Conversations with my Father by Tony Ihidero

I had just finished writing my SSCE examinations as a young secondary school leaver, was back home in Lagos from Ijebu-Ode, taking one day at a time, awaiting my examination results.

It was evening on that day…

Dad: Abayomi

Me: Sirrrrr…..Hurrying towards the direction of his voice.

Dad: What are you doing right now?

Me: I am about feeding the dogs.

Dad: Ok, when you are done with the dogs, I want to have a chat with you.

Me: Ok sir.

As I fed the dogs, my mind was wondering what the chat subject will be. Have I done something wrong? Whenever dad tells you he wants to have a chat, it must be something important, he was not a man of many words. I finished with the dogs and was back to him.

Me: I am here sir.

He was seated in his usual chair on the verandah, gazing into the forming darkness of the night.

Dad: Gave me that piercing look for a moment, pushed the puff by his side to me and beckoned I sat down, pulled the second puff towards himself, put his feet on it and crossed them as usual.

“Son”, he said. “You have finished secondary school, you have come of age, if you sleep with a female, you have the natural capability to impregnate her. In view of that fact, I am happy to tell you that as from today henceforth you will be financially responsible for your personal upkeep”.

Me: It was as if he was speaking Portuguese to me. Sir, I don’t…

Dad: He looked at me with the corner of his eyes. “Son, what I am telling you is that your personal items like clothes, shoes, belts, toothpaste, body and hair cream, roll-on, perfume, transport money on your personal errands and visits to friends, food you eat outside my roof, and pocket money while you are at home are now your personal responsibilities.”

Me: Ha 😳😭🙆🏾‍♂️ Daddy…
Where do I get money to provide these things for myself? I am 17 years old, I have no job, who will employ me?

Dad: He smiled and frowned simultaneously, looked me in the eye and said, “I was 15 years old when I left my father in Benin-City to train as a cabinet maker in carpentry and joinery at the prestigious Blaize Memorial Technical Institute, Abeokuta. The principal rejected my first attempt at admission because I was not tall enough to manoeuvre the workbench, he requested I come back the following year when I turned 16, I did and the rest is history.”

Me: I kept quiet, head bowed.

Dad: You know what son? My father was not rich enough to sponsor me through my cabinet making training, I paid for the admission form, transport money from Benin-City to and fro Abeokuta and still had some money in my savings. I saved the pennies given to me as a golf boy picking golf balls, the pennies grew to become shillings. Be focused, use your time well.

Instead of sleeping away your life, and loafing around the streets doing nothing, go get a job till your examination result is out, it will help your attitude to achievements later in life.

Me: Sir, When I get admitted to a higher institution, what will happen to me financially?

Dad: Like I sponsored you through primary and secondary school, so will I continue to sponsor you. I will pay your fees, buy your textbooks and handouts, pay for your accommodation, and give you a monthly maintenance amount. But, every other personal items you need will be provided by you.

Ask your elder brother, I told him same thing when he finished his final secondary school examinations. He bought the personal items he took to campus himself. I only paid for everything directly related to his academics.

Me: Hmnnn. Na wa o… I said to myself 🥲. Ok sir, mo ti gbo sir. Thank you sir, I said with idobale (prostration)😂.

NB:

That same month, I got a job as a Veterinary Assistant with Petcare Veterinary Centre, off Allen Avenue. Salary was N800/month. Many thanks to Dr Kunle Abiade for the opportunity given at paid employment. Gratitude sir 🙏🏿.

Attached picture was taken close to 28 years ago, if I am not mistaken. I wore the blazer dad wore on his graduation in 1965 from Blaize Memorial Technical Institute, Abeokuta.

Thank you dad. I couldn’t have had a better father. You are always on my mind…..


Abayomi Anthony Ihidero, is a Nigerian farmer, investor and philanthropist, resident in the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Chartered Management Institute CMI, United Kingdom, also a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Consultants, USA and Canada. He is a director at Oasis Initiative For The Needy in Nigeria, a charitable organisation for the poor and less privileged in Nigeria.


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