A 96-year-old retired headmaster has explained that in his days as a young man, no woman could resist his charms.
You’re said to be 96 years old, how did you know your age?
I can remember that my father took me to Ikere Ekiti from my hometown, Ido-Ajinare, at a tender age, to be living with a relation (woman) so that I could start my elementary school at Saint John’s Primary School. That was in the 1930s.
I started school at that time and I was already grown a bit. That was how we could deduce that I must be 96 at least now. I could remember that I wept for almost a week when I got there. I started Class I because I was a little bit mature. I got to Class II there. After taking an examination, I did Standard I and II but had to continue Standard III in Okemesi Ekiti at Saint Michael’s Primary School with a group of pupils from Ido-Ajinare. We would leave on Sunday evening and come back on Friday evening. I went further to Ijero Ekiti for Standard V and Standard VI. After Standard VI, I started teaching at the same Saint Michael’s Primary School. I taught for four years before I proceeded to Saint John’s Teachers’ College, Owo.
After my training as a teacher in Owo, I started working as a trained teacher. I later became a head teacher at Saint Michael’s Primary School, Ilara-Mokin. As a trained teacher, I was full of pride and people respected me a lot in the community. Ladies always flocked around me.
You look younger than the age you have described, what is the secret?
God is the secret of my longevity.
Did you pick your wife among those ladies that flocked around you in those days?
There, I had two female teachers working with me. One of them was from Ipogun; she was dark and fat, and the other one was fair and slender, but walked sluggishly. When thinking having a wife, I had to consider the one from Ipogun.
When did you get married to her?
We got married in January 1955.
How did you woo her?
I was the head teacher then which made me a popular person. Being a teacher then gave one a great chance. Besides, I was living in her father’s house before I wooed her, so it made it easier for me. However, it suddenly dawned on me when I took her home for introduction that like me, she came from a village and I started wondering how the marriage would work. Despite that, I still married her and she loved me.
How did she react when you proposed to her?
Why would she say no? Me, a neat and well dressed teacher! If you saw my dressing then, no lady would see me and not admire me. It was an express agreement.
When you got married, did she live with you or in her hometown, considering how you were moving from town to town as a teacher?
She was with me of course, going with me wherever I went.
You said you were a good-looking teacher, how did you cope with advances from ladies?
I did not look at them. I am a disciplined person and I believed it would lower my prestige as a trained teacher if I became a philanderer. I was known for good principles. Some women didn’t like to be posted to my school. They would say that I did not have special treatment for ladies. And that was true. If you were a pregnant teacher and you came late, I would warn you and tell you that I would not take any action because of your condition. Six months after delivery, such a woman must brace herself or leave. I didn’t accept any nonsense.
How would you compare working with government in the days you were young with the situation now?
Government work was good then. There is nothing good in it now. That’s my view because I believe so much in hard work.
Where did you work as a trained teacher?
I worked at Ido-Ani and Owo. I spent a long time in Owo.
How did you manage to achieve a good balance between your domestic responsibilities and working hard at work?
I’m a man. It is women that cater for children.
But your wife was also a teacher, how did you work out the schedule?
As I said earlier, I warned pregnant and nursing teachers against coming to school late. So, I also warned her against coming late. Though at home, I pitied her a lot because she would go to school and come back with me and then go straight to the kitchen when we got home, while I would be in the sitting room, sometimes dozing off, but she would send for me when the food was ready.