The Best Dad in the World is my Mum-Viola Okolie

The Best Dad in the World is my Mum-Viola Okolie

“Happy Fathers Day to all the women doing double duty,” and as many of its other variants as possible, was one of the pet peeves of social media Naija branch, over the last weekend.

Apparently, Nigerians are not smiling that some Nigerian ladies wanted to join themselves to the Fathers’ Day celebrations, in spite of the fact that 365 out of 366 days of every normal year since long time Imo River, is dedicated to celebrating the feminine gender under a lot of guises.

  1. Happy Mothers’ Day
  2. Happy Women’s Day
  3. Happy day of the girl child.
  4. Mothering Sunday
  5. International day of the girl child
  6. International women’s day

Na so, every single day that is being celebrated under the sun, has found one way or the other to sneak in the women and sha celebrate them by force by fire but only one chinkini day like that that has been reserved for men, and the women too want to come and join inside and celebrate by force by fire?
Thunder!!!

Or maybe not?
It is just as easy to understand with those who feel that the women should leave well enough alone and stop dragging chinkini things like gizzard and Fathers’ day with the men; as it is to understand those on the other end of the spectrum who are asking the men why they will not carry their gizzard placard to all the supermarkets that sell hundreds of chicken gizzard in large packs and ask them to cease and desist or else, as well as the women who want to celebrate Fathers’ Day or at least want to recognize those women in their lives who were both Father and Mother to them.

Like me.


From the time I was eleven years old, I have not had a male fill the role of a father in my life – my mother did it both.
My Father – God rest his soul and preserve his memory in the lives of his children – passed on in 1988. Prior to his death, roles in our house were clearly delineated along biological and gender lines; and then some others were deliberately blurred because they were considered survival skills for instance, hunger will not raise your skirt to find out what sort of weapon you are packing under there before it decides to wire you and your ancestors complete.
Also, when disease and sickness as a result of living in a dirty environment comes knocking on your door, it will not hear the excuse of “excuse me please, I am a man”.

Man fall on you there!

So, everyone learnt to sweep, wash clothes and cook according to a roster – but my father was more often to be found in the kitchen than my mother, for the mere fact that we preferred the taste of his food to that of our mom’s (and of course we were all at that naïve stage of childhood where we were foolish and inconsiderate enough to voice these preferences out loud).
Other than that, my father ran a house where he was the provider and my mother the nurturer.

 


Even when my mother went out to work and pursued a degree and did a whole lot of “liberating” stuff, it was usually to boost her morale all by herself, and have money for pancake and menstrual pads and the like, and occasionally take her kids out and spoil them rotten without having to wait for my father to provide every single kobo she needed.

My father took care of all the bills. He ensured his children were fed, got an education, went to the hospital when they fell sick, took occasional vacations (do not be deceived by the poshness of this bit, the full extent of our “vacations” were road trips from Kaduna to Ukpor, Nnewi South but our young and fertile imaginations always believed we were travelling from “Nigeria” to “Anambra” – be like this Biafran thing dey for blood sha), etc…
He did it all.

My mum pursued her education, worked her job, looked intensely pretty, and ensured that we were fed and pampered (and also disciplined as in spare the rod sturvs – we should carry placard for that bit to be written out of the Bible biko).
And then one day in August 1988, my father just upped and died.
Just like that.
And my rather protected and pampered mother, faced reality in a very shocking manner.
Story for another day but my point is: from that point, she took on the role of mother, father, doctor, counsellor, koboko wielder, turning garri thrower, confidante, teacher, friend… you name it.


I had a male father from zero to eleven years; and then I had a mother and father in one from eleven years to date.
Up till tomorrow, my mother is that one woman who will drop it all and come out guns blazing if her children and/or grand children needed anything at all that was within her power to give. She hardly realizes she is a woman and doesn’t allow her self the luxury to think, “oh, this is a father’s role and I am not a man”.
Nehi!
She steps up, and she hits that ball straight out of the park.
Sooooooo…
Because you all are trying to sound woke and because some people who are one raisin short of a fruitcake are abusing the privilege of having an awesome human who played a dual role in their life, you have asked me not to acknowledge the person who has acted as a father to me for the past thirty years of my life?
I see!

Happy Fathers’ Day to my wonderful and awesome Mother, Mrs. Patricia Ngozi Okolie.
Because of you, I never felt the lack of a father in my life.
If you don’t like that I am wishing my mother a Happy Fathers’ Day, please go to Kufena Hills and do the needful.

Tenkior.

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