Friday, 29 July 2016

Living alone in Nigeria with our kids abroad is not easy — Isaac & Emily Sakpere

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Engineer Isaac Sakpere to Asabeafrika...'My Children seems not to be interested in Nigeria at all. I fell ashamed of this country'
Couple of Weeks ago, Engineer Isaac Sakpere a former Director of Engineering at Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had cause to invite friends and well wishers to his Santos Estate, Dopemu Lagos (South West Nigeria) home as one of his sons Patrick Brume Sakpere (a civil Engineer) and his British Ugandan wife, Milva all based in London gave birth to twins on May 14, 2016.  The two boys were named Samson Ovie Sakpere (younger one) and David Oba Sakpere (Older one). 

Their arrival brought the number of the septuagenarian’s grand children to 9. Engineer Sakpere is blessed with 8 kids (5 men and 3 ladies) all the boys are Engineers while among the ladies there is doctor, a lawyer and an undergraduate pharmacist presently studying in Ukraine.  However, the 75 years old Sakpere is thankful to God and his 56 years old wife Emily for making it possible for all his children to be raised in a mobile society like the United Kingdom. Sakpere has just one fear living with him ‘My Children don’t want to have anything doing with Nigeria’. He shared this fear with your Africa’s Number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog, Asabeafrika during our encounter with him inside his Dopemu-Lagos- home. His beautiful wife and international business woman, Emily Sakpere equally shared the secret of their 44 years marriage with Asabeafrika. It is an interesting interview you will love to read. Enjoy
Isaac & his Emily; Marching into Grace after 44 years of Love and affection'
Why I married one woman
We started by asking  the Delta State born Civil Engineer who built 70% of infrastructures across several Nigerian Airports during his tenure as Director of Engineering of FAAN to tell us the secret of sticking to one woman for 4 decades without being tempted to take a second wife despite his riches. He answered our question like this “I think apart from what God want us to do,  the Nigerian circumstance would make you feel that it is sensible and economically wise to have one wife. If we know what marriage is all about, why do you want to marry two wives?” the septuagenarian asked with a stern look on his face. He went into what looked like a lecture to this blogger “Sex is not a thing of interest. It is something created by God for procreation. It is not for child’s play. Sex is not for boys, it is for men. You get to a level in life when you now say ‘oh, I am now old enough to be a father?’ ‘Take a wife’. Get a wife. You marry; you have your own children. Because the evil you do to people’s children will be done to your own children as well. It is a reality”.
The GDA with Chief (Mrs.) Emily Sakpere
How I married my wife Emily
Sakpere who narrated how he met and fell in love with his wife, Emily in 1971 said Nigeria was still in good shape at the time he married his wife  “I was just leaving Secondary School at the time and I was about to move to Lagos to study Engineering. I lost my dad at age 6 and my dad’s younger siblings took care of me. My father was good to them, so they extended the love to me. Even though I was almost an orphan but they took me under their wings and made sure I amount to something in life. Life was not really easy as at the time but I took the courage to survive and succeed in life. I met my wife through a distant family member. I think her father who is a famous Cocoa Produce merchant just passed away around that time and she was handed over to a distant cousin. And the man they gave this girl (Emily) to raise, the first wife of the man happens to be my own sister. So, we just got married by accident. Not that we planned it”.
Emily & Isaac Sakpere during the wedding of one of their daughters
God gave me Emily…
On what he meant when he said ‘We got married by accident’, the Canada trained Civil Engineering guru said “I think God had a hand in the marriage because I was too serious to even think about making my next decision to be marriage as at then. I was thinking of my education. I was studying towards getting a scholarship to go and study abroad, but my guardians thought it wise for me to marry before leaving home. So, when I grew up to a level and I said ‘I now wanted to marry’ it was like ‘who do you want?’ and because she was around, she was young and innocent; they said ‘take her’. That was how we got married”. Sakpere added a clincher to his submission “I have not left Secondary school when I met Emily. I left secondary school in 1961 and I got married to her in 1971. So, it has been only her ever since”
Chief (Mrs.) Emily Sakpere to Asabeafrika...'I now God God is still on my side as my son gave me twins as grand kids'
 What has changed with me at 75?
