Hilda, class President of the College graduating class of 1994, has been saddled with the responsibility of addressing the class meeting on any topical issue of her choice. Having wrestled with her choices, she settles for a discussion on RETIREMENT given that most of her audience are in their fifties and would be close to retirement from employment or active service. A summary of her presentation is encapsulated below:

“WHAT IS RETIREMENT? The Oxford Languages defines retirement as “the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work “among other definitions. This is the most relevant to our discussion. I would however revise the definition as follows: Voluntary cessation of active involvement in any employment for which some fiduciary reward acted as an incentive.  You may however retire from a job but take on another or be involved in a not-so-active state (semi-retirement).

WHY SHOULD WE RETIRE? I believe there are 3 key reasons for retirement.

  1. To enable the body much-needed rest as we age and slow down our pace in line with our body mechanism. With the advancement in age, the effect of stress can be daunting.
  2. To allow us time to do the things we would love to do but which had been hitherto constrained by our busy lifestyle.
  3. To allow for younger talent to grow and mature. Development of the ”generation next”.

CAN YOU PREPARE FOR RETIREMENT? It is important to prepare for retirement because it often involves a paradigm shift from erstwhile activities and lifestyles. Whether retirement is voluntary (usually early retirement) or statutory (attaining a stipulated age or number of years in service), there is a need to prepare as retirement rarely comes as a surprise, unless in the event of an accident, redundancy, or debilitating illness.

WHEN DO YOU START THE PREPARATION? The usual advice is to start preparing for retirement immediately after you start your first job. Even though this usually looks unachievable, it is possible even as you commence multiple streams of income and start investments that can help cushion the loss of income that is associated with retirement. As a young person, you can start with savings and Insurance policies that enable you to put away monthly sums. The truth is that it is never too early to start building up your financial security. Conversely, it is never too late to start, provided it is before you actually retire. Often, the lack of preparation or inadequate preparation for retirement leads to taking on another job later in life when you should be enjoying the benefits of retirement. As retirement beckons, there is a natural fear of the unknown but that fear can be cushioned where one is adequately prepared.

WHAT ARE THE AREAS OF CONCERN? There are three principal areas of concern and these fears border on:

  1. Boredom – What will keep one occupied both mentally and physically when work stops/ends. How do you handle the “empty nest syndrome.” What do you do for company and companionship, especially where you have lost a spouse either through death or divorce?
  2. Health Challenges – These usually set in with the aging process. Where do you get relevant care and help and at what cost? With age, the cost of maintaining good health rises. Will you need a caregiver or is a hospice an option?
  3. Finances – How do you maintain a responsible and comfortable lifestyle with the loss of regular income? Can you maintain your erstwhile standard of living?


Boredom: Take retirement as the time to do the things you always wanted to do but which had taken the back burner as a result of work. Pursue your hobbies and interests e.g. traveling, knitting, volunteer work, etc. If it brings in a little income, it is a plus. Use the time also to tidy your affairs e.g. legal documentation for your investments – stock, property, investments, etc. Remarry for companionship, spend more time with the grandchildren, foster a child, etc.

Health Challenges: Sign up for Medical Insurance through the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) which are private companies that provide Health Insurance on payment of an annual premium. As in all insurance, this entitles you to medical cover as contained in your policy. This insures you against serious ailments and illness whereby the HMO bears the cost provided your premium is fully paid and up to date. Although there is a National Health Insurance Scheme in Nigeria it is largely ineffective. However, more recently Lagos State commenced a Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) towards affordable health coverage for Lagos State residents.

Finances: Over the years, a diversified investment portfolio comprising any or a combination of the following is important – Rental income, Equity, Money market Instruments, Commodities,  foreign investment, and most recently cryptocurrencies. Where in doubt, employ the services of a Financial Adviser/Consultant.

Usually, when you retire from a structured work environment, you are entitled to end-of-service benefits whereby you can opt for pension or annuity payment through an insurance firm. The pros and cons of each option must be carefully weighed in determining your preference. Kindly discuss this with your PFA (Pension Fund Administrator).

