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“What a man can do….” – Francis Ewherido

“…a woman can also do,” and some people will add, “and even better.” The revelation sometime ago by the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem that, “55 husbands reported wives battery” in the first eight months of 2017 in Lagos State did not come to me as a surprise. What surprised me was the meager number. May be, the majority of the men are too ashamed to come forward to report being beaten by their wives. And that is just physical battery. We are not talking of mental, psychological and economic battery.

Love gone sour

This week, one of the stories that trended was the death of 35-year-old Bilyamin Bello, from injuries sustained allegedly from battery by his wife. The story is still unfolding so we shall see. But the fact is husband battery, like wife battery, is real. Some women are giving their husbands the beating of their lives. They say women are the weaker sex; how come they have become so strong, they are battering their husbands? The matter has different branches.

First branch: the economic down turn has taken its toll on many men. They have lost their economic power and with it self-worth, ego, their male pride, will power and physical strength. Their wives are in charge and know no magnanimity in victory. The husbands have been reduced to the status of drivers and houseboys. Some madams slap and kick drivers and domestic staff, so that is also the lot of these husbands.

What I find most painful in some homes now is that the wives have used their economic power to turn the children against their fathers. They do not listen to or respect their fathers anymore. They are accomplices in the humiliation of their fathers. I will never be able to understand why any normal woman will reduce her husband to a subhuman. These women are unknowingly putting their families on the path of destruction. The fourth commandment says: “Honour your father and your mother (not only your mother) that your days will be long in the land your God has given you.”

It is the only commandment that carries a reward. Children, remember God’s words are immutable. Daughters, who acquiesce to their mothers’ evil deed, can never be good wives; their marriages will crumble or at best be colourless and unhappy. The sons, who cheer their mothers on, will encounter the same humiliation one way or another in the future. I am not cursing anybody; I have lived long enough and have seen these things happen.

Second branch: older men and younger wives. Some of the men who report battery are older men married to younger women. It is bad enough that some of these younger women serially cheat on their husbands. In addition, they regularly beat up these men. These men also complain that the wives do not take care of them; they do not cook for them; they are generally abusive and put them through mental torture. Some of these old men have gone to court to file for divorce. The third branch: men who are sick and the wives maltreat them. For some of the women, it is as if it is payback time. Even if the man did things to you in the past that are wrong, forgive him or walk away. Taking advantage of a sick person is inhuman.

I remain an apostle of the indissolubility of marriages, but I cannot see any basis for the continuation of a marriage when your husband has become your foot mat. I know a few houseboy-husbands; they look haggard and mentally drained, defeated and deflated. If they had any ego, it is now distant memory.

Looking at them, I get this eerie feeling that they do not know what their wives’ nakedness look like anymore, although when it comes to husband and wife matters, you never know. Maybe, they still perform their conjugal duties, but only at the instance of their wives. Who is a houseboy-husband to make the first move? If your body hot, baff with cold water!

Painfully, these are bubbly guys of yesterday who had good jobs or businesses until things went awry. The truth is that it is not good for a man to be economically powerless. No matter how little, earn something. Your wife might earn more, but just earn something. Let those your dry bones rise again, you must go look for wherever you threw away your hope and retrieve it. It is going to be a tedious and uphill climb, but it is better than the humiliation you are currently going through.

Once the will is there, there is going to be a way. Helpers will come along the line. Do not hide yourself in your room, sleeping from morning to evening or watching television all day and night. It is this kind of behavior that annoys some of the wives. Go out there, do volunteer work in church or other places where help in needed. The Bible says it is in giving that we receive. The tragedy of many people today is that they do not know they have something to give. It is not always about money, donate your time. Someday, something will turn up and turn your life around.

Wives, your husband is your crown, treat him well. We know that what a man can do, a woman can also do and even better, but let this cliché pertain to positives only. Do not join the men in this odious spouse battery. If you do, you will cut your nose to spite your face. The end can never be positive. If the tales we have read so far about Bilyamin’s wife is true, then she is in big trouble. Any woman who marries a Muslim man knows ab initio that there is a possibility of co-wives. I do not understand the jealousy bit that led to the rage that snuffed the life out of the young man.


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