A walk to remember


I was 10 minutes late for my doctor’s appointment. *Dr. Sam Akpan was going to scold me again, today. For the last one year, I have being experiencing these panic attacks, been on medication and checking my blood pressure regularly. Dr. Akpan had booked me on specific days for my check ups and he was never happy when I come late or don’t show up.

“Good Morning, Dr. Akpan,” I said running into his office.

He looked at me through his glasses and smiled.

“*Tola, you always come late so I have given up on complaining,” he said while staring into his case files. “Well, you are lucky; I still have some case files of patients to visit before your section. So, just lie down and relax. I will be back soon, today is public holiday, so I have more time” he added.

“Okay, Dr. Akpan”, I giggled. He tapped me on my shoulder and walked out.

As I lay down on the bed in his office and began to stare at the ceiling, I remembered the first time, I visited Dr.Akpan’s office with *Emeka, last year. I remembered that visit vividly, how I cried when Dr. Akpan diagnosed my medical condition and how Emeka wrapped me in his hands and comforted me.

Emeka and I met, in my 300 level at the University of Ilorin. He had come to visit his cousin who happened to be my course-mate and one of my study partners. My best friend, *Mercy and I got to *Ike’s hostel room on time and when we walked in and noticed he had a guest. I briefly introduced myself to Emeka and focused on our study plan.

I was shocked when Ike called me the next day that his cousin wanted to talk with me and after much convincing I finally agreed to hang out with them and that was the beginning of our relationship. We were both in love with each other, we were the envy of our friends and both families loved each other.

Emeka was working in a big audit firm in Lagos and was very comfortable. He wanted us to get married as soon as I graduated but I wanted to get a job first and my father insisted that I go to UK for my masters immediately after my youth service. The eighteen months away from Emeka was a tough time for us but we did handle it as best as we could and pulled through.

I started working in a bank immediately I got back to Nigeria, and our relationship was still perfectly in order as I had believed. We rarely spent time together due to work schedules and hassles of Lagos life but we communicated on phone or via blackberry chat. We barely talked about marriage. We only did when our parents ask when we are going to give them grandchildren. Our responses always remain the same, “Soon, Mum. Very soon, we promise” and then we smile.

Two weeks after, I went to visit Emeka at his house, I was beginning to get worried because we had not spoken about marriage plans since I got back from the UK and since we both loved each other, it was time to celebrate our love in marriage.

“Eme, (I usually called him that) so when do we plan to get married? We have not talked about it in a while”, I said.

He came towards me and sat by my side.

“Baby, I have being thinking a lot about that of late and I want it to happen this year,” he said and I smiled.

“But” he concluded and paused. I stared into his eyes wondering for just those seconds what the excuse would be.

“I am expecting a promotion in the office in two months time and it comes with a better pay. So, then I can give you the wedding of your dreams” he smiled. I was not pleased. I had told him from day-one of our relationship that I do not feel so comfortable relating with large crowd and don’t want a elaborate wedding, just with family members and few friends was fine with me.

“Eme, but with both our incomes we can afford a beautiful wedding and adding the support from our parents, we will definitely have a big wedding,” I said.

“I know. I really want this promotion. It will make me happy, boost my career to become a partner someday and with you beside me what more can I ask for in life,” he said.

“Baby, please understand” he pleaded.

Well, I thought two months was not forever that I could wait and with Emeka’s position I could someday resign from my job when I start having kids. Then, I nodded in approval.

I had not seen Mercy in a while we had promised to visit the salon together that weekend to have a makeover. I had stopped by at her house at Surulere on my way to VI. Mercy lives alone because her family was based in the east (Enugu) and we have been best friends, from university and even after. I allowed myself into her house because I had her spare keys.

“Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, I called out. I heard sounds coming from the bathroom and walked toward that direction when I saw Mercy throwing –up.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“I am fine”, she replied while cleaning her bathroom.

“You don’t look too fine, dear” I said.

“Babe, I swear, I am fine. It’s just something I ate yesterday that I think it’s disturbing my tummy,” she said. And we headed off to the salon.

It was one of those quiet Sundays, I had just closed from church and was not in the mood to rush home immediately and I decided to visit Emeka at his parent’s house. He had called the day before that his Dad had requested he come see them at the weekend. His parents love me especially his Mum, so I knew it would not be offensive if I visit them unannounced. As I drove into the compound, I noticed more cars in the premises but since Emeka’s was a politician it was not a surprise to me.

“Aunty Tola, good afternoon,” *Ada, Emeka’s little cousin greeted me. She was very close to me and I already warmed up to her as my younger sister.

“My little bunny” I said while giving her a hug.

“Where is everyone?” I asked.

“They are in the big living room, I think Daddy has some visitors,” she said.

“Okay, let me go greet them before going upstairs,” I said.

I had just opened the door and was about kneeling to greet Emeka’s Dad when I noticed my best friend, Mercy, sitting on the couch with her parents. All eyes were on me, it seemed that they were either pissed off or confused at my presence there but my first guess was that I just ruined a surprise for me.

Keeping my cool, I decided to walk out, then I heard Mercy sobbing. I was still watching everyone in the room, now confused, especially seeing Mercy crawling on her knees towards me. Then it hit me something was wrong.