Sakpere shared the experience of what life has taught him at 75 with Asabeafrika “I am 75 years now because I was born in 1941. Well, things that have changed are not too much. I never used to go out that much. I never used to go to parties that much. It is not part of my life. So, I have not changed much. I love to be at home with my family until they started leaving for London one by one. So, I now have the house to myself and my wife Emily”
Chief (Mrs) Emily Sakpere to Asabeafrika...'Every Couple must use love and tolerance to wither the storm of life in their marriages'
How my kids deserted me for UK
When it came to the question of how he felt with his kids living abroad, the Engineer was nearly moved to tears as he regretted the collapse of morals in a society that gave him his own bearing “You see this country is scattered” Sakpere opened up with sadness written all over his face and regrets playing on his tongue. Gbenga, this country wasn’t like this before. When I was in the secondary school in the 1960s, this country was great and was on a path of greatness. My children went to London, listen o. I am telling you this story because you are one of us. My children started leaving for London one after the other. I was in a position (Director at FAAN) and the song was ‘London-London-London’. Everybody wanted to go to London and I said ‘Ok, go on holiday’. My wife had a sister in London and they used to take her along. So, when her own children grew up, they wanted to go to London as well. ‘Go, go and spend your holiday and come back’ but they never wanted to come back again. They didn’t want to come back. I have been begging them since graduation to return home but they won’t listen to me. They are engineers; all of them are engineers except the girls. All the boys are engineers (5 boys, 3 girls) electrical, civil and mechanical engineers. They are all qualified. ‘Ok, come back home and practice but they wouldn’t want to. It saddens my heart that this country has disappointed her citizen. It saddens me that my own children are afraid to leave in their own father’s country. It saddens my heart that another country is giving my children what Nigeria ought to have given them. It is a pity”
Engineer Isaac Sakpere to Asabeafrika...'I never planned to marry when i married Emily'
How I reacted when my first son went to London
Did Engineer Sakpere complained when his children started showing interest in visiting and living abroad? “I am a trained man, why do I have to complain? They go on holiday and they must come back” Sakpere replied. He continued. “Well, I felt a little unhappy because I wanted to train my children here.  I wanted to see them grow under my roof. So, I was a little bit unhappy. Now, the second one saw the first one go and never return and he also wanted to go to London. So, it was now a vicious cycle.  They all started leaving and once they leave and started studying, they don’t ever want to come back again”. “I remember the first time my wife took my first son abroad, it was to be a holiday trip but she returned alone claiming the boy refused to follow her back as he would love to study and practice abroad. I was very livid with her. In fact, I nearly took decision to dissolve our marriage but God took control. I think her late mother came and personally appealed to me to let it be. So, I let it be. We enrolled him in school over there and before we knew it, it became a culture. Immediately after their secondary school education here, they move abroad and that was how we raised 5 engineers, one Doctor, one lawyer and the last girl is now studying pharmacy. I can see their argument but I am not happy they are not here with us”
Engineer Isaac Sakpere to Asabeafrika...'Mariage to me is strictly for procreation'
Will Sakpere appreciate the return of his kids to Nigeria at this moment?
The question nearly brought tears to Sakpere’s eyes but he answered all the same “Why not? I would have appreciated it; I would have somebody to look after me. We are building this structure for them (Pointed to a new structure he is erecting inside his compound). I am building this one for them not because I am looking for rent. I built it for the children so that when they come home, they can go and stay there. I want them home but I also understand their worldview that they are living in a society where everything works”
Engineer Isaac Sakpere's Neighbours felicitating with him over his grand twins kids
Why I love Ebenezer Obey
If there is one Nigerian musician Engineer Sakpere so much love passion, that person is Juju music icon, Commander now Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi (MFR) At the occasion of christening his twins grand kids in Lagos, the official music played by the Deejay and personally monitored by Sakpere himself is Commander Ebenezer Obey’s ever green songs. We asked him why he loves Obey despite the fact that Sakpere does not understand Yoruba language. Hear him “I love this man (Obey) like my father”.Yes, I am not a Yoruba but I have a friend, Oyesola from Abeokuta, we got together to know Ebenezer Obey. We used to attend his big parties and all his shows as at then. I just love him. I wish instead of him dying, I should die”.
Daddy & Mummy with some Well-Wishers during the naming ceremony of Brume's twins in Lagos
Why I want to die for Ebenezer Obey
When Sakpere said his love for Ebenezer Obey is beyond comprehension and that he is willing to die for the Juju music maestro if need be, we asked why and this is  the septuagenarian’s  honest response “Because I have lived in this world I have seen everything I need to see, there is nothing more.  Instead of Ebenezer Obey to die, let me die. I love that man. His songs are just too inspiring. Most of the songs, I don’t hear them o. I don’t even know the meaning. They translate them to me. My friend Oyesola used to translate them to me and we love this man, we love this man (Obey) too much”. So, why didn’t Sakpere engage Obey to wax an album to his name like many celebrities of his time did? His answer; “We didn’t grow that big. We didn’t grow that big; we would have engaged him to do that. We really love him”.
