You Can’t Father a Child and Abandon Him, Mackson!!!

by Abiodun Ladepo

Somebody told the young man about me. Somebody told him that I used to be a friend of his dad, sorry father. He asked for my contact information and was given one of my email addresses. So two weeks ago, I received a message from the 23 years old undergraduate asking me to plead with his dad, sorry again, father, to help verify his paternity. “Send me your number and I will call you”, I told him.

He did. He sent me his number in Nigeria and I immediately called him. He told me he was the child that my friend, Mackson (not his real name), had fathered out of wedlock while we were students at the University of Ibadan in 1985. As soon as he mentioned his mother’s name, his story rang a huge bell in my head. I remembered the time that Mackson got one of his girlfriends, Ronke (not her real name), pregnant and told her to get rid of the pregnancy. He said Ronke was trying to “tie” herself to him with the pregnancy because he was a university student with a bright future and she was not; and that she wanted to “get ahead of the game” against his other girlfriends by claiming ownership of him with the pregnancy. I saw the girl once or twice at that time, but that was before she got pregnant. Soon, her story receded to the background and Mackson continued his randy lifestyle.

The young man that asked me to help convince his father, Mackson, to submit himself to a blood test to verify his paternity – Seyi (not his real name), turned out to be Ronke’s child – the pregnancy that Mackson rejected in 1985! I asked Seyi for Ronke’s number and called Ronke. I wanted to ascertain the veracity of his claim. Here was a guy I had never met who claimed to be the child of a notoriously violent and corrupt politician, and who wants me to intervene in a paternity case that was bound to embarrass my erstwhile friend who is now happily married with children. I thought I should talk to Ronke; ask her a few questions from the past that only she would be able to answer because she was there. When I was done with Ronke, I was convinced that she was the girl, back in 1985 that my friend kicked to the curb because she was “inferior.” She told me that members of her family had tried to get Mackson to submit himself for a blood test ever since he returned to Nigeria from the UK, but that Mackson threatened them all with hellfire and brimstone. He accused her and her family of trying to sabotage his 2011 ambition to run for governor of Osun State by scandalizing and blackmailing him with a child.

After listening to Ronke, I promised her that I would talk to Mackson. Although we used to be friends, we no longer spoke because I disagreed with him privately (and publicly, when privacy didn’t work), about his nefarious political activities. That night, I placed a call to Nigeria and told Mackson that I had been contacted by Seyi, and that I wanted to know what he planned to do about the issue. His instant answer was: “I do not know anybody by that name and I don’t want to know anybody by that name.” I pressed further. “Hey man, I am not trying to be mischievous. I am just trying to help. Are you sure you do not know this young man?” He replied in the affirmative and we ended the conversation. He lied. I knew he lied because I remembered the case clearly. I knew he lied because Ronke had told me that mutual friends of Mackson’s and I had tried to talk to him, and she named names. She challenged me to call and ask them.

I rolled the issue over and over in my mind. Forget that Seyi claims to be a spitting image of Mackson (paternity still has to be decided by blood test); forget that the kid is now 23 years old; forget that only God, through his mother and her family, nursed and nurtured him into a man; forget that he is the ONLY (!) child of his mother – yes, the only child of his mother; forget that he has asked not for money, but for recognition and affirmation of his identity; forget that Mackson, unlike the time he lived in near penury as an undergrad, now lives in some degree of opulence and so can afford to take care of Seyi even if on charity. Forget all that and ask yourself: why do men of cratered morality thrive in our society?

Knowing Mackson, I tried to search through his life and “status”, looking for a cogent reason why he not only denied this young man the right to know his father, but did so in such a cold and callous manner – like visiting Ronke’s family to issue stern warnings and even openly threatening the life of Seyi, who, after a blood test is performed, could very well be his son. I searched, and regrettably, the only adducible reason is Mackson’s current wife. She is the only one that has something to lose should Mackson bring home an adult child. The eldest of her three children is in the early teens. All these years, she had settled on the assumption that being a male child, he would be the cynosure of Mackson’s eyes. He would be the de facto family head, the Dawodu, if you will, should, God forbid, Mackson were to leave this world and leave his new-found wealth. To find out this late in her marriage, that Mackson had sired a child that would relegate her own son to a lower position in the family hierarchy, would be devastating. It would be more so devastating since she was one of his numerous girlfriends in Nigeria back in 1985 that also happened to have British citizenship. She plucked Mackson from the jaws of searing poverty in Nigeria and facilitated his relocation from Nigeria to the UK, from where he was able to launch a successful political career. Why would she sacrifice all that for another woman to collect through an “illegitimate” child?

