The Poverty Of Fatherhood:  What A life!

The Poverty Of Fatherhood:  What A life!

I am not a poet, I just write what comes to my mind, I find it difficult to write fiction, I am a realist, I study the environment and document what I feel, what I witness I pen down for posterity and for others to disagree, compliment or concur with me. This thought of mine on the celebration of father’s day should have come in form of a poem, but sadly enough I am not a poet, I am a realist.
There is wealth in being a father, but the poverty that comes with the wealth is more profound after all, being a father is a sad reminder of the popular saying of ‘the more you look, the less you see’. Fathers become orphans on getting married, they lose their parents and cling to their new partner either in peace or in war, their wealth becomes a shared conundrum, their names become shared assets. In most parts of the western world, a father is a 911 call away from losing all he has worked for and been thrown into the wilderness of life, poor father, what a life!
In sub-Saharan Africa, fathers toil day and night and he is expected to feed a clan of people with proceeds of his toiling, he builds the house and cater for all and sundry that lives in that house and beyond, father, what a life you have come. Fathers are expected to be strong, energetic and hard-working and sickness-free as the destiny of the ‘clan’ rests on his shoulders. Fathers take the blame for others’ failings while credit is given to the appropriate person when it is an achievement of a sort. The key issues around the failings of Eve in the biblical story of Adam and Eve is yet to be resolved. The fathers must take the blame but not the praise.
In governance, the father is expected to be infallible while those who hide behind the scenes in the decision-making process are masked forever, the father on the throne takes the blame for his action and inaction. In employment and promotion, there is no special consideration for the father, yet he has more responsibilities than others. The father has never enjoyed any form of affirmative action on any issue since time immemorial; the father is an endangered species. What a life, the father has come.
In ownership of sheds in the markets, the father is weak and underrepresented, in certain professions such as nursing and teaching, the father is underrepresented in actual sense discriminated against yet he is accused of dominance, what a life the father has come, in domestic management the father is marginalised and he is kept in the dark on the management of home affairs yet he is referred to as a landlord literally speaking. Who speaks for the man? Who fights for the rights of the man, no one fights for the man, yet the fathers join others to fight for justice and equity at all time.
As the world celebrate father’s day, let us, therefore, remember fathers who are in prison on account of false accusations, fathers who have been sentenced to death or convicted without any evidence they committed the crime they have been accused of, let us remember the fathers who were set up by others to take them out of their enviable positions, fathers who have been refused promotions in their workplaces on account of the principles they stand for, fathers who were prematurely retired or forced to resign on account of their principles, fathers whose children have been forcefully taken away by others on account of injustice, fathers whose source of income yanked away by more powerful forces, fathers whose DNA do not match that of their children, yet they must take care of those children, fathers who have torn apart from their wives and children due to multifarious reasons.
Indeed the ‘wealth’ in fatherhood is a metaphor for ‘poverty’, the responsibility attached to fatherhood seems to be slavery in other words. Fathers must be liberated one day! Happy father’s day to all long-suffering fathers across the world.
Thank you
Taiwo Akerele
Author of Stranger in power and Sage of Growth, a policy economist sent this piece from New York in commemoration of Fathers Day.

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