Columns

February 4, 2023

“Come out of your closet”

By Francis Ewherido

PREFACE: Remove spirituality and religion, as long as it is legal, your private life is your business. But if you want to dictate to others how they should live their private lives, your handshake has gone beyond the elbow.

If you had seen this headline 30 to 40 years ago, a different thing would have crossed your mind immediately. Over a short period, the tables have been turned. The hunter has become the hunted. No, more appropriately put, the once ignored and subject of odium have become the hunted. My friend went for the funeral of the mother of a prominent political figure. A former state governor (no be Delta State o, I beg una) was head or part of the protocol team. He knows my friend, a quiet but prominent man. He approached my friend: “which one you want; yellow, black, blue green, tall, short, tall, lepa, big yansh, all of them dey.” Then my friend calmly told him none, no sex outside marriage for him. “You mean say na only one woman you dey fuck? You go die young,” the former governor exclaimed with disdain. To the glory of God my friend is still alive. Since after this encounter, he has celebrated his 50th and 60th birthdays and he is still going on strong. He has not died and has continued to stay and sleep with only his wife.

A young man came to see me after I gave a talk on marital fidelity. He told me that he has been married for 10 years and has never cheated on his wife. When he is with his friends, they brag about their escapades and he feels like the ODD ONE OUT (capital mine). He dare not let it out that he has not had sex outside marriage and has been faithful to his wife. Another one in a sombre tone told me that he pretends he is a “bad boy” when his friends are discussing their exploits. In other words, he LIES that he engages in extra marital affairs when he does not.

Online statistics show that between 90 to 98 per cent of married men in Nigeria cheat, while about two to 10 per cent are faithful to their spouses. But some wannabe celebrities come out to say all married men in Nigeria cheat. When did they carry out the census? Some of these girls just want to be celebrities by fire by force. They make controversial statements and engage in dumb controversies just to trend or be in the news. I do not blame them; I blame the proliferation of media outlets and media people who have forgotten their gatekeeping role. Every meaningless news that adds no value must be published for reasons I am still struggling to fathom. 

 Incidentally many girls, especially girls whose boyfriends have cheated on hold the same opinion and share it online like one of the Ten Commandments: “Every man cheats.” How many boys have cheated on you or are you judging all men based on your small and limited experience? But that is just by the side. Do you expect faithful husbands to come out and broadcast it? Don’t you understand that it is a PERSONAL decision and they owe nobody any explanations? They are too busy building their careers, businesses, future and other important things think about PERSONAL decisions that they made 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.

However, my targets today are those people who try to make men, who only stick to their wives, look inferior, weak and not men enough. Someone who sticks to one woman, in an environment where sex is commonplace and cheap, is not man enough? Do you know the temptations they go through and overcome? A friend was working late one day. He is a workaholic. He did not realise that everyone was gone and he was alone. Then a female colleague who has been making passes at him sneaked into his office, locked the door and grabbed him: “Why are rejecting me? Why are pretending as if you do not know I have feelings for you? Am I not woman enough? Am I not beautiful enough? What is in your wife that I do not have?” It took some efforts and willpower to extricate himself. I know the young lady; she is a stunning beauty, the stuff beauty queens are made of. A man resisted her sexual advances, yet you say he is not man enough? What a world!

I will continue saying it, it is a free world and you are free to do whatever you like as long as it is legal. It does not have to be morally right in our toady’s world. But you cannot heckle those who choose to be legally and morally right. It is their choice. Who made you a judge over them? There is evidence of subtle bullying of faithful husbands in social media, gatherings among friends and within families.

When God created us, he gave us the freedom of choice. Fidelity and infidelity are choices people make consciously or unconsciously and live with the consequences. Allow people to make their decisions and live with the consequences. 

Please excuse me dear readers, I want to focus on Urhobo men. I cannot remember attending a meeting of Urhobo men where it was agreed that it is an abomination for an Urhobo man to marry and stay faithful to only one woman. In fact, my friend that I referred to above is an Urhobo man and he will be celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary soon; 30 years of marital fidelity and he is handsome and rich. But he has stuck to his wife for these roughly 30 years. He has not died young as the former governor warned him. I go on social media and see some of these Urhobo youngsters denigrating monogamy and marital fidelity by men.

 Celebrating polygamy and infidelity is not an issue to me, na your life and body, but denigrating those who choose to live differently from you is unacceptable. Is that our main problem in Urhoboland? The unemployment rate in Urhobo land, like other parts of Nigeria, is numbing. Many of our graduates are tricycle riders; is that not worrisome enough to attract your attention and keep you engaged? Urhoboland has become a hub of Yahoo-Yahoo boys; does that not disturb you? Sapele is now a hotbed of cultists and killings; it is no big deal, abi? Some young men you help today will come back tomorrow with new schemes to scam you; is that right? Yet the same people will be screaming, “Urhobo no dey help their own. Many of our girls are now “runs-girls.” You are the same people complaining that there are not many good Urhobo girls to marry anymore; you won’t worry about. It is how to make jest of monogamists and faithful husbands that is your problem. Continue chasing shadows. Idleness and misplacement of priorities are really big problems.

For those faithful husbands hiding in the closet because you are afraid of being laughed at, come out. There is nothing to be ashamed of. It is your life, it is your choice.