bookshop at beere. I won some awards in secondary school like the Tribune Young World award when i won their quiz competition in SS1, the OFN award in SS2 (Operation Feed the Nation) where i was told to open an account in UBA and some amount was paid. Then the CLO award in SS3 where i got the first prize, southwest zone. My dad took me to Allen Avenue in Lagos for the award. He went to find out the details from CLO office, Ibadan because i didn’t get a letter that was sent to my school.
After my secondary school, i could not pass JAMB at the first sitting then he registered me for a tutorial class in UI before the next sitting. Still i did not make it and he sat me down and gave me some lessons which i would share shortly. I was home for three years before i gained admission. They (my parents) went to the market to buy me stuffs in preparation for school. He told me he bought new tires for his car because of the long distance. He packed the foodstuff himself and gave me some money. He drove me to school the next day.
A particular day, they came to visit me in school and i was writing exams so they couldn’t see me. It was few days to my eighteenth birthday. I saw the things they brought for me and the money to buy things for my birthday celebration. I cried when i heard they came and left. End of semester, he came to pick me n my sister in school.
I could go on and on. What about times they sold their clothes so that we could eat. One incident i can’t forget is that of the toaster we used in making toast bread. I only noticed its disappearance after a long time. I asked my mum about it. She told me they sold it. They sold quite a lot of things while we were growing up so that we could survive.
Now, am grown and working fulltime yet he comes to pick me every Friday so that we go home together and brings me back on Monday morning straight to work. I got home yesterday and he came to my room to greet me and ask if i had eaten. He said i should go to the kitchen and find something to take. At times,when he is going out, he asks if he should get something for me.
I could go on on and on………………..
THE LESSONS HE TAUGHT ME
Ati okeere ni oloju jinjin ti n mu ekun sun
Ma wo ago alago sare (am so sorry i cant interpret these, i only understand, i hope one of my readers would kindly do so for me)
He told me never to be in a hurry to achieve anything in life so that the glory would be greater.
He taught me to always be contented with what i have.
Told me i can be whatever i want to be.
My dad once begged me to study medicine after the death of my doctor brother so that we can have a doctor and lawyer in the family( my last brother is a student of law). I didn’t say a word because medicine has never been my passion. I even hate the smell of hospital. Writing is the only thing i love to do, my favourable pastime. He didn’t pester me after that and he is glad with what i do.
I remember when in 2010, i won another essay competition organised by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation. The letter was sent by courier to his office. When he opened it and read it, he called me immediately and said ‘you are a good daughter, go to my room and take anything you want. I have provisions there……(you will get to read about the NDIC essay later in this blog)
How i wish i could find a Nigerian man who would love me like my father, who would reason with me on every occasion, easily make up with me first when we have quarrels, who would love me unconditionally and take me as i am. Maybe i am spoilt, just a little bit, maybe but who would overlook my offences and take it in his strides.
Now if my earthly father can be like this, what about our heavenly father who loves us all irrespective of race, tribe or religion. Who sends the rain on both the just and the wicked. Who sent his son to die for our sins. That is why the good book says ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ And that is the reason for the season. Easter is all about the love of the father. The power of forgiveness, the power of unconditional love.
Who are we not to overlook another fellow’s shortcomings? Mere mortals who cannot forgive another mortal. This is a season to show and share love. For the father hath loved us and that is why we are called the sons and daughters of God. He saw us before we were born and scheduled each day of our lives before we began to breathe.
Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, love never demands its own way, it is never irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and does not notice when others do it wrong. love goes on forever. Let love be your greatest aim. Jesus is no longer in the grave, he has risen, he has resurrected…….
Happy easter y’all
Olasiyan Olanike Yetunde
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