Am I Really The Dad?: Paternity Matters
Grace Ego Omoni
If an individual does not know his or her root, then such a one has no idea what the future holds for him or her in the traditional African society especially where the patrilineal family system is practised. Among several ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Yorubas and the Ukwuanis in the South West and the Niger Delta respectively, the identity of the individual is held in high esteem. The nomenclature or heritage of the family is known and preserved through their cognomen known as “Orikri” in Yoruba and “Efa otutu imusu” in Ukwuani. The cognomen of the family talks about the attributes of the family stock.
According to Akinwowo, the cognomen refers to the praise, chants, recitations and poetic lyrics of achievements of a group’s ancestry which are intended to provide a great amount of historical or biological information of that person’s identity. The purpose is to preserve a record of the valued past of the family the person comes from and to spur him or her to greater achievements in emulation of their ancestors. In fact, it fosters hope for the individual. Often when a child wakes up early in the morning to greet, the parents burst into praises and chants about the family’s exploits in the past that made them outstanding in their ancestral vicinity either in terms of bravery or the profession in which they are noted for.
A child who fails to exhibit such characteristics or ancestral attributes embedded in the cognomen of the family is often suspected as a bastard leading to paternity questions by the father or other family members secretly or outright ! Fathers of such children accuse their wives of infidelity and traditionally find ways to discover the truth. The above history is given to help the reader understand that in our African society, identity is of utmost importance for an individual’s social and cultural survival. Anything that will cause the individual to have issues concerning his or her identity as a member of the family is often greeted with pains, shame and sorrow.
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Today, the issue of paternity fraud has become so rampant that many families have been disrupted. It has led to controversies, unknown illnesses and even deaths. The reader will agree with the writer that cases of promiscuity, adultery, infidelity and all sorts of sexual misdemeanor have become the order of the day among the young and the old, the single, the unmarried as well as the married, the highly respected and low, the have and the have not. In time past, married women rarely engage in extramarital sex or else, she would have to face the wrath of the gods.
Nature has a way of exposing this evil and the woman is made to confess. For instance, the child or the woman in question may fall sick and defy all manner of treatment and may even die if she failed to confess. The man who also knows that the wife committed such a crime and failed to tell his family members might also be afflicted with inexplicable occurrences until solutions are sought traditionally.
Paternity fraud as noted earlier is very much in our midst. Sometime past, there was this young man who could not get his wife pregnant. The twin sister to the wife who also was married had had her own children. Their mother was worried and sought trado-medical help. There and then, they were told that the husband was answering the name of one who was not the father. The young man forced his own mother to say the truth and to take him to his biological father. There was a legal tussle! The other man sued for damages and asked for millions of naira as compensation for the investment in the child. It was after this that the young man started having his own children.
The mother was thrown out of her marriage and the new father could not marry her because he had his own legal wife. The woman became the greatest loser! A recent one was that of a young woman who had two sex partners, got pregnant and was forced into marrying the richer of the two by her parents. Nature proved them wrong for she eventually had the child, it was an albino! Everyone in the village knew the paternity of the baby. The mother of the girl’s other sex partner happened to be an albino! That was how she was sent packing to settle with the biological father of the child. There are so many other instances. A friend told me how a 63-year-old man was brought to her family even after the death of their father. The sibling could not deny his paternity because they all saw the perfect resemblance between their late father and the man.
In this article, the following sub- topics will be briefly discussed: Parent and Parenthood; Paternity Fraud; Causes of Paternity Fraud; Consequences and Counselling Strategies.
Parent and Parenthood:
During marriage ceremonies, one of the prayers people hold in high esteem is that of the new family being blessed with children, hence the alligator pepper is used for the blessings because of the belief that it symbolises fertility. Being a father or a mother is greeted with pomp and circumstances. Thus, a parent is a person’s biological mother or father. A parent is one from whom a child is descended. The term generally refers to the natural biological or natural father and mother of a person whether they are married or not. At times the parent could be a surrogate, adoptive, foster or guardian but in this write-up, the parent here is limited to the natural or biological person(s). Parenthood is the state of being a parent. Specifically, it is the function of being a parent.