Some Pictures of Grand Children of Isaac & Emily Sakpere abroad
How I lived with my husband for 44 yearsEmily Sakpere
This blog equally spoke to Engineer Sakpere’s wife, Emily on the secret of her 44 years romance with the Engineer and she shared the secret with us verbatim “The secret of my marriage is patience. Marriage is not just about love, because when you marry your husband in the first two, three to four years, it is love that will work for you. But after love, patience is the next tool because the man may do some certain things you may not like and if you don’t have patience you will just quit the marriage. But because I have patience, that is why you still see me with Daddy today and I always advise my children too, to study me and Daddy (Her husband) without Patience, me and daddy wont be together. We would have been separated and we might have become single parents”.
Engineer Isaac and Chief (Mr.) Emily Sakpere with their first son, Engineer Tej Sakpere on a recent home visit from London where he works
How I feel about my grand kid twins
Speaking on the arrival of her grand kid twins, Emily Sakpere said she is the happiest woman on earth “I feel happy and I feel successful because God has given me twins for the first time through my son. I love twins but I never had the privilege of having twins through out when I was having my children. So, with this I know God is on my side, God is with me and God is great by giving me twins as grand kids”.
Some Private Staff of Engineer Isaac Sakpere sharing the good moments of becoming a GradPa twins with him at home
How I received the news
Emily said the news of her son giving birth to twins came as a big surprise to her “When I heard that my daughter-in-law has put to bed, that she delivered twins and that the two of them are boys. I said ‘thank God o, God remember me for giving me twins because I have been praying to have twins but I didn’t make it (She has 8 kids-5 men and 3 ladies). All my years of raising children, I tried to have one, thinking God will give me a set of twins but that never happen until my son now gave me twins. So, I am happy. I am very happy. My son has a daughter as his first child and today, he has two boys at a go. God is marvelous”
Chief (Mrs.) Emily Sakpere...'I never let the disturbance of my husband by young ladies bother me when he was Director at FAAN'
Advice for my son & his wife
Emily gave her piece of mind to her son Brume and his wife, Milva “The advice I will give them especially the wife is that they should have patience. Brume should love Milva that is number one because if you don’t love your wife, even if you give your wife money, the money is nothing. The wife on the other hand must be tolerant because men will always offend their spouses. They offend their wives twenty four hours. They will tell their wives all sorts of things including lies and if the woman is not tolerant, she will run away. That is why you see so many families having divorcees, we have single mothers and many frustrated parents all over Nigeria. Why? Because we don’t have patience but if you have patience you won’t lose your marriage, you won’t become a divorcee. Patience allows you to see things differently and tackle them differently. With patience, your marriage will last”
Chief (Mrs.) Emily Sakpere speaks with the GDA on her love for twins and how she feels being a Grandma of Twins
Why I married my husband despite age difference
On why Emily agreed to marry her husband Isaac despite age difference between the two, she replied “Yes, we were very young at the time and men had their ways of getting ladies along at that time, they will say ‘oh, if you marry me you will enjoy. I will do everything for you’. In his own case, he used to cook for me. Before I return from any outing, he would have made food for me. Yes, we married quite early because he was just leaving high school in 1971 when we rolled the tape. He was a young up and coming engineer and all eyes were on him but he was not on all eyes (Laughter) because he chooses Emily. So, he will cook my meal. He later got a scholarship to study engineering at New Foundland, Canada and even in Canada he will baby seat and take care of the baby whenever I go out shopping. When I return he will say ‘Emily, I have bathed for the baby already. I have showered for the baby. I have fed the baby’ because the feeding bottle and other utensils are always there and my husband will prepare the baby’s food and feed the baby. I think he was an all round man. He dealt with me compassionately and that was why I loved him and stood in the marriage with him”.
