By CHIEF PROF ANTHONY OHA,

In the year 2000, I read Chinweizu’s controversial book, Anatomy of Female Power* and was deeply angry with him for his projected hatred for the womenfolk. I saw Chinweizu as being queer for his dialectics on women. I later confirmed that he was unmarried then and I don’t know whether he even married at all. “No man should see the opposite sex as abnormal,” I thought. In the book, you will read about good men and how they became enslaved by bad women. I threw the book away at some point because I saw it as an affront on the dignity of womanhood. But, how shallow was my judgement!


As a young lecturer in one of the universities in Nigeria in the late 90s, I encountered a colleague whose sobriquet was “Godfather,” who told me that marriage was evil. He said that I should never think of marriage because it could make a man die early. He posed a question to me that I should count how many widows in the world in comparison with the widowers. He advised me to get a woman, get her pregnant, and settle her with some cash, after the baby may have reached a year old. He said that I could do that until I get the number of children I needed and train them up to the standard I needed. It was then I realized that he had children but no wife. As at 1999, he practised what Nigerian celebrities today call “Baby Mama.” I hated him then for telling me not to engage in marriage, an institution that God himself ordained for the procreation of mankind.

Before I eventually married, I was already a member of some social clubs and I was promised so many benefits if I married. I was in high spirit, searching for the right partner and even dedicated by published books to “the unknown bride.” When I eventually found her, she hooked me with her magic wand. I danced enough breakdance like Michael Jackson on the wedding day  and little did I know that I was dancing out my last freedom.

After the main event, one of my clubs came to my house to give us our rights as new couple. It was a very busy occasion as many of them gave us advice ranging from understanding, care, trust, management and prudence in finance. One of them only hit the nail on the head. He said that marriage is a secret society that only the initiates can reveal their experiences. He said that I should not think of marriage as bed of roses. As the man spoke I hated him the more because I saw him as a man who shouldn’t be talking about marriage since he had no wife. I heard he drove his wife more than ten years earlier. So what advice could he give to us?

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Four days after the meeting I had my first taste of marital odd. I needed to eat fried plantain which I advised that it must be fried large since I get hurt on my tongue if it were cut tiny. Alas, she did the contrary. I asked why it was so and I got a loud echo of insults which ended with, “I am not your slave.” One thing led to another and she packed her luggage that night. It took the timely intervention of a couple down the street before sanity could be restored by midnight. Since then we lived cautiously minding our excesses.

I was privileged to be at the chapel of Benson Idahosa University the day  Bishop Margaret Idahosa wept on the altar as she narrated how she contributed to the pains her husband went through when he was alive. She said that she was the one, who without cause, called the man names for not playing to her rules. She advised the women to stop pushing their husbands to their untimely grave with their nagging and quarrelsomeness. For those of us, who met Archbishop Benson Idahosa while alive, you will confess that he was a firebrand for God but don’t be surprised that he cowed before his wife to ensure that his home was Godly.

The Bible talked about the real widows as different from the fake ones. God said that He is the husband to the widows, the real widows. When a man suddenly develops hypertension as a result of the trauma caused by a bad wife and dies in the process, the woman can be described as a fake widow. When a woman puts a man under pressure and he goes out to meet other women known as “side chicks”, whatever happens to the man in the process has to be blamed on his wife. Go to the bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants and you will see men who will rush there after work and stagger home by midnight. They will sneak into their house, sleep on the parlour sofa, wake up before 5 am and rush out to work before their nagging wives catch them. Some marriages are nightmares!

I planned out my children’s education many years before I married. I opened an account for them in insurance company 10 years earlier. Surprisingly, one day, my son saw me reading my weekend newspaper and requested my attention. He asked why I don’t pay their school fees. He said that his mum told him that I was a useless man who never cared about their education and that without her they would all have died. I almost wept but controlled my emotion. I explained to him how I had been banking for their education even before they were born. He shouted, “Ehen, no wonder mum always talk about going to the bank to withdraw our school fees. Daddy thank you, I love you.” Since then he refused accepting his mother’s hate speech against me. His mother began hating him because he seldom listened to her since the day I told him the truth. This is the reality in many homes. Many children have beaten their fathers courtesy of their mothers’ evil antics.

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The love of a woman dies as the man goes low in wealth. A man is termed useless if he fails to carry out his duties as a result of austerity. If the woman takes over and contributes, the man will become an idiot. A man opens a supermarket for his wife and his wife will request him to pay for the salt she took in the shop to cook family food. Ask her to account for the profits she made in the business and she will remind you that the business is for her to manage the way she wants and owes nobody any accountability. She works in  an establishment and earns far more than her husband but won’t buy even soap for her children’s use. How married women spend their money is still a mystery to many husbands. If you want to be terrorised by your wife ask her to assist you pay the house rent because you’re cash trapped. Fail to fulfill your promise and she’ll forget all the good things you did in the past. No woman wants to train a child not hers. Her husband’s relatives are not welcomed to live in her home except her own relatives. We have been hearing about the excesses of mother-in-laws and none about father-in-laws. Buy a cloth for your daughter and your wife will deny you sex for loving your daughter more than her.

In one of the faculty meetings in my university, I had proposed that three courses on women should be added as part of the general studies curriculum. The courses were: *(1) GST 108 – Introduction to Women Behaviour, (2) GST 209 – Understanding the Nature of Women (3) GST 311- The Psychology of Women.* I also presented the course descriptions and topics. It aroused loud uproar, especially from the women in the faculty. I sent a copy of the proposal to the National Universities Commission (NUC) but the personal secretary to the Executive Secretary of the commission ensured the proposal was not attended to. That’s a story for another day. The earlier we teach and prepare our young men on women the better for the society. Modernisation has even worsened the odds of bad women. It’s really pathetic! DNA test is now a trend because faithfulness has been deleted from the dictionary of most women.

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The word of God talked about the virtuous woman, a woman of honour who would stand by her husband and love him till death. She assists without being asked to. She understands her husband’s mood and tries to break in to put smiles on his face. She sees her husband as the family head and teaches her children to revere him. She calls for prayers on him and seeks to counsel him when things go awry. How many of this type of women can we see today? This type of women, if their husbands die, could be referred as the true widows. We can also boldly call them ‘her excellencies’ because God Almighty has become their husband. God is the Ultimate Excellency!

Let it not be interpreted that I hate women. NO! The truth is that I hate bad women and the unfortunate thing is that there are many bad ones than the good ones. More so, a man’s excesses could be curtailed where a woman tends to show love, care and trust. Some men are bullies. They’ll beat their wives mercilessly because they failed to realise that a woman must be endured. It’s wrong for men to raise their hand on women. Watch it, the men who beat their wives are those men who couldn’t withstand the rantings and insults from their wives. Some men are described as responsible married men because they are able to manage their wives’ excesses without raising hands on them. This is not to say that there are no bad husbands. Some men are terrible in marriage but the ratio with women is never close in comparison.

Widowhood is not joy. Women should love their husbands and endure with them. Women should understand that not every woman who lost her husband is truly a widow. Fake widows are everywhere. If our women can manage their homes, love their husbands and help in building a solid home for their children the world will be a better place. According to Professor Catherine Acholonu in her theory of Motherism, “women hold the pillar of the earth because in them lie procreation and vegetations.” Good women should be given proper care. Men should love their wives even in their excesses but not in their madness. Thank God for telling us that some widows are fake.

Chief Prof Anthony Oha, fnos(Oka Edemede 1 of Umuchukwu)

professoroha@outlook.com

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