Retirement should signify your best years ever but this can only be so if adequate preparation is made for this period of one’s life.

Thank you for listening.”




Omotara is an upwardly mobile banker with a First generation bank and is married to Abdul. They have two lovely children aged four and two respectively, capably handled by a reliable and efficient maid named Emem. Both children are usually taken to their  school nearby by Emem and picked up after school hours by her.

Trouble erupted when Emem lost her mother and had to travel to Eket for the burial. This took her away for a whole week. On the second day of her absence, Omotara woke up early, prepared the children for school, fixed breakfast for all and dropped them off at school with instructions to Abdul, to pick them from school and drop them off at their grandma’s place, from where she would pick them on her way home. This was agreed by both parties seeing as Abdul, a partner with a Structural Engineering firm ten minutes drive from home, worked flexible hours.

Omotara was shocked to receive a call from the children’s school at about 4pm, three hours after school was over, informing her that the children were yet to be picked up. She placed a call to Abdul who unfortunately could not be reached so she had to truncate her meeting so as to pick them to grandma’s place. She returned to work and later picked them from grandma’s house en-route home.

She arrived home only to find Abdul in front of the television munching on some fruits and sipping some water.  Upon seeing her, he immediately demanded his supper and Omotara barely reined in her anger as she went into the kitchen to fix dinner for both of them.The children were already bathed and fed at grandma’s place. She gasped in exasperation as she discovered that the breakfast dishes/plates were still in the sink unwashed. She immediately set dinner in motion while doing the dishes and succeeded in putting the children to bed. After serving Abdul his dinner, she walked into their bedroom to find his work clothes strewn all over the bed which had not been made since they left home. At that point, anger erupted and she summoned Abdul with a loud yell. The following exchange then occurred:

Omotara: “Abdul…you are damn irresponsible. First, you did not pick the children from school like you were supposed to and you have not followed up to find out when, and how they were picked up or where they were. Worse still, you got in long before I did yet you did not think of rendering assistance by doing the dishes or even the bed. Instead, you sat waiting for me to come in and get you dinner. You are so inconsiderate and uncaring. Emem is away and you know the nature of my work, the least you can do is render a little assistance to ease the burden.”

Abdul retorts: “ I don’t understand what the ranting is about! Since when did it become a man’s responsibility to keep home. Yes, I forgot to pick the children, after all, it is not part of my usual routine and it was an honest omission.  My responsibility to you as a man is to provide your financial needs and I do that so that makes me responsible. I also satisfy you sexually I believe. What more do you expect from me? It is your business to meet my needs, take care of the home and children and it is up to you to find a way of coping”.

The altercation got Omotara thinking deeply as to the roles of husband and wife and she found herself recalling an earlier conversation with her childhood friend Derin, who was insistent on finding a husband with the “right attitude to roles in marriage”. Derin touted a theory that most young men are spoilt and lack a sense of responsibility as well as the ability to be selfless. In Derin’s words “They are self centred , self indulgent and self seeking, putting their comfort and interest above every other person inclusive of their children. They feel marriage is all about providing financial support and sexual obligations rarely realising that the woman is in need of intimacy not sex, she expects respect for her person, assistance in working as a team, quality bonding conversations and outings etc”. Omotara however juxtaposes this view against the roles and responsibilities spelt out to them by the Chairman of their wedding reception – exactly what Abdul had recounted during their exchange.

Omotara also remembers one key sentence that resonates with her – “Make Christ the centre of your marriage”. Christ preached LOVE and the bible teaches in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 that “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it does not dishonour others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”. With that, she recalls one of her favorite Children’s Church choruses – “J-O-Y this is what it means, Jesus First, Yourself last and Others in-between”. She concludes her reflections with a self realisation and calmness that to experience JOY in her marriage, she must place Christ first and her husband before herself. She can exhibit the fruits of the Holy spirit as contained in Galatians 5:22-23. These are : Love, Joy, Peace,Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control.  She then vows to apologise for her outburst and await a suitable time to discuss her concerns with Abdul in a more amenable manner.




