Twins birth: The peculiarity of a family

Taiwo and Kehinde Ogundairo

By Toye Faleye

News Feature

Imagine that every ten years a set of twins must be born in a family. It sounds weird and unique, isn’t it? That is what a family in Abeokuta harvests every decade: a rare gift and a bumper harvest of some sort.

It all began in Isale-Ijeun, Egba land, Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State, South-West Nigeria, where the patriarch of the Odunlamis, the late High Chief Alli Odunlami, was born.


Kehinde and Taiwo Rasaq  Odunlami
 Alli Odunlami was a famous member of Ogboni Fraternity in the colonial days: brave, intelligent and wealthy, the indication of which is embedded in the first line of the family panegyric that reads: Ijako Omo Olowo meaning Ijako, the child of a wealthy man.


The story was told that hundred years back, one of his wives was delivered of a set of twins. The birth set the pace for what is to become a recurring event in the life of the closely-knit family.


Right from that time, when the foundation of the idiosyncratic birth was laid, it became contagious that one or two of the women in the family must give birth to a set of twins at least every ten years.


With this rare occurrence, which is almost becoming an exclusive preserve of the family, the Odunlamis are on the verge of  earning a name for themselves in twins-birth like Igbo Ora; a town in Oyo State of Nigeria, Kodinji; a community in India and Candido Godoi; a Brazilian town, where a large number of twins birth are uniquely found.


Whether the phenomenon has been recurring every ten years in the family since the early generation could not be established, but what is known is that since 1987 to 2007, with the exception of 2009 when another twins birth occurred, the family has been blessed with three sets of twins consecutively.


The chronological order had been that the trio of one Mrs. Modupeola Obe, Mr. Segun Ogundairo and Honourable Rasaq Odunlami, Associate Editor/Deputy Consultant at brandcampaign.com.ng Magazine, all who are cousins residing in different states in the South-west of Nigeria, gave birth to their set of twins within ten years interval.


Mrs. Modupeola Obe, nee Ogundairo, gave birth to hers (male twins) in 1987. The wife of a veteran teacher, Mr. Olusegun Ogundairo, who has been a government employee since three decades, gave birth to her set of female twins in the year 1997, while Rasaq’s wife gave birth to her set of male twins in 2007 in that order.


It arouses one’s curiosity therefore that why, in every ten years interval, the family must record this distinctive incident, and why the last digit number must be seven.


However, the occurrence took a new dimension in 2009 when one Mrs Odunlami, wife to Mr Saubana Fatai Odunlami, was delivered of a set of twins, both male and female, disrupting the incidence of every ten years occurrence of twins birth and breaking the same gender barrier which had been the order of proceedings.


This breach notwithstanding, twins birth is still consistent in the history of the family, confirming and solidifying the peculiarity of the unique experience in Odunlami’s lineage.


Nevertheless, like Igbo Ora, Kodinji and Candido, findings have not revealed whether the birth of twins in this family could be traced to the eating habits of its women.

But one cannot rule out that the family may be endowed with large deposit of the genes responsible for the bizarre experience, or could it be because the patriarch, High Chief Odunlami, who died in the early 70s, was stoutly built, gritty and gifted in raw energy, easily identifiable with his enormously bulging biceps, who could say?


Of the stoutly-built physical feature, it has become the trademark with which every male child in the family is known, which, as people say, might have accounted for the rich history of its twins birth.


In another way round, the physique described of the Odunlamis might not be a deciding factor, as it cannot be scientifically proved. Seeing huge frame of physique as a determinant factor in the number of children to be born will be a matter of conjecture. It will throw up a heated debate anywhere.


But a research carried out in the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital has suggested that, though no direct relation between dietary intake and twin births has been proved, a chemical found in most of Igbo-Ora women, and the peelings of a widely consumed tuber (yams) could also be responsible. Could this be the situation in Odunlami women? No one can say.


However, yet another question begging for an answer is, despite being awash with twins birth, and as we navigate through an inch near the end of 2017, do we still await the birth of another set of twins in the family or will the story be altered as it happened in 2009? We are still counting down and only God can determine this, being the only All-knowing.

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