“Tola, Tola I am so sorry”, she said, panting. “Please, forgive me, I did not mean to hurt you or anyone. Please, forgive me,” she kept repeating those words.

“Forgive you about what?” I asked.

Emeka was still sitting down, hiding his face like he could not watch the drama unfolding.

Mercy cried louder and I was beginning to get angry.

“What going on here?” I screamed.

“My dear”, Eme’s Mum said. “Sit down, my dear. Come, sit here” she beckoned to me.

I walked towards her; she held my two hands and started by telling me all my good qualities and how I was a daughter to her.

“Mercy, came to tell us that she is pregnant and that Emeka is….’ she had not finished her sentence when I started screaming, I knew already what she wanted to say.

“No, no, no,” I cried. I could not believe what I just heard. Everyone began to apologize to me all at once, like I just had a tiny injury that will heal soon.

Mercy’s parents had come to inform Emeka’s family that there was no way she was going to abort the pregnancy because it was a taboo in their village and Emeka must marry her. I felt it was already a signed deal and I was there wasting my time. As I headed out of the house, all Emeka said to me was, “Baby, I am sorry. Please, forgive me.”

Their wedding was set two months later, I received several calls from Emeka, Mercy, his family and friends, begging me to forgive and forget and also pleading that I attend the wedding, which I did.

It was an awkward situation, I was so uncomfortable see them sitting at the front of the altar. Then it happened, it was during the exchange of the marital vows, when the priest said, “If there is anyone where you know of any impediment why this couple should not be joined together in holy matrimony should speak now or forever holds his or her peace.”

My legs were up; I imagined walking towards the altar or out of the church. There were thousands of eyes feasted on me, I could barely breathe, the church was quiet and the only sound in the church came from the heels of my shoes as I ran out and never looked back.

“Tola, Tola, Tola,” I could hear my name as I opened my eyes it was Dr.Akpan.

“Sorry, I took so long. A lot of patients to see,” he said. And as I sat up, the tears began to drop again.

*Please note in order to protect my friend and others involved in this story I had to use fictional names. 

 

Categories: Touching Stories | Tags: | 3 Comments

A Worthy Cause


It was Saturday, July 14 at exactly 8:47am, still sleeping when I got a call from a lady and she introduced herself as Shola. She went on to say that she was calling on behalf of The Future Award committee. In that instance I was wondering while she was calling when she said, “We have being trying to get your phone number for days and we just did. Because I want to inform you that you have being nominated for The Future Award…” the line went dead.

I quickly called to confirm what I just heard (smiling). And she picked.

“Hello, this is Ejiro”, I said.

“So, sorry I ran out of credit”, she said.

“No, problem,” I replied.

She concluded that #SaveOke campaign which went viral few months ago and had a huge success was recognized and was nominated for the Best Use of New Media Category.

June 30, 2012. The day, Oke arrived Lagos from India where he undergo several surgeries in regards to his feet.

I was beyond words, I couldn’t believe that an idea agreed upon by few friends to raise funds for Oke’s surgery could one day become distinguished amongst many great cause in this country.

She requested for my details and other information.

By Tuesday, July 17,2012 I received an email for The Future Award working committee on details about the nomination. I found out that I was in a category with some bright minds and distinguished young people, like Japheth Omojuwa, Seun Fakze (Beacons), Ediong Umoh (NigeriaNewsDesk), Gidi_Traffic etc. This show that the nomination of #SaveOke campaign was a worthy cause and we deserve to win.

Please, vote #SaveOke as the Best Use of New Media category for TFA 2012.

Kindly, vote for us, by sending an SMS, “TFA, #SaveOke, Best Use of New Media” to 33120 (all network). SMS cost N50 only. Also, votoing can be done online via link below:

http://thefuturenigeria.com/vote/new-media/

Once you submit your vote online, you will receive a message in your mail box, click on the link in your box confirm vote.

You can only vote with one email online but you can vote countless times via SMS

http://www.thefuturenigeria.com/nominees-list-2012/

Related Articles:

http://lindaikeji.blogspot.com/2012/03/please-help-save-okes-leg-and-life.html

http://seunfakze.wordpress.com/?s=okeoghene&searchbutton=go!

http://bijubaju.wordpress.com/tag/okeoghene-john-igwhiwotho/

*There is nothing more powerful than an IDEA whose time has come – Victor Hugo*

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: | 3 Comments

My journey and its path with Okeoghene Ighiwotho – Part 2


Hey, everyone. Alot of people have requested that I concluded my story about Oke. I apologize that this post is coming late, I have being really stressed out with work and managing Lagos hectic lifestyle. However, I know that going back to my village is not an option *laughing*

The Visit

February 25, 2012, it was sanitation day as usual being the last Saturday of the month.  I had already made plans with Erobo Mayuku (Nee Igbrude); I was going to ride with her down to Festac to visit Oke.  My car was vandalized three weeks back at Surulere and I had just gotten it the previous day from the Insurance company but was not willing to drive Etiosa (smiling……named my car after my bini name) down to Festac.

We had to pick other classmates on our way to Oke’s house in Festac Town. By the time we got to his house we were four in number (Erobo, Chinedu Elue, Chinedu Osamah and I).  I had thought we were going to be more in number but I guess others already had personal commitments to attend.  However, Thelma Mordi was on-time to join us.

