Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
What’s your earliest memory of each other?
Akeem: She was this hot babe I saw selling puff-puff by the gate to my father’s school in Ikorodu. My dad was hands-on, and as his son who was in-between jobs, he roped me into being his PA.
I’d never seen her before that first time as I drove into the school compound, so I was curious. Immediately after I parked, I went back to the gate to buy some of her puff-puff.
And they were so nice — hot, fresh and soft.
Ola: Are you still talking about the puff-puff?
Akeem: Yes… Her smile was pretty too, and she was generally a fine, hot babe. I knew I wanted to get to know her better, so I asked for her number.
Ola: I didn’t know he was the school owner’s son. I just saw a young and fresh guy and was happy he liked my puff-puff. He started eating them right in front of me. And when other people saw him patronise me, they came to buy too, asking him if it was nice. That made me happy, so I gladly gave him my number.
When did you realise you liked each other?
Ola: So first of all, he’d come every morning he was around, to buy ten puff-puffs — it was always ten, but we didn’t used to talk at all. For weeks, we’d just greet, he’d buy my puff-puff and leave. I admired him because he always looked neat in his starched and ironed office shirt.
Then like two months later, he called me in the evening, out of the blues. We talked for some minutes over the phone, and he asked me to come and meet him outside. We ended up at a grill and bar. It was a nice meeting, so I went home with him. After our first night together, I knew I liked him a lot, but there was another guy I was already talking to who I thought I liked more.
Akeem: I won’t lie, I was very attracted to her, but I never thought beyond her fine face and nice body. We didn’t really have much in common, and we had different upbringings, so there wasn’t much to connect on. We’d meet for sex, and I helped her with money to expand her business, because her puff-puff really was nice.
As the situation continued, I realised she has such easy-going, unproblematic energy. I started looking forward to spending time with her just because I could be laid back with her.
When did you fall in love?
Akeem: Towards the end of 2019, I finally got a job in Ikeja. I had to move out of Ikorodu to get a place close to work, and we started seeing each other less. Then, I got a girlfriend, and I believe she got into a relationship as well. We would try to meet up at least once a month and cheat on our partners with each other for the weekend.
Ola: Anytime he said I should come over, I’d be so excited. I’d go shopping and plan ahead, looking forward to the day. Sometimes, we’d lodge in a hotel to avoid his girlfriend. Other times, we’d just lock ourselves in his flat and pretend he’s travelled. And we’d have sex and watch movies throughout.
Akeem: COVID was the game changer. I’d called things off with my girlfriend, and Ola was in my house when the lockdown started in March 2020. We stayed indoors alone together till May. Then we had a pregnancy scare. Her period was late for about two weeks, and she was freaking out, but for some weird reason, I wasn’t worried at all. I wanted to tell her to calm down, but I knew women are more affected by pregnancies than men and didn’t want her to think I was insensitive. When her period came, I was so sad.
Ola: Baby boy was already in love and imagining me having his babies. LMAO. Me, I sha know I wouldn’t have been going from Ikorodu to Ikeja and back every month on top man I didn’t love. I was no longer with my main boyfriend. But I was still young and wasn’t really thinking about commitment, and I definitely wasn’t ready to be a mother.
So did you ever officially start dating?
Akeem: When she was returning to Ikorodu that same May 2020, I made her promise not to see other people. And I told her I wouldn’t too. I’d asked her to move in, but she refused.
Ola: I was the only one my mother had at home with her. Who’d take care of her if I moved out fully? But I agreed to come around more often.
Akeem: Around that time, my own mother had started putting pressure on me to get married and relocate overseas. She was ready to foot my japa bill, but she wanted me to marry well first, so I wouldn’t go and fall in love with a strange person over there. I started talking to Ola about my japa plans because I knew I wanted her to go with me.
Ola: I was just getting by, so I didn’t really have a plan. I would’ve liked to go into catering, but I wasn’t passionate about that. The idea of moving abroad was a dream I couldn’t even dare to have at that time. I was barely getting by on selling puff-puff every day and being my family’s breadwinner. It would’ve been selfish of me to think of putting money together for myself to japa even if I could afford to, which I couldn’t.
So although I was excited when he started bringing it up, I didn’t get too excited. I won’t lie though, discussing it strengthened our commitment to each other.
