Ayodeji Obayan, a man in his middle age, took a step forward on Friday by approaching the Grade ‘A’ Customary Court in Oke-Eda, Akure, Ondo State. His purpose? To establish his paternity rights over his four children.
This decision comes in the wake of a revelation made by his wife, Lillian Obayan, that she had modified their children’s last names to align with her new partner’s surname.
In response to this unsettling situation, Obayan, consumed by a mix of emotions including anger and frustration, vowed to take legal action to ensure that his rightful position as the biological father of his children is upheld.
In his quest to resolve this complex matter, Obayan turned to the court for assistance, deeply troubled by his wife’s unilateral decision to change their children’s surnames without seeking his consent.
While testifying before the court, Obayan recounted that their marital journey spanning 23 years had been marred by a series of constant conflicts and mistreatment.
He disclosed that in 2019, his wife Lillian took her belongings and left their shared home to live with another man.
To compound the distress, Lillian not only altered her own name but also went ahead to change their children’s surnames to match that of her newfound partner.
Offering her perspective on the matter, Lillian depicted Obayan as an irresponsible spouse and father. She stated, “Obayan has not fulfilled his responsibilities as a husband to me and a father to his children. He has not been providing for their education or showing concern for their well-being.”
She further explained, “He never paid my dowry. So, I found someone else to marry. My new partner wishes for my children to carry his surname instead of retaining that of their absentee father.”
Lillian emphasized that their children, now of an age to make their own decisions, should have the autonomy to choose. She specified the ages of their offspring, “My first two daughters, Mayomi and Damilola, are 22 and 20 years old, respectively. Likewise, the boys, Ariyo and Aduragbemi, are 18 and 16 years old.”
Concluding this emotionally charged situation, Magistrate Olusegun Rotiba, the president of the court, implored the involved parties to seek a resolution that prioritizes harmony.
In his closing statement, Magistrate Rotiba adjourned the case until September 28, 2023. The subsequent session will encompass the continuation of proceedings, the presentation of verbal arguments, and potentially the delivery of a verdict.