DNA and paternity wahala: The children suffer, too – Peju Akande

DNA and paternity wahala: The children suffer, too – Peju Akande




Here is a true life story that reminds one of the trending DNA saga.



I met a child, sometime last year. She was about nine years old. I knew her but hadn’t seen her in a while.



I asked her what her name was and she replied. However, the surname she gave me was different from what I expected…I thought I knew who her dad was/is. I asked her why she mentioned a different surname. She responded, “He was my daddy before but he said he is not my daddy again…”




She was silent as she lowered her head as if ashamed of the fact that I had queried her new identity.




“Who told you to change your name?”




“My mummy said, that one is my new daddy.” She pointed to a man in his late 60s, someone I was aware she only recently became acquainted with.




My heart sank.




“But that other one is still my daddy, even though he said he is not.”




DNA and paternity wahala: The children suffer, too – Peju Akande



At that age, I knew she would have hundreds of questions her mother would never be able to answer.



Further inquiries informed me her mother had passed her off to the man she was living with; her husband, even though the child belonged to another man…outside. The husband at home, after a few years of suspecting the child was not his, confronted his wife. There was no DNA testing done. They say only the mother knows who the real father is and she confessed like a witch.



But she apologized too.


ALSO READ: FCMB to investigate marriage scandal involving MD, Adam Nuru

She said she was sorry. She didn’t know what to do. Yes, indeed, the girl wasn’t her husband’s…



Husband threw them both out!



Today, the topic of discussion is the FCMB MD’s paternity scandal. The social media is replete with different stories of men finding out horror stories about their children; women confessing like witches to passing off other men’s children as their husbands.



But in the middle of all the drama are the children.



The ones who’ve called a particular man, ‘Daddy’ for several years; the ones who’ve looked up to a particular man as their father; a man who supports their dreams, the man who fights for them, the man who loves them, disciplines them…



They wake up to learn, “He is not my Daddy anymore.” They learn, like the rest of the world, that the man they call ‘daddy’, isn’t daddy. He is some man Mummy told us is Daddy.



DNA and paternity wahala: The children suffer, too – Peju Akande




Daddy is some stranger or could even be someone they had seen before but never took notice of. Some man who had inhabited the fringes of their imagination. He is the new Daddy! 




Do we pause to ponder what the child in the middle of DNA gone wrong feels?




First off, every child wants to be accepted by both parents. Daddy’s love is different from Mummy’s love. Dads are about assertion. They give us our identity. They are the strong figure we look up to defend us, fight for us; the ones we trust to be firm and bold and courageous. They are a child’s sure defense.



Then one day, that defender of our universe is suddenly not the one anymore. In his demand for DNA, he is clearly telling the child that he may remove his protective arm around that child. He may remove his identity from that child; his name, his love, his help, his attention…




There’s nothing that traumatizes a soul like rejection!




Children in DNA dispute feel rejected. They feel unloved, unwanted. It guts them even more when they have grown to love the man they now discover isn’t their father. It tears them apart to now have to change their names, their identities and be forced to erase the memories of a father they grew up to love and embrace someone they may never love or will now learn to love.


DNA and paternity wahala: The children suffer, too – Peju Akande




I remember the little girl. She was confused, didn’t know how to explain to me why her surname changed. Yet, she must have asked a thousand and one questions her mother would never have answered.




Why did you pass me off to the other man when you knew I belonged to another?




Why did you lie to me all these years and made my life a lie?




To begin with, why did you cheat?




What other lies are you telling?




Why doesn’t the one I call Daddy want me anymore?



Why must blood be important? After all, he was the one I knew all these years. I don’t even know this new man you want me to call Daddy…



They may grow to alienate the mother later on in life. There are several cases like this.



In paternity cases like that of the trending FCMB MD, nobody is buying Moyo Thomas’ claim that the children in question do not belong to Nuru Adamu but to the late Tunde Thomas. That boat has since sailed. What we should be concerned with is the children in question. How I wish their photos hadn’t made the headlines.

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Someday, someone whose mother or father had told him/her about this mess will throw it in their faces. “You that doesn’t even know who your real father is. You want to talk to me?” And they would either engage in a war of words, fisticuffs or simply walk away. Whichever decision they make, their day would be ruined by that statement.




Let’s think of the children involved when we make a mess of who the father is because they suffer, too.



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1 Comment

  1. Lydia

    Thank you for a timely, appropriate write up. Really why does no one think about the child? S/he hasn’t done anything wrong but they are the one to bear the shame and rejection. It’s just not fair.
    And I know I’ll sound judgemental and maybe naive but what kind of woman does this to her children? I can understand if it happened before marriage but how can you be married to Mr X and bearing children for Mr Y? I fear such women o. Unless their husband was also a serial cheat or abuser that kind of woman is dangerous.
    As for the men, why will you be fathering children with other men’s wives? Na wa for you too.
    And the hitherto father, I know you are in a difficult position but I wish the Igbo option would prevail – that a child born in matrimony belongs to the husband. That way the child would be protected and the cheats punished alone.


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