Today, we conclude the interesting story of Mrs Wariboko Oki ,Nigeria’s first Siamese twin to survive.
What do you feel about life at 62?
I celebrated 62 on July 25, 2015 but indeed every day is celebration for me. I feel God’s faithfulness each and every morning when it is renewed. To have my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jituboh still alive and kicking, to have my sister Bridget and all my nieces, to have my children and grand children is something I am very grateful for. I feel very great at 62. I had four children even though one left, leaving three.
I speak Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba very fluently. I never lived in Igbo land but I learnt Igbo while living in Kaduna
Could you let us into your working experience?
I started working as a nurse at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where I also did my midwifery course before returning to Ibadan because of military posting. I worked with the state hospital before coming to Lagos to work for the Federal Ministry of Health until I retired. So you can see that it was my dream to be a nurse and I never wavered from it, working till I was 60 years. I am nurse in spirit and character.
So you could also help us with some definition here; who is a nurse?
A nurse, to me, is that person who is first of all hospitable because of the word hospital, respectful, very kind and patient. A nurse is one with honesty, faithfulness and loyalty to patients and must have skills to help him or her relate well with all. I have always loved to be a nurse and I thank God I worked at it for years before retirement.
What is the difference between your days as a nurse and what you see today?
It is not about then and now. It is the Nigerian factor. It pains me to see people who do not have these special qualities running around hospitals. Nurses should never look at the monetary gains when it is not so. I wish to appeal to Nigerian nurses to be kind to patients because we, as human beings, are all patients. Kindness to patients contributes to the healing process. A nurse must try to put up a smile even when he or she is tired and unhappy.
What about the regular doctor and nurse battle for supremacy?
I do not understand why it happens and I believe it is only in Nigeria that it happens. But there is really no reason for that. I respected all the doctors I met on duty while they respected me while in service. I worked with several younger doctors who even were my bosses. I played my role as a nurse while they played theirs as doctors and I did not see any reason for the superiority battle.
Wariboko is an Ijaw name given to me by my grandmother, that is my dad’s mum. Wari means House in Ijaw while Boko means harbinger of riches. In all it is Harbinger of Riches to the house.
Mrs Rose Jituboh(auntie who raised
her as mum) speaks too
“Veronica Davis was my elder sister who was working for the UAC when she gave birth to these children. I was only 18 and newly married to my husband when the twins were born. At that time, I was living with my father in law and his wife for counseling and preparation for the real issues in my marriage.
The birth was a strange one and people were afraid to carry the twins but I never was. So they were always with me. I would go closer to their cot and carry them and play with them while people wondered why I could do that. It was when they were about six months that they were taken to London for the separation surgery.
She said she attracted the press and all and sundry…
Yes, when news of their birth was announced, people were trooping in to see how they were. The press have not left our family ever since. I give thanks to my father in law and his wife and of course my husband who treated me kindly and by extension Wariboko who seemed to be our first child because my sister who gave birth to them had died not long after. It was later that I had my own daughter Bridget
How do you see her now she is 62?
I see her as a very special baby and I am thankful to God. I had been praying that she becomes a success and God has done all that. She worked to the pinnacle of her profession and has retired . She is a child of destiny, a peculiar baby from day one. She is forever like an egg to me and I handled her with care. When she was born and I was the one taking care of her, I was warned to take care of her and handle her with care.
I was warned to make sure that she is neat and clean always and never got into any troubles that may jeopardize her delicate special life. And I did my best with my husband and his parents who also treated her as a special child which she is and have always been.
Pa Jituboh also speaks
“I was newly married to my wife Rose when Wariboko was born to her sister, Late Veronica Davis who was then a staff of the UAC and was busy at the time. Because of the peculiar circumstances of the Siamese twins, the lot fell on us especially my wife to take care of them. With the influence of my own father and mother, we loved the baby and took care of her. She actually became my first daughter because her mum also died after some years just like her dad. Indeed she is special.
Her life at 62?
I feel very glad that God has preserved her life till today. I still feel that she is my little baby up till today even at 62 years. Many years have past. I still love her the same way I did since the day she was born.
Bridget Jituboh Alli(Sister) speaks
I grew to see my sister as a blood sister. We were so close to each other doing many things together as sisters in the same house. I never knew she was my cousin until many years later. My daddy and mum treated her as their first child.
We both went to St Maria Gorretti School in Benin together. It was while at the school that I started wondering why she was bearing Davis while I was Jituboh, yet we are sisters. Again our Principal was always talking about her mum, my late auntie Veronica so I was able to figure it out.
At what point in your childhood did you notice her peculiarity?
From day one. Her conjoined picture with her twin sister was being sold on the streets while we were kids. I would try to imagine the picture and compare it with her real self and wonder more and more if the person in the picture is really Wariboko. It was at Maria Gorretti that it really dawned on me that we are indeed cousins.
I grew to see the scar on her chest where they were separated and confirmed the stories I was hearing about her being a Siamese twin. I would ask her so many questions about who she is and wonder about what kind of human being she was. Even the scar became novelty for her as other children and even adults would want her to show them. If she is happy she lifts her dress to show but if you offend her, she won’t show you
God has really blessed us in my sister. I feel very proud to talk about her as my sister. I feel proud to say that the first surviving Siamese twin born in Nigeria is my sister. Even my children in their various schools talk about her with much joy. Some of their classmates doubt and wish to come to the house to see her. So she has been a peculiar child from birth. The world everywhere wants to hear such a story and see if they can meet her and marvel at God’s work. We are indeed happy that she survived the surgery and have been able to fulfill her destiny.