Chief (Mrs.) Emily Sakpere to Asabeafrika...'Tolerance is the biggest weapon in marriage after love'
How I managed women who run after my husband
Was there anytime Emily’s marriage to Isaac was threatened and how did she succeeded the trauma? “That is why I told you initially that patience is the bedrock of any lasting marriage. Let me give you an example, when you see a car now and you are admiring the car. You love the car, you desire to have that car, let’s say a Rolls Royce or Lincoln Navigator or any of those cars that glides, you put in the pressure to work for the money and you now buy the car. The moment you acquire that car, that old passion to own it disappears and that is how a woman is with her husband. I told you earlier that in the first four years of marriage, you might still be in a honey moon atmosphere but immediately the kids starts coming and reality starts to hit you, tolerance will be the next instrument that will keep the marriage going. Love has taken you guys from the campus or street or work place into your respective homes but tolerance will be the next vehicle that will keep you going for the rest of the journey. I am not saying don’t love, please, love because even without love you cannot tolerate. Tolerance takes you miles away from noticing each other’s short comings. Now, when my husband was the Director of Engineering, FAAN, he had women who admired him simply because he was a gentle man who was in the limelight. I understood that fact and I never let it get to me. Some of those ladies will even phone me and say ‘hey, we are Daddy’s girl friend o’ and I will just say ‘Congratulation’. That is it. I can’t be bothered because I have no issues with them. I have the issue with my husband and he will always come back home to me. That is the patience I am talking about and when he returns home, he will say ‘Hen, when I leave home, you will carry phone and be phoning women all over the place and calling them my girl friend’ and I will say ‘thank you sir’. And it is the girl friend that called me to insult me not the other way round o. So, it is the same patience, not love because if you don’t love you will quit. So, patience is very powerful. Love will do the work at the early stage of your marriage but patience will take you to the very end of the journey”
Chief (Mrs.) Emily Sakpere with her husband, Engineer Isaac Sakpere in a pose with her younger brother, Actor Richard Mofe Damijo & wife, Jumobi
How we raised our 8 kids…
On how Emily and her Isaac were able to raise 8 successful kids, she told us the full story “Raising kids was fun and at the same time challenging” Emily noted. She spoke further “The difference was the fact that I have an understanding husband who loves to share house chores with me. He loved his kids passionately. I was into business while he was an aviation engineer. If he returns home before me he will help the children to prepare their food. In fact, at times, he will be the one to go and pick them at school. That was when he has not taken higher responsibilities. In the early moments of our marriage, he was doing that before we became bigger and we engaged house helps. I think the secret was that we rationed our activities. He who returns first cooks the meal. It was fun then because a lot of people used to wonder how a man will go to that extent to show love to his family. But to us, it was normal and I can say that is one of the secrets of our 44 years marriage. He loves his children just the way I love them and he does not boss me around. He appreciated the fact that raising a home is a joint effort. That really helped me”
Engineer Isaac and Chief (Mrs.) Emily Sakpere blessed with twins as Grand Children
How I handle the loneliness of having my kids abroad
So, how does Emily cope living with her husband in Nigeria with all their kids scattered in Europe? “I cope because there are certain things I have put in place that is aiding my life style here. For instance, I have house helps here who do things for me. I have stewards, I have mai-guards and I have a driver that drives me around. My children choose to live in that society. They choose to live in a society where things work and I cannot blame them for that. From time to time I do travel to help their wives take care of new babies. I just returned from one recently before this my son gave birth to twins. That keeps me busy. I don’t feel lonely.  Anytime I feel lonely I just buy ticket and take the next available flight to London to see them. For my husband, he is an introvert. Since he retired he has been more of a home person except anytime his ideas are needed by any government parastatal. He is in his 70s and I am in my late 50s. Once in a while we do travel together to see our children and grand children. He does that once in a very long while but for me, I can’t afford to be too far from them. Not even now that they are raising their own children. I have to always be with them to render my service as a grand ma”.
Chatting with Engineer Isaac Sakpere
Me & my foreign in-laws…
Three of her boys are married to foreigners with one of them marrying a Saudi Arabian Princess, how her relationship with the families? “Cordial” Emily replied before going into details “Yes, one of them married from Saudi Arabia, the other ones married British citizens, the one who just delivered is a British born Ugandan. I will say it is a very interesting experience. It is called intra-cultural marriage.  Whenever I go to see them, they are really, really happy. In fact my in-laws are very lovely people, especially those from Saudi Arabia and the British ones. They are very enlightened and universal in their disposition. My daughter in-laws do tell me that they prefer Nigerians even than Ghanaians. So, I was surprised hearing that and I was equally happy. I have gotten nine grand children from them. I am fulfilled”.
Celebrity Blogger Gbenga Dan Asabe with the Sakperes during a recent home visit by their son, Engineer Tej who is based in the United Kingdom
What you should do if your kids live abroad
Emily as if turning herself into an advocate for Parents living with kids spread across the world gave a final advice to parents who find themselves in her shoe “For people of my age, If your children lives abroad and you live here, make sure you have somebody you trust around you, either a steward, a driver or a nanny to keep you busy. With that, you won’t miss them. But if you don’t have anybody around you, and you are living alone it is better you go and join your children abroad. Because without joining them and you living alone without having someone to keep you busy here, I don’t think you will stay more than two or three more years before you die because you will feel lonely and you will feel left behind”.
Chief (Mrs.) Emily Sakpere....'My husband made our marriage work by helping me with house chores'

Daddy and Mummy wth their first son, Engineer Tej Sakpere when he came home visiting from London recently
Engineer Isaac Sakpere to Asabeafrika...'Emily is the best woman i married. I love her because she caresfor me'
One of Baba, Engineer Isaac Sakpere's staff playing with him on the day of the naming ceremony
The GDA meets Engineer Isaac Sakpere at home

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