Progressives Congress in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, shares his
fatherhood experience with MOTUNRAYO JOEL.
providing for my children, paying their school fees, buying clothes for
them, feeding them and giving them shelter. A father that provides for
the family does not need to beat his chest because it is the normal
thing to do. Providing for them as a father gives me inner peace and it
makes me happy. I also enjoy having an encounter with God first thing
every morning and in the night before going to bed. This is a must every
day and everybody must be at the family altar. Parents are happy when
their children’s trusts are rooted in God. No amount of trials can blow
down a man and his children who put their trust in God. This is the
greatest virtue and legacy any father must leave with his children.
elders. He also taught me to be quick to hear and speak less. My father
taught me how to speak words of wisdom and some native idioms. My father
taught me to always remember home. He said that a man is not a man if
he has no roof over his head he can call his own. My father taught me
early the importance of being at peace with God. This I have passed to
more children. Having a son and spending time with your son, taking him
to games and getting to know him, is an example of fatherhood. Naveen
Jain said, “Being a father has been, without a doubt, my greatest source
of achievement, pride and inspiration. Fatherhood has taught me about
unconditional love, reinforced the importance of giving back and taught
me how to be a better person.”
kids is not as easy as milking a cow, it is an excruciating job and
sometimes it can be a painful experience. But because God has been with
me, raising my kids has never been a thing of regret. I remain eternally
grateful to God for making me a father.
in the past as a father and there are things I would have done
differently, but they are too insignificant to be narrated here. Since
1990, when I got married and in 1991, when my first son was born, I have
put everything I do in the hands of God. When you leave everything in
the hands of God, then everything about you and family would be in God’s
hands. My deep relationship with God has helped me to fight so many
battles, winning triumphantly without losing my head even when others
are losing theirs.
man. You have to walk your talk and lead by example. Teach your kids the
way of the Lord and when they grow up they will never forget. Teach
them the virtue of hard work. Tell them that not everybody they meet is a
friend and not everybody they meet is an enemy. Tell them that there
are three classes of friend: the ones that can pull you 10 years back to
their miserable levels, the ones that can keep you in the same level
for years without going down or up, and the ones that are like eagles
who will take you higher and higher. I always advise my children to
follow honest, dynamic, and character-driven friends who know that two
plus two is four, but because of synergy two plus two becomes five.
kitchen?(smiles). I have people that help me out in that area. But if I
need to get anything in the kitchen, I go there to get it. I do not wait
for anyone to get it for me.
clothes, and clean up my room. In fact, I do not wait for anyone to
clean my room and the toilet in my sitting room. I am particularly
conscious about that toilet; I personally clean it. I do that because if
anyone in the sitting room is served food and has to use the toilet, if
the person discovers that the toilet is dirty, he or she will not want
to eat the food. I do not delegate the cleaning of that toilet to
person. People in my house, office and village know that about me. I
cannot stand a dirty environment. I have trained my wife and children to
We put God first in all that we do; no amount of trials will blow down a
man that puts his trust in God. We usually hold family devotion in the
morning and evening. We have been doing so for 25 years. I am a
Christian and it means there are certain things I cannot do. I am even a
preacher in my church and I mind what I do. I put God first in all I
brought down Lagos. I did not celebrate my 50th birthday, but I
celebrated hers. I am not one that celebrates things but when it comes
to my wife and children, I do my best for them. When I turned 60, I had a
quiet celebration. I love celebrating people; other people’s happiness
makes me happy.
children. There is no better gift than for her to become the mother of
my children. I work for them. I put down money and I am to serve them.
My prayer is that, being the oldest, if God decides to pick anyone
first, it should be me. Between me and my wife, if God decides to choose
any of us to come to Him, I would opt to go first because I am older
and I have seen more years. The most important thing in a family is
love. As a father, one should transfer that to one’s wife and children.
The only way one can show one’s children that one loves them is to show
love to their mother. If one does not show love to their mother, they
won’t believe that one loves them.
not everyone that comes to you that is a friend, and it is not everyone
that is an enemy. One just has to be as wise as a serpent. I tell my
children that I searched for my wife; I knew what I wanted in a woman.
Another important thing is to constantly pray for one’s children. My
wife and I started praying for their life partners when they were
babies. My wife and I have stayed in the same room for 25 years. Inside
our room, we pray for our children.
the rod and spoil the child. We beat them if they go wrong. Our fathers
did that to us and it made us who we are today.
determine the number of children to have. It just happened. We bless
God for our children.
wife and give her all she wants. No man can meet up to me. I provide for
her and satisfy her with everything. But on a serious note, we do not
think about that area. My wife is a Christian, in fact, a Bible scholar.
We do not think about infidelity. We are on the same page in serving
God and we have no regrets.
my third son; it was in the peak of the crisis that arose from the
annulled June 12, 1993 presidential elections widely regarded to have
been won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola. Then, I had no money to pay
the hospital bill, take my wife and new baby home. They had to spend
almost two days in the hospital because I did not have the money to pay.
Feeding my family and paying house rents throughout the period of the
crisis from 1993 to 1999 were big problems. I went to all my friends and
my blood brothers to borrow money, but they all failed me.
saying that they had been discharged; but she did not know what I was
facing. She knew we had financial problems but it never occurred to her
that my friends and brothers would fail me. When I had made all efforts
and failed, I retired to my office to think about my life and all the
troubles. A friend of mine, a motor dealer of Yoruba extraction, had an
office almost opposite my office in Western Avenue, Surulere, Lagos, and
an inner voice told me to go and see him. When I entered his office he
saw my face and said, “Agbalanze, what is the problem?” I narrated my
ordeal and what he did shocked me. He pulled his drawer, counted the
money and gave it to me. The rest is now history.
my first degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of
Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1985. The second one was when I got married in 1990
to my jewel of inestimable value, Dr. Mrs. Grace Igbokwe. The third one
was when we buried our father in 2004 and my mother in 2012. I have
always prayed that my parents would not bury me, but rather I should be
the one to bury them, and it came to pass. Another one was when the All
Progressives Congress defeated the Peoples Democratic Party in 2015.