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Ada Obiako: But I Have a Father

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dreamstime_m_11502449I turned 30 recently and as usual I did a mini life review to assess the choices I have made in my life plus any significant aspects of my existence that I might have missed or overlooked. This time, I found myself pondering what effect having the presence of my dad in my life has had on my being, my spirit, and my choices.

As far as I can remember, my dad has always been there. Growing up, normal for me was waking up each morning and seeing my dad before he went to work or I went to school and seeing my dad come home at night from work before I went to bed. On the weekends, we ate, talked, laughed, and watched television as a family. He was always there. A woman’s first sense of value and empowerment typically comes from the relationship with her father or the paternal figure in her life. For me, it came from my father.

My father was always physically present in our home and life – I felt I was worth his time.

My father put me through school and pushed me to take education seriously – I felt I was worth his money and had potential he was happy to invest in.

My father answers my phone calls and gives me sage advice when I have life questions or frustrations – I feel I am worth his listening ear, his energy, and his wisdom.

And because of this attention, energy, focus, love, and faith in me that he has shown all my life, there is a significant level of value I equate with myself. I am not a perfect being. There are times when I struggled with purposelessness, finanacial droughts, lack of confidence, and contemplated questionable options.

There are times when I was broke and scared I wouldn’t meet my financial obligations. I could have gone the sugar daddy route. I could have decided to exchange sexual favors in return for financial ones – the opportunities were there and I am not better than anyone else who has or is doing this. However, only one thought stopped me:

“…but I have a father”.

There have been times in college or at previous workplaces where I knew I could have gotten a higher grade, raise, or promotion simply by offering my body or opening up my legs to a teacher or supervisor. It happens everyday. However, only one thought stopped me:

“…but I have a father”.

There have been times when peers have insulted, mocked, or tried to undervalue me (out of jealousy or malicious intent or sheer underestimation) and I could have believed myself to be worthless and insignificant. However, only one thought stopped me from that:

“…but I have a father”.

The list goes on. I don’t say all this to boast or to make anyone who didn’t grow up with a father present feel less than. I say it all because in this day and age of feminism, with the “women rule the world” and “anything a man can do, a woman can do better” mantras, I find it would be unfair of me not to admit the importance of a father in a growing girl’s life or make mention of the man in my life that has paved the way for me to be where I am today and to be who I am. He’s not a magician and he can’t make all my cares or concerns disappear, but he always gives me a sense of self-worth that reignites my faith within.

I don’t always make the right choice but I can confidently say that most, if not all, choices I have made are because Adaeze wanted to make them and not because it would make Tom, Dick, Jane, or Susan accept, value, or love me more. It would have been the opposite,

“…but I have a father”.

Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com

Adaeze Diana is a freelance writer, copy-editor, speaker, and vision coach who helps young Christian women feeling depressed/hopeless discover who they are and why they exist so that they can learn how to enjoy more fulfilling and fruitful lives. She blogs about the spiritual lessons she's learned at www.deserveyourgreatlife.com. You can follow Adaeze on Twitter and Google+.

36 Comments

  1. john

    October 23, 2016 at 10:58 am

    one of the best atticles I have read here..brought to tear, there is nothing to add or remove. .just perfect

  2. john

    October 23, 2016 at 11:04 am

    even though I have a feeling, feminists won’t like this

    • Nana

      October 23, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      You are wrong. Your feelings are wrong. I am a feminist to the core, and on the contrary, it’s partly because of my dad. Other half, my mum.

      Here’s a little synopsis of my father: He grew up in a very conservative, (a little bigoted) muslim family. A child of one of three wives, his mother was more patronising than supporting. She showed my mum hell in their early years of marriage (they were living at his family house) and my dad reflected same. Even though my mum was working in the beginning, he made her quit to take care of us kids. The same man turned around to treat her like trash because the financial burden became his alone to bear.

      You see thew thing is, my mum is the definition of submission, or she was until new friends of my dad, family members and other acquaintances started making snide remarks and asking why/if my mum was the maid {i.e she was looking like a malnourished maid). He converted to christianity, nothing changed. Might i throw it in that he even became worse!

