Ten years of life without knowing his father has affected the emotional state of Isaac Oghenekewe, a primary four pupil of Best Brains Nursery and Primary School, Ede, Osun State.
It was learnt that Isaac usually burst into tears whenever his school friends basked in their fathers’ attention, especially on their birthdays. On some occasions, the friends reportedly teased him that his father was not responsible.
The school said the ridicule had taken its toll on his learning, adding that efforts to address his poor academic performance had been in vain.
Isaac, who lives with his mother and grandmother, told PUNCH Metro that he longed to see his father.
He said, “I don’t know my father; I want to see him. My friends in school ask me where my father is; I tell them he doesn’t live with us. They say my father has never come to pay my school fees or take me to school. They laugh at me, which makes me cry. I want to know my daddy.”
Our correspondent learnt that Isaac’s mother, Omolewa Ashiru, and the father, Lawrence Oghenekewe, a civil engineer, struck a relationship sometime in 2005 in Sango Ota, Ogun State. After a few months, he was said to have impregnated her.
It was gathered that following a futile attempt to get the pregnancy aborted, Ashiru relocated to Ibadan, Oyo State, where she gave birth to Isaac on October 13, 2006.
The grandmother, Adedoyin Ogunnowo, said Lawrence eventually came to Ibadan on the eighth day for Isaac’s naming ceremony, after which he left and had not returned for his child.
She said, “My daughter (Ashiru) went to work in Lagos in 2005 and stayed with her uncle. When I learnt that she was pregnant, I went to Lagos and she took me to Lawrence. He wanted her to abort the pregnancy, but a doctor that he took her to said it was risky. She was four months pregnant then.
“I brought her to Ibadan, where I was living then. Lawrence didn’t show up. It was during the naming that he came around and named the child Isaac. That was the last time he asked after his son. I called and begged him to come, but he said he was very busy at work. I stopped calling him three years ago.”
Ogunnowo, a food seller, explained that due to the meagre and unstable income of her daughter, she had been largely responsible for the upkeep of the boy.
She stated that Isaac’s quest to know his father increased by the day due to pressure from his peers, adding that his school management advised that he should be reunited with his father.
She said, “He complained that his friends laughed at him. I didn’t take it seriously until his class teacher met with me a few weeks ago and said the issue had affected his performance in school.
“Isaac was initially going to Federal Poly Staff School, Ede. He quit because we could no longer afford his school fees. In his present school, we pay his school fees in instalments.”
Isaac’s mother, 32-year-old Ashiru, lamented that Lawrence only promised to get back to her whenever she requested money for their son’s school fees.
“The burden is too much. I sell drinks and confectionery at event centres. The little money I make is not enough to take care of him,” she added.
Isaac’s class teacher, Oluseyi Olorode, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, confirmed that his poor academic performance was due to the mockery from his friends, adding that he had to inform the school authorities after his efforts to address the situation proved abortive.
He said, “Some time, when lessons are ongoing, he willl put his head on his desk and his eyes will be red. I also noticed that his performance in class has been getting worse. When I asked him what was wrong, he said he wanted to see his father.
“The grandmother and the mother were invited by the school management. They were advised to search for his father. That is a major factor affecting his performance. He has zeal to learn.”
However, Lawrence said he was also eager to see his son, but decided to stay away for spiritual reasons. He admitted that he had failed in his responsibility as a father and promised to meet with Isaac by July or August.
He said, “I am ready to take up the responsibility. His mother and I have been talking. My greatest surprise is that the grandmother is pushing it to this level. I have told the mother that with my little strength, I will see what I can do. I will take up my responsibility.
“Spiritually, I have my reasons for not talking to the grandmother. I don’t have any problem with the boy and his mother. But I thank God I have the heart of God; I have put everything behind me. When I saw his picture, I was dumbfounded because I have not seen him for a long time. I want to see him and by July or August, I will do that. But if they want the best for the boy, attacking the father is not the best option.
“I am not doing any salary work. I work in Port Harcourt as a contractor; it is the payment of a work that I did that is keeping me in Lagos.”