He was sitting on sofa right at the entrance of his house, as I walked in my eyes went straight to his feet. They were all banged up and clutches were by his side. I did not know how to react; this was a guy that I had little or no knowledge about and here I was standing at the entrance of his house wondering if it was proper to greet him as a friend.

And then I saw the smile on his face already welcoming me as if we were buggies and I did the only right thing I could do at that moment and said, “Hello, my name is Ejiro Gegere” and I gave him a hug.

We took our seat and suddenly the room became silent, I guess we were each waiting for someone to say a word and I couldn’t help but wandered how difficult it is to visit someone in pain or in serious ailment because no matter the words of comfort you say, you can never understand another’s pain.

“So, are you the only one at home?” I asked.   “No, my parent are around and my cousin is in his room”, he said.

Another awkward moment of silent.

“So, when did you find out that you were diabetic?” I asked again.

He breathed deep and smiled. “Well, it stayed when I was 12 years old. I was living my life as a regular boy until I fell ill in my JSS2. When, I found out that I was diabetic, my parent had to withdraw me from F.G.C, Warri to Command Secondary, Ojo just to make sure they can monitor me here in Lagos,” he said.

The conversation was becoming really emotional, as we sat quietly listening to Oke tell us his story just as we sat years ago listening to Tales by Moonlight or Story land on TV. I began to hold back tears and kept sniffling in air.

We presented a cash gift and other items, spoke to his family, laughed and joked about our days in FGC, Warri and prayed with him.

Then we took our leave. My heart was heavy and I couldn’t wait to getting into the car before I told my friends that we have to come up with better ideas to raise funds for Oke’s surgery because our currently plan might just take forever.

Social Media:#SaveOke

For weeks, we (Federal Government College, Warri. 1999/2000 set) have being deliberating on how to raise the funds (N5 million) for Oke’s surgery. We wrote letters to various organisations, associations and individual and it all seems we were moving at a very slow pace.
I had just received pictures of Oke’s feet which were taken and used by Vanguard newspapers for a publication about Oke.  I remember, the moment I saw the pictures like it happened today. I had just gotten to Ikota shopping center, Ajah to visit the gym that evening after work, when I decided to view my mails on my Galaxy Tab. Immediately, I saw the pictures, I threw my tab away and it fell on the back seat of my car. I began to shake; I could not imagine anyone and not even Oke living with his feet in that state for six years. I was so scared; I had to call off my gym time that evening and ran home. I shared the pictures with my classmates on our bbm group that evening. Deep into the night, I could sleep, I kept awake for hours and left the light in my room still switched on for fear that something might happen to my feet if I slept in the dark.

During the week, I got a call from my friend, Niyi Adeosun that he had sent the pictures and details about Oke to Linda Ikeji and had pleaded that we needed financial assistance for Oke’s surgery from Nigerians.  On March 17, 2012 we waited anxiously to read Oke’s story on Linda Ikeji’s blog and by evening his story was published on her blog.

Oke’s story on Linda Ikeji’s blog changed everything for him; people began to talk about it via all social networks and the #SaveOke project was born. The next day an online payment channel was set up for him to enable people make their contributions to his account and it was through the post on Linda Ikeji’s blog that the Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan heard about Oke’s case and decided to pay for all medical expense for Oke’s surgery in India.

The Scam Claim

Oke was on admission at a hospital on the island and I often visit him at the hospital after work before heading home.

Tuesday, March 19, 2012, I had just walked into Oke’s room when I noticed his gloomy face initially; I thought he was in pain or ill due to his ailment.

He greeted me briefly but I was so eager to press on when he said, “Ejiro, have you heard? People are saying that I am a scam and the news is over the internet.”

I was shocked. “Where, did you hear that from,” I exclaimed.

“This lady, Ify from Nairaland came to my house during week and said that she came to verify my story that was posted on Linda Ikeji’s blog. So, she spoke to me, asked me some questions which I answered, now she goes back to say that I was wearing a trainer (sneaker) when she came to my house and that I was not even at home and someone with my feet shouldn’t be able to walk or go out,” he said pained.

I was pissed; I dialed her number right away. I wanted to put her in her place and tell her to withdraw the post from Nairaland but sadly our conversation did not go as planned.

We all know that bad information spread like wide fire, especially in Nigeria and when it involved money. Oke kept on receiving calls from the public about the Nairaland story and some people were mean. I couldn’t leave his hospital room; I couldn’t leave my friend in such a devastating state. I was so worried and I called everyone, I knew you could help contact Nairaland to pull down their story from their site.

I remember what Oke said to me that evening, like it happened today. “The most painful part of this story is not that I opened my door to welcome her into my house but that my surgery which I have being waiting to have in the last six years is finally here and she wants to take it away from me.” And then the tears fell.

The most important thing at that moment was that my friend’s story was true, his family and friends were behind him and his health was our priority. Ify from nairaland (as we called her) never matters then and never still matter to us now.

