Pius Adesanmi, Goodnight My Friend..!

By Adeola Aderounmu

In 2010, 9 years ago Pius wrote to me never to give up writing.

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PROFESSOR PIUS ADESANMI, His last post on the social media.

 

So l am going to do just that. l will continue to write especially about Nigeria.

Pius left this world very untimely along with all the other flyers on that ill-fated Ethiopian Airline flight from Addis Ababa that crashed 6 minutes after take off whilst on the way to Nairobi.

It was a very unfortunate incident that will cost Africa several years to recover from. Many people on that flight were giants in their respective fields and you just need to look at the list to appreciate and understand the magnitude of the global loss. Children were on the flight too and it was a very sad day for the world.

l lost my friend Pius. Pius Adesanmi’s profile is too big to be encapsulated on my tiny blog and so l beg you to do an internet search to find out about him.

He was the director of studies at the Institute of Africa Studies, Carleton University in Canada.

Pius was an award winning author, a writer, a columnist and a rare gem in all ramifications.

He wrote to me first about 10 years ago encouraging me to keep writing and telling me that my content were powerful and impactful. At that time, the name Pius Adesanmi did not mean anything to me. But gradually, with time l began to realise how BIG and IMPORTANT Pius was in the academic world and the impact of his message sank in.

We chatted a few times and he even wanted to meet up when he came to Denmark at some point. But poor me, l was at the countryside and didn’t bother about my mails at that time. We missed each other and never met.

I was in Nigeria in 2018 at about the same time as he was. But when l travelled back to Sweden, he was in Nigeria and l got to know about it because he had an accident that was in the news. It was a fatal accident but he survived.

8 months later, and this!

We have lost a true son of Africa. The world had lost a global citizen. Please find time to read more about Pius, he was a jolly good fellow and l will misss him for as long as l live. I will miss our sincere chats and common views about creating a Nigeria devoid of mediocrity, corruption, intellectual laziness and ineptitude.

He wrote to me: DON’T GIVE UP!

I will never give up.

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

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Ingen kärlek förlorad

Respekt är en underbar egenskap men det är inte kärlek. Beundran är inte heller kärlek.

Vi behöver alla någon eller flera personer som älskar oss

Ingen kärlek förlorad

Av Adeola Aderounmu

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Lucy lever i Zambezi, fram tills nu i alla fall. Det är här hon tillbringat hela sitt liv. Hon föddes här och det var här hon blomstrade. Hon är en mycket vacker kvinna. När folk talade om henne sa de, att kanske är hon en gudinna.

Det fanns en konstnär i staden och han var övertygad om att gudarna tog sig tid att forma henne. Han sa att Lucy skapades till fulländning.

Ända sen hon var en liten flicka har det alltid funnits en beundran för hennes skönhet och hennes personlighet. Folk håller oftast med Lucy. Nästan alla hon mött i sin omgivning respekterade henne.

När hon lämnade sitt hem för City College i Mongu visste hon redan att respekt och beundran inte är ersättning för kärlek.

Vi behöver alla någon eller flera personer som älskar oss. Så när Lucy lämnade college började ensamheten i hennes liv yttra sig.

Alltjämt fortsatte hon att kämpa vidare, med den beundran och respekt som andra människor hade gentemot henne. När hon är ensam, frågar hon ofta sig själv ”vem ska tillfredsställa min själ”?

Respekt är en underbar egenskap men det är inte kärlek. Beundran är inte heller kärlek. Det var inte svårt att finna ett jobb när hon tog sin examen från Zambezi Universitet.

Hon var en lysande kvinna och med hennes typ av skönhet stod alla dörrar öppna. Men trots det, när det handlade om kärlek och att tillfredsställa sin själ verkade hon vilsen. Ingen visste om detta utom hon själv. Hon visste att hon inte var perfekt som konstnären antytt.

En dag väntade hon vid busstationen. Plötsligt skiftade himlen till molnigt och det började regna kraftigt. Inga bussar kom på grund av regnovädret. Lucy började gråta. Hon grät inte för att det regnade eller att ingen buss kom, hon grät för att ovädret liknade ett porträtt av hennes liv. Hennes liv var också molnigt. Hon var ensam på busstationen och det fick henne att gråta ännu mer. Det var inte första gången Lucy grät.

