My name is Jesutola Monisola Ogunlela. I was born on 3rd June 1961 at a time when both parents were eagerly expecting a male child.
They had buried four male grown children in succession and the fear that they might not have any other male child was high when I happened to be a girl child.
I was born in a little town between Ile-Ife and Ilesha, Osun State. I’m the second surviving child, alongside seven siblings comprising five girls and three boys.
My mother was involved in an accident on her way from Igbira land, where she had travelled to buy gari to sell in bags back home.
Bags of gari pressed her down, but sympathisers rescued her out of them. She was taken home in a vehicle and she fell into labour few hours later. She gave birth at home under the nursing hand of her husband, yet she survived with the baby.
My father’s joy was cut short when he realised that I was a female. I had taken his manly face at birth. I was told the old man wept profusely when he realised that it wasn’t a male after all.
Both parents were members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Father was of the strict stock. A son from a warrior family in Ondo who later settled in Ilesha, at the insistence of the then Oba who happened to be a close friend of his father, Ashibaogun.
Father was converted from the Anglican Church, he hated the idea of Ogboni (cult) members being seated in the front in the Anglican Communion.
Father was an elder in the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect when I was born, and as an elder, much was expected of him vis a vis bringing up his children in the nurture of God and the doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect. He ppassed away in 2009.
Father was a full time farmer. He had hectares of land for cocoa, yam, corn, palms, banana and plantain. He also had goats, fish pond, etc., just for the family consumption.
I remember that it was father who would bathe us before we left for school each morning. He was the one who made our breakfast. He would check our portmanteau to ensure that we had pencil, biro ruler, exercise books and textbooks ready for school the next day. He never failed in his role as a father.
My childhood would have been perfect except that my mother hated me and segregated me from my siblings. The reason, I learnt, was because she had been told by her ‘babalawo’ that I would grow to love my father more than her. She never forgave me for that.
Father loved studying the Bible in the night when were all sleeping. He studied the Jehovah’s Witnesses magazines and books too and he wanted us to do same.
In fact, father was my nursery school teacher. He introduced me to reading. He would always quiz us in Bible stories and God’s laws when we were working in the farm. He lived simple.
Father was my first teacher. It was 1966 before I was registered at LA Primary School, Osun. I hated mathematics then. Father had not introduced me to mathematics at all; I only knew spellings. All of a sudden, I was face to face with addition and subtraction, and later to multiplication. It was tough!
Actually, I didn’t want to go to school. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have banana to eat at school like I always had it at home. But I was assured that I would always meet ripe banana at home any time I returned from school. In fact, if banana wasn’t available, father would roast cat fish and ripe plantain ready for me and whoever was interested among my siblings.
Father was a great influence on me till date. He set the pace for discipline and discipleship . He never allowed my gaze off the scriptures.
At school, the only friend I had was Deborah Omoefe, a Jehovah’s Witnesses girl from Uroboh side. I can’t remember any outstanding teacher in my primary school days, until my secondary school when I met Mr. Fasanya, my biology teacher who introduced me to Christ in 1977.
Father wanted education to the extent that we could read and write only. At that time, the Jehovah’s Witnesses had believed that the world was about to end in the battle of Armageddon, calculated by JW.org to take place in 1975. So, Papa wasn’t planning any secondary education for any child..
The then headmaster, Mr Adegoroye, had flogged me with a board ruler on my head for coming late , and it gave me some slight fever. Father had not only gone to the headmaster to warn him vehemently, he had proceeded to the School Board or Ministry of Education to ask that Mr. Adegoroye be sent away from that school on account of maltreating his daughter. This made my self confidence to soar. It also helped me to understand that Papa did not hate me for all the whips I had been collecting for telling lies. It helped me believe that Papa loved me and that his laws were out of love and not of hate as against mama’s secret teachings.
Father made me run from boys and sex. His warning that it was against God’s laws was enough for me. I enjoyed boys’ company, but it was just for childish play and later for group study in secondary school.
I attempted suicide twice
I attended Commonwealth College , Ilesha, later renamed Ibodi Grammar School.
Life in secondary school was hell for me.
Armageddon had refused to show as predicted for 1975. Some of my mates in primary school were already teachers.
Father insisted that we needed no schooling, as much education would make us rebellious against the laws of God as stipulated by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But I wanted education and I was ready to pay the price.