It’s Fathers Day and a day to celebrate all the special men in our lives. Our Fathers, Husbands, Partners, Male friends and Sons. May the Lord make their lives worthy. Without men, women wouldn’t exist or show me a woman not conceived through a man. I doff my hat to all the fathers who understand the true calling of FATHERHOOD. God Bless You! The below poem is for you.




Aduke, Billy and Eki sit together for a chat on the deck of their Mediterranean ship cruise, sipping smoothies and juices with finger foods. Their school leaving set had arranged this reunion cruise to mark 50 years of graduation from high school. They are all in their late sixties and generally relaxed. After reminiscing over their days in school, they settle down to catch up on their current realities and status. Aduke starts by sharing the pictures of her four adorable grandchildren which are captured on her I-pad. A retired school teacher, she explains that they are the high point of her days since her husband passed on about a decade ago. She explains that her daily routine comprises waking up at 7a.m to perform her daily devotion after which she tends her garden of flowers and vegetables. Breakfast follows at about 10 a.m. consisting of a fruit of choice and healthy portions of bean derivatives like bean cake (akara), moin-moin, or ewa agoyin with corn pap or oats. After that, she updates herself with posts on her phone and e-mails before reading the news. By 1 p.m. she prepares for the driver to pick up the grandchildren from school starting with those in kindergarten, primary and secondary school, in that order. Once they are back from school, it is both physically and mentally exhausting to keep pace with their energy, their discussions, assignments, intellectual discourse, etc. She manages to take a one-hour nap at 5 p.m. She then has an early dinner at about 6.30 p.m. consisting of a decent mix of vegetables with chicken or fish. She wishes the children goodnight as their parents pick them up and she winds down by watching TV or a movie before taking her nightcap of cocoa at bedtime which is 11 p.m. Of course, she finds time for social activities especially on some weekends while her mid-week and Sunday worship service are a must.

Billy responds to Aduke with, “no wonder you are glowing with joy and fulfillment. I have always wondered about the flowers and greenery on your DP (Display Picture). They would make the best florists envious”. “As for me, since my retirement as Executive Director with the bank, I started a Financial Consultancy business which keeps me on my toes. I currently employ a staff complement of 12 persons although I am gradually taking a back seat in running the business. I have 2 senior partners and only handle referrals when I work twice in the week. I cannot miss my early morning one-hour daily walk at about 7 a.m. Exercise energises me and stimulates me mentally. My interaction with my staff who are largely youth keeps me updated and relevant to today’s world. Of course, I keep spiritually in tune by observing my “Salat” and “Jum’a” prayers and have been observing a Mediterranean diet for the last five years which has kept my weight, blood pressure and cholesterol in check. My annual medical check-up has so far given me a clean bill of health and I pray this continues. Hey Eki…the big fish, do you still swim?”

“Our darling boisterous Senior Prefect Billy, yes I still swim, though not nearly as much as I used to” Eki responds with a laugh. “You know as a Geriatrician, I take care of all of us now, in quotes. My work entails medical care of the elderly and treatment of age-related ailments. One thing however stands clear, aside from genetically transferred ailments, our quality of health is largely dependent on making the right choices e.g., eating the right foods, abstaining from harmful habits, developing the right exercise regimen, Proper sleep and rest habits, indulging in mental stimulation, maintaining spiritual and social relationships, etc. In simple terms, indulging in the right lifestyle, devoid of unnecessary stress and rancour. Even where we have a genetic predisposition to an ailment, it can be managed by adopting the right lifestyle changes”.

Eki continues “clearly, we all have different thresholds and must each discover what works for us and gives us the right level of wellness. My rule of the thumb is to do everything in moderation having in mind that what I consider moderate, you may find excessive. Some of the more general rules are as follows:

  1. Reduce consumption of red meat and include more vegetables and fruit in your diet. Vitamin Supplements are also a useful addition. Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
  2. Reduce sugar and salt and other additives and derivatives as well as the consumption of flour products.
  3. Try to exercise moderately daily. An exercise regimen that does not involve much strain is recommended e.g., walking, household chores, gardening, etc.
  4. Sleep for about 8 hours daily.
  5. Indulge in mentally stimulating exercises including games and quizzes that require mental involvement.
  6. Social interactions and giving back to society/the community.
  7. Regularly check your vital signs and have a comprehensive annual medical check-up.
  8. Spiritual engagement on a regular basis.