His Departure

It was Sunday, April 1, 2012; I woke up so anxious and excited because Oke was leaving for India.  His family and friends has come together to see him off to the airport. The mood was joyful, this day was a dream come true, and I cannot even imagine his thoughts. Oke has being bedridden for six years, like his whole life is put on pulse.

As he was wheeled away to go board his flight, I was sad because I was going to miss my friend but happy because I knew that when he gets back he will surely fulfill his promise to dance with me.

Note: Oke got back to Nigeria on Saturday, June 30, 2012 and he is currently recovery from his surgeries on both feet. So, as you guessed I am still waiting for my dance with Oke.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: | 1 Comment

My journey and its path with Okeoghene Ighiwotho


First, I want to apologise for not having posted any story this year. I have been so busy with work and family events. However, I do hope to keep my blog running with posts as often as possible.

This post is about my dear friend, Okeoghene John Ighiwotho. His story might not be new to you but new to others. Oke was bedridden for six years due to a diabetic foot. Over the course of recent development, a lot of people have stood by him and others have doubted the authenticity of his story and have called him names ranging from scamper to fraudster. So, I thought this will be a great avenue to share with everyone my daily account and experiences with Oke. This is a story about hope, strength, faith, prayers, friendship, support, unity, love and the power of social media.

Oke & I on the way to the airport. This picture was taken on April 1, 2012.

How it all began

It was a regular, Sunday evening, on February 19, 2012. I was placing my clothes, shoe and bag in preparation for work, the next day when I saw the red notification light, twinkling on my blackberry. At first I wanted to ignore the notification and finish what I was doing before reading my messages. I had just taken one step towards my wardrobe when I hit my right big toe at the edge of the bed, Aargh!!!

Finally, I sat down to grind on the pain coming from my toe and decided to view the messages on my phone. It was a message on Facebook from an ex-classmate (Federal Government College, Warri), Kevin Okeleke.  Kevin is someone we often describe among ourselves as forward driven, committed and compassionate, someone I personally admire and respect.

Screenshot on the Facebook message from Kevin Okeleke

So, when I read his message and Vanguard’s publication on Oke’s case, I knew it was serious and something I had to look into immediately. As usual, my classmates decided that I should inform others and see to them raising funds for Oke’s surgery. Oke’s surgery and up-keep expenses was estimated at N5million (Whoa!!! you would say), but our target was N1milion. We were hoping that we will get 200 people amongst our classmates to make a minimum contribution of N5, 000 but we never did.

By the end of that week, we were able to raise N300, 000 (part of this fund was paid directly into Oke’s account).

The Call

Till this moment, so many people assume that Oke and I were best friends right from our FGC, Warri school days and have doubted the fact that we have never spoken all our lives until February 23, 2012. I was still at the office, when it hit me that we had not informed Oke that we were coming to visit him the next day. His phone and house were already posted by Kevin on Facebook. A lot of my classmates have called but I hadn’t.

I guess I was afraid to call him because we did not know each other and I did not know the right words to say to him considering his ailment.

I could hear his caller tune ‘I have a dream’ by Martin Luther King, my hand was shaking and I was praying he would not pick and I would just send an SMS.  Then I heard a voice, “Hello”, it was him… It was the most serene voice I have ever had in my life. (Call Oke and find out… laughing).

“Hi, my name is Ejiro Gegere”, I said with so much emphasis, expecting him to remember my name because I won the Most Popular Female Student in my set at FGC,Warri.

There were few seconds pause, and when I knew that my name will never click, I added, “I was in FGC,Warri with you, Kevin sent us your story and we will like to come pay you a visit tomorrow,”.

‘Okay, its fine, thanks so much” he said.

“Do take care of you and we will see you, tomorrow” I concluded

…………………………………………………………..To be continued 

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: | 2 Comments

P.S I wouldn’t keep quiet


I really cannot keep quiet about this, it was sad enough that I heard, I had lost one of my best high-school teacher (Mr.Onu) today, my office was pretty hot (No PHCN light & generator problem) and some side comments from colleagues about me was pissing me off. I decided to log on to twitter to catch up on people tweets and update my page too, then I saw a shocking comment for a friend that I consider as a brother and I was immediately upset. My heart was heavy and I could not bear to keep quiet about it and decided to call the offender about his inappropriate comment.

So, before I quote his comment note that this is a direct statement from his twitter account @GbengaGOLD, “Talking about Vision202020 is like dreaming of Kim Kardasian giving you HEAD when Risika, agbo seller won’t let you touch her CC” and then to add injury to the issue he went on to say, “DATE Tonto (Vision2012), SHAG Genevieve (Vision 2013) and BED Waje (Vision 2015). Then may be, you can ask Kim Kardashian OUT (Vision202020)”.

I called Gbenga up on the phone.

“Hello, Gbenga. Hey, I think you comments on twitter is really inappropriate and does not reflect well on you. You are a married man with a daughter, people follow you now on twitter and look up to you,” I said.

“Ejiro, my comments was not in anyway inappropriate, I was only trying to reflect the current situation in the country with my comment. I am not comfortable where I am now, I’m brash and will be for sometime to come,” he said.

I pulsed for a moment, I could not quite understand how these ladies reflect on Nigeria’s situation.

“I am okay with you have to make comments that are directly to the government be it harsh or insensitive but to use real names of people to highlight you angry in an indecent manner does not address your situation,”  I stressed.

