In this love book called men from the west, my family refused bride price from my husband until I was 44. Then, he was 45.Â We had this family history with men from the west. My aunt married a man from the west (Yoruba) that promised to spend the rest of his life with her alone. No other woman coming in between them.
He ended up marrying three other women after my aunt had three children with him.
He wasn’t Muslim. If he was, I would have understood that it was his religion. He just couldn’t stay with one woman alone.
The problems and struggle for attention that plague polygamous families hit my aunt hard that she didn’t live to nurse her children till a good old age. At 48, she died of depression.
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My dad is also Yoruba. He had a wife before my mum but kept it from us. He is a Christian but not a serious one. The types that attend church when they deem it fit or after much persuasion from someone. My mum was that someone. Every time he attended church, we knew it was my mums doing.
Before marrying my dad, my grandparents from my mums side (Akwa Ibom) warned my mum not to for they don’t trust Yoruba men. But against all their warnings, my mum took in for my dad and forced her parents to give their consent to her marrying my dad. Then came my eldest brother Dayo who is three years older than me. My younger brother Kola followed another three years after me. Finally, the last born Kemi who came two years after Kola
We were a happy family until my dad started travelling for business meetings to Abuja. When his travelling became unbearable, my mum confronted him and let out her heart about how his travelling was affecting the family. He promised to adjust his schedule and start making time for the family as he use to but didn’t adhere to it.
One day after a month away from the family on his usual business trip, he returned home with news that he had completed a duplex for the Family at Abuja which was the reason for his un ending travels and that we will be moving from Lagos to Abuja. We all received the news with joy and envisioned our lives in Abuja. The day we moved to Abuja was the last day I saw my dad until that day my bride price was paid.
On getting to my dadÂ’s newly built duplex at Abuja, he introduced us to a Yoruba woman some years older than my mum. With her were a boy and two girls. My dad introduced them to us as his first wife and our older siblings that he had been keeping away from us and that he thought it right to bring us all together so we can live there as a united family. My mum went wild and unleashed her anger on him with her fist and gave my dad a loud slap that sent him staggering. Before he regained balance, we were already in Lagos starting our lives afresh without him. He tried making contacts though; my mumÂ’s hatred and ours for him blocked every effort he made to get us to see reasons with him. We have hated polygamy from the days our mum and grandparents from her side, made our aunts experience a bedtime story. But he never stopped sending money to my mum for our upkeep.
My mum and aunts experience made me thank God my dad allowed me bear my Akwa Ibom name ( Emem ) for the so called love he had for my mum. I hated the Yoruba part of me and vowed never to have anything to do with yoruba men. For they are too polygamous I got to learn later that my younger sister Kemi took the same vow. My brothers on their part vowed to be Yoruba men that would be faithful to one woman only.
Who am I to judge a Tribe of more than thirty million people? If God can pick Noah out in a condemned world and build a new earth with him then, man will always be man, and God be God.
I had only Yoruba guys coming my way. It was like they were the only ones in the whole of Lagos. My days in UNILAG were hell for them. I had the alias of the lost Yoruba girl. For I hated anything that had to do with them, most especially their guys I saw them all as my dad and my aunts husband that I never even met. I didn’t regret it. The Yoruba guys I met in school then proved not different from my judgement. They were not in for a serious thing. They were just after the fun for the moment and once they were done getting it, they leave their once girl friend to the new hot thing on campus. Guys from other tribes on campus were also doing it but my spectacle couldn’t leave the Ones with yoruba blood. I so hated them that I never imagined one to change my perspective. Then came Dayo in my youth service days at Abuja.
Normally as youth coppers with a new experience outside school, everyone around me seems to be moved with the graduate on Khaki fever from our orientation days in camp to our deployment except Dayo. Dayo was different and much organized. He was everything my elder brother his name sake except age. Dayo was a year older than me. Dark skinned, average height, well shave sporting waves hair, handsome, always neat, and very disciplined. Though I had a thing for him the very first day I set eyes on him, I kept my feelings for him for my fear of Yoruba men until he struck something in me that made me start changing my perspective of Yoruba guys. While other guys like him were busy hitting girls and marking their dairy of girls they have had and planning the ones they want, his profile was rising as the most disciplined and most industrious guy in camp. He got a medal for that before we left camp to our various places of deployment. Dayo and I were posted to a top radio station there in Abuja due to our course of study and our conduct in camp.
There we got retained to work as full time staffs of the radio station.
As we worked together, we grew fond of one another. Dayo started asking me out but I repeatedly turned him down. Even though I knew he was different, I still would not let go of my vow. One day, I decided to bring up a topic on air on my show and get people giving their opinions on polygamy and how it affects childrenÂ’s up- bringing. While people were calling and giving their opinions, I broke into tears. Dayo who was on the background working as my studio director cut in to help me anchor the show till it ended. After the show, he asked the reason for the tears. I told him my family story and why I have been turning him down. It was then he told me the reasons behind his personality that has gotten him that far.
Dayo is the only child of his mum. His dad a very influential politician married his mum for her educational background to boost his political career after having eight children from two different older women. At first, things were going well for him and his mum. Dayo started experiencing the ugliness of polygamy at age ten when his dad got shot in the head in front of their house after one of his political campaigns. His family members didn’t wait for his burial before chasing Dayo and his mum out of his fatherÂ’s house after sharing his other properties among themselves and the other children, leaving Dayo and his mum to start from the scratch and work their way to feed themselves. Dayo then grew up making a vow to never engage in polygamy and take his family name to places that no member of his extended family would dream of reaching.
That was it. Hearing his story kind of took away the veil in my eyes that has been covering the fact that not all Yoruba men are the same, and started a relationship that I am not regretting.
At first, my family members except my two brothers and sister rejected Dayo as my husband but my standing to the decision of spending the rest of my life with him made them accept the bride price that day, after We already had four children together, two boys and two girls. The eldest among them nineteen, the youngest twelve.
Thank God i am happily married with wonderful kids.Follow Love Venture on WordPress.com