Title: A MAN LIKE ME ( A noteography of a Father To His Son)
Reviewer: Olutayo Irantiola
There comes a time in the life of a young man when he ascertains his manliness
when he gives birth to a child after marriage. As Africans, a man is extremely
proud when he has a son. This led to the foray of ‘Debayo’s writing as a father
to his son. The 153 page-book is about an expectant father who went on an
“adrenaline flight”. His desire was to write a short note on social media pages
but the flow culminated into a collection of notes.
Although, ‘Debayo calls it a
note, I see it as a letter. Each of the note ends in a sign off. As he wrote in
the book, Debayo’s first son was born in 2014 and he wrote this book in a
futuristic manner; this book has all the desires of a father to his son.
There are many instructional
advices that are essential for living which include continuity of family
traditions. ‘Debayo wants his son to teach his children what he has been taught
by previous generations. He states that, “My
mother was a very positive influence on me, I wish you had met her but don’t
worry I will teach you all she taught me” page 9.
Unfortunately, his wife too had
lost her father but from her account written by ‘Debayo, “my PD caould not stop telling the story of how her father would come
pick her from school, bare her on his shoulders and talked with her as they
walked back to his office… I love that act and since your maternal granddad is
no more around to do that for you I will be helping him out” page 12.
Another advice for the son is
putting God ahead in all things. This he mentioned using Biblical allusion in
the book, there were 4 Bible verses mentioned, the parable of the talents,
wealth that develops wings, story of Joseph, Pharaoh, Saul, Nebchadnezzar,
‘Debayo encouraged his son to volunteer for
the collective good of the community. This was through his involvement in
Environmental sanitation in their locality which comes up on the last Saturday
of the month in some states in Nigeria. This is mentoring by examples.
Respect for everyone is also an
advice for his son. Everyone has the trait of getting so full of one another
but with such advice, the son has been taught humility. This was illustrated in
the story of Aunty Kore and Uncle Charles.
Every child must be taught about
responsibility. ‘Debayo made his son know some area that he needs to be
responsible: in his dressing, in his academic pursuit, in handling properties, to
adults and to humanity.
Parental discipline is crucial in
the life of a child. ‘Debayo was able to portray that discipline goes beyond
caning a child; he checked his son’s school bag to find an x-rated magazine
there. He advised him against taking things from classmates. Similarly, he
warned his son against unauthorized borrowing out of books from his study, this
will be sanctioned by purchasing the missing books from his pocket money.
Realities of life was shown in
the book through wrong exposure, loss of jobs, disaster, sickness, drunkenness,
suffering, psychiatric challenges, teenage pregnancies, premarital sex, rape of
a daughter by her father, gays in boarding schools and stealing of other’s
‘Debayo narrated a part of his
growing up to his son, which shows the desire of a father that do not want his
son to repeat the same mistakes that he committed while he was young. He, thus,
laid bare his life before his son and got so close to him. The closeness helped
his son to be free to tell his father everything about him. His father was able
to detect his interest and helped him to pattern his life towards it.
The chapterization of the book
deals with each topic per time, but it would have been expected that the
chapters become longer because the young man has matured beyond short notes. It
would have been expected that the chapters become longer from the time in which
the young man got into Secondary school.
Although ‘Debayo attempted to
answer questions that would have been asked by his readers. The responses of the boy to his father’s
notes. “In the meantime, I want to seek
your permission to do a compendium of your responses to the notes I have written
to you so far.”
‘Debayo knows that writing in another
language in a book, the work must be italicized and also have the tonal marks.
Yoruba language is tonal; a single word can have different meanings, for a
reader of Yoruba language. The tonal mark is very essential. These are the
proverbs in the book:
Ile laa wo kato somo l’oruko-page 16.
Ti omode bamo owo we oni lati ba agba jeun-page
Likewise, there are a lot of
Yoruba proverbs and sayings that would have embellished the book for global relationship.
Some of the missing gaps in the
book also include, details of the siblings are very sketchy, and the detail of
the son’s dating, when they met her parents and the eventual marriage. Every
man feels greatly accomplished when his son is getting married, the age of the
son at the time in which he got married, he is about 18 years old and name of
the granddaughter. However, this is allowed for the reader to fill such gaps.
Despite all that has been said,
this book is well crafted, direct and engaging. Every growing child should have
this as a handbook to guide in the journey of life. As a father, are you true
to your son as
‘Debayo made everything plain to his son? There are a lot of lessons
to learn from this book which transcends ethnicity or gender.
21st November, 2014.