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Vanguard Newspaper 03 February 2018

34—Vanguard, SATURDAY,

34—Vanguard, SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2018 Yetunde Arebi Twitter: @yetundearebi 08054700825 last week’s publication, I received a call from Tolu, a dear Hi,After friend. She said she had a similar gist for me. It was unfolding right inside her compound and involved her landlady’s 14 year old daughter and one of the male tenants. The guy in his early 30’s had impregnated the little primary school girl and absconded. What was most baffling was that the guy is a medical doctor and had a girl friend that could have passed for a fiancée considering how often she visited the apartment. My friend said Ada should consider herself lucky that Sunny was nabbed in the act on time, before he could cause much damage to her family. Had Sunny impregnated Ndidi, Ada would not have been able to end the matter by simply sending the poor girl back to the village. They would have become sisters-in-law, married into the same family, she added jokingly. So, Tolu informed me that when Adedayo, the young girl in her compound turned up pregnant about two years ago, almost everyone in the compound refused to believe that Doc was responsible. Everyone called the little girl a wayward liar, insisting that the guy was a good, upright young man and promising doctor. Many in fact, hinged their argument on the fact that as a doctor, he could not have indulged in such an act knowing the full implications of what could happen. And others easily vouched for his sophisticated preference of female company and could therefore not stoop as low as to sleep with a 14 year old primary school girl. At the end, they were all proved wrong, she said. Akproko will not kee me o. I quickly asked if she could arrange for me to talk to the girl and she said yes. The girl comes to her flat often to relax with her daughter. She advised me to bring along something the girl could snack on and perhaps a little token as gift when leaving. I jumped at it. The girl I saw was a tiny, naive girl, now struggling with her identity .One minute a teenager and the next a caring mother. Adedayo couldn’t speak much English, so we spoke mainly in Yoruba. At the end of the day, I discovered that her case could have been handled better but for ignorance and lack of good counselling. I walked away with only one desire, if only I could set my eyes on doc, whose real name incidentally is also Dayo. All I wanted to know was why. Perhaps his answer could help me in figuring out why such men prey on young, hapless, naive girls, ruining their lives and destiny at the altar of a few moments of ecstasy. And while still pondering on this, I remembered those who cross all limits of decency and humanity, picking on infants, toddlers and young children. The devil must be really busy. When compared with Adedayo’s story, Ndidi must be very lucky to have been courted with biscuits, icecream, lipstick and nail polish. This poor girl got nothing but the emotional hype of sharing a name with her predator. I was filled with pity as I watched her little girl crawling around happily inmy friend’s living room, oblivious of her circumstance and what the future holds for her and her mother. This is Adedayo’s story: “I didn’t have a boyfriend. He was a tenant in our house. I live with my grandmother. (Her father is dead and her mother, remarried. She lives with her paternal grandmother). I can’t really tell how old he is, but I think he Guys, consider status in picking ladies! Nobody guessed in our house that anything like that happened between us, so they were really shocked when I told them he was responsible is quite old. Maybe between 32 or more. I’m not sure. Everyone calls him doctor but I called him brother Dayo because he said we have the same name and God had already planned that we should be friends. He was very nice to me. I visited him sometimes when he is at home to watch some video films or TV and sometimes when he sends me on errands. He had a girlfriend, Aunty Shade who used to visit him. They both worked at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Brother Dayo is a doctor, while aunty Shade is a Nurse. I don’t know where aunty Shade is now. He was not my boyfriend. We only “did it” once, I didn’t know just doing it once could lead to pregnancy. It was my first time and I was a virgin. He was really surprised when he knew too. I guessed he must have thought that I’d done it before. It was painful but he told me not to worry that the