Women have finally found a panacea to the many long years of suffering in the hands of abusive and philandering spouses. They’re increasingly putting their kitchen knives to ‘better’ use, subjecting their men to second circumcisions and slashing everything that ‘stands’ in the way.
However, I must apologise to the esteemed readers of Franktalk that this column disappeared for almost three straight weeks without any prior notice. as the politicians would say, it was due to other pressing matters of state – it does not matter if the said politician was just frolicking with one of his concubines all the while.
Now, let me confess that I’m choosing to address this relatively ‘safe’ topic of killer wives in order to avoid commenting on former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s resignation from the APC, and how some political wheeler-dealers, including governors, have suddenly lost their sense of history and developed diarrhoea of the mouth over the matter.
I’m also running away from replying information minister Lai Mohammed and EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu’s subtle blackmail of the media over this regime’s infamous anti-graft war.
I don’t want to remind them that the media that they are accusing of not supporting them enough is the same media they ridiculed into refunding an out-of-court compensation that the Jonathan government paid them for the losses inflicted on them by the disruption of their operations by overzealous security operatives. Yes, remember the N10 million pittance, which Magu swore was money meant to buy fighter jets to fight Boko Haram? Or do I need to remind Magu that some media people had their bank account frozen because it was used to pay for verifiable published newspaper adverts by the PDP? Or do we need to remind Mohammed and Magu that it was not the ‘ridiculing’ media that submitted Magu’s dossier to the Senate? How is it the media’s fault if, in a desperation to get even with the DSS and Lawal Daura, Magu’s EFCC decides to destroy everything the country’s security services stand for?
Where did the media go wrong if it decides to ask questions about the plan to arrest a certain Ita Ekpenyong, who is on record to have handed over millions of dollars, in unspent funds, to the state in his handover note, and is believed to have largely run a transparent service? Is the media wrong to want to know if Ekpenyong’s travails have anything to do with the shadowboxing with Daura?
How is the media culpable on Mainagate, Babachir Lawal and the whereabouts of recovered loot and confiscated property? Or is support for the anti-graft war only predicated on reporting what the EFCC and Lai Mohammed want reported?
But, like I said, these are questions I would rather not ask. That is why I’m more comfortable talking about killer cuckolds and scorned women. And I’d like to lay the entire blame for this unsettling developments at the doorsteps of us parents who are overindulging our children – and ourselves.
I’m worried about how parents, in pursuit of our selfish ego (masqueraded as providing the best for our children) have used our wealth, both legitimate and illegitimate, to ruin our children and the future of our country.
For starters: When was the last time you received a wedding invitation directly from an about-to-wed couple? The invitation was probably sent to you by the father or the mother or the uncle or the auntie of the couple. If the bride or groom delivered the letter, it’s probably because they do not have a ‘big man’ father or mother.
Better still, when was the last time you (as a middle class/upper class person) attended a wedding of any couple you really knew – whether bride or groom?
You probably attended the wedding of your friend’s son or daughter. Or, maybe, it was the niece, nephew or cousin of a business associate of yours. Until that grand society wedding, you probably never met the bride or groom. Or, at best, you still have the kindergarten image of the ‘small boy of yesterday’ who is now taking a wife. Meanwhile, if you did not see images of their pre-wedding photo shoot (which often accompany invitation cards these days), you’d probably not be able to tell the couple in a modest crowd of five.
All the same, we buy, sew and adorn the aso ebi (transliterated as uniform of the family), even when we’re really not part of the ebi.
A few weeks ago, a friend invited me to a big wedding in Lagos. Unfortunately, I got to the venue of the wedding before my host. As the devil would have it, there were three different wedding receptions going on simultaneously in different halls at the expansive complex.
The bouncers, who seemed convinced I was not just another gatecrasher, asked for the names of the couple whose wedding I wanted to attend. I did not know. What state(s) was the couple from? I had no idea. I only knew the name of the person who invited me. And his name (or family name) was not on any of the banners positioned outside the venues. Without any idea of what the aso ebi looked like, I moved from one venue to the other, in futile search for familiar faces. No luck! When I could not equally get my host on his mobile line, I did the only smart thing that came to my head: drive away. Of course, it saved me some money in cash gift, but it also cost me some embarrassment.
Lesson: We so much impose ourselves on the weddings of our children and wards that the event ends up being about us and our circle of friends. Very little of the couple we are supposed to be celebrating. Our kid’s wedding soon becomes another business luncheon for our business and political associates. The more who’s who that attends, the better for our ego.
And we must not forget the gifts and wedding memorabilia! Instead of the traditional presentation of gifts to the couple, what we see today is that parents of the couple are the ones who now give guests gifts. In fact, if there is any noticeable presentation of gift to the couple, it’s usually that of their parents proudly presenting them the keys to a new car or house – another show-off.
Some two years ago, I attended a wedding where every guest went away with a Samsung S6 telephone. And, wait for it, while the bride was yet to resume at her first job, which she landed a few days to the wedding, the groom had not worked for up to two years, post-graduation. Nothing, in the entire lavish wedding, seemed to prepare the couple for the reality of married life. At best, we increase the pressure of expectation on the young people.
Yes, I’m not unaware that in some Nigerian cultures, it’s the duty of parents to organize ‘befitting’ weddings for their children, but I’m increasingly seeing this culture catching on with people of other cultures, as many big men (and even the not-so-big men) compete to organise the most lavish weddings for their children.
I don’t begrudge them their indulgences (for I can’t vouch that I would not do likewise if money misses its way and ends up in my pocket). I’m only worried that less than 12 months after they wow us with their talk-of-the-town weddings, they begin to wow us with talk-of-the-town scandals, spousal violence and, lately, murder!
The reason is simple: over-grown babies, who have never broken a sweat for any dollar they’ve had to spend, or ever had the responsibility of genuinely providing (or caring) for anyone else other than themselves, are packaged into all manner of arrangee marriages and celebrity liaisons – just because their parents want to ‘belong’.
Consequently, everybody is focused on the wedding (an event), without sparing a thought for the marriage (life after the partying). Even when it’s clear that either the groom or bride (or both) is an unrepentant party animal, we delude ourselves that marriage would change them. If we catch either or both of them snorting some whitish substances or smoking more than just cigarettes, we somehow convince ourselves that everything would vanish with bachelorhood and spinsterhood. It never does. And that’s where the trouble begins.
But, please, can somebody help us tell these air-brained parents and their spoilt kids that they are fouling up the marriage atmosphere for the rest of us! And while they’re at it, can somebody also remind them that the phrase “until death do us part,” which they swore to, before the minister of God at their wedding, is not a licence for murder, that the oath is not theirs to evoke whenever they so wish. That they have the choice to bring that ‘death’ to come to be. That, if they ever get tired of each other, or can’t stop sowing their wild oats, even after marriage, or can’t stand each others extramarital adventures, or simply refuse to grow up, there is a less dastardly way to get around the problem: just walk away.
It is not an easy option, but it’s definitely better than killing your spouse. It’s heartbreaking that today, as soon as couples get tired of each other, they begin to scheme to arrive at the ‘death’ that would ‘do them part’.
Unfortunately, even if your mother is a judge and you’re able to get away with murder and a slap on the wrist, the spouse-killer stigma would follow you to the grave.