Therapy Session: My Father’s Report Card


Johnson Babalola

“Have a sit Mr. Kilodegan. A cup of tea for you?”

“Thanks Ms. Eletigbaroye. I’ll pass on the tea. I have no appetite for anything”

“Listen, notwithstanding what you are going through, never deprive yourself of food and water”

“Thanks again. Just that I am not happy with my father’s record”

“Your father?”

“Yes, my father. Mr. Naija

“Where is he located?”

“He is everywhere in my country. Wherever you turn to, you will see my father. He is well positioned and visible.”

“What makes you unhappy about him?”

“Well, my father makes decisions, and the decisions come back to hurt us all including himself”

“Really? Give me an example”

“There was a time my father was working as a Policeman. One day, he was on traffic duties. He stopped a man driving under the influence. The man gave my father some money and he let the man go. He kept driving and ended up killing my father’s favourite brother.”

“That’s sad. What did your father do?”

“He regretted his action and resigned from the Police. He became a medical doctor”

“So what happened?”

“One day, he was at work but refused to attend to a road accident victim because there was no Police report, and no payment was made by the good people that brought the individual into the hospital. The individual died. My father learnt later that the individual was his first cousin.”

“That’s unfortunate!”

“Very unfortunate. He resigned and became a soldier”

“To help protect the nation from external aggressors?”

“He was a senior officer but did not last there. One day, he sent his men to beat a guy who refused to allow his men buy petrol ahead of them in a gas station. The guy took to his heels, and they chased him into a hair salon where I was visiting a friend. I asked why they were chasing the guy and rather than respond, they beat me silly. They had no idea I was related to their boss. When my father learnt about the abuse I suffered in the hands of his men, he left the military and became a lecturer”

“Did he enjoy his new profession?”

“He did. Very much so!. He would exchange academic marks for sex with the female students. On this occasion, he slept with the daughter of another university lecturer who in retaliation, slept with my sister in exchange for mark too. When my father heard this, he resigned and became a lawyer.”

“A lawyer? A man of the law”

“A man of the law indeed! On this occasion, he was representing a client but colluded with the opposing lawyer to throw the case in exchange for money. Sadly, the case that he compromised on, would have become a precedent for my stepmother when she was being let go at work”

“What happened to his professional ethics?”

“I guess he did not care. Unsatisfied, he left the profession and became a Judge”

“So, he found his integrity?”

“No ma. He was rude to litigants and counsels, would delay cases and was again said to be corrupt. He dismissed the case against a corrupt businessman who ended up defrauding a company my father had invested in, years later. So again, he resigned and became a banker”

“Entrusted with depositors’ funds.”

“Exactly but the trust faded in no time. He colluded with fraudsters to defraud his clients including his sister. After his atrocities were discovered, he resigned and became a builder”

”Building for the people.”

“He built substandard homes for the people. He did not build according to applicable building codes, bribed his way through every project. One of the buildings collapsed and killed one of our neighbours. My father was very angry with himself and left the profession. He became a Pharmacist.”

“Dispensing drugs to the citizens”

“Yes. He had his own pharmacy. He was doing well. He however started buying fake drugs for sale to maximize his profit. One day, my brother’s friend bought analgesics from the pharmacy and later shared it with my brother. They both ended up in the hospital and almost died. My father upon learning this, sold the pharmacy and got a job as a Civil Servant”

“At least he would not have access to money”

“He did not have access to money directly, but he soon devised a means to make money. For every file that passed through his desk, money must change hands. He would close his eyes to due process in exchange for money and would frustrate those that refused to offer him money. One day, he was on vacation, his assistant, who was used to his way of doing business, refused to sign my cousin’s scholarship documents because my cousin refused to part with money. By the time my cousin reached my father to assist, it was too late. He lost the chance. My dad was ashamed and resigned. He became an Engineer”

“He did well?”

“No. He was asked to supervise a road construction. He passed the road inspection despite knowing that inferior materials were used. On a Saturday morning, it rained heavily. Erosion removed half of the road. My paternal grandmother was on her way home in a commercial bus along the road at the time. The vehicle had an accident, and she lost her life. My father was very devastated. He became an Accountant”

“How accountable was he?”

“He was not accountable at all. In fact, he had helped to perpetuate corruption at his place of work to the extent that none of us could find employment due to lack of funds”

“Did he last there?”

“No. We had a meeting with him and told him how disappointed we were with him. He promised to change his ways. He thought about many professions: Passport Officer, Immigration Officer, Taxi Driver, Salesperson and others but he settled for politics. He became a Politician”

“He desired power?”

“He wanted it so badly. He bribed the voters and was voted into power. During the campaign, he promised heaven on earth. Sadly, he has done nothing to positively impact our lives. The road that led you to our house is in a bad state. The public schools attended by my younger extended family members lack everything you can think of. The hospitals have nothing. Should I go on? For us though in the immediate family, we have access to the best of everything. Three of my siblings are studying overseas at the expense of the state. My father donates state money to his friends when they celebrate birthdays, wedding etc. There is no employment. It is a mess to the extent that we now have no freedom of movement. Yet my father does not care.”

“2023 is almost here though. What do you think will happen to him?”

“He told me he wants to retire from politics and become a Preacher”

“Why a Preacher?”

“He said he wants to atone for his sins, but your guess is as good as mine”

“So, what can I do for you?”

“I just wanted to speak with someone about my father’s report card that so far, has attracted no consequences, and explain the reason for my unhappiness and trauma”

‘No consequences?”

“I meant no legal consequences but of course, self-destructive consequences to us all, including himself. Sadly, he is oblivious to the negative effects of his actions and inactions on his family, himself and, land”

“I am sure there are colleagues of your father all through his various careers that did their work diligently”

“Absolutely. There are many. They have no voice though, but I pray they are able to make their positive impacts felt. My father’s report card should be democratically retired and replaced with a new one where the teacher’s commentary will speak to diligence, knowledge, hard work, integrity, selflessness and accountability”

“See you next week. May you have peace someday.”

*Johnson Babalola, A Canada based immigration lawyer. @jbdlaw