“These ladies are public figures I have respect for and are sex symbols, proud to be mentioned and spoken about. I was making a point and if you can’t see it. I’m sorry.”

At a point I decided to give up that conversation and called four male colleagues to come view the tweet post on my laptop and each of them expressed their disappointment about Gbenga’s comment and said he was really disrespectful. According a male colleague, “………….this just tells his level of reasoning and maturity. I am shocked this is coming from a married man with a daughter.”.

“In twitter, you see so many offensive tweets and are highly inappropriate. His tweets just show the kind of person he is.”

I consider Gbenga as a good friend, we have been close way back at my former office and have kept in touch ever since. I can admit that we hardly agree on issues but we respect each other as friends. And as friends I tend to look out for my friends, support them and advice them when I think they need it (I’m not the smartest person on earth).

But I do not get it when people tend to be disrespectful others especially to WOMEN. I’m a strong feminist follower and belief that men show portray women in a better light and show respect to our being or personality.

My argument with Gbenga went for a while and he challenged me to post his tweets to people and get their comments on if they think that his tweets were disrespectful and inappropriate. So, people tell me what do you think? Gbenga is listening………………..

Your opinion counts!

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: | 10 Comments

The Day We All Stood Still For The Kardashians


Just last month, so many people thought that President Obama and his wife decision to ban their kids from watching Keeping up with the Kardashians was a mistake but they were wrong. I really don’t understand how people choose their mentors in life.

Do not get me wrong, I am a diehard fan of the Kardashians Reality show on E! I think the Kardashians ladies are pretty and of course my favorites amongst them are cute baby Mason, Kourtney and Bruce Jenner.
About two months ago, Kim Kardashian got married to Kris Humphries; her wedding (second wedding) was publicized like that of a royalty. According to The New York Post, Kim made over $17million from selling of exclusive video and photo rights, free wedding cake etc. Shockingly, 72 days (October 31, 2011) she took the world by storm when it was reported that she had filed for divorce from Kris, citing irreconcilable differences and we will went berserk.

From twitter, Facebook & BBM thousands of people began publicizing their opinion and my Nigerian brethren were fully active on the topic. A friend had written on her DM (Display Message) ‘O Kim, why? I knew there was something not right about Kris with a crying face’ few minutes later she changed her DM and wrote ‘Go back to Reggie. We guys are great together’
My favorites tweets were:
@EdochieWisdom: He who rushes into marriage with a reality show star should expect divorce papers before the next harvest.
@toluogunlesi: By tomorrow morning the 1st bestselling account of the Kim.K’s marriage will be hitting the shelves (written this evening, printed overnight)

@Toluogunlesi: If KimK had released this distracting news two weeks ago Gaddafi might still be alive today.

Right now, Kim is in Australia promoting the Kardashians Kollection while Kris is sobbing and hiding at his parents’ home in Minnesota. According to http://www.divorcerate.org 50% of marriages in US ends in divorce which is the highest in the world. I am not married but do know that marriages are not meant to be perfect or rosy all the time. People who find themselves in bad marriages are those who set their marriages on different agenda such as money, power, name, etc. Like Kim did, glad she claimed that on her blog http://m.kimkardashian.celebuzz.com/pl/2011/11/01/a-message-to-my-fans/
I do wish Kris and Kim well and I hope they find the happiness they are looking out for. As for you; my friend choose your mentors right you can only be the best mentor for yourself *wink*

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: | 2 Comments

No Relationship Formular


Being in a relationship is one of the hardest experiences we face in life, be it a child to parents or siblings relationship, or even friendship but the hardest of them all is a relationship between a man and a woman.

A relationship between a man and a woman is like taking an exam with many options to choose from. However, in this case, even though all your options may be correct, you might still not pass, simply means it might not work for you.  So, relationships are more like an equation and you try hard to find the suitable or possible way to get the right answer.

You are in a relationship with a guy, he seems all sweet and nice, you begin to care for him, call to check up on him from time to time, cook, clean, hangout with him, smile at his friends even though you do not like them, change your hair style weekly or try out five outfits because you are going on a date with him. Despite all the sacrifice you put into your relationship, he is pissed and says, “You are acting more like a wife than my girlfriend”.

Then in another relationship the case is different. There is this other guy, whose girlfriend is more concern about going to the club on Fridays, knows the names of every eatery or restaurants in town, do not even know how to boil a kettle of water and the guy is wishing that his girlfriend could act more responsibly like a wife should.

My friend, Cynthia had updated on her bbbm (Blackberry Messenger) on Monday, asking her friends to tell her how to act as a girlfriend. I ping her immediately to find out what led to her update and surprisingly her boy friend had complained that she was all over him always, showing too much concern about his welfare and concluded she was not acting like his girlfriend but his wife.

I just do not get it, what do men want? They date a good girl; they nag about her, date a tough lady they still nag. Since, when is showing that you care for someone a bad thing?

Years ago, I was in Cynthia’s position, an ex boyfriend had complained that I was trying too hard to be his wife than his girlfriend. So, I decided to take a chill-pill in my next relationship by trying to maintain my status as a girlfriend. So, when I started dating Temi I started acting like his girlfriend. When I visit his place, I get to eat the cooked meal in his kitchen he had already made and I watch movies with him rather than clean.