Hon hade läst många noveller och kände till våndorna hos många karaktärer i tragisk litteratur men även i en del romantiska böcker. En gång läste hon en bok där det fastställdes att personer som begått självmord ofta var de som vägrat gråta, eftersom de förnekar sina känslor och sin smärta.

När människor gråter känner de sig stärkta och det inger ofta hopp om att kunna fortsätta. Hon lärde sig gråta när hon var ledsen eftersom att tårarna sköljer bort sorgerna.

Lucy var så bortsvept i sina tankar att hon nästan inte la märke till bilen som parkerat precis framför henne vid stationen. Någon hade stannat för att hjälpa henne.

Mannen visste inte att Lucy gråtit. Han trodde det var regndroppar på hennes ansikte. Men han kände igen Lucy och därför stannade han för att hjälpa henne.

Tack Paul, du är snäll, sa hon. Det var ingenting, svarade han.

Paul tittade närmre på Lucy nu när han kunde se henne tydligt i bilen. Utanför hade regnet gjort det nästan omöjligt att se hennes ansikte.

Är du okej? frågade han. Lucy började gråta igen. Paul gav henne en näsduk och hon torkade sina tårar. Han var chockad. Fram till det ögonblicket var han en av dem som trott att Lucy kunde få allt hon önskade sig i livet.

De pratade en stund och även om Lucy inte talade om tomheten i sitt liv, visste han från den korta konversationen de haft att vakuumet i hennes liv var enormt. Paul tänkte nästan högt. Så en människa kan vara vacker, ha ett bra jobb, vara beundrad och respekterad men ändå vara ledsen.

Förvisso ignorerar många personer rollen av materiell skönhet och kläder för att täcka mörkret och tomheten inuti den mänskliga kroppen, tänkte han.

I Zambezi finns en man som inte kan avsluta sina uttryckssätt utan att använda ett ordspråk. Paul tänkte på denna mans många ordspråk, ödlor ligger alltid på sina magar, så vi inte vet vilken av dem som har magproblem.

Han gav Lucy en kram och deras vägar skildes åt.

Under månaderna som följde började Paul besöka Lucy.

De uppträdde som om de inte var attraherade av varandra. Paul var den stora skådespelaren här. Han tyckte att män bör dölja sina känslor eftersom han ansåg att det vara ett tecken på styrka. Lucy var mest glad att hitta ett sätt att gå vidare i sitt liv, i en positiv riktning. Paul hade visserligen redan en kvinna i sitt liv när de möttes. Hennes namn var Stella.  Men hur som helst mådde Lucy bättre i hans närvaro.

De talade om många saker, en del minnen från sin uppväxt och om att nu arbeta in den kommersiella staden, där den fjärde största floden i Afrika har sitt ursprung.

Lucy träffade också nya vänner genom Paul. Dessa afterwork och helgsällskap hjälpte Lucy att glömma en del av sina problem. Det fyllde vissa luckor i hennes liv. Flera av de personer som beundrade henne var inte längre på avstånd.

När hon mindes hur en oväntad regnskur främjat hennes möte med Paul, värnade hon om det ögonblicket. Hon bestämde sig för att köpa en bil, så hon inte skulle vara i behov av någons barmhärtighet en annan regnig dag. Hon kunde redan köra. Lucy blev lycklig. Hon kände att hon kommit ut ur sitt skal.

Det var definitivt ett steg i rätt riktning när andra personer inte längre bara beundrade henne, utan också visade henne kärlek genom att ha konversationer och göra saker tillsammans. En del personer hon talade med berättade om sina resor och äventyr.

Lucy blev inspirerad och bestämde att även hon skulle resa. Hon hade alltid haft möjligheter att resa men aldrig tagit dem. Nu när hon lyssnade på berättelser om Paris, Berlin, London och Stockholm blev hon motiverad. Hon lovade sig själv dock, att hon inte skulle resa långt. Hon hade lärt sig på geografin om Afrikas olika platser och säsonger.

Jag ska se min värld i Afrika innan jag ser resten av världen, sa hon till sig själv. Inombords bestämde hon sig också för att finna kärlek och att inte släppa taget.

