Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu will, tomorrow, deliver the Nnamdi Azikiwe University convocation lecture at the institution’s 11th convocation ceremony. The lecture, titled Leadership and the challenges of national unity in Nigeria holds at the university auditorium by 1:00pm. Ribadu was the pioneer EFCC chairman, the government…
Daisy was born beautiful. Her mother received her with misty eyes. Her father felt so proud. After three boys, Manny was beginning to doubt his ability to make a female baby. And now along came Daisy from his loins. He’s a complete man, after all. Right? There was so much to eat and drink at the naming ceremony of Daisy. She got a name from every member of the family. Quite a list but the one other name that stuck was the one her paternal grandmother gave her, Gift. Mama had five sons herself. No daughters. She had had to make do with her daughters-in-law. But Daisy Gift is her own, God’s gift to her. She was beside herself with joy. So happy was she that she came to Lagos with some of her most expensive ‘abada’ and beads and her few gold jewelries. She handed them over to Bella, Daisy’s mum to keep in trust until her little Gift was ready to use them.
Daisy grew into a fine young lady, very intelligent too. She was a delight in every way. Well, except she hated having to clean the kitchen. She could cook up a storm but someone else had to wash the plates and generally do the rest. She was called to the Nigerian Bar at 22 and got a really cushy job in an oil service company. Her beauty and brains, of course, made her double attractive to men old and young. She enjoyed the attention until she fell hard for Mofe, an Engineer. He proposed after six months and they were married six months later. Their wedding ceremony was huge. Manny beamed from ear-to-ear as he walked his Daisy down the aisle, and in fact all through the ceremony.
It wasn’t long before things started going wrong in the love nest. Marriage brought goodies for Daisy. She was promoted at work and with the new responsibilities came bigger perks. She travelled more and worked late many days. With a nine-month old baby, it was tough for Daisy. She wanted to breastfeed her son for at least a full year. She was that old-fashioned. She wanted to continue to run her kitchen and do her shopping but she was ever so tired. She struggled hard until she succumbed to the idea of a house keeper. That was when the monster she had always thought was lurking somewhere in Mofe came roaring.
You can’t bring any stranger into this house.
I will not eat food cooked by one dirty thing from God-knows-where.
I’ve taken your BS job for too long. What kind of woman works till 9pm?
In fact, it’s either your job or me. If you want to keep this marriage, you will quit that job.
How did you get promoted so quickly, anyway?
Why am I even asking, you must have been sleeping with the bosses?
How do I even know that child is mine…?
Daisy had always suspected that Mofe was keeping a tight rein on his violent part. He had screamed at her, pushed her into bed , threw her against the wall more than once. At a public event once, he had grabbed her arm and dragged her into the car because ‘ she was flirting with every male around’. Truth be told, Mofe had slapped her twice while she was pregnant because his meals were late.
‘Are you the first woman to be pregnant? Don’t you see other women working and still cooking?’
But the day Mofe said he doubted the paternity of their son, Daisy flipped, screamed right back at husband. Oh boy, did she get what was coming to her? He beat her into a daze. He dragged her on the floor, beating her as she fell and ran around the house. Not even the distressed cries of their son could stop Mofe’s rage. Fortunately, that fully-violent-Mofe-day was a Friday and Daisy didn’t break a thing. She took strong pain killers and on Monday she did her best with the make-up brushes and concealers, and wore a trouser suit. She winced and smiled all through work as she wept inside. But that was the beginning of full-blown violence. Daisy moved from denial to blaming herself for Mofe’s demons. She kept a supply of pain-killers everywhere, her office drawer, her purse, her car glove compartment. She hid it all from her family and friends. Until the day her parents paid an unscheduled visit because they wanted to surprise the couple. They were in the neighbourhood for a wedding and wanted Daisy and Mofe to accompany them. You know how parents like to flaunt their successful children in the gatherings of other ‘successful parents’, right? Only that Saturday morning, Daisy’s lips were double, she had a plaster on her arm and only one of her eyes was open. Now, that kind of get-up was not the one you blamed on falling in the bathroom and walking into a door.
For how long had this been going on?
The length of time did not matter. Daisy’s parents hauled her into their car along with their grandson and left a terse note for Mofe. Of course, he went begging and promised to be of good behavior thenceforth. Daisy went back. Mofe’s demons receded for a while but returned worse. Daisy lied, ran, returned, lied, ran and returned… the evil cycles went on for five years. Until the day the driver found Daisy at the foot of the staircase, cold, dead, her neck broken. Her son was beside her, crying; ‘mummy, get up, I’m hungry.’ Mofe was missing. The doctor said Daisy must have been dead for at least six hours before the driver found her.
Daisy died while her son was asleep. His daddy had pushed her mummy down the staircase and stormed out of the house. He was arrested, charged for murder. The case is in court. Daisy has been buried, beauty, brains and all. Richie, their son still wakes up screaming ‘mummy get up’.
The lawyer said he will ensure the family gets justice. Justice, that is that they call it. Some even said the family will find closure when Mofe is sentenced. Really? For me, if it is justice, Daisy will come back to life and the day that family finds closure is the day they wake up from the nightmare Mofe brought upon everybody. How exactly does a court case heal the pain of an only daughter so brutally murdered?
When in December last year I ran a piece ‘Planning your escape from an evil husband’, I got torrents of mails, all of them from men who think I’m evil. How could I tell women in abusive relationships to abandon their marriages? Isn’t marriage forever? Was I not supposed to be encouraging women to stay in their marriages? Seriously? Me, encourage a wife-beater to continue to have full access to his prey? Would that not make me a sicker person than the abusive man?
Now, I’m tempted to think that every man who wrote that I had no business telling battered women to run for their lives, is sick. If you think a violent man should remain violent and a woman subjected to his violence should remain in a violent marriage, you need to see a psychiatrist before this day is done. A wife-beater is a sick person. I’d rather he gets treated for his sickness than get sentenced for murder. I’d rather put an abusive marriage on hold while both wife and husband get help than end up attending a funeral or going to court. How exactly does an abusive marriage benefit the children, the parents of the couple or the society? What kind of men want wives being beaten by their husbands to continue to be beaten? Are they even thinking at all or are they wife beaters, abusive husbands themselves? Are they even fathers? Do they have daughters?
Take a look at your daughter as you read this…
Remember your joy as she was placed in your arms for the first time, her thumb or forefinger in her mouth, the first tottering steps. Can you still remember how she looks in her first school uniform, her precocious questions? Think of how proud you were (or you will be) at her graduation, and then her wedding. And God forbid, how you will feel if one day, one phone call from the hospital, police station announces that she’s dead because she stayed just one day longer in an abusive marriage.
May we not know the pain of burying a child in Jesus name but I’d really like to know what you will do if your son-in-law beats your daughter. Let’s share.