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Parenthood is the function the father and mother assume when a child is born. They have the responsibility to give spiritual, emotional, educational, financial and social care to the child. Married couples anxiously wait for them to become parents but when the waiting is prolonged, there the trouble starts. Some engage in extramarital affairs that lead to paternity matters. Sexual pervasion prevalent in the society has led to serious pathetic paternity issues and these have made men to become aggressively agitated against female culprits and most often seek to be convinced whether they are actually the father of the children born to them and in whom they are investing . Again, many of these children exhibit characters not found in the ancestral history of their families as indicated in the cognomen. This has heightened the doubts in the men whether these children possess their genes; hence, the question, “Am I the real Dad?: Paternity Matters.”
This may be a new term but its occurrence in the society is as old as man. Paternity fraud occurs when a man is incorrectly identified as the father of a child. The underlying assumption of paternity fraud is that the mother of the said child deliberately misidentifies the biological father. Of cause, in our society an old aphorism asserts that it is only the mother that knows the father of her child. In other words, while maternity is a matter of fact, paternity is a matter of opinion! When a mother deliberately gives false information to the husband as being the father of a child at birth after being pregnant for some other man, it is referred to as paternity fraud. It can also be called misattributed paternity, paternal discrepancy or paternal unknowingbility.
About a year ago, the media carried the news of a bank managing director who was actually the biological father of the children of his female subordinate in the organization. The revelation led to the eventual premature death of the legal husband of the woman. The society was mad at the story and demanded justice. Many children today are in the dilemma of searching for their real biological fathers and men/ husbands are also secretly nursing the fear whether they are the actual fathers of the kids they are raising and investing in. Paternity issue therefore arises when a man is claiming to be the biological father of the child while the mother is denying or when the mother is claiming that the man is the father and the man is denying the paternity or when a child demands to know his or her actual biological father.
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Causes of Paternity Fraud:
Some of the factors precipitating this phenomenon in Nigeria and worldwide include:
a) Promiscuity: This is the practice of multiple sex partners without discretion. Men and women are involved. Sexual weakness is prevalent among adolescents, the young, the adults as well as the married and the unmarried who engage in indiscriminate sex habits. Many are into multiple sex relationships with no regard to societal values and norms. The entertainment industry is part of this problem of promiscuity with films presented to viewers who fail to differentiate between make belief and reality. When viewers put into practise these negative presentations in films, the result is unwanted pregnancies which they deliberately give to their husbands for those who are married or to any man of their choice if unmarried. This is indeed paternity fraud in action!
b) Infidelity and Adultery: The terms refer to sexual acts by men and women who are married outside their marriage. It is also called extramarital affair. Infidelity refers to any violation or betrayal of the mutually agreed rules and boundaries of an intimate relationship. When it occurs, it is typically viewed as marital betrayal. Some women go into it as a retaliation or a revenge mission against their cheating husband. Other causes of adultery or infidelity are poor communication, low self-esteem, delayed pregnancy and infertility problem between husband and wife. It is the act of the man or woman having sexual intercourse with a partner other than his or her spouse.
In fact, any sexual liaison other than ones’ husband or wife is infidelity. It means that the person has committed adultery and a breach of mutual contract in Christian and civil marriage. In traditional or Muslim setting, it may not be tenable for the man for they practise polgamy. Again in our African society, the gravity of infidelity or adultery is of a more serious offence on the part of the woman. Infidelity or adultery can lead to paternity fraud when pregnancy is involved. The woman has the tendency of fraudulently or deliberately presenting the child as the husband’s own to avoid shame.
However, if the man is suspicious, he is likely to contest the paternity. Again many have given reasons for such acts. Some say that it might be that the husband cannot father a child and since society frowns on infertility, the woman goes out to get one to save the face of the husband. However, if it is a unilateral decision by the woman alone, there is bound to be paternity matter. Either that the real father of the child will come back to claim the paternity of the child or the real husband will totally reject and goes to the court or to the traditional council to prove that he is not the father with evidence and medical backup. It should be noted that women who cheat on their husbands lose respect in the society and it might cause them their marriage especially when it pertains to paternity issues.
c) Poor Orientation: Many people have poor orientation about the sanctity of marriage and why it is necessary to exercise decorum in practising extra-marital sex outside marriage. They also have poor knowledge of what it does to the nuclear and extended family. Inadequate training on marital issues by parents, religious institutions and counselling centres are part of the problems of paternity matters. From the religious point of view, sex outside your marriage is sin and there are consequences before God and man. Added to the above are girls being forced to marry men they do not love. Greed for wealth is another probable reason especially if the spouse is poor and she finds another man enticing her with money. Again some women are of easy character and may not be satisfied with staying with only one man.