Lucy blev en flitig resenär i sökandet efter balans och uppfyllelse. Zambezi var varmt och hon ville uppleva vintern i nedre Afrika. Hon spenderade många veckor i Harare och Johannesburg. Hon reste även till Accra på grund av guldet och täckte en gång sitt hår i Cairo. Med tiden hade hon ett flertal bilder, kartor och souvenirer från västra, östra, norra och södra Afrika hemma i sitt arbetsrum.

En dag kom hon hem till Zambezi och hittade ett meddelande från Paul i sin brevlåda. Hon kom just från Kapstaden där hon spenderat sin semester. Han ville träffa henne igen så Lucy och Paul möttes på caféet runt hörnet. Paul förklarade att hans långa förhållande med flickvännen tagit slut.

De kom inte överens som de önskat. De hade en del problem och hade kommit överens om endast en sak: att avsluta förhållandet.

Det var en sorgsam händelse men de kände båda två att det var bättre att göra det nu, än att försöka få det att fungera till varje pris.

De hade inga barn än. Han var 32 nu och hon 28 så de har fortfarande sina liv framför sig.

Vet du, saker är inte alltid som de tycks vara, började Paul konversationen. Han fortsatte, vi gör alla misstag och vår passion kan vilseleda oss.

Vad är det du försöker säga? avbröt Lucy honom.

Med en subtil röst fortsatte Paul, du vet, det finns ett uttryck som säger att vi alltid ser andra människors problem mer än vi ser våra egna, jag tror det är så sant.

Är inte det en av de mest anmärkningsvärda ironierna? La Lucy till. Fortfarande undrande vart denna konversation skulle leda.

Jag har låtsats att jag inte har några känslor för dig.

Men när Stella bröt upp med mig, eftersom hon märkt att jag varit frånvarande i hennes närvaro sen jag mötte dig, insåg jag hur viktigt det var att uttrycka mina känslor för dig. 

Lucys såg för en stund vilsekommen ut. Men hon lyckades samla ihop några tankar.

Jag är ledsen att höra detta Paul. Det är verkligen rörande och jag är djupt gripen av dina ord. Jag vet att vi har varit riktigt nära vänner.

Du har alltid talat väl om Stella men jag visste inte att du varit distraherad i hennes närhet.

Jag kommer ihåg att du berättat många saker som inspirerat mig. Du sa till mig att livet är för kort att leva utan kärlek.

Du sa också till mig att vi bör paddla våra kanoter tillräckligt hårt, så att vi fortfarande ror när stormen är över.

 Jag tog dina råd på stort allvar och jag vill tacka dig för det. Jag uppskattar dina känslor för mig.

Trots att jag hade en del känslor för dig i början, förstod jag att du var upptagen och mitt mål var att inte blanda mig i ert förhållande.

Lyssna Paul, Lucy lutade sig mot honom. Du vet vad vi båda sa om livets oförutsägbarhet.

När jag reste till Johannesburg i februari mötte jag Vincent. Jag tycker mycket om honom. Han dyrkar mig. Han respekterar mig men mest av allt älskar han mig och jag älskar honom också.

Vi tillbringade de senaste två veckorna tillsammans i Kapstaden och han planerar att hitta ett jobb i Harare så vi kan vara nära varandra. Vi planerar hitta arbete utomlands.

Paul blev illa till mods. Hans ansiktsuttryck blev sorgset.

Lucy drog snabbt inspiration from sitt eget liv. Hon kunde även använt inspiration från de åtskilliga böcker hon läst, när hon vände sig till Paul en sista gång.

Ge det lite tid, kanske hittar du någon ny. Ditt hjärta kommer läka och du kommer gå vidare med ditt liv, sa Lucy

Paul var inte en novis. Även han visste sedan tidigare att alla människor måste lära sig att ta sig igenom sina egna bekymmer, sina egna lidanden. De måste lära sig att övervinna sina rädslor. Det kan behövas tid och lite hjälp men de måste lära sig.  

Det bästa sättet att lära var genom verkliga upplevelser.

Farväl Paul, jag måste gå nu. Ta hand om dig själv och vi ses någon gång.

Paul var nära till tårar men Lucy visade inga känslor överhuvudtaget. Hon gav honom en kram och gick.

