Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Being Unmarried is almost a Crime in the Nigerian Society

Posted in: , ,

Jane (not her real name or picture) is a beauty; a sight for sore eyes. In her thirties, Jane who comes from Imo State can boast of the modern equivalents of what Chinua Achebe described as ‘solid personal achievements’ in his novel THINGS FALL APART: a sound education, a well-paying job and lucrative private practice on the side; a de luxe apartment in Ikoyi and a car.


Jane is the solid backbone of her family; she set up her unemployed brother in business and takes care of her parents. You would think that Jane’s family and friends will leap over the moon whenever her name is mentioned. Alas, this is not the case. You see, Jane has committed the ‘ultimate crime’: remaining unmarried at thirty-plus.

Our paths crossed years back when we met at the university to register for our post-graduate diploma programmers. Jane’s intelligence and warmth impressed me, though we were not in the same department. A strictly platonic friendship which was enhanced by the fact that we are from the same state developed.

‘Why does our society treat women like rags simply because they do not affix ‘MRS.’ before their names?’ she asked me over lunch in one of the school’s cafeteria. I had no honest answer for her. Poor Jane was not looking for intellectual succour; her Bible-quoting mother was close to consulting their village dibia to find out if some enemy had put a spell on their daughter.

Jane’s question flashed across my mind after reading a blood-curdling account of how a thirty-eight year old woman, Bolanle Abiola, slaughtered her mother for allegedly obstructing her chances of getting married. (SUNDAY SUN, APRIL 8 2012. p.10). In brief: Bolanle and her male accomplice showed up at the old woman’s and she welcomed them, thinking her daughter had brought home a suitor. In the night, during a downpour, the cruel couple ‘murdered sleep’, thus fulfilling Bolanle’s past threats to deal with her mother for ‘tying up’ her marital chances. This allegation was brought to light by Abudu Abiola, Biola’s elder brother, following his sister’s arrest. Bolanle allegedly owned up to the killing.

While this account does not presuppose Bolanle’s guilt or innocence - that is the law’s business - I have been disturbed since I read it and followed a programme run on the story by Nigeria Info F.M. Radio on April 9.

First, why must any human being be defined by his or her marital status? Is an unmarried woman less of a human being than a married one? Nobody should try to convince me with misinterpretations of the holy books or outrageous cultural beliefs. Even the Bible makes it clear that marriage is voluntary. Unless you accept other texts that seek to explain Jesus Christ’s earthly life such as ‘The Da Vinci Code’, he was single while on this side.

‘Marriage is the crowning glory of a woman.’ ‘A woman without a husband is incomplete.’ You hear these statements from our parents, even supposedly educated ones. This reveals one factor about the typical Nigerian, nay Black African: for all his claims to Westernization, he is largely bound to his ancestors’ way of life. This is not necessarily bad because one must have roots with which to grow in the world. But then we tend to have selective memories of the so-called glorious ways of our fathers. For example, how many modern Igbo will recollect that in certain traditional communities that had priestesses to powerful deities, usually the earth-goddess (Ala), these female ministers were single, probably as a result of their calling? Try telling that to parents who argue that it is a taboo to be an unmarried woman.

In this day and age many crazy teachings and practices are being passed around in our society. Satan and all his demons must be so occupied in Nigeria that I wonder when they have time to perpetuate mischief elsewhere. Not doing well in business? Demonic attack remote-controlled by your grandma in the village. Not married if you are a girl and over twenty (in some areas, below twenty)? Satan is masking your face from suitors through an enemy, including-as Bolanle’s case would indicate- your own mother! As a Christian I do not doubt diabolical operations on earth but I postulate that the greatest diabolical mayhem unleashed on most Nigerians is on their reasoning.

There is no justification for pressuring anyone, male or female, to get married. Marriage carries a lot of challenges and is a ballgame which some people, in all sincerity, are not prepared for. It has nothing to do with money in the bank, degrees, love for children, religion, etc. There will always be some people, though a minority, who take a dim view of surrendering their identity or freedom to someone else for life.

Then there are people who have been hurt so much in what Don Williams, the country music legend, described as ‘love’s endless wars’. Do they deserve further hurt? Sadly, our sisters often get the short end of the stick in these brawls of the heart. If a woman comes through one and decides to keep her sanity by remaining single-either unmarried or divorced- her right should be respected. Same for men.

