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I Bring Up My Daughter As A Single Parent, By Viola Ifeyinwa Okolie

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I Bring Up My Daughter As A Single Parent, By Viola Ifeyinwa Okolie

NEWISSUES, Abuja

I bring up my daughter as a single parent.

During her early years, first four or so, we were in and out of hospitals like regular customers. Matter of fact, at one point in time, we had “our room”, as in a room that whenever I landed with her, they would check us into.

If the room was occupied, they would place us somewhere else on the agreement that once “our room” was available, they would check us in there.

At no point during those admissions did anyone ask me to bring her father’s consent for her to receive treatment.

A few years ago, I stood at a British Airways check in counter and listened to a desk staff tell me I could not fly with my daughter until I produced evidence she was mine. What evidence did he need?

A marriage certificate.

Shuuuuu!

Whatever on earth for?

I asked him, “is that a requirement to fly”?

He replied in the affirmative so I calmly picked up the passports and flicked through showing him all the “stamping ins” and “stamping outs” that had happened on our passports.

None of them asked me for a marriage certificate before clearing me to fly with my daughter.

Well, he needed to see proof that I was not trafficking a child who was clinging to me like chewing gum and calling me “mummy”. It was ridiculous, but I usually get to the airport with hours to spare, so I had his time.

When I was about running out of patience though, I snapped and asked him if it was a requirement to have a husband before one could have a baby? He said No. And so what if we are bearing different names? I flipped to the current visas where my passport number had been clearly stamped on my daughter’s visa with her name as “authorised to fly with”.

Are you wiser than the people who issued this visa?

Whose country I am visiting?

Show me your regulations where it says you have to have a marriage certificate to fly with your daughter (If the moron had asked for birth certificate, I would have considered that a reasonable request and complied).

Okay, let me speak with your manager.

At this point a long queue was beginning to snake up behind me. The boy tried to calm me down by trying to now clear us for boarding, but I refused. I wanted to speak with a manager. If it meant his losing his job for that particular brand of virulent ignorance to be stopped in its tracks, I was willing to play ball.

When the manager came and listened to us, he turned and berated the boy. There was nothing like that in their regulations, it was one of the most stupid things he had ever heard and besides, her visa was clearly endorsed with my name and passport number so all they ever needed proof of was that I was me.

You meet that everyday.

A posse of ignorant people who constitute themselves into an authority and make up laws as they go.

You want to buy a flight ticket? Okay, I am booking you as Mrs. Okolie. What do you mean you are Ms. not Mrs? With that fat nyash, you must be Mrs. Somebody.

Are you ready to pay for what you bought with an ATM card? Okay, random stranger standing beside her, please give me your ATM card. What do you mean you are not her husband? How can she not have a husband with all that Christian Mother arms?

Your husband is such a nice man. No he is not my husband, just a good, no strings attached friend, who also happens to be male? What? You better hurry up and marry him o, good men are hard to find!

Okay today, I stumble on a thread where a little child died because a hospital refuses to admit him without the father’s sign off on the hospital’s admission forms.

I have never heard such ignorance on blatant display before. But we encounter it in different shades everyday. I first gave my example of hospitals with my daughter to show that hospitals are the last people to want to enforce the morality code of conduct.

The last place where you should expect ignorance and prejudice to pop up, especially when the life at risk is a child’s.

Then the person who put up the update ended with, “and after you will say you are against feminism and this hospital allowed the child to die”.

Misplaced priorities.

If you don’t shit in the morning, it is because some people are against feminism.

If you get knocked down by a car, it is because some people are against feminism.

Can we stop the bickering already and the forcing of the topic?

I can bet you that the nurse or the receptionist who took that decision not to admit a child because the father’s consent was not there, acted on her own authority and is most likely to be found sitting pretty on one social media feminism band wagon or the other.

We must not all be feminists. Can everybody just learn to cane their own lanes?

And stop ignorance in its tracks whenever it rears its ugly head?

Like in the child situation, it is not about feminism, it is the fact that a hospital breached their basic principle for being a hospital and let a child die in their care while they were letting their ignorance out for some air.

You should sue them for every kobo they have got for criminal negligence. Ensure you don’t stop until the licenses of everyone who masquerades in that hospital is withdrawn. And the hospital is incinerated by the government.

Cure the ignorance, don’t let it spread.

This is not about feminism, or those who do not agree with feminists and their ways and means.

Good morning all.

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