“Illegitimate child”… “Bastard” – those have been the kinds of names that Seyi has been forced to endure, sometimes as prefixes to his real name. Some very creative people have even managed to coin suffixes and infixes for him, using such derogatory appellations. But Seyi is not an illegitimate child. I don’t know what an illegitimate child is anymore. How can a man and a woman copulate with eyes wide open; with no contraceptives, and claim to be surprised that they have a child? How can anybody describe such a child as illegitimate? And he is not a bastard either. A bastard, at least in Yoruba interpretation, is a child whose mother does not know who impregnated her. In Seyi’s case, his mother swears by God’s name that Mackson is the father and she challenged him to submit himself for a blood test…at her own expense! So, I explained to Seyi that he is not a bastard at all. He has a father who is an absentee dad. I drew the distinction between a father and a dad for him. Every man who is biologically able to impregnate a woman may go ahead and become a father. But it takes a man, a real man, to be a dad.

It also takes a real man to look a wife directly in the eyes and say: I am sorry, honey. I know I should have told you years ago, but I was afraid you’d leave me. I got a lady pregnant in my university days (when I was also dating you and hordes of other ladies), and the child is now 23 years old. My heart aches every night I sleep in this plush house and this comfortable bed; when I look at our beautiful children in their nice little rooms, knowing that I have another child out there that may be sleeping on cold, hard floors; that may go without food because there is none; that may be missing school because his mother is unable to pay his fees; that may be avoiding social events for fear of people calling him a bastard; that may be depressed because he does not have his father; that may be sick and need help from me; that may just need his father to put his arm around his shoulders and say “I love you

, son.” Honey, I beg you in the name of God, to forgive the life of a lie that I have lived with you all these years and let me bring this child home.

Only a real man would rise up to such a difficult occasion. Of course, the wife would be disappointed; even dejected, or outright furious. But the storm would come to pass because common sense would eventually prevail on her. Would she castigate her husband for a sin he committed before he married her? Would she leave her husband and turn her three children into “fatherless” ones just because he brings home a child he’d had when he was naïve? Men, who are too afraid to stand up, hold their heads up and tell their wives that they have sinned and are sorry and need forgiveness are nothing but aprons or wash towels of their wives. They are men who either are very dirty and have done extremely dirty things in their lives, and their wives are the custodians of their dirty secrets, or they are simply spineless and toothless bulldogs who bully and bark at strangers, but who family members know their weaknesses.

I called Mackson and said to him: “Look man, you owe this kid a blood test, and you will give him one. You will give him one because you do not have the monopoly of power to decide his paternity. You will give him one because it is his inalienable right. If you are too destitute to pay for it (and I know you are not…heck, you are gearing up for Osun state gubernatorial elections in 2011), his mother said she would pay for it. If she can’t, I will pay for it.”

Mackson told me to back off. He told me it was none of my business. He told me that I was stepping onto a dangerous path and he would “deal” with me. I know he can deal with me. He has police escorts now, and remnants of Adedibu’s thugs from Molete, Ibadan, now form the core of his small army of guards. These were the same Molete boys that he and Baba Adedibu used to terrorize their political opponents, maiming many and killing some.

I then sent him a letter so he can have a record of my intent. I told him I would be in Nigeria in April. I told him that he had up till the middle of March to either give Seyi a blood test or accept him as his child, failing which I would take the boy on a round of television and newspaper organizations in Lagos and Ibadan to tell his story. I promised Mackson that I would buy a full page advertorial in at least one national newspaper, telling the boy’s story to Nigerians, especially the people of Osun State who might have to consider this rabble-rouser for Governor one day. And I am writing this piece, deliberately omitting his real name and the names of other parties in this sordid saga, so that he can have some time to make a decision, hopefully the brave and right decision. Otherwise, the next time I return to this issue, my entire readership will know about this chicken that laid an egg and then flee the coop.

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mojisola November 9, 2009 - 2:13 pm

I have read your story

A friend of my is in the same position .

Its very sad

Going back to your request

Do U know that you can search for Registered Doctors address on the websites .

Type his name on the Google search

Or Doctors Registration websites in the States

Wishing U best of Luck

Jack October 23, 2009 - 5:12 am

let us not forget the women who target men to get pregnant which are increasing in these times. You CANNOT force a man to be a father. Women want money and a child but they neglect to factor in what the child really needs until he gets into trouble and lets him get away with it because she is full of guilt…A father…

David Alimosho April 27, 2009 - 6:17 pm

A former Ghanaian president denied late movie star Suzzy Williams even after she died because he was 100% scared of his wife. Suzzy looks more like him than any of his kids. Only God knows how she really died because it is easy to pay off medics with claims and counter claims of cocaine at the death scene. Was it really a car crash? If Ladepo’s friend is really gunning for the 2011 elections then the unclaimed son should be careful and remain anonymous than die cheaply a la Suzzy Williams because wives hate step kids from the blue.

