Nigeria’s Human Rights activist, Aisha Yesufu, has crafted a heart-touching love letter in honour of her husband, Aliu Osigwe Yesufu.
Aisha, unarguably, one of Nigeria’s strongest agitators for democracy, good governance and accountability in government and public service, wrote the letter, as a tribute to mark Aliu’s 60th birthday, today.
In the tribute, which she personally sent to African Community News (ACN), Aisha Yesufu described Aliu as a rare, amazing and most loving husband, as well as a human being who is totally committed to the rights of the girl-child, women, children and all humanity.
See details of her tribute:
“I have been sitting here for a while trying to find the words that truly describe my husband and the words fail me. There are no words adequate enough to describe the person that my husband is and I am just going to make do with what is available.
“Talking about my husband may seem to many like a fairytale but it is the reality that I am blessed to have. Aliu Osigwe Yesufu is a good human being. A practicing feminist and human rights advocate. He is never the person to see injustice and look the other way. He is so full of empathy and always ensures that everyone is treated right.
“I will never forget the day my husband called me to query me over the fact that he noticed he was the only one eating pounded yam in the house while others ate either semo or eba. I had to laughingly tell him that it is because the rest of the people in the house didn’t want to eat pounded yam and I, that used to pound for everyone of them decided to only pound for my husband. There have been numerous occasions of such.
“My husband is a nurturer. He is always taking care of things and ensuring everyone is okay. As a parent, my husband takes a lot of responsibility, as a father, he helps me a lot.
I was able to adjust to parenthood and be a better parent with my husband’s help. Aliu changed diapers, bathed our children, made food for them and took them to school and would tuck me in bed with a kiss and tell me not to worry that he will take care of everything. It is still the same today. No wonder my parents say that he spoils me.
“Aliu has been not just an amazing husband but also a great father. He has shown our children love and respect and regards for others. He also has never laid hands on his children.
“I will always have in my mind the picture of him carrying both of our children on his two arms at the same time walking around while they scream Daddy is a superman. It still pains me that I never took a picture or video of those moments but indeed some things are previously kept in our hearts forever.
“Many say the success of a marriage is dependent on the wife. I disagree. My husband is proof that a successful marriage needs both parties. I am quick to tell anyone that the amazing marriage I have today is due largely to the loving husband that God blessed me with who today turns 60.
“My husband is 12 years older than I am (I will turn 48 two days after his birthday) but he has never tried to pull age on me. My husband told me right from the onset of our relationship that you are as old as the man you marry.
“He is a man who is secure in his manhood and has nothing to prove to anyone. He taught me how to apologise by always being the first to apologise and try to soothe things. He never wants me unhappy or stressed out. Till this day my husband will constantly ask me what can he do to make my life easier?
“When I started advocacy and went from a wife and mother who was devoted to her family to one having to carry on so many causes my husband stayed strong with me and offered a buffer against the world, friends and families who tried to get me to stop my advocacy. Many from a place of love for fear of my life.
“In 2014, while having a meeting with representatives of the company I distribute for, one of them asked my husband why does he allow his wife be on the streets making demands and holding government accountable and my husband said to him, if your daughter was amongst the #ChibokGirls would you want my wife to be silent? Indeed there was silence in the room. Many see me as the strong one but my husband is the strong one. I derive a lot of strength from him and he makes life, zero stress for me. Even though he fears for my life (he hides it from me but I can still sense it) he is my biggest cheerleader.
“He constantly ensures I do not get derailed, carried away or frustrated. He was the one that constantly drummed into my head that it was a marathon not a sprint. To pace myself and not burn out. Having a backbone and one i know got my back unconditionally frees me to focus on being unapologetically me.
“There are so many great things about this man called Aliu Osigwe Yesufu that I will not be able to put down but I will still try and put something down.
My feminist husband! If there is any practicing feminist around, it is got to be my husband. He is one to fight for women’s rights and believes a woman is as equal as a man.
:Today I am very passionate about financial independence and teach women the importance of being financially independent. Guess who first told me that as a woman I needed to have my own money and own my voice so I will not be at the mercy of everyone? It was my husband Aliu Yesufu. He made me understand in 1997 that I too had the capacity to be financially independent. In the year 2000 when I started my first business, my husband who helped me with the capital (took a loan from his work place) wrote me a letter telling me that I will be a business woman that the world will reckon with.
“Even when that business crashed and I lost everything, my husband never for once blamed me. He was always ready to help me get back on my feet. There is no business I have done that my husband wasn’t with me through it all, from coming to help me stay in the shop, to driving with me weekends to go meet potential customers to writing all the numerous letters I needed to write especially when a company tries to shortchange me. The chartered accountant in him will come out in the worded letters that promptly got treated.
“Never for once has my husband ever behaved as if I owed him because he helped set up my business or felt that I had to report to him. That is not Aliu Osigwe Yesufu! He is always looking for ways to do more for me. He always says to me “as long as you are happy” and I love him for that.
“These qualities make me love him. If there is one person that will make me stop what I do because of my respect and admiration for him, it is my husband and I know he will never ask such of me because he knows the day I am unable to speak against injustice is the day I will lose my happiness and paramount for him is my happiness!
“I tease my husband a lot over the little girl he married from Kwana Hudu in Kano. I am sure many of his friends wondered what did he see in the veiled girl who was still in the university and still needed her school fees to be paid. Like many who know me well would attest to, I have a quiet demeanour that belies the voice I have. I have had many people who met me for the first time and said they almost felt sorry for me until they heard me speak and wondered where that powerful voice came from.
“Aliu saw beyond the exterior and went for the diamond he saw whom he has polished for 23 years.
“One of the most endearing things about my husband is how he puts my growth first. He has given of himself for me to be whom I am today. He calls himself my manager and he truly is. He is the anchor that keeps me from going adrift. He is happiest when I am achieving something and when I am down, he does everything to cheer me up.
“I have seen Aliu give of himself to his parents, my parents, his siblings and my siblings. I have seen him give to people that come in contact with him. He has given all of himself to me and my children and have put everyone but himself first. As my husband celebrates his 60th birthday I am happy that he is finally doing something he loves to do so much. I am so proud of him finally doing something not because it will help him take care of his numerous responsibilities which he takes so ever seriously but because it is something he loves to do. I am so happy that my husband finally living for himself as he turns 60.
“Aliu Osigwe Yesufu aka Prester I love you, I honour you, I cherish you, I respect you. You have been my teacher and my mentor, you have been my buddy, my friend and been so patient with me. You have been non-judgmental and my safe space.
“There is nothing I have not been able to discuss with you and I have always been able to completely be myself with you. You have shown me unconditional love and what acceptance is all about. I have grown in your house and in four months I would have spent exactly the number of years I spent with my parents, with you.
“You have made me feel whole and have validated me and showered me with love. You have every day let me know how much you love me. I remember after giving birth to our children how insecure I was about my new body and how you would take your time to make me feel special. All through my weight gain and losses you always gave me compliments and made me feel special.
“I say to you, thank you my love. May God bless you abundantly. May God give you all the best in this world and in the hereafter.
“Happy 60th birthday my baby. For your 40th birthday, I gave you a beautiful baby girl who is your twin. For your 60th I promise you unconditional love. I love you my darling