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MAKING IT BETTER: No Place Like Home!

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Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

I have just come back from spending a little under a month at home in Nigeria. The time went far too quickly and I also chose to spend the time in a slightly different way than I usually do. Ordinarily when I go home I tend to accept almost all and every invitation to a range of activities as I want to pack in as much as I can. This time around I opted to hibernate and be exclusive in my choices of where to go and who to see. There were new connections made, old alliances re-kindled, and a very chilled, relaxed stay. It was a good decision especially since I wasn’t expecting the level of oppressive heat that I met on the ground. There was also the remnants and fallout from the recent election that was still around. There were people licking their wounds, making pronouncements, predictions, threats and all the customary utterances. At the end of it all, it’s business as usual.
There were a couple of things that I was struck by which made me really think about some of our more covert traditional and cultural practices. I will share one of them with you. I was drawn into some family drama which I generally tend to avoid at all cost as I don’t have the stomach and disposition for it.  However this was practically brought to my doorstep. A male relative in his early forties had decided he no longer wanted to be married to his legally married wife of 12 years who had one child for him, partly because he didn’t think she fit into his future plans but primarily because he had hooked up with a young lady half his age and who was now pregnant for him. Well nothing new there you might add right? Well, I think there is but I understand that’s almost a norm in these parts. What I found particularly objectionable is the fact that my relative is a person of high regard in a Christian church who young couples planning to get married receive marriage counselling from (what a joke!). Also and this is what I find the most objectionable; this young side chick is also an active person in the parish and sits comfortably, unperturbed in the church while the legitimate wife feels shamed and betrayed. All the while the senior church members turn a blind eye (what’s that all about?). Is it because many of the male elders are doing the same? This inability to call things out among men and the ease at which the abuse of women is tolerated or ignored continues both overtly and covertly with impunity.
This embattled wife went to speak to church leaders to intervene and to call her husband to order as well as to challenge this young girl, or to approach her family and ask them to act morally and stop their child from interfering in a relatively young marriage that also had an innocent child who was being significantly affected by the chaos. I supported this thought process although in my mind the buck stopped with my male relative, which as far as I was concerned was acting irresponsibly and only thinking with certain parts of his anatomy!
The matter only went from bad to worse! Next thing we heard elaborate traditional wedding plans were taking place. This was the first shocker. Again one would say it’s nothing we haven’t heard before, but have you heard where a legally married man enters into another legal marriage. To be clear, I mean a man who married his wife in a registry then goes on to marry this new side chick in a registry in another state. Yes, we all know what legal term is associated with this act and the last time I checked, this was an unlawful act!
So my head is spinning at this point because we are talking about educated, professional people and I’m screaming what is everyone looking at? How is it possible there are as many guests attending this wedding and reception, who knows he is still legally married to his first wife? I just cannot fathom the psychology behind the mindset that makes this ok. Obviously, I wasn’t invited because I would have responded when asked if anyone knew of any reason why this man…..? The only words of comfort I could offer the legitimate wife is that no matter what ceremony took place at the registry it would be deemed illegitimate and could not override or supersede the first marriage. For all intents and purposes, it would be null and void. I found the whole thing so distasteful and mind-boggling. I wanted to ask the first wife why she would even want to be with a man like that who would do that to her and their child (who is completely traumatised by the events). But of course, I understand it’s not as simple as that and the level of betrayal is unimaginable.  What I find even more staggering is the effrontery and delusional thinking of the parents of this young girl. I can only conclude that when you have no fear of God you have no limits to where you can go to achieve your selfish goals. Regardless of what this man may have told them, they could easily find out the truth of the situation. It’s not a crime to decide you no longer want to remain in your marriage even though this particular man was still sleeping with his legal wife and coming in and out of their marital home, so he couldn’t have hated her that much! However, there is a proper order to follow so as not place your own relative at the start of her union bearing baggage and the wrath of a scorned wife. There is also karma which we all know is a b….h!
What is in our DNA, in our particular makeup as a people that allow us to condone this type of behaviour? Even more importantly what is the desperation or greed that some families feel that allows them to encourage, condone and even orchestrate this type of activity? When it all goes belly up then they find someone else to blame.

3 Responses

  1. Welcome to Nigeria where laws can be bypassed easily. It is mostly sick people that are found in church sincerely, haba! Anyway, karma ain’t dead.

  2. What a sad event. I wonder what could have made him marry a new wife when he is still legally married to his first wife. I believe in karma. He will definitely reap what he has sown

  3. The kind of things that can happen in this country is unfortunate sometimes. How can a man do this and he’s not been prosecuted already. Well, the prosecutor is doing even worse.

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