One day, I slept off on his couch while he was mopping and cleaning his house, then woke up hours later and requested that he see me off. Two days later, he broke up with me while chatting on Facebook and his reason was that he was not sure that I was not a wife material and lacked home training. I was shocked but found his query rather comic.

So, which situation is right here? How should a girlfriend behave in a relationship? Is it wrong to show that you care for a guy you are in love with, even if you act like his wife? Do they want you to be a groupie, girlfriend or wife?

Relationship, dating or courting whichever name you like to call it, a common factor is that there is no easy way to crack  a relationship formula because there is none . One thing I know for sure is that I have always chosen the right options in my relationships.

Let’s discuss people.

 

* Note the names in this story are fictional.

Photo credit: http://www.flickriver.com

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: | 3 Comments

The Golden Ticket


People give many reasons why they get married. Some have very good reasons while others do not. Don’t get me wrong, I am not judging anyone’s decision to get married. Relationships used to be a scene of boy meets girl, they agree to date, love each other, understand each other blah blah then boy proposes, girl says YES, they get married and live happy ever after.

Nowadays relationships scenes are different. Lately, its boy meets girl, they start dating, they claim to love each other, long story short girl gets pregnant and boy must marry!

A friend, *Bisola had literally dragged me out of my house, on a Saturday morning to attend a wedding with her; she was a friend to the groom. At the reception we sat with some of her friends who were also friends to the groom.

The wedding was pretty cool, the hall was beautiful, well-managed with the space, and there was food and drinks, in all everyone seems to be having a great time.  I got myself acquitted to Bisola’s friends that sat at our table. We started chatting about university days to work, music to fashion until *Samuel decided to change the topic.

“I do not understand, how all the wedding I attend these days the brides are all pregnant”, he said. I could see that everyone turned to look at him at once, it was then I stole a look at the bride and noticed her protruding tummy. She was pregnant.

“Things happen”, another guy said.

“Things happen? That ladies now use that as a way to force a man into marriage,” Samuel said.

“How can you say that? They have been dating over a year now,” Bisola said displeased.

“Bisola, what are you saying? Like you do not know *Yemi’s present financial status? He does not have a good job yet, his income is poor and his wife works with the government. So, you can now imagine their income and how difficult it is to live in Lagos and raise a family,” Samuel went on.

“I spoke to Yemi about this when he told me he was getting married but they love each other and can manage. Their status would definitely improve in the future,’ Bisola alleged.

Everyone started talking at the same time, explaining what they thought about the situation. I watched as each tried to get their opinion heard.

‘Do not get me wrong people; I know Yemi. He is a good man and I know he loves her but I just believe that most ladies are getting pregnant on purpose these days. You all know what happened between me and *Chioma. People are different and this situation may be different for them but on the scale of one to ten pregnant brides, seven of them did it on purpose,” Samuel added.

I was dazed at their conversations because they were discussing a topic that affects the couple we had come to felicitate with. What if someone heard them and informed the couple that their friend doubted their union? The topic lingered on more and I got to find out that Samuel’s ex had told him she was pregnant immediately after his NYSC and she had insisted that he married her. According to him, she was a lady he would have loved to settle down with but was not thinking of that immediately after his service because he was still unemployed at that time. He explained that he did confide in his parent about his ex and they agreed that she moved in with them, he had gone with her to register for antenatal with his mummy when they found out she was not pregnant.

I was so engrossed in their conversation that I began to reminisce on a situation that had led a friend to rush into marriage. It happened in my third year at the university. A course mate, *Edirin confided in me and a friend, *Cynthia that she was pregnant and was thinking of aborting the pregnancy. Edirin said that her reason was based on the fact that she was not sure about the paternity of the pregnancy, as she was dating two men at the time. One was an undergraduate in the university while the other was a young wealthy businessman who lived in Lagos.

At the moment, I did not think it was wise for me to say anything because I was not too close to her. Cynthia was the closest to her and the only reason she told me was because she knew Cynthia would definitely tell me.  So, we advised her to think through about her decision again and try to inform the men in her life about it.

The following day at the lecture hall, she informed us that she had spoken to her mom and her mom had cautioned her not to have the abortion but should inform the rich businessman about it. She decided to take the next week off campus by the time she resumed she was wearing an engagement ring.

I kept my mouth shut. How could I possibly tell another woman, who was not sure of the paternity of her unborn child that she was making the biggest mistake of her life? Like my fellow course-mates I congratulated her and prayed everything worked as she hoped.

The following year, we resumed for our final year. Before resumption, Cynthia had informed me that Edirin got married (a small wedding) during the holiday but she did not attend.  Three weeks later, Edirin was back to campus. She came with pictures from her wedding, told us how she was coping with marriage and all about her due date. She was different now; it seemed her lifestyle had been upgraded. She was spending excessively and giving out money to people unnecessarily. It was clear evidence that her husband was rich and she loved her new life.