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Consequences of Paternity Fraud
a) It leads to distrust between husband and wife.
b) It disrupts marriages and leads to divorce which will eventually affect the upbringing of the children.
c)It leads to health hazards and premature deaths. Out of frustration, the man or the woman might decide to commit suicide.
d)The extended family may decide to ostracize both the child and the mother and even their own son if he refused to let mother and child go.
e) The child of controversy may become permanently and emotionally devastated leading to deviant behaviour or even suicide. Such a child loses his integrity in the society. Some people will deliberately mock and rebuff such a child in order to have the opportunity to make him know that he has no identity in the society.
f)The woman loses integrity in the society and becomes the object of ridicule.
g) It leads to conflicts and disunity in both the family and the society.
h) The socio-economic status of the family may change for the worse.
i) Couples should attend marriage counselling sessions before tying the knots.
ii) Parents should teach their children the rudiments of marriage and sanctity of fidelity. The girls must be counselled to shield the pride of womanhood by being decent.
iii) Couples should go for fertility screening before plunging into marriage.
iv) Seminar on sexuality education is mandatory before and after marriage.
v) Churches, schools, health care givers and religious bodies should from time to time give frank talks on marital matters such as husband-wife relationship, coping with delayed pregnancy, fertility issues as well as consequences of cheating, infidelity and promiscuity.
vi) Doubting couples should go for DNA tests.
vii)Go to paternity courts instead of taking laws into their hands which might result in more scandal or murder cases.
viii) Couples should be taught strategies for coping with stress and emotional incapacitation due to paternity matters.
ix) Couples should learn to be patient and wait on God as well as seek medical help from gynecologists when there is delay in getting pregnant by the husbands.
x) Parents should desist from coercing their daughters into marrying men they do not love.
xi) The content of the school curriculum should include marital counselling as a subject and just embedded in home economics.
xii) The government, voluntary organisations and private individuals should establish counselling centres where issues pertaining to marriage are addressed.
xiii) People should learn to stop this madness of promiscuity ravaging the society. Women especially need to exhibit self-control. Sexual intercourse is not food!
xiv) The entertainment industry should be selective in the films produced and presented to viewers. Those promoting indiscriminate sex practices should be scrapped and government needs to monitor the producers’ activities and place bans on illicit films from the market.
xv) Intending couples should compulsorily visit the hospital to know their genotype and Rhesus factor. These will help them to determine whether they are compatible in terms of child bearing or not. Please Christians take note. God will not give you sorrow. Every good gift comes from God. So if your Rhesus factor is not compatible with your would-be spouse think twice before you continue with the relationship. Parting at this early stage is better than infidelity and engaging in paternity fraud inside marriage.
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Paternity fraud is fast taking over our valued cherished family system. The rate of paternity fraud in the world today is alarming. Women shamelessly talk about their extra-marital affairs in court when being questioned. In fact, women have lost the pride of womanhood in our society especially in the western world and Nigerians are copying them forgetting their ancestral root! There should be a rethink. Many fathers are no longer sure whether the kids are their real biological offspring .
Most traditional families are fast losing the attributes of their ancestral achievements found in the children born into the families. Premature deaths and disillusionment are now rampant in Nigeria. There is the need for society to go back to the roots. Women, you are being challenged to please show respect for womanhood. Be role models to the younger generation. Desist from adulterous acts and be content with your marriage. God expects you to procreate following the rules thereof and do not create the atmosphere for the men to ask: “Am I the real Dad?”
The price paid for a happy marriage is sacrifice. Be ready to stick out your neck to make sacrifice to keep the relationship. If you refuse to, the relationship will die and the consequence is a breakdown of law and order in the society, thus carving out a bleak future for the innocent children you brought into the world.
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Toyin Falola: Foremost African Historian Wins Lifetime Achievement Award
By Olusola Ogunnubi
On Wednesday, May 31st, 2023, US-based Nigerian renowned historian, Professor Toyin Falola, was awarded the distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award by the Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS) for his contributions to African Studies. The entire hall was full of elevation, and the side talk was that this was one of the best decisions ever made by CAAS.
