Twenty-seven-year-old Emmanuel Sanwo-Olu, who filed a suit in the Delta State High Court in Effurun, seeking a declaration that the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is his father has opened up on how he was able to identify the Lagos State governor as his father.
Emmanuel in an interview with Saturday Punch disclosed that her mother had a relationship with a man who came to work in Delta State in 1994 that resulted in at least two pregnancies.
He said: “I used to bear the name of my mother’s father and it is not supposed to be like that. I was supposed to be told the name of my father but it was hidden from me. I was told that the man (my father) came to Delta to work in 1994 and that was when my mother met him.
“The first pregnancy my mother had for him was aborted at a general hospital. She got pregnant the second time, and an attempt was made to abort it but it was not successful. He used to take my mother to hotels in Benin City (Edo State) but he did not tell her about his family.
“He told my mother on a walkie-talkie that he had a sister at the Petroleum Training Institute and advised her to contact his sister any time she wanted to locate him. While he and my mother were together, he got to know my mother’s village.
“My mother told me that he is left-handed and that his name is Sanwo-Olu but I did not know whether that was his real name or nickname.
“My mother told me that she informed the man that she was pregnant. She said he never returned when he was transferred to Maiduguri (in Borno State). When my mother went to PTI to meet the woman he said was his sister, she found out that she had left the place. So, my mother kept the pregnancy and told me to answer her father’s name out of vexation. She said she did not have a problem with the man (Sanwo-Olu) but that he just left her.
“As I grew older, I told my mother that I would like to know my father because a child comes into existence through a man and a woman. But she said though the man was nice to her family, he did not return after he went away and she couldn’t tell why. She also said she did not know whether he was dead or alive but I believed that he was alive.
While I was on a trip, my wife told me that she was watching the news on TV when she saw a man named Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who claimed to have been to the Niger Delta in the past. I did not know the man physically, so when I returned, I told my wife to tune in to the station at the next news hour. As I was watching, I saw the man and I was shocked. So, I called my mother and asked her whether she would recognised the face of the man that got her pregnant if she saw him and she said yes.
“I went on Instagram and sent him a message (to the governor). I wrote that he looked like my father and that he came to Warri at a certain time. I got a reply telling me not to worry and that I would be reached. I knew he (Sanwo-Olu) was not the person that responded to my message but with that joy, I downloaded the man’s picture and those of other men and showed them to my mother. I added other men’s pictures so it would not look like I limited her choice to one picture.
As she was swiping and checking the pictures, she saw the photo of the governor of Lagos State and she said, “Na your papa be this o”. She identified him as the man she had a child for and started crying and lamenting how he made her suffer. I was also shocked and told her I couldn’t believe it because for the years I suffered with my children, I never knew this man (Sanwo-Olu) could be my father. But she insisted that she could recognise him even if her eyes were closed.
“I thought it would be easy for me to see him, so I sold some of my property to raise some money to travel to Lagos to see him. When we got to Ijebu Ode, we made some enquiries, that we were looking for a man named Sanwo-Olu, and were told that only the governor of Lagos was known as the bearer of that name but when we got to Lagos and didn’t have enough money to stay, we had to return to Warri. I realised that the issue was not one that can be handled by me alone, so I took it to court,”