A reverend of the Anglican Church, Donald Tulagha, speaks about his life with SIMON UTEBOR.
Tell us about yourself.
I am Donald Tulagha married to Mrs. Beinmo Tulagha. I am a reverend of the Anglican Church and a former Principal of Angiama Grammar School, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
When were you born?
I was born on March 21, 1937 by Mrs. Diribolouye Tulagha and Mr. Tulagha Akoru.
How did you know when you were born?
My elder brother, the late A.D. Tulagha, told me. He was educated. He took down the record of my birth. He was also a secondary school principal before he retired.
How many children do you have?
In my area, we do not count the number of children a man has but to satisfy your curiousity, I have 11 children.
Are they all from one wife?
No, they are not from one wife. Some of them are from outside through lovemaking. We can call them love children. With my wife alone, I have seven.
What do they do?
My children are not doing badly. I have a nurse, teacher, doctor, engineer, etc among them.
Did it happen before you became a pastor?
Yes, it was before I became a pastor. When I became I pastor, I never dabbled into those things again. Before I became a pastor, we were going up and down with ladies.
Is it wrong for pastors to have more than a wife?
From the point of view of Christianity, pastors are forbidden to leave their wives to meet with other women. These things happened in those days when we were fairly primitive. We did not know the implication then. When you have children outside, the problems will be too many. Economically, it is not a palatable experience.
Would you advise any Nigerian to have up to 11 children?
I am advocating that we should limit the number of children we give birth to. The population of Nigeria is so teeming that people find it difficult to make ends meet. If I were to recommend, I would say people should not have more than four children.
What is your take on polygamy?
I advise that people should discourage polygamous practice. To live a fulfilled life and enjoy longevity, polygamy should be discouraged. I recommend one man one wife.
When did you marry your wife?
We got married in 1970.
What kind of drink do you like?
I take only soft drinks.
Do you take alcohol?
No I don’t.
Have you taken alcohol before?
I used to take just a sip according to the Bible, for stomach’s sake. When one takes a little, it will reactivate and reduce rumbling in the stomach and enable the food to digest properly.
You mean it is advisable to take alcohol at times?
Yes, if you do not take it to excess, it is not bad. It is not wrong to drink but when you take it too much, it will weaken the bone system and even the muscles. Excess of everything is bad. Excessive intake of alcohol can make one to become old untimely. That is why those who engage in excessive alcohol become old too soon.
What is the secret of your good health at 80?
If you want to attain good health, you should depend almost solely or wholly on vegetables and fruits. Then eat regularly, not too much. We know that the economic situation has forced people to change the course of their meals. However, it is advisable to take meals appropriately.
What is your view about the standard of education in Nigeria?
The standard of education is falling compared to that of my days. It is brought about by the lack of teacher training colleges, I mean well established teacher training colleges where people go to learn about how to teach. But today, things are muddled up.
What is your advice to married couples to check divorce rate?
The importance of marriage depends on love. Many times people marry because of facial beauty. Marriage should go with love. It is that love that makes marriage to endure. When there is love, couples will tolerate each other. Marriage should be preceded by genuine love; if people marry without considering this, they divorce because they have not studied each other’s likes and dislikes.
What is your most memorable day?
Most of my colleagues who schooled with me in secondary school were not able to get university education. The day I passed through the university was the most memorable day in my life. The day the result came that I had got a degree, I was so happy. I consider it as my happiest day.
Did you undergo the compulsory youth service when you finished from the university?
By the time I finished from the university, I was older than the service year, hence I did not serve. I was issued a certificate of exemption.
One of your children was killed in a mysterious circumstance allegedly by security agencies. How would you relate the trauma you passed through during the period?
Up till now, I am still traumatised. You know when a plant is growing and the bud is removed, it seriously suffers growth retardation. Since that incident happened, I have become heart-broken and all these days, if not because I am a man, no smile will spread over my face.