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2021 Father’s Day and the many things it revealed

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BY ISRAEL OJOKO

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Ordinarily, Father’s Day is a holiday of honouring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society.

But this day could also mean many different things to different people in different languages and places.

For me, Father’s Day is a day I celebrate myself as a father, recalling the first day I felt what it means to be one. It was partly negative and then positive feelings. The joy of carrying my own child wrapped in my arms took me to the moon and back.

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And then the real work started; sleepless nights, more money leaving my bank account, and very often at that, my undivided attention and other responsibilities too numerous to mention.

Some days I feel so excited returning home to my charming baby, and other days, I frown at the frequent need to buy this and buy that. From diapers to baby food, rechargeable fan to fuel for the generator, it was a complete package of double-edged experience.

The early days weren’t easy, but as time goes on, things stabilised, however, with new challenges. It doesn’t end, it only changes the taste.

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Father’s Day is also a day I celebrate the one that brought me into this world, my dad. Mr. Samuel Ojoko birthed yours truly in Ikeja, Lagos as the 5th of nine children. E shock you? Well, you read it right, NINE children from one woman, my mum (God bless her soul).

I remember those days how my dad would wake up early in the morning, dress up, and join the official bus to work. The night before, he must have ironed his starched army uniform, polished his shoes, and keep everything neat ahead of the next day.

On weekends and holidays, he takes us to the farm where he cultivates many crops in due season. He later retired to take a full-time role as a farmer. We, who are grown-ups, would go with him to the farm every Saturday or at any public holiday.

At home, baba Ojoko does not joke with church activities. He wakes us up every morning to family devotion and makes us take turns in reading the bible and praying.

These are the memories I was relishing in my head on Sunday morning until I returned from service and opened social media.

The exciting thing I saw was that some of my distant friends who were fathers of just one child have added to their artillery. Thanks to Father’s Day, otherwise I would still be here thinking Obi and Anthony both have just one child each, but my memory has now been updated.

The dramatic part of my Father’s Day experience was to see angry single mothers taking it up dirty with the fathers of their child(ren). No be small rofo rofo.

I read what Mercy Aigbe posted on her verified Instagram handle, rightly saying fatherhood is beyond impregnating a woman but wrongly wishing herself happy Father’s Day. No na, aunty be calming down.

“So, since I am playing (a) dual role in my children’s lives, allow me (to) celebrate myself every day! Cos it’s not easy!” She added.

I am not surprised by the response from her estranged husband Lanre Gentry because no matter how a woman claim to assume the role of a father, she is not a father. But I must not deny Mercy some accolades for paying school fees in foreign currency and other things she does as a single mother.

While I was trying to distract myself from the Mercy-Lanre bruhaha that they have refused to outgrow since 2017, my fingers slide into KING Tonto Dikeh’s verified Instagram handle, and boom, another one.

The 36-year-old actress has since renamed herself King, following her separation from former husband Olakunle Churchill, to who she was married between 2015 and 2017.

Tonto, dressed like a man with male attire, wearing a tangaran cap, glasses, and mustache, was carrying her son in a picture she posted and wrote “Happy Father’s Day to ME”. As in CAPITAL letter M.E. lol.

However, I had a lovely sleep when I read her concluding part of the Instagram post advising single mums to erase bitterness from their minds and “learn to do this JOB without HATE in our hearts”.

Some women did wish their husbands and fathers and any other good men in their lives a happy Father’s Day, but others chose to keep mum and would not want to complicate issues.

While all these dramas make the 2021 Father’s Day a unique one for me, it also enlightened my medulla oblongata of how men are not taking lightly, activities in the other room.

Israel Ojoko can be reached via israelojoko14@gmail.com

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