(Från Boken, The Madrilenian av Adeola Aderounmu)

aderounmu@gmail.com

Translated by Louise Holmberg

The Kings Are Mad (Part 2)

Bawa cried when he knew it was normal for men to cry too. People need to set their souls free from the sufferings of their bodies. Tears are the medicine of nature and they cure men from suicide

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

All is not well in this place, this land.

The people have diverse and confusing opinions about the true meaning of life, so it was difficult to find the solutions to their problems.

When Bawa was born and raised, no one provided him with the education he needed. He is from the north part of the land. His parents told him it was enough to obey. Everyday he prayed but he didn’t know if his prayers hit the roof or if they went above the clouds. His family did small retailing and didn’t have to depend on food tickets from the local councils like several urchins in the north did.  

When the expanding family business brought him to Ebute Metta, his life changed. He became rebellious and started asking questions every time he went back to the north. He found a perfect companionship with some co-travelers and a few men who have been away also, even further north. One day he looked at the extent of ignorance in his village and felt extreme bitterness in his heart. Someone told him that men are not supposed to cry but he knew that until that moment, he had lived the life he didn’t choose.  

The colonial thugs who invaded the land several years ago told the foolish kings in the north never to educate their wards. Stupidly, there was an agreement to the insane treaty. How can anyone think they could be kings or rulers for life? Without the royal blood, no one is born to rule. Even royal bloods do fade. 

How can anyone even think that knowledge is the reason for the crises in the Mediterranean?  Knowledge is power, not war. It’s true; humans always blame objects and abstract concepts for their foolishness. Sometimes they say they are looking for a scapegoat, as if one was lost. They always find the reasons to go to war. 

An old man from the east once said to the people, “10 kings own 10 eras”. He said those who forget their history can never be free. He also said “if you fight a war, make sure it is for your freedom”. He added that “peace comes from freedom and absence of injustice”. But the people are reading less and not showing understanding for the wisdom hidden in books. 

The stupid king in the north, just like all the dead kings before him, has also not fulfilled his promises to the people. Like many other places in the land, many people don’t have water, electricity and shelters to cover them. It is worse here in the north. The king and his emissaries have acquired what should have been shared equally among the people. 

When Bawa and his gang members started having their secret meetings, they got the people’s ears. Walls have ears too. They soon sold their souls to the elites, they lost their plots. 

Hopelessness can ruin a man’s conscience. At this point the people have started wondering if cannibalism will be a criminal offence if that becomes an option soon. Evil grew in their hearts due to deprivations.  

This king in the north has no plan. He’s quick to blame the woes in the north on the reign of the king in Abuja. If we had one of us as the king in Abuja, our ancestors will be kind to us and our lives will be better he often said.

But the king in Abuja is really upset. He lacks charisma and hardly spoke but one day he said “ask the king in the north what he has been doing with all the tax returns given to the north and all the pure gold that he receives on behalf of the north four times a year”. Sometimes no one knows what to believe because the king in Abuja usually soaks himself in the pleasures of alcohol and women.

 One day when the people came from everywhere to plead with him, he chased them away with whips and bullets. Then another time when the people found the courage to return, he repented and told them to go home and pray. Sometimes when he doesn’t know what to think or what to say, he simply said he didn’t care.

When the people refused to pray he commanded one of his brothers to do so on behalf of the people. His brother dressed up like a knight and prayed the prayer of a fool. The people thought he was insane but he didn’t care one bit. He knew his brother-the king- was too drunk to reason. But he got a lot of gold for his worthless prayers. 

Now, frustration is growing in the land and the people do not know where to turn or who to speak to. They can never trust the soldiers. They are men of fortunes and when they had tried or pretended to help they did things worse than the kings could ever have done. They abuse drugs and they denied being homosexuals even when it was not yet a crime in the land. Now it is a crime. 

But the soldiers laughed because they know that it is easier to practice homosexuality in prisons. They also knew that going to prisons will not affect their sexual disorders even if the lawmakers still think it is an abomination. Their biggest laughter on this matter came last, because they know that they live in a lawless land. They will never go to jail. 