CAAS is the umbrella body for scholars and practitioners dedicated to promoting the study of Africa in Canada, and according to its website, the Lifetime Achievement Award is indeed the highest honour of the Association awarded to senior scholars who have been actively involved in CAAS and have retired or about to retire. In the words of Prof Nduka Otiono, President of the Association, “this esteemed accolade recognizes your exceptional contributions, unwavering dedication, and profound impact on the field of African Studies in Canada and beyond”. According to the CAAS website, the selection of Falola for this prestigious award was on the merit of three criteria: (1) a lifetime of sound scholarship, (2) accomplishments (research, teaching and mentoring awards, etc.) and (3) involvement in the activities of CAAS. The award was formally presented to him during the CAAS Annual General Meeting and Conference hosted at York University, where coincidentally, Toyin Falola had been a professor between 1990 and 1991. Prof Falola stands in the illustrious company of previous awardees, including Prof Paul Lovejoy. The CAAS Distinguished Lifetime Award was the first awarded to a scholar in over five years.
Toyin Falola is a professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities. He was also previously The Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor in History, a position he held from 1995 to 2012. His research is focused on African History since the nineteenth century, African Diaspora, Epistemologies, Theories and Methodologies. Professor Toyin Falola’s contributions to the field of African Studies and African History have continued to place Africa on the map of global recognition. Not only is Falola’s scholarship recognized globally, but he is also dedicated to mentoring a new generation of young and emerging scholars in the social sciences, arts and humanities. He also convenes the Annual Africa Conference, a platform for knowledge exchange between scholars from Africa and the diaspora. I had the honour of attending the Africa Conference in 2012, where Falola generously accommodated me in his house after the conference along with other guests from Africa. As a postgraduate student attending the conference from South Africa, this short period of interaction would eventually shape my resolve to aspire to greater heights within the academic space.
In 1981, Prof Falola finished his doctorate in History from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), where he completed his thesis on “The Political Economy of Ibadan, c.1830-1900.” Remarkably, more than 40 years after his first PhD, professor Falola earned a D.Litt in African Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 2020. Professor Falola receives 16 honorary doctorates and over 40-lifetime awards from several universities and countries. A brief list includes Monmouth University (2007), City University of New York (2013), Lincoln University (2015), University of Jos (2015), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (2018), Redeemer’s University, Nigeria (2017) Federal University, Lokoja (2021) among others. Falola has also previously been appointed to several distinguished honours, honorary professorships and visiting fellowships at various universities, including the University of Cape Town, South Africa, Centre for African Studies (2018-2022), Olusegun Obasanjo Centre for African Studies, National Open University, Abuja (2019-2021), Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South, Library of Congress (2016), Pontifícia Universidade Católica De São Paulo, Brazil (2007); Humanities Research Council, Australian National University in 1995.
Interestingly, Falola helped organize the CAAS conference at York University in 1991, where he started his career in North America. He had also previously delivered a keynote address at the CAAS Conference 1991 and again at the just concluded 2023 CAAS conference. In over 40 years since he left Canada for the US, Falola has continued to make an impact on the Canadian and the North American academic landscape in general through his invaluable contribution to CAAS, serving as external examiner to major Canadian universities, including Queen’s University, York University, Trent University, Dalhousie University and the University of Toronto, helping to shape the academic depth of the African Studies programs in Canada and being a mentor to Canada-based Africanist scholars. Notably, Falola has supervised over 100 Master’s thesis and Doctoral dissertations in History and African Studies and examined countless theses and dissertations. CAAS also acknowledges and recognizes Falola’s invaluable contribution as a reviewer for the Canadian Journal of African Studies and his longstanding role as a member of the editorial board of the Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora at York University.
Given his excellent and distinguished scholarship and its impact across disciplines, it is not surprising that this is not the first such prestigious lifetime award that Prof Falola has received. Some of his previous awards include the Distinguished Africanist Award in 2011 by the African Studies Association (ASA), which is the largest global Association by scholars of Africa, Nigeria’s highest National Merit Award – Member of Order of the Niger (MON) awarded by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022, Award of Excellence in recognition of support of tertiary education by Lagos State University in August 2022, Distinguished Award for Intellectual Contributions to Knowledge and Scholarship, University of Abuja, Nigeria (July 2021), Distinguished Award for Scholarship and Mentorship, Babcock University, (June 2021), Distinguished Africana Award, University of North Carolina, Charlotte (April 2011) among many others.