      A couple of decades later after a series of unfortunate events mixed with a high dose of physical violence, mama gathered some sense, found a skill and started trading. She made enough to start looking good again. She found her voice, she fought back. Somewhere down the line, he’s a different man now. The mindset i was raised with is a reflection of what they’ve both become…….Have your own, get your own. Nothing comes easy, invest! Never borrow, save always. Respect everyone, from the guards, to the maids, to the secretary in your office, to your favourite boli seller. Whereas my mum is still a “you can’t live alone unless you will scare men away” or marry before “30” kinda woman (i.e still very submissive/dependent), the man my dad has become will tell you to acquire it all and DAMN the world.

      The physical violence has stopped for some years now. They understand and complement each other. What i am saying is, in todays definition, my father has become more of a feminist than i am sef. He never thought me or my sisters/brothers to hate any gender, tribe or class.

      In his own words, “No-one is better than you, and you are better than no-one. Events, circumstances, and opportunities account for the difference. Don’t be greedy, work hard and aim higher, and most importantly BE CONTENT!”

      I watched my mom grow into a woman who sees the worth in her own self. I watched my dad grow into a man that worthy of a woman’s love. Don’t get it twisted though, they are still as flawed as flawed can be, perfect in their own imperfections. Both are still a work in progress.

      In-beween all of this, i was raised to be a woman who can stand on her own two feet with/without the presence of another, demand for my right and never play second fiddle, be it at home, school, work, or social gatherings.

      I am FEMINIST and I love my father, i love my big headed brothers and male cousins, i love my bobo (**wink**) and every-other man/woman i care about enough to love. Every-other persons, i respect then, until they prove unworthy.

  3. Wanderlust _Trekeffect?

    October 23, 2016 at 11:12 am

    This came just after I spoke with my dad?, I mean who else calls me before 6am? lol…. i enjoyed this article. Albeit towards the end it came across as a counter response to the feminist agenda, which wasn’t really necessary.
    A large number of self acclaimed feminists are simply men haters who have probably been hurt one too many times.
    However Feminism doesn’t undermine the importance of a man in the home, in fact it does the opposite. In a world where women often take on the sole responsibility of raising the children and spending time with them because Daddy has to work or do other things (despite the fact that women also work) it creates a popular mantra that states that it is the woman’s responsibility to know how to juggle work and family, with family at the foremost while the man only has to work and provide.
    This imbalance has created a generation of emotionally handicapped men or men who are incapable of bonding with their children. Now imagine if responsibilities were shared in the home including the responsibility of spending quality time and taking care of the kids, this enables the children to foster great relationship with both parents rather than seeing the father as simply an authority figure.
    Although the influence the father makes in a child is not dependent on whether or not the mother is a feminist, I believe that the ideas that Feminism strive for ensures that the father is as present as the mother in the home front.

  4. hadiza

    October 23, 2016 at 11:35 am

    I have a father too. A disgusting pig that I despise. All he does is yell and pour insult on me when I stayed with him. I rather be raised without a father, than have a disgusting beast like him as one.

    • Tracy

      October 23, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      Eyahhhhhh! Now, I understand! You just revealed the root cause of your issues. Chai! How sad! You have daddy issues and you’ve now decided to take it out on ALL NIGERIAN MEN.Girl go see therapist ASAP. I know your type. So quiet and cowardly in real life. I would no longer be angry when I see your comments. Its the only means of escape for you. Real Nigerian most have the same issues too. Her’s is probably worse. Most likely incest rape by her own father. Im sorry for what you ladies have been through. I however want to make something clear, YOUR FATHERS ARE BEASTS not NIGERIAN MEN. Your mothers are simpletons/imbeciles too for not protecting their children from their BEAST partners(your fathers)

    • Daybreak

      October 23, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      I now ubderstand your anger and bitterness

    • Mrs Mims

      October 23, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      No wonder you have men. Pele o

  5. Mohammad

    October 23, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Thank you for the very interesting read. It is timely, because it notes the importance of a father’s presence in the lives of their children.

    One thing that needs to be noted, however, is that feminism is not about diminishing this role that fathers play in the lives of their children. In fact it seeks to make it more visible by holding fathers to greater account for raising their children!

    You need to realise that feminism is concerned with rejecting baseless, stereotypical roles for genders simply because that is the way things have always worked. And as a consequence, both parents gain respect in the eyes of children for the roles that they play in their lives.

    Feminism is also about securing the ability of daughters to know that they are not restricted in their ability to achieve in any field of their interest, and not making girls feel less than (or even more than-, in terms of responsibility) boys in the household.