The hogwash about immorality and promiscuity being prevalent among unmarried women is just that: hogwash. Who has the data to prove that in good old Naija unmarrieds/divorcees are more licentious than the married ones? One must not generalize or use personal moral parameters to judge others. A woman who is in a relationship with a man, perhaps bears his baby, but is not married to him may not be more immoral than the married woman who sneaks into the pastor or Alfa’s bed for ‘counselling.’ A guy who cares for his kid and the mother in all aspects but is sincere enough to realize that they cannot live as man and wife is, in my opinion, more honourable than a married lecher.

Marriage is beautiful and if you get married for the right reasons, it is great. But quite a few people are finding what we married folks have outside the institution: love, companionship, appreciation, family, etc. Must they be condemned?

The organs of the Nigerian state are blatantly anti-unmarried people, especially women. A single lady, to my knowledge, cannot post bail in our police stations. State assistance is denied unmarried women. The society’s mindset is set against a woman who opts out of an abusive marriage or worse, refuses to marry. Even in some Christian circles girls who opt for reverend sisterhood and its stated celibacy are looked upon doubtfully. Ironically, many of the doubtful eyes are female.

I am not discouraging marriage. But it must not be the beginning and end of anyone’s life. Havoc is being wrecked on our society because of the marriage-at-all-cost mindset. Check out the bogus marriage/dating agencies in town; a number of frustrated 419 fraudsters have resorted to online marriage scams to fleece our ladies of cash and sex. Quite a few well to do women who in saner climes would walk tall and get hitched on a basis of mutuality end up bowing to and hooking up with egoistic, complex-riddled men. Though our cultural setting makes things fairly easier for men yet, at a certain stage, if they refuse to marry society unleashes its fangs on them.

Last I heard from Jane, her mother ceased developing high blood pressure when she visited home with a Ghanaian boyfriend. The old woman is busy putting together a marriage list for the intended bridegroom. I pray whatever Jane and Kwame share is strong enough to end in a marriage so that both mother and daughter can have some peace. But what if it does not? Oh dear!

___________

First published by Henry Onyema - Naijastories.com



48 comments:

  1. ThesewordsaremyownJune 19, 2013 5:29 AM

    Oh dear indeed! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have found most unmarried women in their 30s to be very problematic, in the office they are prima donas, in relationships, they are manipulative, tag me whatever you can but if you are in your 30s and unmarried, a red flag goes up in my head and working together or knowing them for a period of time actually reveals they usually have ISSUES. VIEW PHOTOS FROM ARCHBISHOP IDAHOSA'S 70 DAYS CELEBRATION TO CELEBRATE 70 YEARS http://mytestimonys.blogspot.com/2013/06/photos-from-archbishop-idahosas-70-days.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who doesn't have issues? I think it's your expectations from the unmarried 30s that is problematic. Because they are single and over 30, you expect them to mask their personality, to shuffle around silently and to be so so so humble to show you that they don't have a problem o.
      I bet you would say the same thing about a housemaid who dares not fit into your stereotypes. It's because they are evil that they remain poor.
      Have you not met married women that are prima donnas, have you not met women that are manipulative with their husbands? Sadly, you are one of the reasons why our society does not progress. I can only imagine how you would blame a rape victim for dressing seductively.

      Delete
    2. Have you considered that you're the one with the issues? If your male married boss gives you wahala, I doubt you'll give the same reasons. People are mean or problematic not because of their gender or marital status.

      Delete
    3. problematic manipulative prima donnas with issues?!... YOU MUST TALKING ABOUT YOUR MOTHER?!

      Delete
  3. almost a crime? no it IS a crime. see the comment above for proof

    ReplyDelete
  4. TheChronicled I think its a cultural flaw. If a woman is not married its like she is horrible product. Every woman old enough to marry is always desperate to settle down and sh*t happens.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Most unmarried women above 30 become "angry" at the world because of the bad experiences they've had from relationships,negative comments relating to their relationship status,high expectations from family and society;and of course a desperation(or anxiety)to become hitched.Not their faults but it happens and then people point fingers at them and accuse them of not being marriageable

    ReplyDelete
  6. A wowman should focus on fulfilling her dreams before worrying about fulfilling a man's. Men are angry with women who choose not to marry; especially if those women are accomplished, beautiful, and have it together in life. Let every woman fulfill her own needs in life and if her need does not include marriage then let her live her life in glorious peace.

