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Oluwabunmi Oke: You Wanna Keep Your Father’s Legacy Through His Name But Your Husband Isn’t Having It



dreamstime_m_11732224One beautiful Monday night I was watching Tinsel with my mother and on this particular episode ‘Brenda’ which is played by ‘Funlola Aofiyebi’ had a son with ‘Wale Ojo’ (I can’t remember his name on the show). Brenda decides to give the child her father’s surname, to continue her family legacy or so (I’m not really sure I don’t follow the show so often). The father of the child initially disagreed, because as an Edo man, he saw no justifiable reason for that. But then after a while for the sake of peace in their home, trying to find common ground, he suggested a compound name with his surname and hers. She refused; at this point I thought, ‘haha!? What kind of woman is this? She may be Ghanaian on the show, but she is also married to a Nigerian. Which man will accept this type of decision? To give your son your father in law’s surname.

I said out loud, ‘Na wa o, this woman is just funny’, – expecting some sort of support from my mother. She replied,‘What is wrong with it?’I said, ‘eh, you mean you see nothing wrong with it?’ My mother simply answered me in Yoruba asking if I was deaf and didn’t hear her explanation. By the time you start discussing in Yoruba with my mother, you know it’s time to shut up. The scenario playing out at home was a bit confusing to me at this point because I would normally be the one in support of such issues, but for some reason the tables were turned on this particular occasion.

I paused a little and reflected on the issue. It’s not like the man did not accept the paternity of the child. The man is very capable of catering for the needs of the child and at the same time very much alive. I think I have heard of a few instances where a child was given his maternal grandfather’s surname at birth; in such cases the father of the child would have denied paternity, or where the grandfather had no male child and one of the female children would have a child illegitimately on purpose to continue the family heritage. The second instance was merely hearsay.

I tried to analyse it in different ways but I still could not come to a logical conclusion. The best I could see was a compound name that will contain both surnames.

There are several factors to be considered: what of the paternal grandparents of the child? What about the other siblings this child would eventually have? Would they bear the same surname? The child in question would also need  some explanation as to why he did not bear his father’s surname.
Then I thought maybe I was not looking at the situation well enough, hence the reason for bringing the discussion here. What do you think? Am I over thinking it?

Photo Credit: Frenk And Danielle Kaufmann |


  1. lady

    August 8, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    She refused; at this point I thought, ‘haha!? What kind of woman is this? She may be Ghanaian on the show, but she is also married to a Nigerian. …..—> that statement, not relevant. Kids in ghana get their father’s name. If it happens that the child has a compound name, it’s like father+grandfather name together. Very rare that the compound name includes that of the mother’s.
    I wish to do so one day, if my husband agrees. As I’m the only child and a girl 🙁

    • le coco

      August 8, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      I also didn’t see the relevance of that statement…

  2. Bodunade

    August 8, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Heat is hot, water is wet, air is light.

  3. Wale

    August 8, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Brenda’s justification holds no water has she (her character in tinsel) is always possessive, she wanted to keep her brother’s legacy (Kwame) at the expense of her name! If my wife justification is reasonable, I would not bulge! (Though it would be discreet as many people will never understand even my family)

  4. Someonecute

    August 8, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Yes you are overthinking it. Let everybody do whatever they like, it’s their family. Most ladies that give birth with the man not accepting, tend to give the child the mom’s surname. And if you’re married too, no one really cares what full names your kids bear as long as you both agree to it.

    • Ayoka

      August 8, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      Yeah but in this case BOTH are not agreeing to it

  5. Oma

    August 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Who family legacy epp?

  6. Importer

    August 8, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    That story from Tinsel is a very nice one, thanks to BellaNaija for sharing with us…

  7. Gigi Health

    August 8, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    No need to over think this issue.

  8. tunmi

    August 8, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    I really hoped you would’ve asked your mom for more info. I wanted to hear her reasoning. There’s nothing new under the son. You’d be surprised to know of our elders’ take on names, whether it’s taking on a spouse’s surname or which surname the child gets.

  9. ThatAwkaGirl

    August 9, 2016 at 12:32 am

    I know of a story… The parents had 2 daughters & had no male child. The parents had told both prospective sons-in-law that both daughter will have to have a child (male) before wedlock. I seriously do not how it happened but both guys agreed. Each daughter got pregnant and they both had sons, who now answer their maternal grandfather’s name. Both women went ahead to marry their husbands & had kids for them, who bear their own fathers’ names.

    So technically, the first child of each man isn’t really their child but their father in laws child.


    • BM

      August 10, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      @ThatAwkaGirl: really cray and controlling. why should you force feed others with your fantasies. If they didn’t have sons and they wanted sons so badly they could have adopted. I wouldn’t accept having my kid to fulfil anyone’s obnoxious desires o. What’s with legacy? Name a street after your parents of you’re the only daughter. Do something remarkable. If as a woman you want your kids to bear your father’s name , be sure you wont become the witch mum-in-law if your future daughter-in-law demands such favour or other similar favours from your son.

      If you want your kids to bear your father’s name, by all means, marry into a very liberal family or else you might be tagged something else and you and your hubby might not enjoy the unnecessary complications that comes with living for those who have already lived their own lives.

  10. BM

    August 10, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    *crazy* sorry for the typos

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