Hafiz Oyetoro, popularly called Saka in this interview with Toluwani Eniola shares his fatherhood experience and when he married late at almost 41.
What does fatherhood mean to you?
Fatherhood means the ability to perform all responsibilities of taking care of one’s family and being able to meet the needs of the family. It also entails the ability to be emotionally stable and intelligent enough to accommodate physical, psychological and spiritual needs of the individuals who constitute the family. It is also the ability to acquire what it takes to be a father. It goes beyond giving a woman ‘belle.’
What age did you become a father and how did you feel holding your first child?
I became a father when I was close to 41 (laughs). It was not too late. But it was late. However, I felt so fulfilled. I am also grateful to God that I was able to join the league of fathers. In the same week that my child was born, a friend of mine was giving away her daughter in marriage. You can imagine the gap.
Where were you when your wife gave birth?
When I heard the news that my wife had been delivered of a baby boy, I was elated. I was not around when my wife gave birth. I was on a movie location. I saw my first child the third day he was born. I called my mother-in-law to visit my wife at the hospital.
What did you do when you heard the news?
I called my wife to congratulate her. I told her to place the phone by the ear of the baby. Whether he could hear me or not, I insisted I wanted to talk to him. I said to my child on the phone, “Hello my son, welcome to Nigeria. I am your father. I am not around now but as soon as I come back, I am going to see you. You are welcome to my family.”
I think he heard me well because when I got home, he didn’t cry. He smiled when he saw me. God made everything easy for us. All our three children were born without complications. Within five minutes in the labour room, my wife gave birth. My wife didn’t go through much labour pains. In fact, my last child was born at the reception of the hospital. I thank God for His mercies. I have two boys and a girl.
What accounted for your lateness in being a father?
I can’t specifically say why. For a very long time, I was more committed to my career. I was carried away by the demands of my profession. Another factor that could have led to that was poverty. I never wanted to rely on people to take care of my children. I decided to get married at a point that I was able to take care of myself and my family.
But many people assumed that you are a rich man.
You don’t just grow up one day; it is a process. I am not a millionaire, so to say. But I am very grateful to God that I can afford bread and butter on my table. When I said poverty delayed me, I meant that I hustled for a long time. A few years back, the entertainment industry was not recognised. It was our passion that kept us going. It was about five or 10 years back that entertainment started getting lucrative. I was only popular back then but poor. The idea of self-dignity, not wanting to rely on people for support, accounted for my delay.