Do you remember what your first major fight was about?
Akeem: Ah. When I introduced her to my parents as the person I wanted to marry.
Ola: His elder sister was around when we got to their house. After Akeem finished talking, she just said, “Is it that dirty akara puff-puff seller in front of Daddy’s school you want to marry? No o. It’s not possible.” I’ll never forget that statement for the rest of my life.
I shouted back at her in front of their parents, and of course, he didn’t support me. He just sat there looking embarrassed, so I walked out. When I got outside their compound, I flagged a cab and went back home. I was so angry, I was boiling. I thought I’d cry, but I didn’t. I was just so angry at him and his family. What right did they have to talk about me like that?
Akeem: I stayed back to tell my parents my mind then went to meet her outside. She’d already left, which surprised me. I thought she’d be understanding of how our parents can be at times.
Akeem: I had to go to her house and beg her. After at least a week of her being angry, I went and got a solid ring to propose to her well. She said yes, and we were back on good terms. I went to visit my parents again the next month, alone and in private this time, to tell them I was serious about her. They gave their blessings and asked to see both of us again.
We got married in May 2021.
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So japa? How did that go?
Ola: His mother was no longer in a hurry to fund it, and I know it’s because he chose to marry me. But as soon as I took in for our first child later in 2021, she started saying I should have the baby in the UK so we can use that to relocate. That didn’t work out though because they denied us visas. Then she suggested we go with Ireland.
Akeem: Between my mother’s sponsorship and my own savings, we were able to travel to Dublin in February 2022, three months ahead of the delivery. We’ve settled here ever since.
How has this relationship been different from past ones?
Ola: My experience as his fiancee was my first taste of unequal treatment. Before the wedding, his mother and aunts would always say that I jazzed him. One aunt was even teasing me that I should help her out too. She showed me the Instagram page of a Kayamata vendor and asked if that’s what I was using.
Akeem: Na wa o. How do I know you didn’t jazz me now?
Ola: His family looks down on me and my family a lot. In Dublin, we had to make a pact to not deal with each other’s families. My family has its own issues too, with asking for money every time just because we’re abroad. They think we’re living large over here. I only communicate with his family through him and vice versa, to reduce all the family drama. If not for that and how humble and loving Akeem is, I’m not sure this marriage would’ve lasted this long.
Akeem: Even I had to withdraw from extended family a bit. Acting as a diplomat between her and my family has been a different experience from what I was used to with other relationships. I’m not happy that I can’t be as close to my parents because of their bad behaviour, but I have no regrets.
For me. It’s how down-to-earth she is. We hardly have arguments or fights because she’s almost too accommodating. Also, she spoils me with her attention, food, and yes, sex. I’ve never been in a relationship with someone so giving and committed to peace.
What’s the most unconventional thing about your relationship?
Ola: Dublin people still find Nigerians, and black people, fascinating despite the number of Nigerians here. It’s so funny. Foreigners always approach us when we go out separately, so we started this thing where we baff up and go to work or wherever without our rings. We’d count how many people came to compliment or toast us, then report back to each other, recounting the tales.
At least, five people usually approach me, then his own, maybe one or two.
Akeem: Ahh. Did you have to expose us like that?
It’s all vibes o. Please, don’t come for us.
Ola: You’re right. What’s really unconventional is we only fight when we’re both naked.
Ola: We saw it online one day and decided to take it as a rule. As soon as either of us gets angry or is about to argue over something, we have to remove all our clothes first.
Akeem: It definitely makes our fights easier to settle.
Ola: Not all the time o. Remember that time we still continued the fight after we had sex, slept and woke up?
Ah. What’s the best thing about being married to each other?
Akeem: We’re crazily compatible. Even when we fight, it’s with the understanding that we’ll soon make up, and this is only happening because we don’t want to bottle up anything that’s annoying us at that moment.
There’s also the good sex, sha. But let’s not make this only about that.
Ola: He’s said it all. I’m happy I have such a great life companion. I may not always be happy, but at least, I’m never lonely.
That’s something to think about. How would you rate your love life on a scale of 1 to 10?
Ola: 5. Please, stop disturbing me about a second child. I still want to be a baby girl, abeg.
Akeem: Jesus. Ola. And to think I was going to say 10/10.
4 because how dare you disgrace me in public?
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