In the barracks, they wonder who really is mad. Someone said it’s the trait of the kings. One soldier who all of his life, had neither tasted tobacco nor alcohol shouted “we are all mad”! When they asked him the reason for his thoughts, he said, because when we sleep at night, we all lie in the same direction

Then they laughed again because they did not understand his reasoning. He is a soldier from Ebute Metta. He went to bed, worried. How did I end up with these fools, these mad men

In Abuja, the king had slept several times with one eye open and the other closed. He too is convinced that soldiers are treacherous and mad. Sometimes he had unpleasant nightmares. He’s encountering many strange dreams because his heart is not pure. 

One day he dreamt that the dissidents had captured him and cut his throat. Then he vowed never to see the eyeballs of the soldiers from the north. He will never meet with the king of the north again as well. 

The king of Abuja rebuilt his network and brought foreigners to protect him. He decided that he would have 99 vehicles when he is travelling on the road. Among the people, he gave gold and silver to the greedy councilors. He called them his loyalists; they will always speak for him in such a way as to create false hope while his reign of injustice persists everywhere in the land. It was easy to find religious people as members of his loyal groups. 

When the unrest started in the north it was some of the councilors who gave the rebels tools and the courage to unleash violence. They used some of the monies they stole from the land when they were kings in Abuja and started various propaganda aimed at killing the present king. 

Bawa and his friends got along with the treachery when the elites approached them. He started to visit Ebute Metta less frequently. At some point he left the holy books and started to listen to his heart. In their group, as dissidents, they got very rich at the expense of the people in the north. His heart told him that he’s now one of the reasons people remain poor in the north. At a recent meeting Bawa and his group members decided to abandon everything that they believed or were taught. They will make their own rules, now that they have wealth and weapons. 

There had been a long call by some fools to return the kingship in Abuja to the men from the north. The stupid idea of born to rule has erased the ability of the north to think freely. Some of their kinsmen are happy to dine and wine with the king anyway. Many of them knew that feudalism is a form of injustice but they want to find a bigger fault with the king in Abuja. 

The poor people are angry, infuriated and helpless. There is confusion everywhere. There is something the people are not doing. There are things the kings and the elites are doing maliciously. So across the land, all is not well. 

One girl from the west brought a message of fire on the mountain to the land. The people lacked the wisdom to discern her message. They doubt that the gods spoke through women. So the girl went to another land. Then she prospered. One man sang for the freedom of all the regions but they put him in prison and poisoned him. He died. 

Every time someone stood up genuinely for the people, the people watch from afar, disunited. Then the freedom fighter is killed by an angry person or someone sent by any of the kings. The land is flowing with the blood of innocent people. Even the gods shook their heads because the people did not understand the signs and processes of freedom. 

Bawa and his generation grew up in ignorance. At that time they were easy preys for wrong political purposes. Bawa’s exposure led him to some light, but it was half-light. For vision, half-light is more dangerous than total darkness. But those who don’t know that, what is worth doing at all is worth doing well always argue when taught this principle. Bawa doesn’t care anymore about the consequences of disobedience. His views about life are now at conflict with one another. 

Now he, along with the others in the rebel groups, is at war with the society. They will bring down the reigns of the king in the north and the king in Abuja. He doesn’t know what his actual plans are in this senseless war. He and his evil gang members have abandoned their foreign teachings. They have now turned to the evil in their hearts. They are now monsters and their unknown ambitions surprised the north, totally. 

There is trouble in the north. There is pandemonium in the east and the west is choking even with diseases due to congestion and migration. The south is polluted, full of treacherous men and unsafe for existence. 

Mama Esan is trapped, Chinedu is depressed and Bawa is ready to die for the things he does not believe in, the things he does not even understand anymore. 

At the town hall meeting, Mama Esan wept, again. No one could console her. She even refused to be consoled because she needs to set her soul free from the suffering of her flesh. She asked why the kings everywhere have so much wealth, women and property when the people are suffering. How can her dreams come true? Why did things go so wrong? The more questions she asked in her heart, the more sorrowful she felt. 

Chinedu in his depressed mood fell asleep before the meeting ended. In his dream, he saw what life was supposed to be and he woke up with a thunderous cry. The hall was empty when he opened his eyes. 

