On a day like this, I will not forget the man that sowed the seed that gave life to me. My father.
My father is a great man and an embodiment of fatherhood. He populated our house with all manner of books and encyclopedia for our enlightenment. During my childhood, the most electronic gadget my father could afford our home was a battery radio. But because he knows the value of education, he not only allowed the radio to be a source of entertainment to me, but he also ensured that it was an educating tool to me by making me listen alongside with him to enlightening stations like the Voice of America. His job as a career teacher first started at home. He was a good teacher.
I still remember my first beer. He took me to a bar and got me a bottle of beer and some pepper soup. I will never forget that day. I felt like a man.
I am a soccer freak and played competitive soccer. He came to almost every soccer game I participated in. To watch me play. It was unbeknownst to me. Until I spotted him one day. And on that day I wasn’t playing at the level I was used to. But spotting him from where he was hiding among the spectators got me reinvigorated and I gave one of my best performances in soccer competition to date. I couldn’t be prouder of him.
At nights upon coming home from school, I used to read anything that is printed. I remember the first word he gave me the correct pronunciation and meaning to – mere. When I first encountered the word in the book I was reading, I got the pronunciation wrong and was wild about the meaning. I waited until he got home and I have to ask him. Just like every good father, he helped me out in my study life.
He is a disciplinarian but was not someone given to constant chastising. The moments you expect him to whoop your ass for a fuck-up that deserves serious ass whooping, he will disappoint you. He will sit you down and he will talk to you. The guilt you will feel after his admonition will not only make you repent of your sins, but will discourage you from doing such bad things again.
Discipline is never sweet. Even the Bible said it. But the good thing about it is that the person disciplining the disciplined knows better and has the best intentions for the disciplined because he knows that discipline is the ONLY way to produce character in the disciplined. And if the disciplined can walk through the process, he or she will eventually see the gains. And that was the case with me.
Our house in the village where I grew up is near a soccer field. And as a soccer freak, every time I hear the bounce of soccer ball in the field, my desire was always to run out and go play the game with my contemporaries. Sometimes my father will allow me to go, some other times he will call me back and tell me not to go. Don’t move an inch! That was the code red. Hearing that phrase those days always got me pissed. From six years elementary through six years high school living in the village with my parents. And on those occasions, I liked him less. But one day while I was in college, I was reflecting on my relationship with my father and the heavens opened onto me with illumination. And I fell in love with him. He loved me all through those days and out of the immense love he has for me was both protecting and preparing character in me through discipline. I cherished him for that and he have become one of my best friends since then.
I am a father of four boys and just like my father loved me and gave my life a direction, I love these boys too. I am doing better than my father did because he laid a solid fatherhood foundation for me to be better than he is and to exceed him in all ways. That’s what fathers do.
I thank the utmost Father which is in heaven for keeping my earthly father alive through these years. He will be turning 79 next month. I also thank the Good LORD for making me a proud and grateful father. While my heart is filled with thankfulness, I I want to remember my friends who have lost their fathers and those whose life was cut short that they couldn’t even attain to this great and beautiful feat.
I remember Nnaemeka Onyewuchi Ofoji, my brother from another mother who have lost both parents. I remember also Obioma Christopher Oforji, my childhood friend who also lost both parents long time ago.
I also want to remember other friends such as Chidiebere Osisioma, Chigozie Ekulide, and Chijioke Oriuwa who have lost their fathers.
I want to remember Chikelue Uwafili and Ebitari Tekenah, two young men who I attended graduate school at the University of Manchester with. We are the class of 2008. Both were my friends and housemates for almost a year after our graduation. Their lives were cut short by untimely death before either could have the chance of getting married. Very unfortunate.
Last but not the least, I want to pray for every man of age who is married or desirous to be a father but whose noble desires are yet to come through. Please hang in there. The Good LORD after creating us commanded us to go into the world to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. That means that fruitfulness –bearing children – is not only what God expects of us but what He demands of us. Therefore, He will make a way for y’all. The same God that brought me to this great nation against all odds, after so many tries, He will do it for you. Believe me. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry…
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers and would-be fathers out there. Happy Father’s Day to my brothers Chisomaga and Chigozirim Ezeocha. But above all, happy Father’s Day to my father, Chief Benaiah Chikwem Ezeocha. The reasons increase each day. Above all, he is my father…