Too much truth can be a dangerous thing – By Dare Babarinsa

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*Photo: Babarinsa*

Men believe that it is their duty to preserve the bloodline. No one wants to be the father of another man’s children. This is an instinct acquired over millions of years through evolution from the Stone Age to the Internet Age. However, despite man’s struggle and insistence, only a woman can be sure who fathers her child.

In the modern world, where a woman may also have multiple partners, sometimes, she too is not so sure. Now science is interfering in a sphere that use to be mainly cultural and spiritual. Welcome to the world of the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)!

In the last few weeks, Oriyomi Hamzat, an Ibadan-based broadcaster, had carried out a running story about a woman who has four children, none of which actually belonged to her husband biologically according to DNA results.

The cuckolded husband brought his pathetic story to Hamzat’s radio station. The woman at the centre of the controversy, at first, denied that she had been unfaithful to her husband of about 17 years.

Then she admitted that might be the first one! Then the man decided to do the DNA test on the remaining three children. The truth, when it came to him, was like a multiple blow from Mike Tyson.

Why would a man want to find out the truth when knowledge for him could be so dangerous? My old boss, Chief Moshood Abiola, was aware of his own mortality. He fathered many children and acquired many wives. After his death in military detention in 1998, his will was made public.

Abiola had insisted only those children who passed the DNA test should partake in the sharing of his enormous wealth. He excepted only those children born by some of his senior wives. I am not sure what happened eventually.

If you have a crowd of wives as Abiola did, then you will know there are possibilities. Abiola was not your average man. He was larger than life and his boisterousness, sense of humour and his generosity could get almost any woman.

“Women are good,” Abiola once said. “That is why I have many of them. Who would not love a good thing?”But women determine the next generation.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard her strength and grace;
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh,no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

The above poem of 1865, celebrating the joy of motherhood, was written by William Ross Wallace, an English philosopher.

So, occasionally, the woman takes matter into her hand to determine who will be the father of her child and the man is none the wiser for it. The bloodline that has run for thousands of years from the era of the primitive hunter-gatherer to the modern age is then severed for ever and the man’s bloodline is ceded into the oblivion of eternity. Then the DNA came and it is a double-edged sword with which we could unlock the bitter truth.

The Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) carried the generic instructions for individuals. So specific is the DNA that it has virtually no margin of error. Therefore, a pin-head drop of blood would carry the full genetic code of the owner of that blood, even if the drop is old and non-visible to the naked eyes.

Many scientists contributed to the discovery of the DNA starting from Friedrich Miescher, the Swiss doctor, who, in 1869, studied the microscopic substance in the Pus of a used surgical bandage.

Miescher started the long generations of scientists who have been drawn into the DNA research culminating in what we have today. In 1962, Watson Crick and Maurice Wilkins received the Nobel Prize for Medicine on their research to help discover the DNA.

Since then, the DNA has been of practical application all over the world. In 1986, British police reached out to Professor Alex Jeffreys of the University of Leicester to confirm the veracity of multiple-rape allegation.

The suspect had denied an earlier confession where he admitted to the charges. The DNA test proved that he was not the rapist.The DNA has travelled round the world since then and it is now a native of every country.

On September 12, 2023, a talented Nigerian musician, Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, with the stage name of Mohbad, died at 27. His death was controversial and some of his fans alleged that he may have been poisoned or done to death by some other means.

As of now, some suspects are undergoing trial over the case. Mohbad left a son as his sole heir and he also pre-deceased his parents. Then some agborandun (those busybodies who weep more than the bereaved) started the campaign that Mohbad’s son may not have been his and that he resembled Mr So and So! They even corralled his mourning father into the melee. Someone pledged to donate N10 million to the widow if only she would agree to a DNA test. Such is the madness that has overtaken our shore.

Under Yoruba customary law, you can take a poor man’s wife but not his child. Only a father has the power and right to disown his child. Even when a child is clearly born as a result of moonlighting, the child still belongs to the legitimate husband.

If the man is impotent or sterile and it is apparent to the wife, she may decide to get children by other means. Those children still belong to the husband. But now there is DNA and young Nigerians may soon be doing test for their fathers to confirm if indeed, their mothers had been busy in more than one room.

Some old school parents have joined the bandwagon. A man was suspicious of his daughter-in-law, believing that his grandchild may be the result of an extra-marital affair. He took the innocent grandson for a DNA test and was not surprised when the result came out. There was no way he could be the grandfather of the boy! Grimly, he took the result to his son.

The young man, a wealthy businessman, was aghast, but he refused to believe that his wife had been unfaithful. He confronted his wife who maintained her innocence and insisted that another DNA test must be conducted. Alas! The new test confirmed the lady’s innocence.

Her husband was indeed the father of her son. The only new truth was her so-called father-in-law was after all not the real biological father of his own son! His wife had scored an away goal, which resulted in the birth of a baby boy. Let me confess that I don’t know the end of this story.

Do not put too much faith in the DNA. Indeed, when you know too much, you may put yourself in danger. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” warned Albert Einstein, the scientist. “So, is a lot!’’

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