A FATHER’S LOVE

Yubedee Pyamene

He had created this perfect brand, everyone showered praises. Life was good. He had raised his child, the first fruit of his manhood and his pride. But looking at Dafe now, his son; he could hardly believe it was his son. This was the story of Omotayo – a business tycoon and billionaire. Though he flourished and excelled at business, for fortune had smiled on him, he never had peace. An heir to his enormous wealth, what was going to happen?

This is how it all begins..

“No one can have it all” they say; but Omotayo Akinola was going to be just an exception to that. Mr Tayo as he’s fondly called is a thriving businessman, had his second PhD at age 28, got married to his beautiful bride Lola at age 30. Life has been good to him and everything seemed like a roller-coaster ride because the rate at which he bagged achievements in business, recognition both nationally and internationally was enviable.
After ten years of childlessness, Tayo finally had a child, a male child – an heir to his business empire! Satisfied and fulfilled, you could say Tayo was; in fact, I don’t think those words perfectly describes Tayo’s state of mind at the time. He radiated with joy. Happiness filled his home. He was finally a man in the African context, particularly in the Nigerian context; for in the Yoruba tribe where he comes from, a mature male, though having the genital, even successful is not considered a full man until he has a child – a male child. But even as the day bloomed, the night gloom at the corner even darker!

Dafe being the only child of his parents at the moment was wrapped up in cotton wool. Given the best of everything; whatever he wanted, he got at the asking. All this his father did with the best of intentions but little did he know he had only just been bringing owls to Athens. Hard to swallow was the fact that at age 25, Dafe still couldn’t pass pre-med to get into medical school. His mates had finished their house-manship and were certified practitioners already; but here was Dafe – a big baby, terribly spoilt by his parents, given all the luxuries and comfort money could buy, trying to switch courses because he couldn’t cope with medicine. Well, it turned out money couldn’t buy focus.

Dafe got into the University at 17 – this marked the beginning of the troubles of Omotayo Akinola, his father. He lived a lavish life on campus. If he attend classes just half of the number of times he attended parties, at least he would have had a little thing in his head to pass his semester exams.

“How could such a dumb child come from such a smart man!” his course adviser lamented when he invited Dafe to his office due to the his poor results. All these had little or no effect on Dafe. For though the son of a billionaire, only son I mean; a young man of prospects and promise, he brought nothing but shame to his father’s name.

His mother, Lola cried inconsolably each day and his father, deeply bittered – it was better they didn’t have a child, for their live was better off earlier without a child. To crown it all, by the end of his sophomore year in the University, he had gotten five girls pregnant, had been arrested by the police severally for the use of substance; and of course, he had six outstanding courses to his name!

Recently, he came home for the holidays (this he rarely does) due to the persistent calls from his mother. Going to the airport to welcome their son after two years of separation, his mom wept uncontrollably for she could not recognise her son anymore, his father tightened his jaw and his heart was heavy. Dafe looked like a drug kingpin! His mother wailed, safe for her husband, she would have rolled on the floor in public, at the airport – a typical frustrated Nigerian mother.

Dafe had tattoos all over his body, with piercing of rings almost everywhere too – he was dressed like a thug. A young man who should be studying medicine in a private college. What a shame! Dafe brought so much shame and disgrace to his family so much so that his parents for once thought they would be better of without him. Tayo had spent so much money the last three years in hiring lawyers to defend his son in court just to avoid him being convicted. How about the millions of dollars on counsellors? It was all a fools errand,as Dafe learnt nothing from anything!

But throwing away the baby and the bath water was something Tayo swore he would never do. Regardless of all the shame and pain his child has caused him and his family, Omotayo Akinola had long resolved never to leave his son to fate as many thought he had. Love they say could be painful and could come in different shades. Omotayo had to do something about his son, this he did quickly; western union became just another bank terminology to him as he never sent Dafe money anymore, he also never listened to him on cases where he got into trouble with the police. Dafe now spent weeks and sometimes, months behind bars at local police stations.
“The-billionaire-son lifestyle” seemed over for him. As his father no longer paid attention to him. And he was now in his final year.

Love, as they say could be painful; this his father felt deeply.
Things really went south for Dafe from then on, as he got into trouble again with the cops. This was his road to Damascus, as his life never remained the same. In a bid to survive the harsh financial crisis he was in, he got busted for theft in a grocery shop – that was the final straw that broke the camels back.
Going behind bars for the umpteenth time, he stayed there for three months; missing his final exams and project work, as the police will have nothing of his pleas; he had been caught severally. Dafe never graduated. What a shame! What will people say? The son of a billionaire. What a shame!

Dafe came home for the second time in four years looking like he escaped world war II. He looked tattered and unkempt. With tears in eyes of both father and son, they embraced each other for the longest of times! A major rehabilitation had taken off in his life at that moment. Realising all he has been through and all he had done – the reproach he had brought his father, he busted out in loud cries. It was a solemn moment for Omotayo and his family; their child and baby boy Dafe, has come back to his senses.

Times past and years went by; the provost of college called the next name on the inducting list, “Akinlola Omotayo, MBBS” and the hall was filled with applause especially that of his parents, as they clapped on even after everyone had stopped. With tears rolling down their eyes, they clapped – no one would understand why.

At his speech as the over-all best graduating student. Akinlola Dafe wept too, as he dedicated his degree to the unfailing love and resilience of his parents who stood by him and still believed in him even when he didn’t believe in himself. Never mind, no one in that hall will understand the story behind that statement, except his parents.

Yubedee Pyamene Anokari: is a contributor on PAUL KAY’S BLOG. A content writer and entrepreneur. Currently a student of environmental studies at the University of Port Harcourt, an SDG advocate, passionate about personal growth and development.

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