When prayers are answered, particularly those connected with child birth, it is expected that gratitude is given to God for such blessings. But the story does not always begin in thanksgiving and merriment as was the case of a new mother of quadruplets, Nnamdi Mbawike reports.
Bringing a new baby home is one of the most exciting universal human experiences. For most parents, it is a time of celebration as a new generation is hatched.
In Africa, particularly, the birth of a child into a family ushers in ceaseless joy and happiness but the reverse was the case for Ifeanyi Okeke, who chose to abscond when he was informed that his wife, Ugwu Ebere Precious, had been delivered of a set of quadruplet.
The disappearance of Mr Okeke, who used to live with his family at Olympic Street, off One-Day Road, Agbani Road, one of the most remote areas in Enugu State, prompted his wife and babies, Chizaramekpere, Chidiebube, Chimdalu, Chimeremeze, to remain in the hospital even after being discharged. And every effort made to convince him to visit his wife and children at the Park Lane Teaching Hospital was resisted right till the time his whereabouts became unknown to anybody.
The plight of the mother of quadruplets however, since caught the attention of a well-meaning Nigerian who is also an aide to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
Emmanuel Ikechukwu Jonathan and the wife who is a pharmacist, visited the hospital, paid Mrs Okeke’s bills and set the mother and the quadruplets free.
Even though she hesitated to leave the hospital after all these was done for her because she wondered how she was going to cope with caring for her four babies, Mrs Okeke still expressed happiness for the gifts she has received.
“When I went for scan and was told that there were four babies, I was scared. I cried out my life that day, asking God why I should be the one to face this challenge. Now, I’m happy and grateful to God, though it has not been easy.
“In everything, I thank God who has used these people to pay our medical bills. But like Oliver Twist, I am still appealing to Nigerians and the government to come to our aid.’’
She also lamented her situation as a graduate with no job and no source of livelihood. “I graduated from the University since 2013 but I have no job; it is the same with my husband. So, it is really going to be difficult for us; you can see the place we are living; you saw how hard it was for us to get here.”
The Good Samaritan who came to the aid of these poor Nigerian family narrated how a Facebook post caught his attention.
“I saw a post on Facebook regarding a woman who delivered quadruplets, and that they don’t have money to pay the hospital bill, and they have remained in the hospital since May 27, when they were discharged. I was moved and after my discussion with my wife, we decided to pay their hospital bill.
“We believe that doing this is to appreciate God for his love for humanity. It is that love that made Him give this woman four children at a time,” he said.
Mr Jonathan however admitted that more needs to be done for the family and so invited other well-meaning Nigerians to take a cue from what he and his family have done. ‘‘Now that we have brought the children home, we are begging Nigerians to come to their aid. God cannot come down from heaven to do this. There are people out there who have the capacity to address this challenge.
“On the part of the husband, I am telling him to come back; he should come back; he is not supposed to run to anywhere because there are people out there looking for this kind of blessing, but God has given him three boys and one girl at once. Having said this, I call on him to come back without further delay and join hands with the wife to take care of these children.”
Jonathan added that having the privilege of working with Governor Ugwuanyi, he had to take a cure from his philanthropic gesture: “because we cannot continue to wait for him to address issues we know we can handle. Government must not always be called to address issues. Before he came into government he was doing it. So, we are learning from him. This is not the first time we are doing this kind of thing.”
Though an educated couple, it was horrifying to discover that Mrs Okeke was not taken to hospital for the delivery of her children. She expressed thanks to God for safe delivery despite all odds and admits that though her husband has since returned home, he has done little or nothing to provide for her and her children. She however appeals to people of good will to help them financially to enable them take care of the babies and also to move to a more conducive accommodation for sake of the babies.