pains will go. I don’t know how long we spent in his flat, but it wasn’t a long time. He gave me some medicine to use. I don’t know what they were meant for and didn’t ask because he is a doctor. We never did it again after that. I don’t know why. He was not usually around. He would come home late in the night when it would be impossible for me to go out. In the morning, I can’t see him because I will be preparing to go to school. Nobody guessed in our house that anything like that happened between us, so they were really shocked when I told them he was responsible. Brother Dayo packed out of our house a few months after the incident for an unknown destination. He found a new flat closer to his place of work, he told me. But he did not tell me the place. In fact, there was more or less nothing left between us. Over the months, I didn’t feel anything. I knew my period had stopped coming, but I didn’t link it with pregnancy. I thought there must be some other reasons responsible for it. I was however having stomach pains and movements in my body. I did not change much. I am a small person by physique and I am told that the first pregnancy is not always so conspicuous in the early stages. It was about seven months before my grandmother knew. It was my older sister who told her that she suspected something was wrong with me. Then, that night, I think they called a meeting. My aunty and her daughter were summoned by my grandmother, along with my older sister, and I was interrogated. After some time, I told them the truth. They were surprised. They traced him to somewhere in Idi- Araba area. That was when my problems began. Initially, brother Dayo told them that he was not responsible. He denied having anything to do with me. He kept on shouting at us and practically walked us out. My sister suggested we call the police but my aunt and her daughter refused. They said it would only cause more trouble because his older sister was a family friend of theirs. He later confessed to his older sister that he did it to me once but said he was sure that he was not the owner of the pregnancy as he was not the only one. My family was very annoyed. After that, they started maltreating me. My aunty, whenever she came around would rain abuses on me about how I have disgraced them and worse still, how my baby will not have a father. I had to stop school immediately and was taken to live with a doctor friend of my aunty for the rest of the duration of the pregnancy. Their fear was that I was too tiny to carry a pregnancy and would probably not be able to have the baby on my own. At the end, they had to perform a Caesarean Section on me because they said I was not strong enough to have the baby on my own and that my birth canal was too small. After the child was born, things eased up a bit because there were no more doubts about the paternity of the child. It was a girl, but it looked so much like brother Dayo. When his mother and older sister came to see us at the hospital, they all confirmed that the baby was his. They wanted to take the baby from me after we left the hospital, but my family refused. They insisted that he should marry me which he also refused. Hospital expenses were borne by both families, although the bulk came from our side. Even up till today, my family bears most of the finances. Sometimes, I feel so sad that I can’t do anything for my baby by myself. If she is ill, I have to wait for my sister, or cousins who live nearby to buy something for her. Aunty (my friend) also buy things for her. Brother Dayo has now travelled to the USA. I was not informed when he was going. The family used to come once in a while to see us, but the tension is too much. So, they hardly ever come around any more these days. I would have preferred that they take the baby away, but my grandmother doesn’t want to hear anything like that”. I often wonder how some people manage to close their eyes and sleep at night. Brother Dayo is somewhere now, enjoying himself in other relationships. Perhaps married and telling some awful lies to some woman out there about himself. He must be thinking of going further with his studies. Hoping to fall in love, marry and raise good children he would feel proud to call his own. Yet, he has taken advantage of a poor, young girl and changed the course of her destiny for his selfish uncontrollable libido. It is most unlikely he will ever come back for either mother or child. But I am resolved to help her track him down. And soon too. Guys, please pick on ladies your own status. Do have a wonderful weekend!!

