Mrs. Olubisi Osinbajo, the mother of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in an interview with Punch shares her experience and challenges as a mother raising four boys.
Read excerpts from the interview below:
What was the experience like bringing up four boys?
“It was very tough raising four boys. That is why I am called ‘Mumisco.’ A mother with all boys will have to behave like a boy herself if she intends to train them properly. When they started growing up, I made it compulsory for them to say their prayers every morning. Whether they liked it or not, it was an activity that must be done. They would grumble but I did not budge. It was not easy training them. But we knew that someday, everything would be okay. And it turned out that way because all of them are doing well in their chosen careers. Two of them were once Attorneys-General and Commissioners for Justice in Ogun and Lagos states.”
Can you recall any of the tricks they played?
“One of them went out one day. I did not know but when I went to his room, I discovered that he had gone out. He returned the next morning. My husband was upstairs sleeping when I came downstairs to wait for him. He came in later wearing his night dress and holding his clothes in one hand. When he opened the door he saw me and I asked where he was coming from. He was surprised to see me and started crying when I said I would tell his father what he did. If his father knew what he did, he would beat him and refuse to send him abroad for further studies as he had promised them he would do after their university education. He prostrated and begged me. Since then, he did not do such again.”
Did you influence the career choice of any one of them?
“We did not influence the choice of careers of our children. Our duty was to guide them in making their career choices. My husband believed in allowing his children to do what they have capacities for. When he returned from England, he established the first electronic sawmill business in Ebute Metta to show what he had interest in. By the time we got married, I had stopped teaching. It was the sawmill business that we jointly ran. We would buy timbers and mill them for sale. The business flourished until his death in 1996.”
Is there any difference between the moral training during your days and what we have now?
“Let me start with the way ladies dress today. During our days, we never exposed any part of our body. We wore dresses such as gowns but they never exposed sensitive areas. Our shoes were not as high as we have today. One thing I have noticed is that most of what we wore then is now common today, but worn in a different way. We had our ways of dressing. Everything has changed. We didn’t stare at an elder’s face whenever we were being addressed. Today, children don’t respect elders again. I warn my children never to look me in the face whenever I am talking to them. But if you are looking in another direction while an elder talks to you, it shows a sign of respect for that person.”
What special training did you give your children?
“I trained them to have the fear of God and be responsible children.”
What is your advice to parents?
“My advice goes to the mothers, especially those who have boys to train. They must be very vigilant because sons are full of tricks unlike daughters. If she is sleeping, she must not sleep with her two eyes closed because they can sneak out. I ensured that I always went to their rooms to check on them and pray for them. Mothers must pray for their children always. Also, they should take care of their husbands because they are like children to us. Men are like children and any woman who wants to enjoy them must behave like mothers to them. Even when a man is 40 and he marries an 18-year-old, the wife is his mother. That was how I treated my husband.”
About two months ago, the 82-year-old prophesied that Nigeria will be restored and there would be change in the world.