BY BLESSING BATURE-AKPAKPAN |
Living on a low income as a parent can cause multiple problems especially in the provision of food and shelter, debt and restricted social opportunities. Most times, they affect family relationships, parents’ physical and mental health, feelings of stigma, isolation and exclusion.
Real as they are, there are Nigerians, who combine it with hard work, persistency and continuity to make the best of the worst situation.
In this category belongs Mr. Francis Olasunkami Morakuyo, a 60-year-old taxi driver resident in Dape community of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. He operates his cab between Life Camp and Karmo.
He shared his experiences with LEADERSHIP Friday on how he combined his work with his wife’s petty trade to raise a good family and produce four graduates.
His story: “My name is Morakuyo, a taxi driver; I don’t have another job but I thank God for the driving job that I have. I am married with five children; four are graduates while one is still in school and its only one of these graduates that is working.
“I trained all my children with cab business. I thank God for the wife he gave me. My wife sells and blends tomatoes and pepper with her grinding machine for residents. She has been very supportive with her petty business. At times when the children come home for school fees she will help me to secure a loan from cooperatives and I will pay back instalmentally from the daily income I earn as a commercial driver”.
“This has been the way I have been able to cater for my children’s education and take care of their provisions and other needs in school,” he said.
He however expressed dissatisfaction on the way and manner the federal government shares its intervention funds to poor citizens. Morakuyo said that the money usually ended in the hands of the people who do not really need the petty cash, citing the N20,000 tradermoni to buttress his claim.
Morakuyo said: “This money is targeted at improving the lots of the petty traders of which my wife falls under. She is selling and grinding tomatoes and pepper, I believe if the government were to be fair, the money ought to get to the right people and this would have helped to reduce our suffering and improve the small businesses we operate”.
“Every time, we hear on the radio that the government is giving so and so grant, but it never gets to the poor around us. So I don’t know whether it is mere propaganda or some people hijacking the money”.
“If the government really wants to do this well, they should go to the villages, move from house to house and distribute the funds before going on air to advertise what they are not doing”.
“I am over 60 years and still struggling to meet daily needs, pay electricity bill, feed the family and to worsen it, the children I have suffered so much to train in school, after graduation, cannot secure jobs in the labour market. I still end up feeding them again; it’s frustrating and disappointing, one should not be surprised if some parents behave in some peculiar ways; parents are more likely to display punitive behaviours such as shouting, yelling, and slapping because of the stress and frustration they go through, and may less likely display love and warmth through cuddling and hugging as the society should expect”.
“Imagine I am already 60 and yet to benefit from my investment in my children’s education. When will I start reaping from my sweat considering that the Bible age margin of 75 years? The government should reach out to the poor and vulnerable people, create jobs for our children so that they can become responsible and contribute their quota to national development and also support their parents.