By Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe
For a long time in this part of the world, some of the most torturous moments for the grieving widow are the days leading up to the funeral and few days after, especially, if there is a will to be read.
The widow is always looking over already drooped shoulders, wondering whether some woman/women would crawl out like termites after a rainy evening, with child/children in tow, also asking for the right to grieve by the graveside.
Many Nigerian men have been known to keep secret second, and even third nuclear families, for years on end.
We’re talking here, about authentic traditional set ups, complete with the family cat, yet the wife is hardly ever the wiser till after her husband’s death.
Yet, widows are not the only victims of randy men. I remember a story I was told about a family friend who had invited his family members to come help him tell his wife that he had fathered a child outside their marriage. You know how those ignoble gatherings usually start their opening address.
First, they tell the wife how she was the best thing that happened to their family after independence and how her husband had gravely offended her and all sorts of asinine comments that only bear profound witness to their inherent hollowness and shamelessness.
However, this time they got more than they bargained for. Immediately the shameless leader of the equally shameless delegation started clearing his throat, the wife stood and entered her kitchen. By the time she came out holding her pestle wearing a murderous look on her otherwise peaceful face, everyone voted with their feet.
Not even the family head remained to see whether she merely wanted to know the size of pestle she should use to prepare their pounded yam for lunch.
Who wants to die for another man’s unrestrained libido? After all, they were not there when he decided to interpret the much acclaimed phrase, ‘Go ye into the world and multiply’ too literally.
The truth is that our world is filled with men like the one above though some of them go to any length to deny. Just as recent as 2015, a DNA finally proved that Warren G. Harding, US president between 1921 and when he died in 1923, had a child with his mistress, Nan Britton. The child was reportedly a result of a bout of sex in a White House coat closet.
Sometime in 2010, South African President, Jacob Zuma, apologised to the country for having a child outside his home. This was a man with three wives, and a fiancée. He still found time to father a child with another woman.
Likewise, a former Paraguayan president, Fernando Lugo, earned for himself the ‘Reproductive one’ sobriquet in 2009 when the country found out that a third woman had had a child for him. Apparently he had mistaken reproduction for productivity.
Did I also tell you that the man was a catholic priest before became president?!
Believe me, most men have had the ball for such a long time that the mere thought of the women entering the playground is sending them into the panic mode.
Now, they all want to do DNA for all their children to ensure their wives haven’t gifted them with other men’s offspring. But why are our men bleeding their ulcers because they suddenly realise that the women can indeed return the favour they’ve been dishing out from the beginning of time?
They. Should. All. Just. Keep. Quiet. Immediately.
But things are even going to get fierier. The next generation of women will take no prisoners. Not at all. They will match every act of infidelity with two or three more and dare the man to sue them.
It’s not right. But it is what it is.
The chickens are coming home to roost, much earlier than we all had anticipated.
We all have to see and experience first-hand the consequences of the injustices meted out to the women for so long in the name of culture. We have to decide that the woman is a human being with feelings and that if a man could be hurt by certain actions, then be sure that the woman won’t be immune to them.
Then we all have to also decide that enough is indeed enough and begin addressing these issues from the root. Our boys must be raised differently. This entitlement mentality that parents bequeath to them right from the cradle has to stop forthwith.
By the way, these men swelling up like overnight-soaked Ijebu garri DNA issues should remember that fatherhood shouldn’t begin and end with sperm contribution. Perhaps, this wholesome notion of fatherhood explains, for instance, why in some places when a couple’s marriage is childless or without a male offspring, the man would sometimes marry a pregnant girl and the unborn child becomes theirs even when the person who impregnated her is well known in the community.
The truth here is that there are sperm contributors and there are fathers. Let’s not ever confuse one for the other, as they can never be the same. Every child is a gift to the right parents, biological or not.
My advice is that any latter day DNA enthusiast had better saved his money for school fees and other essentials in this Buhari economy. He should rather take comfort from the fact that while he’s diligently loving and reading bedtime stories to some other man’s child, one man somewhere is also returning the favour.
It’s called sowing and reaping!