Born into an impoverished polygamous family with an enormous lump on his chest, a bad health condition, no doubt; and crippled as a child, Anthony Olanrewaju Awotoye, popularly known as Tony Tetuila, is proof that a man’s beginning does not necessarily determine his future. This Oro, Kwara State born recording artiste and song writer is widely regarded as one of
Nigeria’s living Hip-Hop legends
and in his own words, owes his success and life to God and his mother’s love,
bravery, selflessness and prayers.
According to her, nothing can aptly describe the pain a mother feels just watching helplessly as her son dies slowly because she can’t afford to pay his medical bills. Although things had been tough generally for the family, the worst of her ordeals started when she noticed a lump growing on Tetuila’s chest. “I cried every time I looked at him. I prayed endlessly to God to spare his life and I didn’t give up hope.” As any caring mother would, she took him to the places she could afford but no remedy came through until she visited the General Hospital in Ojuelegba,
There, he was operated on and grew up to be a strong child despite the pain and
suffering he had to endure.
Months later, just when she was beginning to rejoice at his speedy recovery, she realised the kid who would later become Africa’s music golden son couldn’t walk. “We started visiting hospitals again and every time a doctor said my son would never walk, I prayed and cried to God. I never stopped telling them that my son would walk again! There was one day I was returning to the hospital and I had to trek all the way with him on my back because there was no means of transportation; (Former Head of State, Mohammed) Murtala had just died and there was a bit of unrest in the country then.” Months after, her miracle came. Tetuila started walking again! “I couldn’t stop thanking God when I saw my son stand up and walk. Till today, I still thank God for him,” she recalls in an emotion-laden voice on this week’s episode of the Supermom Celebrity edition which airs this weekend on the AIT Networks, Galaxy, MITV and other terrestrial television stations across Nigeria.
Raising children in a polygamous home with a husband who cared little about the welfare of his family and also suffering series of domestic violence, Mrs Awotoye had to take responsibility for the upkeep of her children and family. “I was his (Tetuila’s father) first wife but it didn’t matter to him. He beat me so hard one day neighbours came advising me to pack and leave him but to where? He will always be the father of my children and I didn’t want to raise them as a single mother so I stayed and endured the pain.” There was nothing Tetuila’s mother didn’t sell to make ends meet and put food on the table for her kids. From slippers to cigarette, groundnut, sugarcane and even cooking pots, she hawked and sold them all for their sake. She continues, “I promised myself never to let them suffer or turn bad and wayward because of suffering. There was no point begging people for money when I have my hands and legs intact so I worked…I worked very hard. I did not look at the shame and insults from people around us. I knew things would get better one day”.
When Tetuila became old enough and was ready to bring his passion for singing to reality, he made his intentions known to his mom who gave him all the support she could muster. According to the Platinum-Haired-Bombshell as he is also known, his mom is the perfect description of a good and ideal woman and mother. There has never been a time she wasn’t there for him and nothing would quantify the worth of her ever encouraging words of advice. “I remember her always saying that God has ordained me for greatness and so He will keep me even from death. I am everything I am today because of my mom. After God, my mom is next in my thoughts”, he adds. “She has been through a lot for me especially considering the fact that there were so many children in the house yet, she took care of me like I was her only child. My mom has always been there for me.”
Also on this week's celebrity edition of Super mom is the delectable Mrs Ejirooghene Rachael Obareki, the 59-year-old mother of Branama Queen, Erikefee Don Momoh popularly known as Kefee. Mrs Obareki recounts the story of how she lost a child and almost lost another and Kefee too, due to severe sufferings while raising them. Life had never been harder for her. Born to a reasonably comfortable family and being the only child of her mother, she had a few treasures passed on to her; treasures which she sold to feed and educate her children. When things got even tougher, she started a petty trade of fresh corn and firewood just to make ends meet.
According to Kefee, her mom has always been a big part of her music career. It won't be far fetched to say she fanned the flame of success in her right from a very early age when she made her join the church choir and teach them songs as they went for different competitions and won. Even when the scandal of her broken marriage seemed to literally end her career as a gospel singer, her mother who had predicted the sad event never criticized her. Instead, she showered her with more love and supported her every step of the way. Kefee and Tetuila’s mother’s stories are the focal point in the episode three of the celebrity edition of Supermom sponsored by Procter and Gamble.