See me see wahala!
After the Covid wahala in the country last year, I mean the lockdown and the fact that we were prevented from moving around, I lost my job at a company I had worked at for more than 7 years.
I was an accountant; mid- level. I did not go to the university but I am a chartered accountant. The lack of university certificate is why my bosses did not promote me like the others…but anyway, because I had to take care of my wife and two children, I stayed on while I looked for other opportunities until Covid came and everything changed.
After the lockdown, our office stayed shut and we were told to stay home and would be called on a need-to basis. We weren’t paid salaries throughout the lockdown so if not that I was very prudent with my spend, we would have starved. Anyway, I was fully expecting that upon resumption, our office would start paying and I could continue to provide for my family at the same time ask around for openings in bigger offices.
Instead, I was fired four months after lockdown was lifted!
Now, my wife had a small kiosk on our street where she sold bread and eggs. She was supplied bread by different bakeries and eggs from a poultry farm. I told her to add a few more items to her trade, like Indomie, rice…you know, dry food that people can easily buy from her…throughout the Covid period, these food items she sold helped us through: so that’s how come, we ate everything in her kiosk…talk of eating up your capital!
My sister, how would we have survived?
Anyway, when I lost my job, I didn’t just sit around, I was looking for another place…only there were no companies employing post-Covid.
It was frustrating.
I would go out in the morning and come back at night, not because I enjoyed going out but if you stay in the same house with your wife, doing nothing, you will start fighting…so on many occasions to avoid fights, I just stayed away under the pretext of job hunting…it wasn’t that I wasn’t job hunting but it wasn’t every day I could afford to go out and spend the limited resources we had on trips that yielded nothing.
That was when a friend told me to come to Ibadan that there was a company that needed an accountant…I went and got the job; the pay wasn’t much but it was better than nothing.
I came back to tell my wife I would be relocating to Ibadan and that once I settled and got a better job, I would send for her and our two boys. Thankfully, I could stay with my friend at Ibadan and I found out I that rent is even cheaper than in Lagos, so I calculated that by the following year, my family would be able to move in with me…I would get a one bedroom or even two… you know, you plan your life based on your budget.
I hadn’t been in Ibadan for more than 3 months when she called one day to tell me she was pregnant.
I swear, I was very unhappy! How could she get pregnant when she knew we were still struggling? She was on a birth control plan, the quarterly injection. And whenever we ‘met’ I always asked her if she was safe…she always said she was.
So I wasn’t happy at all at the news of the pregnancy. I remember telling her out of anger that she would have to go find money to take care of the child because I wasn’t stable yet!
The thought of having another child weighed heavily and distabilized me for months that I just stopped talking to my wife…for sometime. I felt she was a selfish human being. Her own kiosk had been shut down, I hadn’t got money to give her to restart and now a baby? That was very careless!
I couldn’t get permission to come to Lagos to see my wife and kids…remember it was a new job…add money for travel and that travel money, added to what I sent to my wife monthly…mean they could eat better. So I didn’t travel.
After a while, I realised she had blocked me. I would call her line and it would be busy…even at night. I would WhatsApp her and it was always with one bar. I called a few family and friends to check on her for me…they told me her phone was working and she said I was the one who stopped calling her!
This was like maybe several months after the news of her pregnancy or thereabout…so during sallah holidays, I decided to travel to Lagos to see her and my children.
When I got to our house, it was locked! I asked our neighbours and they said my wife had moved out…remember I said she had blocked me. So I said, ha, maybe she went out or something because of course, she didn’t know I was coming to Lagos. I called someone I knew would know of her whereabouts…and that one told me I should check the hospital we used, she said someone had told her my wife had gone into labour.
I said, “labour, how? Is it time?” But I rushed to the hospital…indeed, she was there…I asked after her, they said, she was in the labour room. I said, “I should be there, I’m her husband!”
One of the nurses replied, “Husband to who? Her husband is with her!”
You know, I didn’t even process it, I said, “I am the husband to Ruka Omidiji, I need to be there for her!”
The same nurse said, “The husband is with her, who are you?”
Your mouth is open from surprise, abi ? That’s how mine was too.
After a few minutes, my wife was wheeled out of the labour room…with a baby in her arms…and a man I had never seen before…as the husband.
Ruka said, ” What are you doing here? You are not the father of my baby, this is the father.”
I was told I fainted.
When I came to, my wife told me since I said I wouldn’t take care of the baby, she called the baby’s real father.
“Real father!” What kind of nonsense is that?
So I am not the baby’s father? Before I could even do anything, the hospital people had called police…they arrested me for coming to see my wife in the labour room!
When I explained myself to the police, they said I should not disturb the peace at the hospital, that I should go and settle with the man…the one who is claiming to be the father of our baby!
So when did Ruka start sleeping with the so called father?
Where are my own children if this baby isn’t mine?
Why didn’t she tell me she was done with our marriage?
I was so upset…I went to her family house to report her…they already knew. They said they had disowned her.
But I want my wife back and that child…I want my family back!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)