Where did you grow up and what are some of the fond memories you would love to share?
I grew up in a village called Aba Rabiu in Osun State. It used to be a small settlement, very close to Ifetedo, I don’t know how big it is right now. We lived a kind of routine life. Once we woke up in the morning, we would quickly prepare to go to school and when school closed for the day, we would come home, ate whatever food that was available and leave again for the farm. We used to have uniforms for farming time, so, immediately we come back from school, we promptly put on our farm uniforms and go the farm where we would have the remaining lesson of the day.
Was there another school on the farm?
Not the regular school session that we are all used to. What I mean by that is that we were exposed to two kinds of school. The regular school session and the farming school. The morning period was for the former where we studied the white man’s lessons while the evening time was spent on the farm where we were taught the practical aspect of Agriculture. I come from a very humble background, my parents were farmers who knew nothing but farming and they made up their minds to show us this particular way. As far as they were concerned, the knowledge of book is not complete without the knowledge of farming. Whether their child was a man or a woman, they believed he or she must be able to till the ground and found a means of feeding or livelihood by it.
Did you enjoy the experience especially as a girl?
Why not? I did. It was what I knew, it was what I found even my mother and other females in the family did, so, I saw farming as part of me and followed suit. I must tell you that this has a great effect on my adulthood and my general perspective about life.
Can you tell us some of the ways this has influenced you up till today?
Like I said, my parents were not discriminatory about their children’s sex. They rated us the same way and had an equal expectation from us all. This was unlike the general belief of an African man. As far as an African man believes, a male child is better and is worth a million more than a female child. An African man, therefore, would go the extra mile if not to the extreme, to have male children so as to help him on his many farm lands and also carry on with his name after he might have died. My father, though uneducated or illiterate because he was not exposed to westernization in any form, saw beyond this belief.
He saw and related with all his children equally. If you were better on the farm or you impressed him in any way, he would commend you and compensate you in his own way which would not only encouraged you to do more but would make you the envy of others.
As I grew up, I saw myself not as a second class person as women are generally made to see themselves. I believe so much in myself and what I can do for myself to stand out and be a child to be proud of and that is why you will discover that I am always found in the business of men. In school, I would compete with boys so much that it was only my features that could give me up as a female. I gave boys the stiffest push of their lives such that I was one of them whenever it was time to make decisions.
When it was time to choose a class, I refused to choose arts subjects or go to the arts class because I saw arts as for girls. I never saw myself as a weakling. In any case, I never saw myself in the arts class all those while. I knew the science class is for the tough and the brilliants and I had eyed it, made up my mind to be a scientist and I thank God that I did not disappoint myself.
You know I would have been the laughing stock of my female counterparts and even the males who believed there were some things I did that should have been left for the boys. To the glory of God, I passed all my papers with upper grades and I was admitted into the University. I decided to love mathematics because I saw that a lot of people always run from the subject. I never saw it as any big deal and faced with the way I faced other subjects. It was made for man and not the other way round.
Today, I am the Head of the Department of Mathematics at the Kwara State College of Education; Oro which I believe wouldn’t have been possible if I had been in other fields. In those days, a lot of people run away from Mathematics for other subjects that they believed were easier, so, those subjects, of course, got flooded with people and the opportunities therein became very limited.
I thank God for this and the efforts of my parents at raising me up to be tough. Besides this, generally, I don’t also see any difference in the sex of my children. I am blessed with four kids, boys and girls and I see them all as equal. I believe strongly in the saying of what a man can do, a woman can also do. So, I allow them all the same opportunity while I await an equal feedback. Other things I learnt from my parents are hard work, honesty, discipline and selflessness. We were taught to put others first in whatever we do and these are part of me.
Is there anything you hate about your parents?
Yes. They were too strict, they beat us at will.
How large was your family when you were growing up?
It was a bit large because my father kept a polygamous home. He had two wives and eleven children. I call it not so large because there were monogamous homes where a man and his wife had 12 children.
How would you describe your polygamous experience?
It was not very palatable. Although we all lived together, our relationships was not as smooth and free as it would have been had we all been born by one woman. Polygamy is not good or healthy for children, it breeds lots of havoc. Hostility, envy, suspicion, hatred, strife and all kinds of wickedness are abound. I will never advise or encourage any sane man or woman to be involved in any no matter how juicy it feels. I do not support polygamy because it does promote love among the children and entire family.
How contented are you with this lecturing career?
My dream in life is to build the younger generation and I thank God that my teaching life has offered me the maximum opportunity of doing this. Before I became a lecturer, I had taught in some secondary schools before and the joy of contributing to a child’s positive future is incomparable. Teaching has been my long term ambition. I am a fulfilled teacher, I am proud to be one any time.
What’s your experience been with your male contemporaries?
It’s not been funny but it’s not been any big deal too. Generally, you know men usually don’t like women to lead them but if the leading woman is competent, friendly and hardworking, she will definitely be successful in leading both men and women counterparts.
Why do you think many students don’t like mathematics?
The reasons are numerous, most people are misinformed about the subject and this has made them concluded that it is a difficult subject, whereas it is not. Mathematics demands constant practice which some people cannot afford to do. There is also the problem of incompetent mathematics teachers. Some mathematics teachers just know it but they cannot teach it. Some take delight in scaring their students with talks like, Maths is not an easy subject, if you fail maths, you cannot get anywhere and so on.
This usually plants a negative perception of the subject in the mind of the learner which is not good. Lack of adequate text books is another reason why people run away from the subject. Maths is very easy if we will have the right mindset, it is a subject that you don’t have to read or write voluminous things. Very straight forward and wastes no one’s time. If parents and teachers will take their time to work on the minds of their wards, more students will be in love with the subject.
What advice do you have for the younger generation?
They should be more active and dedicated to their work. The youths of today, unfortunately, are lazy and seek the cheapest way to enrich themselves. This is why we have a high level of crime.
They don’t want to study hard, they want to be at special centres where they will freely cheat and get into the universities. They should believe in themselves, there are potentials lying within them to take them to the top. This, they must know and invest in. They should do the right thing at the right time, they should focus on what they want to become in life and work towards achieving it.
Why do you think most female lecturers don’t have a settle home?
It is nothing but laziness and pride. I see no reason why a woman will say because she is well read and lectures will not give attention to her home. I have been married for over fifteen yeras and I don’t pray for a broken home. Work has an expiry date but your home and immediate family remains yours and with you until you die.
What’s your opinion about full time housewife?
I do not support it because the wife is supposed to lift up the husband’s hands in all areas including in finances. What if the man dies suddenly, how does she run the home without being ridiculed? The sudden death of a husband whose wife is not working can put the whole family into a life of suffering, it can destabilise the entire future of the children and even the wife.
What advice do you have for parents generally?
They should create time for their children, give them solid educational background, sound moral teaching and live a life tha’t is worthy of emulation.