By Bamidele Kolawole,
Like a bitter pill, a middle-aged man,Theophilus Ayodeji Obayan, is yet to come to terms with the reality that his estranged wife deliberately changed his children’s name to her new husband’s name.
Consequently, Obayan, the petitioner, on Thursday approached a Grade ‘A’ Customary Court sitting in Oke-Eda Akure, to claim the paternity of his four children.
He is seeking dissolution of his 23-year-old marriage with his wife, Chibuzor Lillian Obayan, for changing his children’s surname to her lover’s name.
Obayan narrated, “My lord, my marriage from onset was characterised with crises, abuse, disobedience, misunderstanding, lies, manipulation, hate and rage.
“I married Lilian in the year 2000 and we have four children. I am a Yoruba, while my wife is of Igbo tribe. I have suffered a lot in the hands of her family because they don’t love me, but I’ve been enduring.
“Lilian packed her belongings out of my house to another man’s house in 2019 and went to change her name, including my children’s surname to the name of the Igbo man she’s engaged to.
The petitioner told the court that his estranged wife did not allow him gain access to his children since she packed out of his house.
He, therefore, prayed the court to dissolve the marriage and grant him custody of the four children, asking the court to order her to change their names back to his.
In her defence, Lilian who countered the petitioner’s claims, said her husband was grossly irresponsible.
The respondent told the court, “My lord, life was not easy for me over the years we have been together. In fact, Obayan derived pleasure in always molesting and beating me to the extent that I sustain body fractures.
“Obayan is not a good husband to me and good father to his children, as he doesn’t pay their school fees nor care about how they are living.
“He didn’t pay my dowry. So, I finally found a man to marry. And my new love wants my children to bear his name instead of that of their irresponsible father.
‘Our children are old enough to choose for themselves as they are no more kids. My first two girls, Mayomi and Damilola are 22 and 20 years old, while the boys, Ariyo and Aduragbemi are 18 and 16 years old respectively.”
Lilian added that she was in court with witnesses to establish whether or not, there was a traditional marriage between her and the petitioner.
She, therefore, urged the court to dissolve the union, saying she was done with Obayan since he did not pay her dowry.
In his ruling, President of the court, Magistrate Olusegun Rotiba, urged the parties to allow peace to reign between them.
He adjourned the matter till September 28, 2023, for continuation and adoption of oral addresses or probably judgment.