Bawa was not at this meeting. He will never come back to Ebute Metta. He had decided to remain incognito until vengeance is achieved. He thought the kings are all wicked or mad as people say. But he also hated those who made him cry. 

Indeed, he cried when he knew it was normal for men to cry too. People need to set their souls free from the sufferings of their bodies. Tears are the medicine of nature and they cure men from suicide. He thought his life is upside down and not worth living. He doesn’t know where this will lead him or where he wants to go from here. 

Sometimes the king in Abuja speaks after the town hall meetings to get feedback and make new reforms. When the king spoke after the latest meeting held in Ebute Metta, he was far from reality. This was worse than what the people had thought. So now everyone across the land knew the gods have made him deaf.  They know what will happen next because that is a premonition that is easy to interpret. This gives an unusual hope that change will come soon. 

Sometimes people think that time is their enemy. But time is a good concept. It carries out everything at its appointed moment. Because humans have faint memory, they forget their destinies. Therefore their actions can be in contrast to their desires in life. If you want freedom, you must act correctly or appropriately. Time will bring all things to pass at the appointed moments only if the actions that preceded those moments are just and upright. 

In this entire clamor for change, the south remains indifferent because the people inhabiting the place have become like the proverbial soap and leaves. They are used to their sufferings and living poorly in the midst of plenty. In fact they are like the thirsty fish because their land and water lie in ruins. The king of Abuja was once one of them. 

Bawa the boy from the north does not believe in the gods. He does not know what the people in the east or west have on their minds but what he wished is what the people said the gods have in plan: that when the time for freedom comes, there will be no going back, that all the kings are mad and that their kingdoms, big or small, will pass away. 

(Concluded)

aderounmu@gmail.com

The Elizabeth Dafinone Story (Exclusive)

The Elizabeth Dafinone Story

Written by Adeola Aderounmu and Elizabeth Dafinone

Former Senator, David Dafinone has been described as probably the most distinguished Deltan man alive in Nigeria. He is the patriarch of the renowned Dafinone Dynasty. His family owns a Guinness world record for having the largest number of chartered accounts in a single family. Apparently not all the Dafinone children became chartered accountants. One of them was neglected and abandoned to a lonely fate in faraway England.

This is the story.

David was studying at the University of Hull when he met and fell in love with a Scottish woman named Helen Joan MacKay. The affair was not a one night stand. They had a relationship and lived together in Hull. David‘s first child Elizabeth Oghenorvbo Dafinone was born on the fourth of June 1955 in Hull, England. At that time, Joan was a housewife so to speak.

Elizabeth Oghenorvbo Dafinone's birth certificate

Elizabeth Oghenorvbo Dafinone’s birth certificate

Earlier, during WWII she trained as an SRN nurse in Edinburgh Royal Hospital. She told of how the nurses had to stay on the wards during the bombings to look after the patients. Sometimes she peeped out of the blackout curtains and saw the faces of the German pilots looking to see whether they had hit their targets.

During the time that the romance between David and Joan bloomed and produced a child, Joan’s family was skeptical about the relationship. They did not approve, not because they were prejudice, they just thought it unwise for two people of such different backgrounds to be together. Joan completely cut herself of from them after that, in order to be with David.

Young Elizabeth Dafinone and Yound David Dafinone

Young Elizabeth Dafinone and Yound David Dafinone

Unfortunately for Joan, in the late 1950s David met and had an affair with a young girl from the West Indies. Her name is Cynthia. When Cynthia became pregnant David was forced to leave Joan and started living together with Cynthia. Cynthia may have arrived in Britain along with her family earlier in the 1950s. It was a time when a lot of West Indians were encouraged to go to Britain to work. She may also have lived in Brixton, an area of south London.

Things turned sour for Joan, who had given up everything to be with David. Her parents were dead but she had two brothers. One was a lawyer and the other a doctor. When David abandoned her to hook up with Cynthia, Joan was completely devastated. Having lost her family to be with David, she was too proud to turn back to them. She became a lonely single mother.

That was the end of the chapter for Joan in David’s love life.

When David separated from Joan, his family members in Nigeria were not pleased. Apparently, his allowances were stopped and David had to work at the post office for a short while to make ends meet. In Britain at that time (1950s) discrimination on the basis of colour was rife. Joan Dafinone (formerly MacKay) was left alone to bring up a mixed child. She had no help.