Several celebratory legacies and honours have also been named in recognition of Falola’s exemplary contribution and scholarship to African Studies. One such honour is the Toyin Falola Annual Conference on Africa and the African Diaspora (TOFAC), inaugurated in 2011 by the University of Ibadan Cultural Group (ICSG). TOFAC is a huge annual conference convened in an African university on different themes. Also, the Toyin Falola Book Award is administered by the Association of Global South Studies for the best book on Africa. Lunaris Review also awards the Toyin Falola Literary Prize, named after him for his contributions to advancing African cultures, people, and histories. Falola is also Series Editor for at least a dozen monographs and Encyclopaedias and has served on several Book Prize Committees.
Professor Falola has also led major academic associations, including as President of the African Studies Association (2014-2015) and the Nigerian Studies Association (2005-2007). He has also received several traditional titles, including the Bobagbimo of Ugboland in 2014, the Agbakin of Kusela-Ibadan in 2022 and Nii Kpani Ashaabla 1 of Adabraka Otukpai Palace, Accra, Ghana, among others.
Receiving the Award at the ceremony held to round off the CAAS conference, Falola expressed his gratitude to the Board and Members of the Association, seeing the recognition as a responsibility to continue to do more to extend the frontiers of African epistemic traditions. Falola lauds the Association for leading the intellectual path for the advancement of African Studies globally through the creation of opportunities for critical debates, research engagements, knowledge exchange and interactive space between academia, government and other non-state actors to drive policies and a commitment to ensuring that the systemic issues that Africa and Africans face are confronted through meaningful scholarship.
Professor Falola is today honoured because he’s been a solid and unforgettable part of CAAS’s contribution to African Studies. Prof Falola is humble to the core, and there’s a lot that old and new scholars in the field can learn from his humanity, simplicity and sincere concern for the academic well-being of everyone.
. Ogunnubi writes from the Department of Political Studies, Queen’s University, Canada.
Ama Ata Aidoo: A Gallant Intellectual
By Toyin Falola
Our encounters were not limited to knowledge sharing. Yes, this is important, as Ama Ata Aidoo and Ngugi wa Thiong’o were among those who read the draft of my first memoir, A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt. It was mutual, as she also gave me a few drafts to read. Then we met in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States. The most memorable was at Smith College, where we spent a semester together, seeing twice a week. A great cook, I took delight in consuming her egusi soup. I felt emotionally sad to be one of the earliest to know of her death and had to announce it on several platforms. It was a privilege to do a short tribute on May 31, 2023, at the recently concluded Canadian Association of African Studies held at York University, Toronto.
Ama and I were on first-person name salutations. She musically pronounced my name, Toyyin, adding “y” and refusing to let go. I reciprocated and called her “Amami, Mamami” to return the musical song. She knew when to provoke me. I was also a master at teasing her by making a patriarchal statement, to which she would immediately respond. I knew the Ghanaian presidents she could not stand, the ministers she detested, and I would say, “Amami, Mamami, you know I miss President Dash!”
Mamami reminds me that at several points in life, especially during childhood, most humans have lofty dreams and ambitions. For many, those dreams and ambitions will only come to represent “the good old days when life was simple,” never seeing the light of reality — especially if the dreamer is limited by one or several factors like poverty, country of birth, a lack of education, poor nutrition, and a limit in both exposure and cross-cultural experiences. For others, opportunity and preparation help them realize their dreams. This day, you’re stuck with your convictions, committed to your beliefs, and working to support the causes that align with your values. The next day, you have transcended into a realm larger than life — larger than a single lifetime that any human could have.
Since Aidoo shed her robe of the human hood and took on the next adventure in existence, the news headlines that made the rounds about her death seemed to have some common words: Ghana, Ghanaian, literary icon, author, and feminist. However, Aidoo can be qualified by more than those words that made up the news headlines of her death. For one, I chose to describe her as Africa’s gallant intellectual and literary general because although she is proudly Ghanaian, her life, works, and impacts transcend one country — they have been for Africa, from within Africa’s Golden State. It’s understandable that the reporters, especially those of foreign media houses, might have chosen to be specific about her country to avoid backlash on the Western world not doing enough research to report African news contextually. But in the case of this eminent scholar and what she has lived for, she is our collective heroine.