Biola James April 26, 2009 - 10:16 am

Mr. Ladepo, I have seen a lot in my life and I think we should learn from other people’s experiences. A London based woman claimed a boy she had in Nigeria years ago. He joined his mum in London but she did not know that the boy had being brainwashed by his father’s family. He felt that his mum should take back his useless father back but she was in another relationship and the boy killed his mum. The British authorities claimed that he was mentally ill. A lot of Nigerians wept for her.

Personally, I don’t think it is necessary to claim a 23 year old man by force. If the young man was doing well he would not be looking for his dad. Encourage him to seek higher education, forget his dad and get on with his life. What of a woman who tried to claim an eighteen year old fool in Nigeria by inviting him to the UK and he said he could only travel with his drug addict father? The man and his family treated the woman shabbily when she had the boy and the boy’s father refused to marry her. The woman was forced to abandon the foolish boy in Nigeria and face her life. She even sent money to the boy which the boy’s grandmother told the boy not to collect. Life is full of paradoxes… Ladepo, you have tried your best leave the rest. At times, such kids are used as a form of BLACKMAIL and nothing more. Ladepo, why did she wait until he was 23 to send to look for his dad? Pls. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS…

Bayo Oni February 16, 2009 - 5:46 pm

Bringing this matter up for public debate or consumption will worsen the already bad situation according to the story. The good intention of the writer will not materialise through this medium. If indeed Seyi’s father is Mr Ladepo’s friend, I think Mr Ladepo should have been more tactical and diplomatic in his approach by involving more mutual friends of Mackson and family members. Reading the story over and over again, it appears Mr Ladepo has an axe to grind with his friend and might be using the dark spot of Mackson to shoot his arrow. I am tempted to ask what is his interest in this matter? Could it be to thwart the political ambition of his friend? Where was Seyi and his mother since all these years and why now is Mr Ladepo showing interest. Having said these, I think Mackson should be honourable enough to tell his story and accept the child if indeed he is the father irrespective of what his wife will say. It will be interesting to hear from Mackson and if indeed Mr Ladepo is very much concerned, he could adopt Seyi on behalf of his friend.

Babatunde Oranlola February 14, 2009 - 6:10 am

I am referring my comment to Shemeta Jones. That is the former President, Obasanjo might have fathered children out of wedlock but He had never denied them!!! The issue of Seyi here is ” DENIAL”. If at all Obasanjo denied the said children but there is nobody to stand for them like Seyi’s case!!! I think we should try to help Seyi by all means to let him know He has a father. Seyi will definitely succeed owing to God.

Israel February 12, 2009 - 6:53 pm

I hope the writer reads my comment, I have a friend who is currently a fellow student at the Nigerian law schl, we both finished from Obafemi Awolowo University, he has exactly the same story, only that he is 27yrs the father graduated from Unilag, put his mother in the family way during the clinical studies and has since fled, my friend bears his surname, use to live with the father’s Aunty, but the man has never set his eyes on him, he refuse to acknowledge him. He now practices family preventive medicine in Fairburn Georgia Atlanta. The mother has only him and never remarried until 25 years after. We need to really take this people up by all means and make them at least acknowledge paternity, nobody really needs irresponsible men like them to take responsibilities, most of the children involved are doing well either as undergraduates or successful professionals but they have issues only the paternity test result can resolve. My e-mail add is, I need anybody from Georgia Atlanta, who knows some of the Nigerian Doctors there to help me find a way of getting in touch with this man. He is an indigene of Ondo, my friend his okay but I know he would love to get to the root of his paternity, everybody has been saying he is a carbon copy of the father but I really want this man compelled to take the test. it is the least I can do for my friend. The guy is a respectable young man, did well in Undergrad and with promising performance in the Nigerian Bar exam. Somebody pls help and pls if you could help, dont let the thought of this being a scam prevent you, I have credentials, pls trust a Nigerian for once, I will give you my name and number and refer you to the Nigerian law school website to check out my identity. A doctor, christian, Unilag medicine graduate of 1985, resident in Georgia Atlanta and may be from Ondo town in Nigeria will know this man. If you could help use my email, help the man he is losing a fine young man. We aint looking for green card. thanks

Shemeta Jones February 12, 2009 - 4:54 pm

There are so many Nigerian men who have fathered children out of wedlock. Why should this story be unique? Is it because it’s a politician that is involved. How about our former President Obasanjo that is known to have so many children out of wedlock. Is he being held accountable?

Kyauta February 11, 2009 - 8:44 pm

This is a very sad story but there is hope. Nobody knows what tomorrow holds for ‘Seyi, he might become more successful than the ‘children’ with silver spoons now. Remember Obama’s father abandoned him too. See where he is now. All ‘Seyi’ has to do to work hard and remain focused in the face of difficulties. Thank you Mr. Ladepo for taking up this laudable cause.


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