Elizabeth, her only daughter and the first child of David Dafinone, was brought up in poverty. She and her mother moved from one place to another, usually finding bedsits. In the harsh freezing winters of the 1950s, they had just a two bar electric fire to keep warm. Elizabeth had burn marks across her legs caused by staying too close to the heat to get warm.

It was a long season of impoverishment for Elizabeth and her mother. At some point, they lived almost entirely on custard. A pot of stew could be managed for a week. David Dafinone abandoned his first family as they suffered. He sent neither money, birthday or Christmas cards.

At some point Joan embarked on a campaign of survival. She tried to reach out to David and also to the Nigerian High Commission in London. Her efforts yielded no results. Instead David resented her. Elizabeth recalled that she and her mother got help from the Church and a few kind people that they met.

The years passed by, Elizabeth came of age and the struggle remained unbearable for her and her mother. Her mother literally lost her mind because of the struggle. She went insane. Elizabeth’s closest friends saw her pains during her mother’s ordeal. As a result of David Dafinone’s betrayal, Elizabeth’s childhood became a long nightmare. A young girl at that time, she suffered some of life’s most dreadful ordeals-a broken home when she was a toddler, poverty and then a mother who became mentally ill.

Something remarkable happened when Elizabeth was about 14 years old. One day David and Cynthia showed up where she and her mother lived. Joan became hysterical when she saw them. After the couple left, Joan laid on the couch for days. She sobbed. She screamed. She felt a heart-wrenching pain.

Before the shocking short visit ended, David promised to pay for Elizabeths’ school fees so that she could attend a boarding school. This offer was soon taken up and Elizabeth left London to attend a boarding school for girls in Hampshire for 2 years. When she came home during the holidays, Elizabeth returned to her life of poverty. School was a relief from some of the pressure and desperate sadness she had to endure.

As a young girl, Elizabeth travelled to Nigeria to find her father. She made her way from London to Sapele with £100 GBP in her pocket. David was in Lagos when she arrived. So, she found her grandmother who welcomed her and took her in with love and warmth. She immediately adored her Grandmother who was the first relative and Nigerian person to make her feel loved and wanted.

Elizabeth Oghenorvbo Dafinone and her Grandmother in Sapele (circa 1979)

Elizabeth and her grandmother in Sapele around 1979

David Dafinone soon found out Elizabeth was in his mother’s house and arranged for her to be driven to his home in Apapa. It was here that he made a comment that he never completed. “l loved your mother, but…” David took to calling Elizabeth, Lizzie, and promised again to look after her but the promises he made were only partly fulfilled. His words were “you can have anything, but your mother will get nothing”

He sent £1000 via an assistant named Solomom Onomakpome so Elizabeth could continue her education at a higher level. Cynthia had expressed shock when she found out that Elizabeth had stayed with David’s mother in Sapele. Elizabeth believed that Cynthia was not keen on Nigeria and could only say negative things about the country in which she now lived.

After school, Elizabeth studied nursing because that was what her mother wanted her to do. But it was too distressing for her. She found it heart-breaking and can still clearly remember the individual characters who she nursed through their pain and subsequent death. Elizabeth went further to study French and Italian at university.

After the inital £1000 to help her in her studies, financial assistance from David Dafinone stopped abruptly after he received a long letter from Joan, who lambasted him for his initial neglect of Elizabeth. So, Elizabeth worked her way through university with the help of a UK student grant. Obviously, she found it hard financially on her own and on occasion found herself homeless in both Paris and London. However, she made it!

Over the years, Elizabeth spoke many times with her father and Cynthia. Both of them were aware of her struggles but did nothing, despite her father’s wealth. In one conversation, Cynthia said “I feel sorry for you!”

The struggle is not over from Elizabeth. Now divorced, she has continued to look after her ex-husband for many years. He’s living with cancer and has gone through a transplant. It has been a life loaded with difficulties caused by lack of support from David Dafinone. Amidst this she raised her own daughter.

David Dafinone remains a well-respected Nigerian patriarch. When his fame was on the rise and Elizabeth showed up in Nigeria, it seems that all he could think of was a complete cover-up of her existence.