Professor Aidoo knew what it meant to have a purpose, define existence, and stay true to one’s causes, so much so that a legacy is built, intentionally or not. She lived for Africa; she lived for the rights of African women; she dedicated her life to documenting African realities and deconstructing erroneous notions of what Africa is, who Africans are, and what the realities of Africans and their continent are. She lived a wholesome and fulfilled life — an 81-year-old is old enough to join the sacred ancestors in many African cultures and societies. Nevertheless, no matter how old our loved ones are at the time of death, our insatiable human nature and the prospect of their absence, our loss, and our longing will always douse our mood at the reception of the news.
Nature and nurture come to play in forming the formidable intellectual and literary general that Aidoo was. Grounded in the history and exploits of her people from early on, Aidoo envisioned the life of an author for herself— seeing it as the best way to document histories and put the stories she had heard and was living into the hands of many others to make impacts. She was one of Africa’s generals, not on the battlefield during the world wars but on the intellectual battlegrounds of academic and literary imperialism. While staying vocal through her writings and words, Aidoo fought for Africa and did so proudly. She was instrumental in spotlighting some of the biggest issues African women have faced in decades. In so doing, she drew the admiration of Africans, especially African women, who came to see her as a mother, mentor, and idol.
Aidoo made great impacts, and they reverberate so much so that death is not finality for her. From her poems to her novels and plays, the literary world will continue to make reference to, discuss, critique, and base other works on the foundation of what Aidoo did during her lifetime. That is her legacy, which has inherently conferred on her the goddess status. She might have left her mortal body, but she lives on and among us through her works.
Although she was better known for her writings, activism, advocacies, and feminism, Aidoo’s life was an excellent demonstration of walking the talk and living one’s words. She will be remembered back home in Ghana as a literary heroine and a patriotic countrywoman with a deep desire to help catalyze her country’s development. Convinced that the Minister of Education role would afford her that opportunity, she accepted her appointment by the government in 1982. However, like several of the recently independent African states then, she soon discovered that the people in power mostly wanted the best hands without wanting those hands to go to work in a way that would benefit the country. Seeing as her lofty visions for the Ghanaian education system would never materialize because of the Council, Aidoo resigned from the position and dedicated herself to excellence in teaching in the Ghanaian tertiary education system, which she served assiduously for decades.
Aidoo never minced words about her criticism of the Western world and its role in the colonization of Africa, which has metamorphosed into colonialism and is being continuously modified to withstand and survive the agitations of intellectual and well-meaning, patriotic Africans. She is famously known for commenting on how Europe has been tirelessly milking Africa of its human, mineral, natural, artificial, and artistic resources for over 500 years. Aidoo’s vocal nature in decrying the covert and subtle neocolonialist efforts from the West earned her transgenerational reverence among her peers and even the younger generation.
One of the distinguishing traits of her feminism is adapting the African communal and tight-knit nature of pre-colonial communities into the formation and interactions of the women communities on the continent. This manifests in how renowned feminists like Aidoo and Professor Bolanle Awe take several other women under their wings and groom them. As the mother hen readily spreads her feathers to protect her children, Aidoo supported the feminist communities and female writers and authors. This is evident in her many engagements with these communities, as recently as 2021, at the Kwame Nkrumah Festival in Ghana. Aidoo’s life has inspired many of these young women in academia and the literary world. It has helped them understand that they can also dream and aim for their dreams.
Many of those she assisted, whether they had only met her through her work or had the opportunity to meet her physically, shared a special bond with her, so much so that until her death, she was popularly known as (m)Ama Ata Aidoo — the bracketed “m” signaling a prefix to form “Mama,” the African name for mother. Aidoo lives on through the many people she’s inspired with her work. Many found meaning through her work; they found reasons to be conscious as Africans, appreciate their African identity, deconstruct erroneous notions of colonialism, and recognize the ills of the colonial system and its impacts on Africa. She was a fierce and vocal general in her advocacy against the misrepresentations of African women and African stories, but she was a soft and accommodating mother to many.