However, as in all things, we can only play our part and trust God for the rest”.




Gender-based violence is a topical issue with much emphasis placed on the physical aspect which is usually more visible and evident. However, emotional abuse is much more prevalent and just as damaging as physical abuse, more subtle, but impactful and often resulting in gaslighting and the erosion of self-esteem. Let us take a simple definition of Emotional abuse. It is defined as a way to control another person by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame or otherwise manipulate them. In general, a relationship is emotionally abusive when there is a consistent pattern of abusive words and bullying behaviour that wear down a person’s self-esteem and undermine their mental health. If you feel wounded, frustrated, confused, misunderstood, depressed, anxious, angry, or worthless anytime you interact, chances are high that your relationship is emotionally abusive. Emotional abuse can take a variety of forms e.g., accusations of cheating or other signs of jealousy, possessiveness such as isolating you from family and friends, gaslighting, shaming or blaming, the silent treatment, name-calling, verbal abuse, trivializing the person’s concerns, withholding affection and attention among others.

Take the case of three friends on a girls’ lunch date. After exchanging their usual pleasantries and making their orders, they quickly settle down to share their frustrations as a coping mechanism in their marriages.

Celeine sighs as she confides in her friends Peri and Alero, that Jim (her husband) has recently thwarted her effort to take a job insisting that she cannot be allowed to work. Celeine who has a Master’s degree in ICT was a course mate of Jim’s during her Master’s program. Shortly after marriage, Jim insisted that Celeine forget about work as he would provide all her needs and luxuries, she should concentrate on keeping home, administering to his needs and taking care of the children. This she accepted and obeyed but as the children became more independent with age, all efforts to obtain his consent for employment have been fruitless. “What is more frustrating is that I depend on him for everything and I mean everything, down to cosmetics, feminine needs, etc. Consequently, if I need to help my younger ones, family members, or friends, I must ask him and I am subject to his whims and caprices. Sometimes, some requests are not only rebuffed but accompanied by insults and abuse. It is so humiliating. “

Peri quickly interjects, “at least Jim provides your needs. Gogo (my husband) is quite the opposite. Since losing his job over eight years ago, he has been totally dependent on me for everything. He does nothing except laze around the house leaving every expenditure for me to handle, whether major or minor. I even cater to his personal needs – the shirt on his back…I buy it. Yet, he is overly jealous and possessive. Career-related engagements, training workshops and meetings are met with a strained relationship. Innuendos and insinuations of infidelity are made regarding my upward advancement. The strides I have made in terms of upward mobility are at a cost and were only achieved by me shutting out all the negativity and rancour from home. The worst part is that he constantly cheats on me and when accosted, attributes it to the time I spend building up my career and meeting our financial needs. I even got a few slaps until I threatened to walk out of the marriage if the physical assault continued.”

Alero quietly adds ‘’hmm, with Akpan, you don’t argue or chastise him regardless of the offence. The reaction is to cut off all financial support especially neglecting his responsibilities to the children and starving me of intimacy. He is an unrepentant womaniser with absolutely no scruples and anytime I question his activities, he turns the tables on me telling me I am illogical and making me lose confidence in my reasoning abilities. He then proceeds to cut off his financial support, stops eating at home and neglects his other responsibilities in “protest”. Previous attempts to involve members of his extended family in resolving issues only worsened the situation.”

Madam Jenny, the owner of the Bistro where they met, walks up to their table and mentions that she had unwittingly overheard their conversation and had identified that they are all victims of emotional abuse in their marriages. She informs them that this form of abuse is quite common though more subtle and less reported than the physical form, but equally lethal. It attacks the mental health of the victim.

