Before they go to Eritrea…..Funke Egbemode
SO, if Eritrea had not denied passing a law endorsing polygamy, some Nigerian men would have shipped themselves to that country, right? I’m totally flabbergasted here. As soon as that story broke, the enthusiasm and glee with which some of my friends embraced and tweeted and
broadcast and re-broadcast it was absolutely disappointing. The rate at which the story spread from facebook to whatsapp and everywhere simply exposed so many guys for what they are; unpatriotic Nigerian males. They started making visa enquiries and calling travel agencies for cheap tickets.
For what nah? I asked myself. What is in Eritrea that is not here? Why did Nigerian men want to go to Eritrea just because they heard, incorrectly, that the country had made a law making polygamy mandatory for all Eritrean men and that those who refused to take at least two wives would be hauled into jail?
The last time I checked, there is no law in Nigeria preventing men from having more than one woman. And Nigerian men are very very polygamous naturally. It’s like they were made or born that way. Those who were not born with natural taste for more than one woman quickly acquire it. It must be something in our national DNA or just the air we breathe. With the exception of a very percentage, almost negligible, most Nigerian men like and enjoy their informal harem. So what were they going to do in Eritrea that they were not already doing in Calabar and Kano?
Fine, there is the bigamy law that says that a Nigerian found guilty of marrying more than one wife in court or church could go to jail for a few years but do you know anyone who has been jailed under that law?
Nigerian wives do not send the fathers of their children to jail just because they have clandestinely gone and taken second or third wives after paying ‘I Do’ before God and man. The wives here are very forgiving.
They don’t pull guns and there are no property laws that protect them in cases of divorce. Do Nigerian men even pay alimony. All those things that encourage men to keep their staffs of office in the office and generally be of good behaviour are lacking in Nigeria. Women indulge them. The laws are on their side. The society protects them and lynches women who float the unwritten laws.
So what else do Nigerian men want that Nigeria has not given them in abundance? Most men here operate 1+4 (one wife and four other women) governments, a set up that allows them to have the best of two worlds. They can be both monogamists and polygamists. They can go to church with one wife on Sunday and spend the remaining six days with the other four women. And they are safely doing it. If the woman at home has a ‘headache’, they can take their pent-up energy to one of their other homes and unleash it generously on their second or third options.
Now, did those who wanted to go to Eritrea consider that one plus four is different from four whole number? A man with four girlfriends can make excuses when it’s time for him to give account of his virility, blame work, pretend he’s in a meeting and his women may forgive him but if he has them living under his roof as wives, excusing himself from duty might be a bit tight.
Let those who want to run off to marry cheap wives learn the rudiments of sleeping roaster before they hop on a plane. Things are not always what they seem. That grass that seems greener on their other side may just be dyed dry grass. What if in Eritrea there is no ‘Alomo’ or other
such performance-enhancement drinks that are available at every bus stop here? A man that has three fine energetic wives to satisfy needs all the help he can get and wall know how newly-weds are. Both want to please and that comes with a price. There is also the little problem of catching up on lost time. Let us assume Eritrea did not refute the story and there truly was a scarcity of eligible men, wouldn’t that presuppose that the women had been on the shelf for a whole and might be really hungry for.. em…em.. male attention. Add that to the fact that the Nigerian men who were preparing to go, at least the ones I know, are neither virgins nor spring chicken, what you get is a dangerous mix. Two hungry brides and a badly-used Nigerian Tokunbo male. Yeah, these are men who have been around. They are like Bermuda shorts, neither knickers nor trousers.
I heard one of the attractions to Eritrean women was the purported perks. The government was going to sponsor the wedding and provide accommodation for the couple.
Except for guys who don’t know where to look, those things are available here in Nigeria. In fact, Nigeria has more than Eritrea can hope to provide the Nigerian male. The beautiful ones may not have been born in other climes but in Nigeria, you can find beauty in any shame you want it, from slim to buxom.
Women even change their complexion to suit the taste of the men in their lives. There are level-headed women as many as the hot-headed ones.
There are women here who can pay for their men. They will pay the rent and sponsor the wedding. They will give their men royal robes and buy them to-die-for-automobiles. Why do men who can’t afford to pay for their own weddings have to go abroad? Everything is here, and for men who are strong enough, they can marry tow too. So,
all a guy needs to do is be at the right place at the right time and a rich babe shopping for a husband will buy him. Or isn’t that what they were going to do in Eritrea, freeloading things?
If a man wants a woman who will pay his dowry, he doesn’t need to leave this country. There are women who will buy them and keep them. But a woman who buys you is your owner o. She is the ‘owner of the dowry’ (olowo ori e) and so must be treated with respect. If she pays the rent, she is the landlord. If she buys your cars, she can take them away as soon as you start going to places she does not approve of. And she can throw you out anytime if you get too big for your boots.
What has not ceased to amaze me is why a toy boy will wake up one day and decide to stand up to his sugar mummy.
She owns you and if you are no longer interested in being owned, then you must change your address. But where a young man has reduced his manhood to naira and kobo and sells himself to a beautiful rich woman, he must stay on the leash and do exactly as he’s told.
Whether it is a government that is paying a dowry and rent or it is the woman, the rules of engagement are the same even if they are not written in black and white: he who pays the piper dictates the tune.
We have all enjoyed the joke about Nigerian men who wanted to go to Eritrea but let not the lessons in the joke get lost. There are more women than men all over the world. The men are no longer forthcoming with the marriage proposals. And more and more women are becoming more successful than men. Should we discourage the women from going after what they want? Do we need a new law that will let women pay bride price?
But when women get to pay the bride price, there will be consequences and repercussions, if you get my drift.
Culled from Funke Egbemode(Sunday Sun, 31st January, 2016)