Mamami, you earned your position among Africa’s most revered and respected literary icons, and now, you have donned the cloak of immortality through the body of your work. Beyond your existence, you live on. In that instance, death as the finality we have come to know ceases to be the end. A literary icon would then have attained the status of a god. You will be sorely missed. Africa’s academia will feel the void of the inputs you could still have made if you were here. However, our solace lies in the fact that no one can ever do enough and that, taking your exploits and achievements in the context of the impacts they have had and continue to have, you did your best. For that, we are grateful.
Farewell, Amami Mamami! May your journey in the next phase of life be easier!
TB Joshua: Remembering Exit Of A World Changer
By Dare Adejumo
The month of June is a significant month in the annals of Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN). It is the month of the birth and passing of its founder, Prophet TB Joshua, that great world changer.
Its fifth day makes the second year of his glorious exit from earth and on the twelfth, the great man of God who cherished marking his birthdays would have been 60 years old.
Nations across the world would have been agog for an extraordinary prophet of God whose footprints of wonderful deeds touching the lives of millions across the globe remain in the sand of time. TB Joshua came to revitalize the face of Christianity and made the physiognomy of practical Christian living as given by Jesus Christ already in abeyance real to mankind once again.
There’s no hide and seek in his life. He was love personified. The humbliest human being I have ever come across. Firm and stern, even in his moment of severity, you would still find love encapsulated. You could not offend him. He’s extra sensitive with propulsively radiating wisdom, unfathomable knowledge of life, charming and a paragon of magnetically illuminating character. He was completely acidic to vanity, envy, jealousy, human comparison, imitation, vulgarity and wonton desires. He described them as some of those “foolish things” not to be entertained for a moment in one’s life.
Pastor TB Joshua
TB Joshua was a divinely self-made man. Here was a man with little elementary education. Yet with your degrees, erudition and western exposure, you would be humbled by the self-discovery of your personal hollowness or quasi- emptiness when you sat to discuss or share a view with TB Joshua, a shy village man. TB Joshua was an attestation to God’s omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence and greatness that lay in simplicity.
I personally witnessed several cases of some other so-called men of God who out of ignorance and envy were once persecuting him but after receiving the touch of God in different dimensions including mere touching of EMMANUEL TV while praying came to weep before God for forgiveness. Joshua would only say to them: ” I didn’t fire one single arrow back from all your arrows against me; otherwise you won’t be here today to talk. One thing we should always know is this: I did not choose myself to do God’s work. He in His wisdom just chose me and I know He is with me. God would never give anybody this kind of power He gave me if the person would use it for selfish purposes or against his perceived enemies. No!”
TB Joshua was a puzzle, an enigma. He was the light shining in darkness that many couldn’t comprehend. He looked too simple and ordinary having not been commissioned by the earthly papacy or religious authorities of the day and for him to be performing miracles of diverse kinds like breathing. This was clearly indescribable, incomprehensible, a mystery and shocker to the spiritual ignoramuses and empty flamboyant oratorical, motivational preachers with big congregations.
That great English thinker and philosopher John Locke once said: “New opinions are always suspected and usually opposed without any other reason but because they are not already common”. In God’s adamantine and inscrutable will, TB Joshua came to the scene when the acts of Christianity seen in Jesus Christ and His early desciples and apostles as captured in the Bible were gradually becoming moonlight tales to this generation. Religious leaders had already metamorphosed to careerism and polarised with pervasive unhealthy cacophonous standards. It was obvious that these religious leaders no longer knew what they were doing then even till today in several quarters without any tangible impacts in the lives of atrophied worshippers!
That was the turning point.There was no way TB Joshua could have had it easier. He faced satanic conspiracies and persecution galore, but the man remained focused with unmitigated perseverance, vision and mission of his divine assignments which he tenaciously upheld victoriously till the last.
He took his persecution joyfully and that conspiracy against him at home launched him to the outside world in God’s agenda and design for his mission on earth.