SATURDAY Vanguard, MARCH 3, 2018—35 I campaigned for Tinubu, Agbaje; now Atiku— Fatima Mohammed She is bold, brilliant and articulate; she is Hon Fatima Mohammed, apolitician, and entrepreneur. Starting her political foray in 1999 with Alliance for Democracy (AD) where she served actively in various assignments including as PRS in the then Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organization (BATCO, Hajia Fatima was also the arrowhead of Jimi Agbaje gubernatorial campaign in 2007. She was indeed the Initiator of the Jimi Agbaje Outreach (JAO). She was a front role stakeholder in the Presidential and Governorship elections of Nigeria in 2015, and her political sagacity and experience cuts across parties which give her an edge as a leader. Fatima is well respected amongst her political friends, followers and associates. Currently she is vying for the house of Representative Ifako Ijaye Federal constituency of Lagos state. Hajia Fatima is also the Director General of Atikunation independent campaign group. In this chat with Esther Onyegbula, she talks about her vision, passion for women empowerment, abducted Dapchi girls, and other issues. •Fatima Mohammed What are your plans towards girl child empowerment? Are you going to fight poverty alongside the girl child empowerment? If you know me and the precedence that I have, I don’t believe in fighting poverty, I believe in palliating. No individual can eradicate poverty, no government can eradicate poverty. Poverty can only be palliated and the effects cushioned so that people won’t feel it. That is why on International Women’s Day I will be empowering 300 women. Not only am I teaching them how to catch fish, I am working with a micro finance bank to provide them with soft loans without interest. They will be empowered in cluster. Fashion designers will get a specified amount, hair dressers, etc. The programme is for artisans. They would revolve the loan among themselves without interest. All the trade that we want them to learn they will get start up capital for as well. What are you doing in your capacity to encourage more women to get involved actively in politics? I have been mentoring women, I have been running sensitization campaigns and empowering women, but do not forget that Nigeria is a very special country. Women are culturally and religiously inhibited and these inhibitions are limiting factors. In 2019 we are going to have more women actively participating in politics. Considering the fact that a few women who have been in politics have been caught up in one scandal or the other, do you think women still have a chance? I will never support patriarchy or follow a man to bring down a woman. Be that as it may, when you cannot assert yourself as a woman you will fall prey into the hands of godfathers. If Patricia Etteh was very assertive nobody would have been able to push her hands and get her into trouble. What was your experience like in the last election in 2015? I actually ran for the House of Representatives two years ago, I won the ticket but they went to play games and they took away my name. That will not happen again because I am ready for them. At that time we were taken unawares, I just believe that since I have won in the presence of agents and INEC that they won’t take off my name, so I didn’t go the extra mile, but today, I have gone the extra mile. My team and I have sat down and restrategised and I am more prepared. They can’t take away my name. Do you still believe in the system, since it removed your name? It was not the system, it was some bad eggs in PDP then that took away my name, because they do not believe in winning, they just believe in embezzling funds of the party. We already have a candidate representing Ifako Ijaye constituency, how do you intend to defeat an incumbent? Before he won the elections, all their leaders in APC came to beg me, to please help him win, so I helped him on the condition that the electorate would feel the presence of government. Please ensure that I am an advocate of “not too young to run, not too old to rule”. With the kind of democracy that we have in Nigeria now the political situation is a school on its own government is doable and achievable. He wasn’t known and up till tomorrow he is not known; he has been there for two years yet there is nothing the people of Ifako Ijaye have to show for it, no single constituency project. Ifako Ijaye is the second largest local government area in Lagos. But the rate of poverty is disheartening. Poverty is walking on the streets of Ifako Ijaye. Ifako Ijaye will get a new lease. What is your party doing to sensitise the electorate on the need to have their permanent voter’s card? We have been sensitising our peoplewe have gone to different LCDAs, to share fliers and register to enable them have their PVC because that is the key in the upcoming election. That is the only insurance we have. We have educated them and will continue to educate them on how to monitor the elections, protect their votes. People are tried; we want to change the change. Why is it that women are always in the background and it is only during election time that we see them? This administration has not implemented the 35% affirmative action, but all these will change soon when Atiku becomes president. He would give women a voice, because he believes in girl child education and empowering the girl child, making women stand tall. He has a passion for uplifting the poor and changing their lives. He has 50,000 people who work for him. He can’t employ 180 million Nigerians but he can make our lives better by becoming the president. Don’t you think that most of these politicians are too old to be contesting for elective positions? I am an advocate of “not too young to run, not too old to rule”. With the kind of democracy that we have in Nigeria now the political situation is a school on its own. These politicians that people are saying are too old are the founding fathers, politics has been inculcated into them, and how to rule. Government is not what you just wake up and say, I want to run. Preparing for elections doesn’t come cheap. Whether we like it or not there is so Continues on pg 36