November 2, 2019

She took advantage of me

Absence doesn’t necessarily make the heart grow fonder


A badly behaved woman will surely get a mate, if only to set her right. This is what Shina, an Accountant with an international oil coy told me during the week. Reacting to Ogidan and Subu’s story published last weekend, he insists that women are responsible 60% of the time when their men take other women. He swore he was a one woman man until he had a rebirth, a new exposure which according to him changed his life for the better.  As usual, I had to piece the discussion together to bring  you this. Please remember that you can have your story published here too. Just send me a text, then we can talk. Be assured, your identity will be protected.

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“My first marriage was a big mistake borne out of circumstance. Back then, I was convinced that she was the best thing that could ever come my way. I saw her as God’s gift to take me out of poverty and ensure a brighter future for me and our children. Today, I testify to the fact that only God can give you something without holding you to ransom. I was blinded by my determination to rise above my family background and convinced that Rachel was my way out.

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I came to Lagos at the age of 14 to live with an uncle through whose generosity I was able to attend Secondary school and obtained an OND. The third child of seven,  my parents were peasant farmers back in our village in Osun State. They are Muslims and had brought us up accordingly. But on arriving Lagos, I discovered that my uncle, a very rich man by my reckoning then, and his family, practiced Christianity and compelled me to join them in the faith. Perhaps, if they had just taken me through the normal process of conversion, things would not have been so hard on me psychologically. But my uncle and his family stripped me of my identity, pride, self esteem and confidence. They made me believe that my backward was uncivilised, especially because I was as a Muslim. Muslims generally were considered as never- do- well, whose major achievements were to become Mechanics, Vulcanizers, Butchers, Farmers and Almajiris to beg on the streets. Christians are modern and civilised people who had good education and white collar jobs and were even preferred by God. I was generally brainwashed and desired nothing else but to be like them. I wanted to erase everything about Islam and my poor beginning in the village.

I got married as soon as I finished my OND and got a job. Rachel and I lived in the same neighbourhood and she knew most of the changes I’d undergone over the years. We began dating when I gained  admission into the Polytechnic at 23 by which time, she had already completed hers. She appeared to have all the qualities I was sure would guarantee my success. Her parents were Christians, though polygamous. Rachel’s mother was the first wife. She had four children. Rachel was the last child. She was a queer human being, extremely reserved but with an enormous temper, signs I misinterpreted. Three of her siblings were already abroad and she told me that she was going to join her sister in England. She promised that they would assist me travel out of the country too. This convinced me she was the one for me.

It was after we got married that I realised I’d made a very great mistake. Rachel was not only intolerant of anything or anyone that was not her own flesh and blood, she could go to any extent to have her way, which is usually to destroy or condemn that thing. We lived in two houses  before we eventually  moved into our own and it was quarrels galore with all the co-tenants and neighbours. Little things such as keys to the gate or the children’s toys would cause serious arguments which could turn into face offs and prolonged malice. She had no friends in the compound, same at her work place and the church. As far as she is concerned, no one is good enough, especially my family members whom she openly declared as her enemies.  In the first couple of years, I was not really bothered. I was still trying to find my feet and didn’t want any distractions. I was also convinced that my family would only add to my problems and hold me back with their unending demands. I was their shining star after all.  This must have encouraged her hostility towards them. The plans to travel abroad with the help of her family was the only thing that controlled my being.  We had decided that I should go first, then Rachel would join me. But it was not to be. I travelled quite alright, but was deported some months after. That was what escalated by problems with my wife.

Rachel insisted it was my family that was responsible for my strange luck which caused my deportation. My mother soon became a witch just for daring to visit while Rachel’s mother was a saint who could visit us anytime she pleased. My siblings could not come to the house because according to her, they are Muslims and would come with Islamic charms to destroy our family, kill her or the children. And the most important of all the accusations is that they want us to become like them, dregs of the society. I realised that all I’d discussed with her over the years about my fears  were the same things she was using to control me. However, God came through for me about a year after I returned to Nigeria, Through an old friend, I got a link and got a job as a contract staff with an international oil company. My break through was ordained by God and not man. One would have thought that with the new job and improved standard of living, Rachel’s behaviour will change for the better.  It only got worse.

Her true nature could not stay hidden. Whenever she started ranting and I showed no interest, she could jump at me and hold me by the collars or any other place that catches her fancy, shouting that she would not leave me until I beat or kill her. If she reported anyone in the family or neighbourhood to me, she expects that I must support her by taking up the battle too, otherwise, its meant I must be in some kind of relationship with them. God help me if the person is a woman, married or not, I am either dating her or nursing the idea. She once slapped me in the presence of a female co-worker who I’d stopped to pick when she flagged down my car on our way back home from a function. The fact that we work together had no meaning to Rachel. Naturally, the story went round the office and I was a sound board for all sorts of advice and jokes. Because of her attitude, I hardly hung out with friends or colleagues. I have only one friend and we’ve been together since Secondary School days, but tried as much as his wife did, Rachel has remained cold to her. Do you know that after any tantrum and I decide to just ignore her for a couple of days by not touching her, she will just start touching and pulling my thing as if I am some kind of machine. She doesn’t even bother to ask why. At a point, I had to ask if she did not have a mental or psychological problem.

It was over time that I realised I was spending more time outside my home than inside. Going out helped me to rediscover myself, realised where I got it all wrong and which was right from the beginning. Religion is not what makes us successful in life, but the effort we put into whatever we do, hinged on the grace of God. There are many factors that contribute to a person.

I was beginning to think that I will end up a miserable old man, that is, if I survive to old age, sef, when I met Linda, who became my second wife. Linda is also from a Christian family but a far cry from my Rachel. My family accepted her without hesitation because my wife had never been a good daughter, anyways. I probably wouldn’t have been able to go all the way with Linda or at best, I would have had to keep her as a secret from Rachel, but for a strange incident. I’d dreamt that I saw Rachel brandishing a diabolic horn at Linda and threatening to kill her and her baby. It was strange because Linda was not even pregnant, talk less of having a baby. But the dream seemed so real to me that I found it difficult to dismiss it. The hunch refused to leave, it was like God was talking to me. So, one Saturday morning, I woke up and went into her room and started going through her things. She rushed in but I was able to push her out and locked the door. Then I saw it. Exactly the way I’d seen it in my dream. My wife said it was sent to her by her mother, through her sister who visited recently. That marked the end of my relationship with the family. I gained my freedom. If Rachel wanted to remain my wife, they must not step into my house.

Now, my youngest brother lives with me at Linda’s place. Something that could never have happened when Rachel reigned supreme. He’d come to Lagos once to retake his WAEC, which was after much pleading with my wife. He returned to our parents in tears a few days later because my wife had searched his things and accused him of trying to charm me with some Islamic charms (Tirah). She said she heard him chanting some incantations and calling my name. Naturally, I was scared too and questioned what the amulet was for. The poor boy began crying that it was for him, but my wife started cursing him and he was saying amen to everything just to prove his innocence. I felt bad but there was nothing I could do but ask him to return home. Those are the kind of sins my wife made me commit. I can go on and on.

I believe my wife saw my situation and capitalised on it. But things have changed now. She is not as troublesome as she used to be too. More so, the whole neighbourhood, family and even the church know I  have another wife, so her pride and tantrums are of no meaning to them. As for me, she can only make trouble with someone she sees all the time, now.

Hmmm! Do have a wonderful weekend!!