She states “In prior times, our mothers would advise that you bear it in patience. This has however been known to have psychological consequences. It is important therefore to do the following:

  1. Recognise it for what it is. Emotional abuse/violence.
  2. Stop trying to please the abuser. Concentrate on your wellbeing”. She continues,

“Celeine, I think you should take up a job. You can try to convince Jim with superior arguments as to the essence by massaging his ego, using persons with persuasive authority over him or simply taking the bull by the horns and expecting things to settle later.

Peri, do not try to assuage Gogo’s feelings when you are certain his accusations and reactions are borne out of jealousy. Communicate your boundaries as you did with the physical abuse (slaps) and become oblivious to his abuse. If he continues and you can’t handle it, seek the assistance of a Marriage Counsellor and if that fails, walk away.

Alero, unfortunately, your husband is gaslighting you. Gaslighting occurs when someone is manipulated by psychological means into doubting their own sanity. It is reverse psychology. Counseling should help and if it doesn’t you may need to work out an exit plan.”

All three of them thanked her and promised to consider her advice.




All the hype and excitement of MOTHER’S DAY is over but that begets the question, WHO REALLY IS A MOTHER? While listening to a Mother’s Day message recently, I found myself asking the above question among others.

THE ORIGIN: Both the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran reverence the role of motherhood and so do our various cultures. Gen.3.16 NLT version of the bible refers to the procreative role of the woman and states “…I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy and in pain, you will give birth”. Similarly, the Holy Quran 46:15 refers to the pain of birthing children. Both books also refer to the process of weaning children with references to Isaac and Samuel in the Bible and to the Quran 31:14. Does it, therefore, follow that all women are mothers and conversely so?

To enable us a better understanding, we will consider some definitions and roles.

DEFINITIONS: The keywords in that question are “Women” and “Mothers”.

A WOMAN is an adult female human being as defined by Oxford languages and Google.

A MOTHER on the other hand can be defined as a woman in relation to her child or children (Noun). Please note that it does not prefix child or children with the word biological.

The verb definition however describes what she does as a female human being who either gives birth to an offspring and/ or brings up (nurtures and mentors) a child with care and affection. This, therefore, presupposes that not all mothers give birth to offspring. Some only nurture and mentor other women’s children.

CLASSES OF MOTHER: There are therefore a minimum of five categories of mothers who play the role of mothering and every woman falls into a minimum of one category:

  1. Biological Mother (She could be married or single)
  2. Adoptive Mother (Legal adoption)
  3. Foster Mother (Informal arrangement)
  4. Stepmother (A result of marrying a divorced or widowed father)
  5. Spiritual Mother (One who superintends over spiritual matters)

Do we, therefore, see mothering as a Task or a call?

A task is a piece of work to be done or undertaken. A Calling
on the other hand stems out of an internal passion requiring responsibility and commitment to making an impact in the lives of the children you mother. It is a passion from within which pervades the exterior in action, impacting lives.

A quotation on The Call to serve our families culled from the book – The Leadership Gap – by Lolly Daskal reads “Make sure those you love know you’re there for them, even when they are not there for you. If you are called to serve you show up with the best of what you have to offer – and when it comes to serving our families, there’s no such thing as going too far”.

Therefore, the most important function common to all classes of mothers is that of nurturing and mentoring with care and affection. In the process of training a child, discipline is often necessary, and most often it is better appreciated later in the child’s life, Proverbs13:24 says “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. A mother who exhibits the right mix of love attention and discipline will have her children rise up and call her blessed and her memory will continually be a blessing.

THE POSER: Gbeminiyi is confused as to who to invite for her graduation. She is entitled to only one invitee. Her mother left her with her father when she was six years old and eloped with a lover. Her stepmother played the role of a loving mother and even paid her fees when her father passed on. Her mother has been reaching out to her in recent times and she is torn between acknowledging her Stepmother and her biological mother especially since she must choose one over the other for the occasion. A difficult decision but what would you advise? Please place your comments on the blog or revert to me in person through

I doff my hat to all TRUE mothers and potential mothers as well as fathers who have had to play dual roles as father and mother. May their labor of love never go unrewarded.