The Money Wheel | Episode 19 | GENDER ROLES: Saheedat faces blame for Forceful Control of Family Funds

Things were slowly turning sour between Saheedat and Ibrahim. As much as he claimed that he understood why she had moved the IVF funds away from the joint account,he had been different towards her. They didn’t talk like they used to or laugh together anymore. Ibrahim didn’t talk about money or ask her if the funds were growing, neither did he talk about their plans for the IVF. Saheedat felt she was being punished, and the worst part was that there was hardly anyone around her who wouldn’t take sides with Ibrahim. She had tried to speak with one of her seemingly progressive aunts, who told her she was dancing on slippery ground for taking control of their money. “What if he gets angry and finds another woman to give him children? Are you sure this is the right thing to do?I think you should return the money.” Saheedat had stormed out of her aunt’s house, angry at her suggestion.

She stood on the balcony, watching the street darken as people returned home from work. In the compound, she spotted the new neighbour, Ope, driving in with a young man. They walked past Mr Kosoko without so much as a nod. Saheedat saw his head shake from side to side and hang low. She’d seen him a lot like this since his return two months ago — pensive and quiet. With nothing to gladden her heart upstairs, she descended the stairs and stopped in front of him.“Good evening, sir.” He looked up and smiled tiredly. “Alhaja.”

“How are you, sir?” He heaved, looked away and began to shed tears. Saheedat didn’t know how to react to this. Before the stroke, Mr Kosoko was a jolly man, always joking about something and engaging his neighbours in meaningful conversations.

The man before her looked defeated. She went into his house, found some tissue paper,

water, and a chair, and returned to the man. He had wiped his tears by now, but his eyes were still wet. Saheedat let him heave and cry for a while before she asked him what

the matter was. Mr Kosoko told her all, and for the first time, Saheedat wondered if she really wanted a child after all. It angered her that someone would run away with an old man’s money, and she wished there was something she could do to find this Suleiman. But most of all, Saheedat was worried about his financial well-being. He still had debts to pay, and this weighed heavily on his mind. She decided that today was not the day to talk about

financial goals or plans; it was a day to simply empathise with an old man. Mr Kosoko’s mood had brightened when she got up to leave. He made her promise to return again.