Epunchng - Most read newspaper in Nigeria Sunday, August 13, 2017 - Page 21

Sunday Family August 13, 2017 21 Fatherhood My kids refused to study medicine because I’m a pauper — Ajekigbe A Professor of Radiotherapy and Oncology at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Remi Ajekigbe, speaks with TOLUWANI ENIOLA about what fatherhood has taught him W As a university teacher, how have you been able to impact positively on your students to be responsible citizens? Honestly, many of my students admire my humility, simplicity and being approachable and many of them have bought into it. Many challenges students face are traceable to their homes; being unserious, being unnecessary proud, and almost totally lacking in manners are traceable to lack of parental care. Some find it difficult to respect elders. I talk to them about these.  hat does fatherhood mean to you? In my view, fatherhood means greater responsibility morally, financially and in other areas. A father must be a good template for the children to emulate. A father must be responsible, caring, loving and disciplined. At what age did you become a father? I became a father when I was 29 years old. I was very proud of myself as a young man. Being a pharmacist then, it was easy to get job opportunities in well-to-do companies and change jobs with ease. It was quite easy to bear the responsibilities. Can you share any memorable experience with your father? My father was one of those who believed in having a male child first. He did not know or believe that the father dictates the gender of the baby. He was really desperate to have a male child. He already had five female children from three wives before I was born. I became his first male child. This was what informed my name, Aderemilekun, which means that my birth stopped him from crying. In those days, our fathers didn’t believe they were responsible for the gender of the babies and not their wives. In medical science, the woman has the XX sex-determining chromosomes. So, the woman donates X. The man has the XY chromosomes. He either donates X or Y. If a man donates Y chromosome, his wife will have a baby boy. If he donates X, the woman will give birth to a female child. In their ignorance and desperation for male children, they kept marrying more wives until they got a male child which is usually by chance. As a busy man, what are some of the challenges as a father? I had a rough academic journey before I became a medical doctor. I attended The Polytechnic Ibadan. It was called Ibadan Technical College then. I studied electrical engineering there. I later went to the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, to study pharmacy. I worked as a pharmacist for over three years before I proceeded to the medical school to study medicine. I got married while working as a pharmacist. It was not quite easy combining fatherhood with further studies. I had to study medicine from the scratch in LUTH in 1975. 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