Months, later into our final year and Edirin had still not put to birth. I never wanted to be bother by it until another course mate was delivered of a baby girl. Everyone knew that Edirin took in before her based on the information she told us. So, Cynthia decided that we should inquire directly from Edirin instead of joining other course mates to gossip about the situation.  We paid her a visit at her hostel and she told us she would be due at the end of that month as she had just confirmed that from her doctor. So, we believed her and keep hoping she was fine.

But what visited our eyes the next week was shocking. I have never been pregnant before or do not know the actual size of a lady’s pregnant tummy but when Edirin walked into to the lectures hall few days later, it looked like her tummy has gone down. I did not bother to say anything nor ask for Cynthia what the problem was, I kept my thoughts to myself. The next week, her tummy looked big again, by this time I could not bear to keep silent anymore, I knew something was wrong so I went to Cynthia to find out.

“Cynthia, what’s up with Edirin?”, I asked. “I do not think she is fine and her tummy was not as big as this last week,” I said.

“Well, to be frank with you, I have suspected too but have been scared to ask.” She said.

So, we decided to go visit her at the hostel again, as we had earlier promised to study with her that day. We were about to take our leave when Cynthia asked, “Edirin, are you okay? It seems that something is wrong?”

She pulsed for a second and started crying. She told us that her pregnancy was in its tenth month already and she was so scared. She added that her greater fear was that some days, she woke up to find out that her tummy had gone down and other days its swells back up. We did not know what to say or how to console her about the situation.

“Edirin, I am sorry for asking you this question but do you go to church or have you prayed about it?” I inquired. She looked directly in my eyes and I knew my question was stupid but that was what I could say.

“I go to church; I have even spoken to my pastor about it. My mom have requested that I come back home this weekend to attend a revival,” she said.

“I am so sorry and we cannot say we know what you are going through right now.  But we pray you would be fine soon,” I added.

Cynthia led us to a short prayer before taking our leave.  We promised to check up on her from time to time. It took her time to heal, she left for home that weekend but we kept in touch with her. She and her mum became regular visitors to every revival or crusade or vigil around the country.

By the time she resumed for her final year, her pregnancy was gone, she told other people that she had lost the baby but only Cynthia and I knew the truth. During her revival sections, a pastor told her that her husband was responsible for the situation and she had to make him confess to her. She later discovered that he was a secret cult member and had used his unborn as a new sacrifice in his cult. By the end of our final year she was divorced and till date still single.

Often time, I do think about Edirin’s situation and how it had played out. What would you have done differently if you were in her shoes?

An edited version on this story was published on bellanaija.com

*Not their real names

Photo Credit: www.123rf.com

Categories: Touching Stories | Tags: | 6 Comments

The Age Factor


I have often wondered at what age was right for a lady to know when to get married. From time immemorial, religious leaders, relationship therapists or shrinks, parents, scientists have debated on this topic and have  provided various opinions. Some have said it is right for a lady to get married between the ages of 13 -15, others say 18 years of age , some say 20’s and very few people say 30 years of age is okay for a lady to get married.

It was 8:47am, on a Saturday morning; I was still in my dream world when I felt my phone vibrating. By the time, I opened my eyes, my friend *Ese was calling my phone; eight missed calls and lots of PING on my bbm (Blackberry messenger). I decided to call back immediately,

“Hey, girl. What’s up?” I said yawning.

“Ejiro, I am so sorry. I guess you are still on bed. Please, I need your advice,” She said.

“It’s okay, I am up now”. “I hope no problem?” I said.

“I am having a second thought about marrying *Osagie” she pulsed for a second and added “I know I will be twenty-seven in December but I don’t think I can handle being a married woman yet.”

What!!! I exclaimed. “How can you say this, when it only two weeks or less to your wedding?” I asked quickly sat upright to focus on our conversation.

Ese and I were childhood friend, we met in secondary school and have kept in touch ever since, we are more like sisters. We lost contact while we were in the university but met again in Lagos when I moved down to find a job. At first it was weird relating with her after so many years gone by but we did catch up on our present lives and were close again. A year ago, she met Osagie; to me he was a cool guy, reserved, focused and hardworking compare to my out-going and grooving friend, Ese.  Like every relationship they did have their ups and downs and sometimes I was caught in the middle.  Osagie finally proposed to her on one of their regular outing and I was so happy for them.

I cannot understand how you can accept someone’s marriage proposal when you don’t think you understand the contracts of marriage and commitment.  She later explained to me that somethings he does irritates her, that he was scattered, boring etc the list was long. She said, she did notice all these irritating qualities but was pressurized into marriage by her family and peers.

I was shocked at her last statement. “At twenty – six you are still not ready for marriage, when will you be ready?” I asked.  And she said, “I don’t know, I am just so scared of going into this marriage. I still want to discover myself.”

I began to assume that Ese’s disfunctional marriage status of her siblings was affecting her decision to marry Osagie. Ese is from a family of four siblings, she is the last child in her family. Her eldest brother was already divorced and had moved back to Nigeria to start afresh, her eldest sister,*Vwede have been away from her husband for over six years because he was living in Canada, every time she tries to go visit him in Canada something must come up to prevent her trip and her husband has never held his five years old son in his hands.

What possible advice can I give to her, would I not be blamed for this, and what if this is a test to see if I was really jealous of her? I could not quite figure out why she had decided to tell me of her fears, she should have spoken to her parents and seek for their advise or better still spoken to Osagie directly about them.

