By Candida

ISIOMA knew Taofik came from a polygamous home and was of the Muslim faith when they met over ten years ago, but you could hardly call him a practising Muslim. “We met abroad when I went for a six-month course in children ‘s educationh, said Isioma, “and he was on a business trip. We were introduced by a mutual friend and the attraction was electric. Taofik was almost ten years older than I was and had never married. He was too busy enjoying his money and the business world. I was in my late twenties and ready to settle down.

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lovers

“But I didn’t pressurise Taofik. He was a man’s man – tall, rugged and generous and it was fun lapping up all the attention he showered on me. Within weeks, he’d completely swept me off my feet. From lavish gifts to romantic surprises, I wanted for nothing. Things picked up really fast when I came back to Lagos and we became a hot item. I needed no persuasion to move in with him and when I got pregnant, he was really

thrilled. According to him, he was more than good and ready to start a family.

“He helped set up my nursery school and paid for most of the educational materials I needed. The premises belonged to me. After our son was born, we decided to get married – nothing over the top but it was a registry do and quite enough commitment for me. Taofik had recently set up a new company that supplied diesel and petrol to giant companies during those fuel shortage days and he was making good profit. It kept him busy but he always found time for his family.

“As his business empire flourished, he became obsessed with being rich.” ‘One of these days,’ he bragged, ‘I would move my family to a mansion on Banana Island and have my own yacht … ‘ I was a bit worried about his sudden craze for instant wealth. And in his continued pursuit of success, he started rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous and guzzling champagne. One night, he came in from a business meeting stinking of booze. ‘You stink of booze, ‘ I spat. ‘It’s none of your business,’ he snapped. ‘You don’t control me’.  ‘I was only concerned for our daughter .. ‘, I began meekly, when he lashed out at me. I was shocked. It was the first time he would lash at me but it wouldn’t be the last.

“He started coming home at all hours after that. If I confronted him, he’d turn the tables and accuse me of cheating. This went on until he got himself a female PA, called Clara, who followed him around like a lap dog. I was furious. ‘Why can’t you be like the rest of your mates who have male PAs’?’ I asked him. He had the nerve to explain a male PA wouldn’t be nice around our daughter – who was only five at the time! A few months later, I came home early to find Clara and Taofik playing house on the dinning table with our daughter. I was upset but Clara explained she just helped because everybody was hungry. We had a live-in cook who could whip up any kind of meal at the shortest notice and I asked Clara to leave.

“Weeks later, Taofik came in one afternoon with a determined look on his face. He demanded we have a talk and he told me coldly: ‘I have feelings for Clara,’ as I gaped at him, he continued, ‘I want to have sex with him. If you give me your permission, then it won’t be cheating. As a Muslim, am allowed more than one wife’. I was furious. ‘You can’t be serious,’ I told him. ‘You want me to let you have sex with that schemer?’ But the look on his face told me this was no joke. ‘I want us all to live together as a family,’ he continued. ‘I could have two wives.’

“You are crazy,h I yelled at him. ‘I’ll do it anyway,’ he assured me. ‘My conscience would be clear.  I make the rules as the head of this family.’ I reminded him that if he’d wanted to tow the religious line, he should have gotten married at the mosque, not at the registry. If he wanted a second wife, I threatened,’ I wouldn’t be party to it.’ He just shrugged.

“I left with our daughter to live on the school premises. My daughter was confused. She kept on asking for her daddy and wanted to know why he wasn’t living with us. ‘If you let me have a second wife, then we’ll all be Ok,’ insisted Taofik. I was glad I’d removed my daughter and myself from this toxic situation. He tried to trick me back to the family house,

promising to get rid of Clara. By this time, my daughter had started blaming me for the loss of our flash lifestyle. ‘I want Daddy’ she yelled. ‘Why did you make us leave him’?’ How could I explain the truth to a five- year-old? So I agreed to give Taofik the benefit of the doubt.

As soon as I could, I went back to the house to see what was going on. As soon as I arrived, it was obvious Clara was still living there. All her clothes were hanging in my wardrobe. I was about to leave when I saw my second car, bought for me by Taofik, pull onto the drive. I stared in shock as Clara climbed out. She was driving my car and living in my house with my husband. She’d more or less stolen my life! I stormed out before Taofik even showed up. A good thing I did as to this day, both of them still live together.

“Taofik is a good dad to our daughter. He sends her gifts and gives me money for her upkeep. It breaks my heart that he destroyed our perfect family to have sex with his PA!”

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