    From this angle, I agree that you should be thankful for your father’s involvement in your life, but your assumption that feminism seeks to invalidate that is wrong and quite the opposite to the reality.

    Sometimes, we need to avoid our knee-jerk reactions to any challenge to the status quo. We should try to understand things fully before openly criticising them.

    • Rahama

      October 23, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      Thank you Mohammed for your comment.

    • Mrs chidukane

      October 23, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Yes Mohammed. Great comment.

    • mgtss.blogspot.com

      October 23, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Very well said Mohammad, very well said.
      Great article, but the seeming diss at feminism was totally unecessary

  6. Naijatalk

    October 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I have a Father, and I have a father. Both are the reason my life is the way it is today. I am forever grateful to my Father for giving me my father. I love them so much

  7. Anon

    October 23, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Bella if you like eat my comment.

  8. hadiza

    October 23, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    BN, post my comment.

  9. molarah

    October 23, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    True talk. Rather than coming across as a boast (as I sense some might perceive this), I really hope men that read this see this as a challenge to be the best fathers to their daughters, and women see this as a challenge to ensure their choice of husbands are well-equipped to be real fathers to their future daughters. Nice message for all.

    • Xoxo

      October 23, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Not just their daughters. They should be good fathers to their sons too. More and more these days I see heartbreaking hatred between some fathers and their sons. All for what?

  10. Nana

    October 23, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Here’s a little synopsis of my father: He grew up in a very conservative, (a little bigoted) muslim family. A child of one of three wives, his mother was more patronising than supporting. She showed my mum hell in their early years of marriage (they were living at his family house) and my dad reflected same. Even though my mum was working in the beginning, he made her quit to take care of us kids. The same man turned around to treat her like trash because the financial burden became his alone to bear.

    You see thew thing is, my mum is the definition of submission, or she was until new friends of my dad, family members and other acquaintances started making snide remarks and asking why/if my mum was the maid {i.e she was looking like a malnourished maid). He converted to christianity, nothing changed. Might i throw it in that he even became worse!

    A couple of decades later after a series of unfortunate events mixed with a high dose of physical violence, mama gathered some sense, found a skill and started trading. She made enough to start looking good again. She found her voice, she fought back. Somewhere down the line, he’s a different man now. The mindset i was raised with is a reflection of what they’ve both become…….Have your own, get your own. Nothing comes easy, invest! Never borrow, save always. Respect everyone, from the guards, to the maids, to the secretary in your office, to your favourite boli seller. Whereas my mum is still a “you can’t live alone unless you will scare men away” or marry before “30” kinda woman (i.e still very submissive/dependent), the man my dad has become will tell you to acquire it all and DAMN the world.

    The physical violence has stopped for some years now. They understand and complement each other. What i am saying is, in todays definition, my father has become more of a feminist than i am sef. He never thought me or my sisters/brothers to hate any gender, tribe or class.

    In his own words, “No-one is better than you, and you are better than no-one. Events, circumstances, and opportunities account for the difference. Don’t be greedy, work hard and aim higher, and most importantly BE CONTENT!”

    I watched my mom grow into a woman who sees the worth in her own self. I watched my dad grow into a man that worthy of a woman’s love. Don’t get it twisted though, they are still as flawed as flawed can be, perfect in their own imperfections. Both are still a work in progress.

    In-beween all of this, i was raised to be a woman who can stand on her own two feet with/without the presence of another, demand for my right and never play second fiddle, be it at home, school, work, or social gatherings.

    I am FEMINIST and I love my father, i love my big headed brothers and male cousins, i love my bobo (**wink**) and every-other man/woman i care about enough to love. Every-other persons, i respect then, until they prove unworthy.

  11. Kingsley okorie

    October 23, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Adaeze,

    Keep shining dear. You are not just rare but special . Everyone could tell.

  12. A Real Nigerian

    October 23, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Another clueless, confused Nigerian woman living in mental bondage and unable to grasp what feminism is about.
    How sad to see a young, impressionable woman brainwashed by the patriarchy.
    Horrible, shallow article.

    • You sad, poor wretch

      October 23, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Eeya. I’m beginning to feel sorry for you. Every one please say a prayer for this sad, tortured being. It WILL be alright.