How does a lady know it’s time for her to get married? At what age is okay for a lady to be married? What kind of pressure could a lady be going through that pushes her to agree to a marriage proposal? Too many questions and no answer.

I decided to ask my married friends (female) this question and 92 per cent of them said “you just know or you feel in your heart.”

By the following week Ese and Osagie called off their wedding.  Ese is still single and according to her enjoying her life. As for Osagie I heard he is engaged to someone else. I wish Ese the best in life.

*Please note that the names in the story are not real names except mine.

Photo credit http://www.gstatic.com

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: | 4 Comments

My Letter to You


I have thought really hard about this topic, today, wondering if this should be a topic I should talk about or just keep mute on it.

Yesterday, as I was trying to handle my daily work pressure, I decided to scan through Facebook via my blackberry and a status update on my friend’s page caught my attention.

Stephens’ FB update read, “I got this SMS from my friend last night but I’m still struggling to respond. Please help. “My girlfriend caught me cheating for the third time last night and threatened to break up with me. I got angry and slapped her twice. She started crying and drove home. Today she sent a text message saying she was sorry. I don’t know if I should forgive her. She over-reacted!”

Wow!!! Was my first reaction, I couldn’t and still cannot comprehend what charm or juju was working on this chic that made her to apologies to her weak boyfriend after beating and cheating on her. Was it because of the less population of good men (as most ladies think that men are scarce) or did she think she can never love again or her boyfriend was her first ( you know what I mean) or they have made a blood oath (which Africans hardly do)?

Maybe, age was not on her side, whatever are reasons are did she not hear about the late Titilayo’s case where her husband, Kolade Arowolo stabbed her to death (from beating to killing her). Like the pidgin proverb says, “Na from clap dem dey enter dance”.

I remember being in that position seven years ago, something when I look back at how it all began, it breaks my heart. Lucas was a good man (I still want to believe so), intelligent, Christian, quiet and a family-friend.When, the first incident happened I was so shocked because I never once expected it from him or saw him as a woman-beater. I never told anybody because I was ashamed of myself, most of my friends thought I had the perfect relationship and I did not want them to think otherwise. He begged me for weeks, brought me lots of gifts and then I forgave him and we got back together.

But, then it happened again and that was when I spoke out and people told me that a break-up would destroy or kill him. I decided to keep quiet about my intentions for months, traveled out of Warri and that was how, I was able to end my relationship with him through the phone and of course he did not take it lightly (very long story).

It became tough for me to deal with it after the ordeal. I never wanted to be left alone with a guy anywhere and I began to withdraw from guys especially the ones that portray any form of violence.

Talking about this something doesn’t help heal the wound or the scar it has made in my life, it sometime reopens it.

I spoke to a friend that actually beat his ex-girlfriend years back and he said, she insulted him and at that time the only reaction that came to his mind was to slap her, which he did. According to him, they were in a heat of an argument about him not meeting his responsibility as her boyfriend and she insulted his ego by saying, ‘He was not man enough to even buy her recharge card but expected her to call him’ (laughing).

Like, I told my friend it wasn’t worth beating her and he should imagine someone was beating his sister or cousin or female friends like that and if it would be okay with him.  Please, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying his ex had the right to insult him or what she said was right at all but why make her your punching bag, was it to show her who is in charge?

Sometime, we ladies have issues sha!!! We worry about everything in our relationship all the time, from; ‘He hasn’t called me, Why didn’t he take me to the movies today, My friend’s boyfriend bought her a new blackberry, you too must buy one for me, I need money to fix my hair, I want to buy this shoe, I need some money, Why didn’t you call me before going to bed, Don’t you want me to look pretty and of course the MAIN worry; When would you propose?’

Seriously, ladies such things only make you have high blood pressure, if he doesn’t take you out to the movies, go yourself or with your girlfriends, spend your money if you have to look good not for him but for other potential spouses (as long as you are not yet engaged or married to him sha), marriage is not arranged by man but by God, just live in faith and believe that our wedding date is coming.

I remember when I was planning to break up with my ex and most of my friends advised me to pray for him to change that he was a good man. What good man would raise his hands to beat a lady? Sometimes, we have been so confused by religion or Christianity that we use it to avoid making the right decisions. God performs miracles for us in all situations but always take the right step by running away for the guy first while you are praying for him far away from you.

People change sometimes but you might not be the one to change them or they might not change because of you. Today, my ex is married with a son and from what I hear they are happy *wink*.

Kevin, please pass this message to your friend’s girlfriend (soon-to-be ex), “My dear fellow lady, life is too short for you to live in pain both physical and emotional. There are many good men out there searching for you and one already have your name tag, runaway from this guy, he would do it again and even worse. Love is free and is the most beautiful feeling on earth, yours’ is not in this guy but on someone else, you are not too old but only growing wiser, you would love again this promise I make for you. Have fun, develop yourself – academically and spiritually, make good friendships, laugh and most importantly PRAY!!!

Yours Sincerely Fellow Lady,

E.I.E.G
  *Please, note the names in this story are fictional except Kolade Arowolo

Categories: Touching Stories | Tags: | 4 Comments

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