I have to sincerely plead with my wife, family, friends and relatives who never heard of this story before now. Today is really symbolic to my life, Joyce’s and the beautiful young girl’s, who clocks 8 today - by my calculation:
I was in 300 level studying Demography and Social Statistics at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife while Joyce had just turned down her admission to study Economics in the same university, for the purpose of nursing our baby. I was (am) really happy she never aborted the pregnancy, despite her being persecuted and disowned by her parents and family friends – I stood by her. Joyce was such a very brilliant pretty young girl from Edo State who gained admission into OAU few months after she completed her secondary education at the OAU International School Ile-Ife. The pregnancy forced her out of the school’s staff quarters where she stayed with her guidance, while her parents stopped supporting her financially and psychosocially. We both lived and survived on the meagre stipends I got from my family, and I today, I am happy that I STOOD BY HER…
HOW IT ALL HAPPENED…
I was just being seen off to the balcony of a story-building where my friend - Ganiyat Afeez - was resident at Owode Modakeke area, when we stumbled on her neighbours (guys) who were busy describing, analyzing and discussing dangling big breasts. This caught our attention as we both quickly gazed at what completely arrested their attention and got them into such conversation. Alas! It was a sight of a braless young pretty teenager’s breasts. I quickly whispered few words to Ganiyat but her response was ‘you are not serious’. I rushed down the stairs to offer a help to the young lady who was struggling with 2 buckets of water – which she warmly, with a smile, accepted. The guys upstairs kept calling my name, in praise, ‘Abdulahi!’ ‘Abayomi!’ till we were no longer seen.
Getting to her house, none of her neighbours greeted us while she never bothered to say a word to them. After putting down the buckets of water, I heard her voice asking me to enter her room which I obliged. Upon entrance, I found her breastfeeding a 3-day old baby. I quickly had a flashback of what I whispered to Ganiyat: “For her breasts to be as big as this, I suspect that she is breastfeeding a baby”.
I was terribly shocked that a young girl of her age gave birth 3 days ago and had no one doing her cooking, giving her postnatal care and helping her with house chores. Before I uttered a word, she started narrating on how a lecturer’s son who lived in the same staff quarters impregnated her, how she forfeited her admission and how her parent utterly disowned her. She even explained how she was left to the mercy of death as she delivered the baby in her room 3 days ago. Her narration led to my missing 2 classes of my beloved lecturers Ass. Prof. Akanni Akinyemi and Dr. Titilayo. We both couldn’t help each other as the little infant ignorantly joined us in the tears contest. It took me 24 hours to get her an elderly woman to help provide her with traditional postnatal care. I became a caring father to Joyce’s daughter as I visited early in the morning to help with some house chores before going for classes, while I stayed late in the night to ensure they were both fine.
Joyce never had the hope of furthering her education but I said to her always: ‘YOU ARE TOO BRILLIANT TO BE WASTED!’ Consequent upon the fact that Joyce house was behind my friends’ house at Akarabata, they got to know of my visiting her and that won me a new title: ‘OKO OLOMO’ meaning ‘Husband of a nursing mother’.
From the meagre I received from home, Joyce paid and sat for the following year’s university entrance examination (JAMB) and got readmitted into the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to study Economics. Her parents rushed down to Ile Ife to reclaim their lovely daughter after being served with the news of her admission. It took a long hours of discussion before she agreed to grant her parents an audience.
As my first daughter (Joyce daughter) clocks 8 today, according to my calculation, I give glory to God who used me to stand behind the innocent teem mother, who is now a graduate of Economics. It is so painful that we lost contacts few years ago but I hold the trust in Allah (God) that she is doing great wherever she may be.
I make use of this opportunity to call upon the entire humanity, to kindly exercise care and support for pregnant and nursing teenagers. We could be instrumental to taking them out of depression and rejection caused by a 5-minute sexual pleasure. Let us counsel those who are yet a victim and support those who are already victims. Let us make use of our caring power to reduce the number of young girl being buried daily, consequent upon abortion, maternal mortality and psychosocial neglect.
To my lovely and ever-caring Soulmate, kindly be at peace that Abidallah remains my first biological child, but as you know, I am a father to many born and unborn generations. That’s just the story I never ever told anyone until today. I know you are proud of me…
In as much as I live with God by my side, I SHALL CONTINUALLY GIVE HOPE TO THE HOPELESS…
Abdulahi Abayomi Abdulraheem
ED, Initiative for Sound Education, Relationship & Health