Abimbola Bamgbose who was recently called to bar, was raised by illiterate parents who are now deceased. Her father refused to sponsor her education beyond primary school because she was a girl child. Her pampered elder brother disdained her. She suffered low self esteem. But in this interview with TheseTimes, she narrates how she pulled through the odds to become well educated.
Tell us about your family background
My late father and mother weren’t educated at all. I was the first daughter in the family of four children and the second child.
Tell us about how your growing up was like and your Father’s attitude to girl-child education
When I was born, my mum was so excited. But for my dad, I was just a girl child. My dad had a literate friend who discouraged him from investing in a girl child. My dad would always say that the only thing he owed all his female children was the primary education; so, every one of us including my younger sisters went to the best primary school.
But when it was time to attend secondary school, my dad said he didn’t have resources to waste on a girl child because she would eventually disgrace the family by getting impregnated by a lowlife. So, he only waited the day my mum would tell him that the deed had been done.
READ ALSO: COVID-19: Zero Cases Recorded In Five States
I had only my mum by my side who believed in her girls. She strived hard to use part of her soup allowance to get me enrolled in a public secondary school.
Growing up for me as a child was really tough. I felt the discrimination. I was made to do virtually all the house chores because I was a girl child. Even my mom wouldn’t stop reminding me of me of my gender. She would eulogise her precious son, telling him he was the pillar of the family and that he was that made her remain in the marriage. She called him her king. At a point I became envious of my big brother due to the preferential treatment given to him.
How was your mum able to sponsor your education?
She did hair for children in the area, she hawked. I also joined her in the hawking too. But it wasn’t for a very long time. After she got a sales spot, she didn’t allow me hawk anymore .She operated the mamaput trade which is commonly known as buka.
What was the psychological impact of father’s attitude on you?
It made me feel less of myself. It made me cry. And I wanted to be a boy child too, especially when my mum reminded me not to disappoint her. She vowed to ensure I complete my secondary school education no matter the cost though my dad didn’t believe in girl-child education. She said she didn’t also have the opportunity to go to school too because her own father also didn’t believe in a girl child.
How did you encourage yourself go to a university to study Law?
After I graduated from my secondary school, I went into teaching. I saved money to enroll myself in a vocational training; tailoring. I later met one Esther who told me that I was intelligent and asked what I would love to become If I wasn’t a tailor. I thought for a while, and replied, “nothing.” She asked why. I said I had no sponsor. I told her that I just wanted to make more money from the teaching job so as to rent a shop for my tailoring trade, and then get married and have children. She said I was shallow minded and that not having a sponsor wasn’t an excuse. She asked me to go and dream and get back to her as soon as possible. I went to think over everything we had discussed and I remembered all the treatment I got from my dad, the way my elder brother bullied me, how he’d always yell at me. He’d say, come on, shut up! What do you have to say? Don’t you know you’re a girl? “I then remembered one man who was a lawyer in the community and the respect people gave him. I wanted to be given some respect too. I did’t want to be bullied anymore. I wanted my dad to know that I was also important. I wasn’t asking for too much. I just wanted fair play. So, I related my dream of becoming a lawyer to her. And she encouraged me to pray and work towards it. So, I diverted all my savings to my education.
So, where do you see yourself five years from now?
I want to see myself as a junior partner in a renowned law firm in Nigeria.