“When I got into UniLag, I attended an interview to join JCI, that was when I first met the man that would later become my husband. I was in 100 level while he was in 400 level. He was the president of the organization and, coincidentally, he was also in my department too.
At the time, so there wasn’t enough time to give room for much engagement on campus because he was well on his way out of the university while I was getting in; however we were good friends. To me, he was just a nice ‘Mr. President’ and our friendship lasted till I graduated.
After I graduated from UNILAG, a bunch of friends from campus and I formed a group – it was 9 of us (five girls and four boys); we called ourselves “classmates”. There was no WhatsApp at the time and so we used to communicate on the group via emails by forming threads of conversations on email. Someone would narrate how their day went and then another person would reply. On and on like that we’d go on, just having conversations and we did this every day.
Back then, I used to be the first person to get to the staff bus because where I lived was far from where I worked. While in the staff bus, I’d send “good morning” in different languages to the Classmates group.
Sometime in 2005, after a month of doing this, I decided to conduct a test on the group. I made a list of ‘good morning’ in different languages and I asked everyone to attempt to identify what languages I had compiled in the quiz. I also promised that whoever won would get two tickets to the cinema.
Two people didn’t participate; out of the remaining 6 who did, someone got the highest but I knew he cheated. How did I know? In the list of good mornings, I had included a language I had never used in our group thread before and this person got it so I knew that he had used Google to figure it out. The next person with the highest score was Mr. President.
Winning the quiz, and knowing that two tickets to the cinema were up for grabs, everyone felt that, finally, we’d get to know who Mr. President’s girlfriend was; because on the group, we used to disturb him to introduce his girlfriend to the group and we would all just laugh.
When it was time to claim his ticket, that’s how Mr. President said that he would like to go to the cinema with me. My first response was “me bawo? I am the one offering the ticket na!” but in the end I agreed. After the movie, he formally asked if we could be in a relationship and I agreed to go ahead with him. So let’s just say that I paid for our first date.
My definition of love is very different to many people’s definition of love. For me, you CHOOSE to love. I didn’t have butterflies in my tummy or get awashed with gish-gish emotions. For me, he was just a good man with his head screwed on tight, he was a go-getter and he was from a good background. I don’t know what he’d say if you asked him sha because he always says that he’s had his eyes on me since; but for me, no butterflies in my belly.
Another thing I asked myself was “can this guy be a good father to my children?” Once the answers to all these questions were yes, we started dating.
In 2006 we went together for vacation in the UK. I stayed at my Aunt’s while he stayed at his sister’s; and even though our locations were quite far apart, we would meet up every day. One day, I was visiting him at his sister’s place and while watching TV he asked,
“What would you say to us getting married?”
I looked at him and asked, “are you serious or are you joking?”
Right there, I answered, “That will be a great idea”. That was it – no ring, no kneeling down, no audience to ‘awwwn’ and cheer.
Because I had made all necessary considerations before even dating him, I didn’t have to think too much about the proposal. It was when we got back to Nigeria that I chose the ring I loved and then he went ahead and bought it.
I am practical person – I don’t make life decisions based on emotions. I may decide to buy a bag or a shoe based on how it makes me feel, but when I have to make life decisions, I cut out my heart and use my brain. I always knew that a decision like who I marry, I have no going back once I made the choice so I needed to choose right and the only way to do that was with my head.
So, while we were dating, there was almost nothing that we didn’t have a conversation about and two years after, we got married. We’ve been married for 12 years going on 13 now and I can tell you there has been no surprise; he has done nothing in the marriage that caught me unawares. Sometimes we disagree on issues but because our basic core values are in sync, we always easily resolve our issues and consolidate on our core values.
In the end, love is not what you say, it is what you do. Love is a verb.”
(Ibadan, 2020)

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