When back in London, David telephoned Elizabeth to tell her of her mother’s letter and said he had been embarrassed by her appearence in Nigeria. Surely, the apprearence of a child you had in England cannot be the worst scandal in Nigeria during the 1970s. It’s doesn’t augur well with the image of the Dafinones that David neglected his first family and made them suffer for most of their lifes. Joan died in poverty in 2002. David was a wealthy man from a young age. He could have taken care of them.

Elizabeth Oghenorvbo Dafinone

Elizabeth Oghenorvbo Dafinone

Terri (aka Daphne) Dafinone, one of David’s children once told Elizabeth that part of the problem was that she was estranged from her roots. She implied that since Elizabeth did not know her Nigerian family or country, she had been left on her own without the knowledge of where she came from. But who created the problem? When he abandoned Elizabeth as a toddler, David created the problem that would last for two life times.

Elizabeth cannot be sure that her mother Joan did no wrong. Why did David abandon Joan? Why would a father walk away from his first child just when she started to hit the floor and walk around? Was it because as Joan had claimed, Cynthia had family who forcibly persuaded him?

Whatever it was, Elizabeth was innocent because she was just a child. Why did David suffer Elizabeth, like he did Joan? Why is Elizabeth not fit to be revealed even now that David has hit 86? The denial has been extended to Elizabeth’s young daughter who was recently told “to go back to the hell she came from” by her grandfather-David Dafinone. Elizabeth has been called a “cheap blackmailer” by David Dafinone. A similar expression was made in an anonymous email sent from one NIGERDELTA account. It is a strange accusation because although David Dafinone obviously has something to hide (his first daughter), Elizabeth has not asked for money to keep her story quiet.

Joan brought up Elizabeth to love and respect her father, despite what had happened. This, Elizabeth has done all her life, keeping silent and never arguing or causing offense to him or the family. However, when Elizabeth’s child was insulted and became upset before she even had a chance to explain why she had called her grandfather, Elizabeth couldn’t hold back any longer. She decided she had enough of the denial. A loving mother, Elizabeth has endured a lot but she will not sit back to see her child suffer verbal abuse.

This is not a story of hate. It is not about revenge or retaliation. Children are real people and adults who bring them into this world must be able to stand up to their responsibilities. It is shameful and very cruel to turn one’s back on an innocent child, a toddler in this case

This story, “The Elizabeth Dafinone Story”, is one of survival in the absence of a father who abandoned his family. It is the story of a young girl who grew up without protection and love from her father. It is a story of rejection that has left irreparable emotional and physical damage.

David Dafinone failed woefully in his obligations as the father of Elizabeth Oghenorvbo Dafinone and now as the grandfather to her daughter. His lack of responsibility, integrity and even politeness, begs disbelieve. It is shameful behaviour from a man who presents himself as an admired, respected Senator and patriach of Nigeria.

All her life, all that Elizabeth ever wanted from her father was some love and care.

When a man is separated from a woman because they no longer love each other or for other reasons, the interest of the child/children involved in the union must be paramount. If this story changes for the better just one parent’s attitude to their child, it is a story worth telling.

aderounmu@gmail.com

elizabeth.dafinone@gmail.com

Nigeria at 50, This is Nigeria and Other Stories (My Second Book)

Adeola Aderounmu

I am writing my second book. The first one was more of a test run. I published it myself in 2007 and sold a few copies but gave out more as present/ gift.

The second book will be a more serious deal, as I do hope. All writers are the same-looking for the break. Paulo Coelho said it all in THE ZAHIR.

Nigeria @ 50, This is Nigeria and Other Stories

Nigeria @ 50, This is Nigeria and Other Stories

Regardless of what happens I hope this manuscript will make it through certain stages. This time I will definitely have a professional read my manuscripts. I will expose it to criticisms and proof readings. No rush.

I will get it across to friends in Nigeria.

When I sent a copy of my first book (shown below) to Nigeria by post, it was duplicated and circulated by photocopying. It generated some interest but I don’t know the extent.

It gives me hope that there will be something to look forward to if I can introduce this new manuscript to the right sources in Nigeria and abroad.

The Entrapment of a Nation

The Entrapment of a Nation