“Daddy!” Eight years old Bolatito ran into his arms as he climbed up the stairs looking tired but smiling wildly. He drew her into his arms and kissed her on her head. “Daddy did you get the shoes? The black ones I told you about?” She asked but even as she asked, she could see he didn’t buy them. “Dad.” She said in a small voice weighed down with sorrow. And just like all african fathers when they know they have done something wrong, he went on the defensive and reacted with being offensive.
“You can’t even wait for me to enter the house properly.” He said as he gently pushed her to the side and readjusted his bag under his arm, resuming his walk into the house. She almost started crying. The march was the next day. Benita and the governor were going to be there. She had been practicing for months. They were going to form the name of their school ‘unique’ on the field. It was supposed to be glorious. Now, father- although had been promising her for days- didn’t buy her shoes.
Maybe he was just joking. She waited till he had finished his meal before asking again. “Daddy but I told you the Governor will be around for the parade. It’s not fair.” She said with tears in her eyes.
“Please leave me alone. I did not send you to that ridiculously expensive school to go and march.” He said. “Have you eaten?” He asked to soften the blow of his utterance. She was still devastated though. She had to go fish out an oversized pair of black shoes that had seen better days. She could never forget the day they marched because it was the best and worst day of her life. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu waved at them as they passed and soon Benita was engaging them in fun games. It felt like Christmas on November 11, 1996. They shared jollof rice and drinks and soon she was able to forget the shoes.
Few years later, her father handed her a deed to a vast land in Magodo. “Build your own school.” He said. She skimmed through it and jumped into his arms like the good ole days.
When she went to give the deed to her cousin who was also a property lawyer for counselling, she properly went through it and saw the date the land was bought.
Happy birthday, dad. A wonderful father; a reluctant disciplinarian; an interesting companion from whom I took the zeal to fabricate stories. A father to many. You will enjoy the fruit of your labor by God’s grace. The depth of love I have for you is bottomless. I know I’m your most stubborn child but I am also the most beautiful- screw you, Fae. Black is beautiful.
❤ from all your daughters!