The girl child

Posted October 21, 2015 from Nigeria
Speaking to girls
'a daughter is God's most beautiful creature'-My late mother

We held hands together; wept profusely without anyone around to console us, asshe continued to narrate her story in my office this afternoon. Although the story is a story of triumph, the strength of a mother, a victor, a story of women’slove for her children,but It is also the story of pain, of shame, of rejection, of loneliness and of societal secret and deep preference for the boy child in Nigeria. My new sister walks with grace, she has an aura of kindness, a strength of a lioness and a deep of a new world for girls in rural Nigeria, but she carries deep burden for the girl child who is not recognized as the heir of her father’s house in Nigeria.

The story began in Northern Nigeria, though they are from the Western part of Nigeria. She could remember the home, full of joy, laughter and enough to eat, drink and share with neighbours. She never knew that there was an underlay sadness and late night weeping because they are all daughters; she never knew that her father had secret grievance with her mother who could not birth a male child; the heir.

Their mother became pregnant again, the fifth time. On her day of delivery, the announcement was sudden; two girls. She whispered; my joy could not be quantified. Two bouncing baby girls. She narrated how she told her friends in school and they all covered their mouths as they scream; Oh twins, you are lucky! She eagerly awaited when her mother would return from the hospital with the baby, but she never returned to their house that was full of joy. She was told by her father that her mother had been sent back to her father’s house; from the hospital in Northern Nigeria to her father’s house in Northern Nigeria. With that fresh blood, she made the journey from the hospital back to her father’s house.

One by one, the father returned to daughters to their mother. My friend was the eldest, she had to stay with the emergency wife who could birth the sons. Within a month, a new life, his father’s sale’s girl had moved into the father’s room. She bore him sons.

It was after five years, that she met her mother again, from boarding school, she secretly went to meet her mother. The meeting changed everything. The twins were now in primary school and her mother had picked every piece of her life, started a business blossomed and became a role model. On the other hand, her father’s fortune dwindled.

She decided to live with her mother. Her mother singlehandedly trained 6 girls. Twenty years later, her father returned to the village one night. One of the twins opened the door to the prodigal father. he had sons but he had no joy with his sons; and he became a total stranger in the lives of his daughters; They refused to recognize him as a father. One year after his return to the village, he died a sad man. Now the girls are university graduates; they are changemakers.

His sons’ story need not be told.

My friend’s story reminds me of that Ajangbadi woman that I met two weeks ago, so far, she is the only woman that I know who has fourteen children. Mother of fourteen children is haggard, emanciated, looks older than her age as she is less that forty-five but looking like a 60 year old woman. She is one of our trainees now. An obviously sad woman living with a never content man, his throat like the hollow grave, begging for more corpses; he complains of two sons that are not enough and twelve daughters are too many. He could hardly feed his own mouth, talk-less of his football team, with referee and a coach.

The irony of discontent men in a never satisfied world, the more discontent men die untimely, the less men learn from their mistakes; the more things change, the more they remain the same. The story sounds like a good script for a film production, but it is the reality of many homes in Nigeria. In my tears, I remembered my late mother’s words; a daughter is God's most beautiful creature. May the girl child overcome Amen.

Hmn, its 3.14am in Nigeria. I must rest my lazy bones now.

Comments 5

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Tamarack Verrall
Oct 24, 2015
Oct 24, 2015

Dear Tosin,

This story is so important for us all to know. It galvanizes my determination to continue to work against this inexplicable idea that men and boys are superior. That this woman's mother survived despite the treatment she suffered, is proof once again of the incredible strength of a woman. Above all, I am so grateful for your ongoing work, and that you were able to be with the daughter of this woman, herself carrying such beauty, strength and courage despite deep pain. All of this shows how extremely important it is that we all continue to find ways to hear each woman's story, and support her in every way we can.

With deep respect and much love,


Oct 24, 2015
Oct 24, 2015

Thanks so much my sister Tam for your love for women and girls and the determination and a life of commitment to support women and gender equality. Thats my dream, vision and mission on earth.

How I wish that the society would learn and change their mindset towards the girl child and woomen. Notwithstanding, we shall continue the fight until we achieve gender equality for both women and girls in this world. It s a fight that I am ready to die for.

Thanks again sister.

Oct 31, 2015
Oct 31, 2015

Dear Tosin,

Such an original, cinematic, expansive, compelling storytelling. It is the kind of storytelling that makes me informed on the cultures of Nigeria, its landscapes and its people. 

All these stories, told through the years…about time you put them together in a single volume.

May you find more space and time to do your essential xork and equal space and time to document the lives of survivors. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Nov 04, 2015
Nov 04, 2015

Dear Olutosin,

So glad the lady looked ahead and moved on. And sorry for the man, it pains to see how he missed fathering precious beings.

It is usually said that if animals could speak human languages, hunters' stories would be different. History has it that men always turned things to their advantage. I sometimes feel that they might have tried to change the part of science about gender but could not, so they decided to ignore it. Unfortunately, even when they are literate, they still pretend they are not aware that it is the man (male chromosome) who determines the baby’s gender.

I remember a public round table a few years back, where medical doctors took turns to explain how it works in the woman’s womb. What a relief for the many women who learnt that day that they were not “responsible” for bearing only girls or only boys. What an embarrassment for some men. They need to be told, again and again, that it is no woman’s fault. Sometimes, even special diets or treatments don’t make a difference. I agree with your mother’s statement.

Thanks for sharing.

Nov 04, 2015
Nov 04, 2015

Dear sister, thanks so much for reading and commenting, I truly wish that men will be able to think and accept the reality.