The Woyingi Blog

All About My Nigerian Father

Dear Daughter,

      this is the first time i’m calling someone my Daughter.

I’m an Ijaw man one of the most powerful tribes in ngeria and oil producing area .in Ijaw language your name is Tamara–Emi which means there is God and really there is is only God that has made it possible for us to meet again in this world.

My Father

My Father

I want you to come to nigeria very soon to know your origin ‘cos you have an interesting origin.

    Like father like daughter.i speak up to fourteen languages . ijaw, english, french, german, italian, spanish, yoruba, hausa, igbo, urobo, benin, calabar, idoma and arabic.

   i’m a security guard earning a very small salary.

This is my father.

My father was deported back to Nigeria when I was just a baby. I only reconnected with him when I was in my early twenties. I have still never seen him or visited Nigeria. He lives in Lagos.

I communicate with my father mostly by phone and through e-mails on a weekly basis. This blog is dedicated to him. From my father’s e-mails, I have been able to gather a detailed picture of his life story which I will share with my readers.

In the Beginning…

My father was born in an Ijaw village called Dibigbene, from the Arogbo clan, in Ondo State in 1949. My father’s mother’s name was Ajolowo. Ajolowo is not an Ijaw name but an Itsekiri name. In Itsekiri this name means “Take good care of her”. She gave birth to five boys and one girl. She died in 1978 while my father was in Canada. I asked my father why my grandmother had an Itsekiri name and he said that her father’s friend was an Itsekiri and had given her this name. She had no Ijaw name. My father’s father’s name was Daniel Fufunitei Oniyemofe and my father believes he was born in about 1900. His father’s name was Juwei and his mother’s name was Oluwabanwo, a Yoruba slave (See: Oniyemofe: The Story of a Name).  My grandfather was a fisherman and a maker of native gin which he would sell to people as far as Lagos. In his travels selling gin, he met many educated people and decided that he wanted to be the first Arogbo to send his son to secondary school.

My Father Makes a Promise

At the age of 9, in 1958, my father saw his first White man. This man was a Lutheran Christian missionary who had come to spread the gospel to the people of Dibigbene. My father was greatly impressed by this White man. At this tender age, he had come to believe that White people were very clever and inventive.  He promised himself that when he grew up he would marry a White woman and have half White children….and eventually one day he did….

Posts about my Nigerian father:

The Road to Arogbo: Reflections on Slavery, Kinship, and Going Home

Oniyemofe The Story of a Name

How I was Destined to be the First Arogbo Ijaw Canadian

A Series of Fortunate Events: How I Found My Father

German, My Father and I

“Auf Wiedersehen”…”Auf Wiederhoeren”: Phone Calls from My Father

My Father is Older than Nigeria: Nigeria at 50

My Father and his Grand-Nephew Tamara-Emo-Emi

9 Responses

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  1. Panther Omowale said, on December 14, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    As-Salaam Alaikum Sister,

    Your story is some what similar to mine.
    I was recently reunited with my Father after 35years.
    I am 37 🙂 Believe me, you need to visit him asap 🙂
    I am always touched by your writing.
    I your father a Muslim?

    • Panther Omowale said, on December 15, 2009 at 9:00 am

      LOL. Sorry I meant to ask, is your Father a Muslim?

  2. Sarah Mkhonza said, on July 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I am impressed with your blog!!!Thanks for the profile

  3. Austin said, on November 20, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    So, when will you go and visit your father or send for him to join you in Canada?
    Please, go and visit him because..Tempus fugit,.. time is flying.
    He will not live for ever.

  4. Goodluck Legbe said, on December 6, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    I am a member of Ijaw Youth Development Association,(IYDA)Lagos, a non Governmental, non violent and non partisan organization,which your father is a member. He gives us fatherly advise in our meetings.We have a National president, National Vice president and four zonal vice presidents viz,1.Ondo /Edo,2.Rivers/Akwa Ibom,3.Delta and 4.Bayelsa states. These states represent where ijaws are mostly found in Nigeria .I am the zonal vice president representing Arogbo ondo /Edo Ijaws. Your father has discussed a lot about you and very anxious to see you.I would want you to visit Nigeria especially Arogbo where your father and I come from,we have a very rich culture and Tradition

  5. Boma said, on January 15, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Calabar is a town and the natives of that town are Efik. Their language is also Efik.. Calabar TOWN originally was an Ijaw fishing post settled by the KALABARI IJAWS . When the Portuguese arrived the coast the The KALABARI fishing people they met were documented in Portuguese as CALABAR people. CALABAR would be pronounced as KALABAREE in Portuguese being that in Portuguese BAR would not be pronounced as BAH but Baree. During the Dutch era , The native KALABARI Ijaws left the place due to the inhuman condition the Dutch treated them. Many of them were taken to Guyana and Surinam at that time. So when the native KALABARI Ijaws left their neighbors who were the Efik moved in to the town and in the 17th century the traditional ruler of the Efiks who was the Obong was moved from their head quarters of ATAKPA to Calabar town. Kalabari became known as New Calabar when the British discovered it. The Efiks knownas MBOKO by the KALABARI people were the neighbors of the Kalabari Ijaw in those days. .

  6. Boma said, on January 15, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I am in Canada as well and an Ijaw from Kalabari Rivers state..

  7. chikaodi said, on February 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I am 42years and do not know my father, am an igbo girl from Awka in Anambra state, Nigeria. My mother told me that my father is from northern nigeria, she said she does not have a picture of him . Am married now with three kids, live in u.k, but am not happy because i need to know him. It’s heavy in my heart. can anyone please help me?

  8. Ernest Tamaramiyenyeseigha Better said, on November 14, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Dear Emi, wonder shall not end.Am happy to read your write up in goggle.Am your cousin from Dibigbene but lives in Abuja-Nigeria.MY Father is Ernest jimmy Oniyemofe.Your told of your visit to Nigeria recently.i wish to know you better my blood sister in Canada.How you know detail of our family History.Am proud of you.Thanks

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