    Why should a woman's worth be measured by her conneciton to a man? Not even her connection to her Supreme Creator, but her connection to a mere mortal man. It is men who need marriage, it is they who need someone to take on their name to make them feel important, and it is they that need to be taken care of and pampered, it is they who need a woman's uterus to carry on their generations to keep their name going on the earth. Men are the ones who derive the greatest benefit from marriage, so women like Jane make men upset, make communites upset, make mothers upset because Jane's interest in her own life means some man is missing out on his birthright...lol

    Women like Jane make me so proud, she dug herself out of the gutter and used her talents and ambition to make a grand life for herself. So good is her life she can stretch a hand and help other family members to come up in life. Why not sing Jane the accolades she deserve. Too bad for a culture that measures Jane's worth based on her taking a man's name and pushing out children.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @anon 11.29 u could not have said it better. In as much as I would love to get married, I don't necessarily think marriage defines or completes a woman,its definitely a plus for her, but it shld not be a yardstick for measuring her success in life.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nigerians are even more exposed and better cultured than illiterate and semi illiterate people in England. Single women are usually bullied since bullying is not a crime. The worse bullies are of immigrant origin. The government has done nothing about it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. To b married or not is a choice which everyone is entitled to make and live happily regradless of what choices you make in life.

    ReplyDelete
  10. sometimes u dont even choose to be single...but u still are! Some women truly desire to be married and long and enjoy the male company - but rather than end up with the wrong person, let her stay patient and get it right. Or almost.

    I am ready for marriage and in my early 30s, but the only 2 men I have come very close to marrying have disappointed and I cannot kill myself. The next person who's loving me like crazy has a 6 yr-old son, was deported from Spain 2 yrs ago and just told me he was one of the leaders of the Buccaneers in UniLag back then.
    I was a choir leader in my chapel for 2 yrs back then, I hav spent my entire life studying and obtaining academic degrees to make my life and that of my family better - not to mention the unborn children. Do I marry this guy whom Im neither attracted to in any way nor matches my background - all in the name of marriage? That's simply insanity.

    I feel very sorry for the bearer of the second comment. (s)he has distorted views about life and needs urgent help.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I believe that is one of the most vital information for me.
    And i'm satisfied studying your article. But wanna statement on few normal issues, The website style is wonderful, the articles is truly great : D. Good process, cheers

    Also visit my blog ... Reviews on The Tao of Badass (my.opera.com)

    ReplyDelete
  12. why do you guys make this seem like targeted at women. it is the same thing with a 'successful' man in his late-thirties. Everyone disturbs you to get married and thinks you have a problem. Ladies younger than you call you "Young Man" to spite you.


    ditto for an unmarried guy who has a child, who is taking care of both baby and mother but refuses to marry mother. people think he is wicked even when he is simply not interested in marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can
    do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is
    magnificent blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.


    my web site ... Insider Internet Dating scam

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you're using? I'm
    going to start my own blog soon but I'm having a hard time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for something
    unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!


    my blog ... Cellulite Factor Scam ()

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is really interesting, You're a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

    Also visit my page The Magic of Making Up Review

    ReplyDelete
  16. We stumbled over here from a different page and thought I may
    as well check things out. I like what I see so now i'm following you. Look forward to exploring your web page for a second time.

    Feel free to surf to my blog post ... Guilt-Free Desserts (http://www.GuiltFreeDessertsReview.info)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I blog often and I seriously appreciate your content.
    This great article has truly peaked my interest.

    I am going to take a note of your blog and keep checking
    for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.


    my homepage: The Magic of Making Up (ign.com)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Its like you read my mind! You seem to understand a lot approximately this, such
    as you wrote the e-book in it or something. I believe that you can do with a few
    p.c. to force the message home a little bit, however instead of that, that is excellent blog.
    An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

    my page :: Customized Fat Loss

    ReplyDelete
  19. Supеrb post but I was wondeгіng if you coulԁ write
    a lіttе mогe on this topic?
    I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Many thanks!

    Review my web blog test speed of website

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect
    against hackers? I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard on.
    Any recommendations?

    Review my web page :: grupa kreatywna

    ReplyDelete
  21. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I'm not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You're wonderful!
    Thanks!

