The father of the multiple twins who fled from his home and expectant wife has shown up – three months after.
Mr. Emeka Uche, after days of persuasion by his wife Ruth yesterday returned to a new home – a yet-to-be-painted mini-flat in Ogun State.
The Uches used to stay in Agege on the outskirts of Lagos. Mrs. Uche, a teacher, had two sets of twins. Another set came in February.
Just as this reporter was about to leave her apartment, she came face to face with a light complexioned man wearing an Arsenal jersey, a pair of jeans and slippers, holding two polythene bags.
He looked confused, uttered no word, save for the exchange of pleasantries and made to move away when Hope, the Uches’ former neighbour, saw him.
“Papa ejima (father of twins), where are you coming from? So you are still alive? Please come inside and sit down,” she exclaimed.
Upon hearing ‘Papa ejima’, Mrs Uche rushed to the door. She didn’t run into his arms to hug or kiss him, but stood and watched him for some minutes after offering him one of the plastic seats in the living room.
But he did not sit down, rather, he went straight for his newborn babies. He was seeing the three months olds for the first time.
Uche held both on each arm, smiling and then collapsed into the blue chair, admiring them.
Still looking at the babies, he asked: “Where are my other children? How are you people?”
Hope told Uche that the other children were at her aunt’s house not too far from the neighbourhood.
After about seven minutes when Mrs. Uche seemed to have regained her composure, she entered the kitchen, brought a sachet water in a silver steel plate and offered it to her husband who refused to collect it.
After much persuasion from all the women in the room, Uche finally collected the water and from the way he gulped it, it was obvious he was very thirsty.
As Mrs. Uche sat down on one of the children’s plastic chairs, she asked her husband if he was back for good.
“God I thank you for answering my prayers. So, you are here. You look emaciated. You have lost so much weight. I hope you have come back for good. Please, do not leave us again,” she told Uche, who did not reply.
Having allowed him play with his babies and relaxed for about 20 minutes, this reporter, reminded Uche of their several telephone discussions.
He said: “Like I told you on phone, it was not easy for me. I contemplated suicide on several occasions. I cannot believe I am here, holding my kids for the first time since they were born three months ago.
“When I left, I initially went to the village where I spent a month. After that, I came back to Lagos but stayed with my friend around Oko-Oba in Agege. I still live with him.
“I know that I was not far from them, but I just did not went to return without a better solution on how to cater for my home. I was ashamed too to come back to that house to see them after I’d abandoned them and run away.
“But after our discussions and my wife told me that they had moved, I went to our old house and asked one of the neighbors who had been here for direction so that I could come and see them,” he said, shaking his head.
Finding the Uches
The road to the Uches’ new home was anything but smooth. For a journey that began shortly after mid-day, it took this reporter about two hours to get to the community and another one hour 30 mintues more, wandering around the locality until the parties eventually met at a bus stop.
After the exchange of pleasantries, an excited Mrs. Uche who said she secured a shop and would soon start trading in foodstuff, took this reporter to see her new home.
Situated in a developing area, the newly built bungalow has three flats.
Although not painted yet, the house is in a relatively peaceful community. Mrs. Uche seems to have made some friends already.
Inside her apartment, the parlour and toilet are neatly tiled. The bedroom and kitchen are cemented.
The apartment is neat, though lacking in basic furniture, which prompted the arrangement of their unpacked luggage-clothes, foodstuff and kitchen utensils- on the floor in the bedroom and kitchen.
There was relative quiet, but for the tick of the wall clock and occasional cry of her baby. The new residence is a far improvement on the old one.
Noting that she was eternally grateful to the Lagos State Government and all those who have changed her story, Mrs. Uche said she was yet to consider the school which her children would attend.
“Would I have ever lived in this kind of house with my family and I having a toilet and kitchen to ourselves? I moved in here on Sunday and I am so happy and grateful.
“Aunty, come and see our bedroom; have you seen the toilet? See our kitchen. See me now! I have a room and parlour self-contained. What more can I want, except for my husband to come and enjoy this good life with me?
“People who used to laugh at us for not having food to eat can now see how God works. Even my mother-in-law who has not called me for so long now calls me. I am just so thankful to God because he did not allow me and my children die in shame.
“I have promised God that I will do my best to grow my business. I want to grow and be able to help women with similar case as mine. I want to be able to impact their lives in future as my life was touched and changed.”
Source: The Nation