By Bunmi Sofola
GBOLADE couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He stared at his 26-year old daughter, the girl he had spared no expense to raise into a very intelligent and promising lawyer, now telling him she was pregnant? When he first heard the news, his heart leapt with joy —his cup, he thought, now runneth over. Marriage, the first in the family.
And who might the lucky man be? His daughter avoided looking into his eyes. Then the penny dropped. He must be married. But these days things like that don’t matter, Much as he didn’t wish her daughter to be a second wife, it was better than nothing. Chuckling inwardly, he thought about his own other ‘wife’ and asked his daughter, “Is he married then?”
“Yes,” she replied. “Well, who the heck is her?”, I nearly had a fit when I eventually prised the name off her.” Gbolade said. “It was Eric. A childhood friend who ran a very successful law firm. He’d eagerly accepted my daughter into his firm to do her youth service stint and he retained her as a full staff after her youth service. ‘Did I send you to his chambers to get pregnant or to better your lot?’, I yelled at her. I reminded her of how close both families were, how the man was a chronic philanderer who had a couple of kids by other women outside his matrimony home. So why was she telling me she was pregnant? Why hadn’t she gotten rid of it?
“She found her tongue immediately. She didn’t want to have an abortion as she’s had two already. She was in love with the man and he has agreed to marry her the tribal way. I was appalled—my daughter—a qualified lawyer talking about marriage to a man who was already legally married? I told her if the man was half the man he should be, he would be the one sitting across my table telling me what he had done to my own daughter. She then told me she was the one who discouraged Eric from seeing me. That she wanted to tell me first, soften me perhaps, before the pervert showed up. When I asked her if she’d told her mother, she said her mother hadn’t stopped crying as Eric’s wife was a very good friend.
“In the end, Eric showed up and immediately started apologizing. He almost prostrated as he pleaded with me to support the relationship. I was aghast. Marriage was out of it, I told him. In the end, we agreed that she should go abroad. Eric ran a small legal firm in London and she would work there, have her baby, then get on with her life. She had a lovely girl and she eventually came home with her. When her daughter was a year old, she said she was relocating to Britain as she had found a very good job. We made sure this was true before giving her our blessing.
“The next time I saw my daughter, she was pregnant again. She said she’d come home on a short visit—to do her traditional marriage to Eric. That he was the father of her, unborn child. I wished she were a little girl again so I could beat the daylight out of her, but she was in her late 20s and legally responsible for herself. After all the anger and bitterness had subsided, I agreed with her mother that we would just invite a few relatives in for her farcical wine-carrying ceremony. In fairness to Eric, he’d bought her one of these luxury flats and a good car—the least we could do was hope for the best for this daughter bent on living her own life. You can therefore imagine how embarrassed we were when on the day of the so-called traditional do, one of these high-tech caterers’ van pulled up in front of our house.
“In minutes, whilst the traditional ceremony was going on, they’d installed chairs and canopies—with coolers of pipe hot meals placed on well-decorated tables. Eric had invited a lot of friends, so had my daughter and no expense was spared. I watched, helpless, as assorted booze flowed and a small but very decent band provided music…. “That was a few years back. My daughter now has three children and Eric has acquired more wives. She is now wise beyond her years, but we thank God she has a thriving law firm that Eric has helped her build. Financially, she wants for nothing, her kids are healthy, and her punishment would be not only sharing her marriage with several other ‘wives’ but turning in every night alone, wondering whose bed her so called husband is sharing….”