    My web-site; What Men Secretly Want Review **

    ReplyDelete
  22. What's Taking place i'm new to this, I stumbled upon this I
    have discovered It absolutely useful and it
    has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & help
    different users like its helped me. Good job.

    Look into my homepage Save The Marriage Review - -

    ReplyDelete
  23. I always spent my half an hour to read this webpage's articles or reviews all the time along with a cup of coffee.

    my homepage; Does Penny Stock Dream Team Work?

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it's rare to see a nice blog like
    this one nowadays.

    Here is my weblog ... Magnetic Messaging

    ReplyDelete
  25. Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Your website is useful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

    Review my webpage - Pull your Ex Back review

    ReplyDelete
  26. As the admin of this site is working, no hesitation very rapidly it will be
    renowned, due to its quality contents.

    Here is my blog post ... Capture His Heart And Make Him Love You Forever Review

    ReplyDelete
  27. Its such as you read my thoughts! You seem to grasp so much approximately this,
    like you wrote the e book in it or something. I feel that you simply could do with a few % to drive
    the message home a bit, but other than that, that is fantastic blog.
    An excellent read. I will definitely be back.


    Here is my blog: Capture His Heart Review (http://CaptureHisHeart--Reviews.Blogspot.com)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hello There. I discovered your blog the usage of msn.
    This is a very well written article. I'll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your useful information.
    Thank you for the post. I'll certainly comeback.



    Take a look at my blog post :: Is Metabolic Cooking a Scam

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting
    a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.
    You have done a outstanding job!

    Here is my web blog Paleo Recipe Book

    ReplyDelete
  30. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles?

    I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. Nevertheless imagine if
    you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts more, "pop"!
    Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this blog could certainly be one of the
    most beneficial in its field. Fantastic blog!


    Stop by my web site Eat Stop Eat Reviews ()

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think this is among the most vital info
    for me. And i'm glad reading your article.
    But want to remark on few general things, The site style is ideal,
    the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

    my page: Enchant Him (Enchant-Him--Review.Blogspot.com)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This type of
    clever work and exposure! Keep up the amazing works guys I've incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.



    Here is my web blog :: Magic of Making Up Review - the-magic-of-Making-up--Review.blogspot.com,

    ReplyDelete
  33. Incredible points. Great arguments. Keep up the good effort.


    my page; Bigger Butt Secrets Review (http://www.BiggerButtSecretsReview.com)

    ReplyDelete
  34. This design is wicked! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well,
    almost...HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really enjoyed what
    you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

    My homepage ... The Renegade Diet Scam

    ReplyDelete
  35. With blogs like this around I don't even need website anymore.
    I can just visit here and see all the latest happenings in
    the world.

    ReplyDelete
  36. The only exception to this rule is when the pain happens to you.Once you get damage, it
    is not funny. It simply hurts.

    my web blog: funny pictures of dogs

    ReplyDelete
  37. So true. I have always thought that men need women more. Marriage commits women to unpaid slave labor albeit benevolent dictatorship depending on the disposition of the man. Women seem to be so blind to the facts that they are the ones dying, fighting to get married. After marriage, you see the same women crying about the unfairness of the institution which was always clear to anyone who would look.
    Women should only tie their lives in with and allow only one who loves them into their lives through marriage.
    Without love, marriage is just sexual and physical slavery that opens one to physical, emotional and mental abuse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is true, because when God created man, he said that man needed a help meet! Then he created woman!!

      Delete
  38. Good day! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be okay.

    I'm undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.


    my page single person kayak

    ReplyDelete
  39. You really make it seem really easy together with your presentation however I in finding
    this matter to be actually something that I
    think I'd by no means understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very huge for me.

    I am taking a look ahead to your subsequent publish, I'll attempt
    to get the grasp of it!

    Take a look at my webpage: kids - ,

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google,
    and found that it is really informative.
    I am going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future.
    Many people will be benefited from your writing.
    Cheers!

    Feel free to surf to my page :: indoor exercise bike - http://www.Youtube.com/,

    ReplyDelete
  41. I was able to find good advice from your content.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi all, here every one is sharing these kinds of know-how, so it's fastidious to
    read this blog, and I used to go to see this website all the time.

    ReplyDelete

Click Post a Comment to share your thoughts, I'll love to hear from you. Thanks!

*Comments on old posts are moderated and may take sometime to be shown. That's just because I want to see them and respond to you if necessary.