Many men desire women who will submit to them in every way possible, accepting them as lord and master. So they pick on young, naive girls whom they believe are not too knowledgeable about the bad things of the world and have not been corrupted by the love for material wealth. Some go for girls with little or no education, while some pick outside or below their social status and some simply go back to the villages to hunt for these special breed of submissive wives. However, sometimes it does not end well. People do change, same with circumstances. Besides, the Bible acknowledged the complexity of the heart and described it as deep and desperately wicked such that no man can fathom it. Many young    naive, sweet girls have turned out worse than the older wise ladies. Such is the case you are about to read. The story is narrated by a family member in whose care one of the controversial children now is.

“My brother’s wife was never considered good enough for him by the family members right from the beginning. Eventually, she only disappointed my brother, not the family. Salewa only managed to finish secondary school and her parents were quite indigent when compared to ours. But my brother wanted a young girl that he could control and not any one of the big girls he took around back then. We only saw Salewa a few times before he announced her as his wife and that she was already pregnant. Every other thing just fell into place.

After the birth of the first child, a boy, she started a little trade, selling provisions and household goods in a little shop in the compound. Another girl followed shortly after. A few years later, she got a shop in the main market but now dealt in food items such as rice, beans, garri, vegetable and groundnut oil, etc. It was here that she joined some social clubs and made several friends, some of them we thought were way beyond her league. She started attending Owambe parties, buying aso-ebi    and generally enjoying life. Money was not her problem as her husband had enough to cater for the family. There was no doubt that she spent all her money on herself and her frivolous life style. Over the years, she had three more children, all boys for my brother. Nobody could have guessed that Salewa had any skeleton in her wardrobe, at least, nothing in the magnitude of what we finally had to face.

The shocker came with news that Salewa had fought at a party with somebody’s wife and in the course of their shouting at each other, revealed that she has three wonderful, healthy boys for the woman’s husband! According to the story which quickly spread like a wildfire, Salewa had gone to the party with a group of friends which she personally invited. In fact, she had gone with some food and drinks to support the couple whom she claimed to be very close to, a herbalist well known in the area for the efficacy of his medicines. Perhaps, unknown to Salewa, the man’s wife had been nursing a grudge against her and chose that day to hack her down. The opportunity came while they were on the dance floor. Salewa in the company of her friends were dancing and spraying the man with money when unable to hide her emotions the woman charged at Salewa, shoving her away from her husband.    It was a clear signal to everyone that something was wrong and trouble was about to be unleashed. Unfortunately, Salewa, perhaps overtaken by pride and the devil could not also control herself, so she retaliated and a tug of war ensued. The man, visibly angry descended on his wife for being disrespectful to one of their important guests and this only infuriated the poor lady the more.

Rather than take cue from what was happening and retreat, Salewa decided that she must fight for ‘her right’ as well. So, she turned on the wife and without thinking of the repercussion of her action, declared at the party that the man’s wife is just envious of her and cannot stop her from seeing her husband.    She told her that it was obvious that her husband had not briefed her about her real status in his life and that it was time for her to know that she, Salewa has three lovely boys for (her husband) the herbalist, and so had every right to be at the party on behalf of her herself and her children! It was from this point that the commotion started. The guests that came with her to the party were stunned. Same for many other guests, as the original wife sprang at Salewa, and a fight ensued. Everyone tried their best to separate them, but not quickly enough as the woman managed to tear Salewa’s clothes. Naturally, the party was forced to end on that note.

One would have thought that after such a declaration, Salewa would not bother to return home. But she did. It was as if she was sure that her husband would not know about the incident and if he did, he would simply forgive her. She forgot that Ijebu Ode is a small place and that such a story would not just fade away. Besides, my brother is a very popular man, people were bound to tell him at some point. But Salewa continued as if nothing had gone wrong. Words soon got to some members of the family but if my brother had heard, he did not show it. It was her last child that finally brought up the subject when a classmate in school called him a bastard, telling him that his real father is a herbalist. That his mother who happened to know Salewa at the market told him that only the first two children were for my brother and he is one of the three bastards. The boy’s revelation had led to a fight and though the boy was disciplined by the school authority, a seed had already been sown in his heart. It was the boy that returned home to seek reassurance from his father.

He’d asked if my brother is truly his father. The funniest thing is that despite the fact that Salewa claimed that the boy belongs to the other man, the resemblance between the boy and my brother was so distinct, no one would have questioned his paternity. And this was the first answer my brother gave to him. The boy then went on to recount what had happened to him in school. My brother told him not to pay attention to the rumours as they were all lies. But it was this that he held on to when he went to see his in-laws. From that point, it became a family issue which eventually led to Salewa packing out of their matrimonial home. She was forced to confess what    she’d done and how it happened. Though she claimed the last three children were for the herbalist, my brother insisted that it is only two and that he did not need anyone to confirm the paternity of the one that resembled them. He refused to give the boy up and sent him to Lagos to live with me so that his mother would not have access to him.

There is no doubt that Salewa’s children now despise their mother based on their utterances about her conduct and lifestyle. The older ones are grateful to God for having been spared the ridicule and disgrace that their mother’s action has brought upon the other children. Being older, they would have had a difficult time explaining it to their friends. Everyone who heard the story was repulsed not because Salewa could stoop so low to be consulting a herbalist like one would consult a doctor, but that she started sleeping with him and even having children by him. It was clear that the man had not placed her under a spell, else she would have packed to his house. We have heard and seen cases where women who’d sought out herbalists for help ended up as their wives or concubines. Salewa’s case was different, she was simply promiscuous. She had assumed that an affair with the man will ensure that she gets his services whenever and for whatever. But there were many unanswered questions which no one could understand nor find answers for. What got into her that she decided to attend such a party without even considering the status of her husband in the community? How did she behave in a manner that the man’s wife had to spot her out in the crowd? When she was attacked, why didn’t she take the honourable way out and by retreating? Did she not realise that she had everything to lose while the woman had nothing at stake?

Salewa in her defence and plea for mercy revealed that a friend introduced her to the herbalist when she had problems with some competitors at the market. He assisted her and she became a regular customer, seeking him out for other problems, including her marriage too. Their relationship later progressed to an intimate one to ensure that he was loyal and assisted her always. She said the herbalist’s wife was not his original wife that she knew at the time she met him. Over the years, he’d taken two other women and she was a new woman, much too young for him. She said that the woman had been rude to her on several occasions ever since she came to live with the herbalist and that all efforts by the man to caution her had fallen on deaf ears. It was as if she just didn’t want to see Salewa with her husband. Salewa went away with only two of the three children. Initially, we were worried that the herbalist might harm my brother because of the boy he insisted belongs to him. But my brother’s argument is that if the man wanted to harm him, he would have done so over the years and that he definitely does not need the children. But for Salewa’s indiscretion, perhaps no one would have ever guessed her secrets”.

Do have a wonderful weekend!!


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