My elder sister got her friend’s dad, one Mr. Aye, to register both of us in school. Father was infruriated, but because he always left for his farmstead at Osu village, while we lived at ilesha, we could go to school without his permission.
Bola, my elder sister, enjoyed mama’s support, but I had to work in building sites every weekend to support myself. No food, no book, no clothes, no affection. Twice I attempted suicide.
My special gifts in herbs
A lady was very ill. Hospitals and local herbs had failed. All of a sudden, I had an inspiration to get the sap of a certain tree for her. At that time , she was under the care of a nurse. But I had refused, thinking no one would take from me what had not been tested and administered to a patient. Few days later, the lady died. A still small voice told me that it was because of my unbelief that she died. That was some 15 years ago.
About three years ago, a bulging bump in my abdomen stopped me from peeing or stooling. I had no appetite and I was in pain day and night. I knew what it was , but I refused to go to the hospital. Somehow, I just didn’t believe that the hospital could help me. I told my first son to get ready for his mother’s burial rite. I am not afraid to die. But the pain was too much.
He ran to a chemist and brought home some drugs. I used some of them but there was no respite. Then that nudging voice came again , telling me to go get the sap of that tree. I sent my daughter for it, I took it and the pain reduced considerably. By the following day, I could pass stool and urinate. I later went to a herbal shop to purchase other stuffs as I felt led. This stopped the intermittent pains and the bulging started reducing.
The sap can cure almost anything and it is a major breakthrough for me. I have used it to cure other ailments ranging rom hyperthyroidism to hypertension. I usually add other things anyway, but with it, no sickness has the power to kill anyone prematurely.
Separated from extended family
The extended family had long forsaken me, and I don’t have anything to do with any of them. They had shared the inheritance left by my father among themselves, leaving me out of it all. So, I don’t think I think of them as anything relevant to me.
As for my children, they have nothing against me. They’re supportive. Children aren’t the same in love and care of parents; but in general, they’re supportive.
After I accepted Christ, I joined the Apostolic Faith, but as an elder in the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect, my dad believed that such a child had better die and be forgotten.
Again, I stopped taking the yearly incisions, the herbal preparations, etc., and I would only pray whenever I was sick. All these angered my dad. The persecution was so fierce that I had to run away to my paternal aunty living at the other end of Ilesha.
Somehow, it just dawned on me that I should stop giving free herbal service. So, I printed some forms to be paid for before I ever opened my mouth to tell you which leaves or roots to get. Gradually, I began to realise that those herbs could be packaged and sold on customised basis. I mean, I don’t need to put them on shelves. Whoever asks for herbs could be charged and the whole medications could be prepared and sold to them. That birthed Jordan’s Natural Health!
Before then, I had gone to Osu to fight for my share of my father’s inheritance . It was actually a determination to either win or die there. It was a 54-hectare farmland and the sharers weren’t taking anything easy. Juju plus matchette conspired and competed on only one person. The problem went on for two and a half years. I was devastated and nearly lost my mind.
I returned to Lagos and started all over again.
Encounter with cancer
My encounter with cancer has taught me a lot of things about health. Most of the diseases that kill people or ruin them are caused by wrong foods. And these wrong foods are so well pushed onto our kitchen table that we have lost every consciousness of suspecting them to be poisoning. Many poisonous substances go into our daily diets, prescription drugs, water, air, bathing soaps, body creams etc. My experience with cancer has exposed some of those things.
For now, my children are my family. I had tried getting married again after I left my first husband Rev. Raphael Olorunmaiye, but it was not working, so I have put that aside to face a life without a husband.
After years of diverse betrayals, I have learnt to cut down on friends and friendships, and I think what I have now are mere acquaintances, not friends. And no regrets about that.
As long as feminism seeks to equate the voice of a woman to that of a man, I am a feminist.
As long as feminism seeks to equate the right of a girl child to that of a boy child, I remain a feminist.
As long as feminism seeks to assert the rights of a woman to row the boat if her own business is separate from that of her husband, and to have a right to choose whom she wants to be with at a given time and space, I shall forever be a feminist.
I relax by reading posts on Facebook.
Reading some favourite books , singing… I seldom listen to music. I compose songs based on my moods so easily. I don’t watch movies. In fact, I have to television
I think my reluctance to music and movies stems from my dad’s stand against it.