By Adeyemi Ayeku
“Even in the darkest of nights, the sun will still shine.”
The story of Ivy Priscilla is a flicker of hope to anyone who is on the verge of giving up. Here is a lady, who with her six sisters, were solely raised by a single parent, their mother. It is indeed a shameful thing for a man to leave a woman who was once her wife and the children they both birthed because the woman did not birth a male child. That would have been reasonable if the female sex actually determines the sex of a child. But it becomes a wicked act when a man divorces a woman because of that reason. More so, science has revealed that the man actually determines the sex of a child. Blaming the woman for not giving birth to a male is like blaming a person sent to a dry well for failing to bring water. However, this is not the concern of this write up.
Ivy Priscilla and her six sisters were left to be catered for by their jobless mother. As a result of their poor state, they couldn’t afford the cost of education; not even a public school because of some necessities like uniforms. But like ‘Rancho’ in the movie ‘Three Idiots,’ they didn’t allow that circumstance to deter them from being educated. They believed that schooling isn’t the same thing as education, and that the latter can be acquired anywhere, even in the corner of one’s room.
Priscilla and her sisters seemed to have drunk the wine of wisdom on the same table with great men like Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X. They seemed to have imbibed the saying of the former that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world;’ and took to her the latter’s saying that ‘Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.’ Through personal study, they wrote the West African Examination Council and came out with beautiful colours. Specifically, for Ivy Priscilla, after staying at home for three years from the time she had her secondary school leaving certificate, she gained admission into her desired institution to study her desired course, Mechanical Engineering.
The joy of the admission, however, became entrance into a new world of suffering. School fees were squeezed from hard earned savings, not just for herself, but her sisters too. They went many days without food so they could have money enough to buy compulsory but unnecessary textbooks or handouts which served as tickets for their exams in those courses. As a matter of fact, her sisters and she developed ulcer due to lack of adequate food.
Meanwhile, there is no royal path to greatness. At the end of the longsuffering, the determination and perseverance paid them all. Her immediate younger sister graduated in 2015 as the best student in her class. The one after her graduated 5th best in the Department of Accounting and immediately, got a placement in KPMG, one of the notable tax/accounting firms in Nigeria, even without NYSC. The fifth girl who is studying Law recently got an award from her department for having a sessional result of 5.0/5.0 grade point; meaning she had ‘A’ in all her courses.
Importantly, Ivy Priscilla herself bagged a first class degree honours in Mechanical Engineering from University of Benin, being the topmost student in her class and the third lady to have achieved such feat in the history of the institution. Interestingly, however, it did not appear she would achieve it by the end of her fourth year because her CGPA was 4.3; meaning she had to have ‘A’ in at least 90% of all her courses in her final year. With determination, hardwork and resilience, this was achieved, and the rest has become history.
The supposed dad, who rejected his children, might not be regretting the act now. But the basis of such rejection is not tenable before any honorable man. Today, all the rejected children are making sterling marks in their various fields of endeavours. Ivy Priscilla currently works with a multi-engineering firm in Nigeria.
For too long, patriarchy has hindered the mutual understanding required for social organisation and development in Africa. Many men are yet to realise that the gender of a child is never a determinant of whatever level of success he or she would attain life. Therefore, we all, especially men, should revamp our understanding, appreciate and support our children regardless of their gender. After all, what a man can do, they say, a woman can do better. If you still doubt this maxim, at least the story of Ivy Priscilla and her sisters has just proven it.