  13. Gem

    October 23, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    I’m beginning to feel it’s a lot of work staying sane online when you are a feminist. LOL

    Dear Writer,
    Please re-read what you wrote and proffer us; ‘badge-wearing feminists’, a reason why you had to liken feminism to some movement that undervalues fathers.
    I’ll be waiting for a sequel to this post but while you are on it, learn a few good things about feminism and at least, be an intelligent anti-feminist.
    Cheers.

    • Celeste

      October 23, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      Thank you for this comment. Linking feminism to her article is so unintelligent.

      Pray tell, how does feminism undermine fathers and their importance? If anything, it is father that raise their daughters to know their true worth – which is what feminism entails. Feminism doesn’t undermine the importance of fathers, nor does it mothers

  14. nana

    October 23, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    BN Post my comment oh!

  15. Gem

    October 23, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I’m beginning to think it’s hard work staying sane online when you are a feminist. LOL

    Dear writer,
    Can you please proffer us the reasons you felt the need to liken feminism to some shitty ass movement that under appreciates fatherhood? or the man-hating movement which seeks to undervalue the importance of fathers(in this case, your so beloved father)?….
    I’ll be waiting for a detailed sequel to this post highlighting whatever feminism has to do with ‘appreciating our fathers’ or nah….but while you are on it, learn a few good things about feminism…and at least, be a brilliant anti-feminist.
    Cheers.

  16. Cath

    October 23, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    So what would have happened had it been you had no earthly father? How could you have put your trust so much in a mortal being?

  17. Datgirl

    October 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    @ Mohammed I could give you a thousand likes. Thank you

  18. Nem

    October 23, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Dare I say that your father is this wonderful parent and foundation you remember because he is a feminist. Please read and understand the meaning of feminism, and live it for yourself not what others try to twist it to mean.

  19. Sisi

    October 23, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    This is lovely, however the character traits you reference can be found in the case of many people who don’t have a constant, consistent father figure in their life growing up. The way you present this is as though the presence of a father automatically results in what you describe which is inaccurate. Kudos to your father!

  20. aurora

    October 23, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    lovely article. i thoroughly enjoyed it until ‘I say it all because in this day and age of feminism, with the “women rule the world” and “anything a man can do, a woman can do better” mantras’… the concept of feminism is designed to make men better fathers and better partners. so really, its a win win to be honest.
    feminism has nothing to do with your loving your father Adaeze, so as they say on twitter, post your article and go…

  21. tunmi

    October 24, 2016 at 2:29 am

    Madam…. Your father is a feminist

    • john

      October 24, 2016 at 10:24 am

      @tumni her father is simply a good man filled with natural love for her daughter ..he is not a feminist. .feminism is an idealogy filled with hate no matter how u take cover it ..it is a trojan horse filled inside with hatred and distruction and confusion

    • tunmi

      October 26, 2016 at 2:28 am

      Get out.

  22. Ada Nnewi

    October 24, 2016 at 4:37 am

    This is exactly how my dad makes me feel… he’s amazing.. finally someone put how i feelike into words..

  23. mia

    October 24, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Ada, contrary to your opinion, feminists do not think the place of men in the home or the upbringing of a child should be discarded, infact, feminists challenge men to rise up to their duties a s fathers and not be mere sperm donors as most men have turned out these days.

    Feminism believe that children learn from the truth they have lived in their homes and if the father treats the mother right, honours and respects her, does not cheat on her and he generally acknowledges the place of his family in his life, his sons are more likely to be that can of man and his daughters are more likely to reject men who represent the opposite of their father.

    Feminism teaches ladies to choose the best men because they are more deliberate in their relationships and they know the effect a dysfunctional man can have on them and on their offspring.

    I have a father who up till now seeks my opinion on issues, respects my mother(even though they argue), help out with the house chores, puts her into consideration before taking any decision and as a result of this, at a young age, i’ve always reiterated that I CANNOT MARRY A TRADITIONAL MAN, who sees women as inferior or whose word is law. I hope you see the connection between a good father and feminism now.

  24. John

    October 24, 2016 at 10:36 am

    @tumni her father is simply a good man filled with natural love for her daughter ..he is not a feminist. .feminism is an idealogy filled with hate no matter how u take cover it ..it is a trojan horse filled inside with hatred and distruction and confusion.

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