I have been keeping these letters for 36 years now. They are a series of letters I wrote to my wife-to-be when we were dating. She kept them for about 5 years before I took over their custody.

    I make efforts to keep documents very well. I was recently searching for receipts and documents for the registration of the school about 18 years back when I stumbled on the file containing them. I found all the documents demanded for by the Ministry of Education intact, including receipts.

    My darling,
    I got to school that same day, the journey was not bad though I slept most of the way and there was a lot of time wastage at roadblocks.
    There seems to be relative peace here but the people do not seem to be happy with the results of the presidential elections and people (the Yorubas) are indirectly calling for violence in the next elections. People might make trouble.
    I finally collected that cheque today and I plan to settle my debts as soon as possible. I went to check my exams form and I discovered it is being signed already so at least I will do the exam. I sincerely hope to pass though I will have to work hard because I have a lot to do.
    Thanks for everything you did during my stay at Warri and thanks for bearing my anger even at the peak of my problems. You must have come to realize that I get angry easily; just learn to tolerate it.
    Do not forget to go for the scaling and polishing of your teeth at the dental center and finish those novels fast so that I can buy some other ones for you. There is nothing better than being educated in all aspects and you should have a broad knowledge; in fact, an educated person is somebody who knows little about everything and everything about little things. Do not wait for me to tell you what is happening in the world because I do not know enough.
    This part I am stressing is absolutely very, very important to me and you, because you should be able to educate our children at home and you too should be able to discuss with your mates from other professions, at least, they are not better than you in any form.
    Please do not get vexed, I only want you to be a better human being as you, too, strive to make me one. A modern woman, which you are, is a public woman, and not for the kitchen and she is supposed to be up to her man to prevent over-lordship from him in every form.
    One thing I must stress is that those two of your friends that traveled with me that day I came are not sincere friends, so try and mind what you tell them.
    Felly, I sincerely wish you a happy birthday. I will miss you now and every other hour until we meet.
    I love ya


    1. I started very early to face the challenges of my life.

    2. Financial difficulties plagued my life from very early, but I never took my eyes from my dreams of becoming a medical doctor. My academics remained my focus.

    Never take your eyes off your dreams. The journey to greatness will never be easy. Two things you must avoid are desperation and despondency. My form was signed for the exams in school even though I was owing school fees, although it was not so for others.

    3. Even though I had financial challenges, I still had hope and confidence in my abilities to pass the exams.

    One thing you must never lose is faith in yourself. This faith is built very early in life by having proper self-esteem, not based on what you don’t have, but on what you can become and what you presently have (inside and outside of you). Right from my elementary school days to secondary school, and even higher school, I had very sound education, and academic excellence was emphasized and celebrated.

    4. I knew I had to work hard to pass the exams.

    As much as you need to build a healthy self-esteem, never have an over-bloated view of your abilities that will result in you taking things casually. If you do things casually, you will become a casualty. You can see (if you are able to decipher my not-so-clear handwriting) that in the last line of the second paragraph I stated that I had a lot to do.

    5. Very early in life, I knew my emotional challenges.

    I find it difficult to tolerate rubbish, so till date I avoid meetings and events that will irritate or provoke me. I deliberately put up the funny side of me as a defense mechanism. I hate trouble, but I’m not afraid to insist on what is proper. God has helped me so well. I always ask God on a daily basis that He should help me so that I do not bring shame to His Name. His grace is sufficient for me.

    6. It is very instructive to note that I was putting my cards face-up on the table, very early in the relationship.

    Transparency is very important in every enduring relationship. I have shared my life with as many people as possible. Ministry is not a secret cult. There is the fear that people will take advantage of your openness. Yes, they sometimes do, but they can’t take me from me.

    Yesterday, a scientist from Australia flew to a city in Europe to have unassisted suicide. He was 104 years old. He was tired of living. What is it that you will take from me that will not eventually become a burden to you if you keep taking from others?

    We all try to paint a picture of being good and perfect Christians. I cannot brag to be a good Christian; no man is good. Only Christ Jesus makes me acceptable to Jehovah. All our so-called good works are like filthy rags before Jehovah. You know what that means? The rags women used in the days before sanitary towels became popular. So why do you boast of your spirituality? When you pretend your way into marriage, the cracks and collapse will eventually become obvious with time and pressure.


    7. I could notice the Hand of God upon my life even when I was in distress and living as an unbeliever. This is what made me to seek Him until He found me.

    The love of God for man is constant even though He despises our deeds. The father of the prodigal son saw him a far distance off before he came to him. The father had a reception plan in mind before his arrival. Don’t give up on anyone.

    8. In the fourth paragraph, I was advising my wife to be to prepare to be a modern woman.

    I advised her to go for scaling and polishing of her teeth and to quickly finish the novels I bought for her. She was just turning 21, that August, and we were from the bottom of the pyramid, but I knew I had to package her to suit our future together.

    The womb that will carry your children must have the brains to carry your vision.

    Don’t let your erection give you direction. A beautiful face is not enough to build an enduring marriage and a fulfilling future.

    9. You will also notice that I told her I did not want her to end up in the kitchen and that I did not want to overlord myself over her. I told her that an educated person knows a little bit about everything and everything about little things.

    10. When I read the letter to her yesterday after more than 33 years of marriage, I was amused at her answer; She said, “So e don tay when you don dey tell me this thing!

    Marriage requires a lot of patience, tolerance, and the strong faith that you can make the best out of your marriage, even if you are not the best of people.

    11. I told her, I love ya . . . and that I missed her and would miss her every other hour until we met again. I took that statement very seriously. I have never told another woman that I love her for 33 years. I can’t bring myself to say it as a married man to another woman.

    My wife has grown from that shy 21-year-old girl I was wishing a happy birthday to become a very articulate educationist, pastor, business woman, and a mother of four graduates.

    Marriage is like ogbono soup; it is not all you take from the plate with your eba, akpu, or amala that reaches your mouth; some of it drip out, others stain your table and even your clothes.

    We have had a lot of drippings and stains, but we have learnt to enjoy the meal. My lawyer, Okeya Igho, asked me what events shaped my life that enabled a 23-year-old man to write such a futuristic letter to his 21-year-old future wife. I don’t really know, but I saw today a long time ago.

    God bless You.


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