Hear him: “I began discovering the good life when I was only 15 years. My objectives and motives were determined at once. I wanted what God wanted and I wanted it for the reason God wanted it”. That’s prophet TB Joshua for you. Till the end he carried his childhood with him, with malice to no one but love, charity and firmness to all in God’s righteousness. To him love is pure. Take good care of your heart because that is your communicating point with God and must ever remain pure to know and flow with Him. You can never love God if you don’t love your neighbours and your neighbours include your percieved enemies, those not in the same faith with you, the poor and those in need who you must give love unconditionally.
This Godly character often made TB Joshua to be misrepresented by low spiritual human beings whenever they saw him attend to other people who were not Christians just as his Master, Jesus was accused of dining with republicans and sinners which made the religious authorities persecute Him.
The truth of humanity as once put by that foremost existentialist Italian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard is that history would always repeat itself because man would never learn from history. Many never discovered Joshua not until he had departed! What a painful loss.
You could never find TB Joshua criticizing or talking about other men of God. He moved on quietly on his own even though he lamented the pervasive discrimination and disunity in Christendom.
Several people from other churches who received healings and miracles in his church, Synagogue Church Of All Nations SCOAN wanted to come and do thanksgiving in his church but Joshua would not allow them. “Go back to you church and do your thanksgiving and give your offering there. We are the same. God had already answered your prayers there before you came here” for you to see how selfless he was in all his dealings.
TB Joshua was more interested in the quality of your Christian life and character. He would ask you: “Do you hear from God? Do you listen to Him? Does He speak with you? Do you know how much you need Him? Do you have a relationship with Him?” The God’s general believed that your highest achievement on earth was to hear from God.
To TB Joshua, Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God. If you don’t have that relationship with Him you have missed it and you are worshipping in vain. “How can you be worshipping God you don’t know?” He would jerk up his congregants to move away from spiritual docility, complacency and indolence.
TB Joshua was never an academic preacher. He spoke words of life that transformed lives of ardent and fervent seekers of God and salvation.
I remember a female nurse I once encountered when she came to treat a patient as she stood looking at EMMANUEL TV. On enquiries whether she knew of the television station, she said that she used to attend SCOAN. “I was a nurse and member of the church’s medical team. Then the church was not rich, just managing to survive. It was what happened during the man of God’s birthday that made me stop going and besides I had relocated to a farther distance. We all on our own contributed money to give TB Joshua as a present. When we got there to present it, the man just asked us to put all the money in one sack. He asked us to choose some people among us to take the whole money to the disabled people’s home at Oko Baba. He instructed that one of us should just dip his or her hand in the sack and be distributing the money to them one by one with whatever the hand could gather at once like that to the less privileged living there and nothing should be left in the sack. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked that the man could take everything there like that not minding that the church itself was very poor”. This woman completely missed the beauty of life and essence of humanity the prophet symbolized. TB Joshua believed your giving is only meaningful when you give what you cherish most. He would never give in half measures. He was extraordinarily generous and at home in humility with all categories of people as a friend however commonised other people may look at them. Every human being is unique and important to TB Joshua and must be treated with dignity.
TB Joshua was never a burden to anyone but carried all human burdens that crossed his paths. He was the only man of God holding crusade abroad without asking for any donations or collecting offering from worshippers. He would rather go there with loads of charity works for people and the country. There was a time in Cameroon when the airwave was jammed with announcements that TB Joshua would be coming to hold a crusade in Yaounde, asking for people to donate money. This was a scam because the scammers were capitalizing on Joshua’s popularity and the perceived pressure of the country’s request for his crusade program in Cameroon. TB Joshua in holy anger countered the announcements saying: ” That cannot be my TB Joshua of Synagogue Church Of All Nations SCOAN. I have no plan to go to Cameroon. God has not directed me to go there. Have you ever seen my pictures or envelopes asking for donation of money from anyone or anywhere? Please disregard this announcement. When God gives you an assignment He would also send to you what you would need through His chosen vessels”. This is a symbolic message for you to differentiate the chalk from the cheese in the religiously distorted world. He never allowed himself for a moment to be carried away by anything.
The lofty principles and legacies of TB Joshua remain enduring and a high watershed in Christendom. The joy today is that SCOAN is in the capable hand of a down-to-earth and visionary successor, Pastor Evelyn Joshua, a woman who had gone through the spiritual mills and rigorous discipline of TB Joshua the spiritual mentor extraordinaire who strongly believed that life’s biggest decision is what you do with Jesus.
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