Many Nigerians watched in shock and/or amusement as the two wives of the new speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Tajudeen Abbas were shoving each other in a battle for supremacy during the swearing in of their husband as the speaker of the 10th House of Representatives. It was not a pretty and comfortable sight.
I do not know why, but I have always felt that only “strong” men should go into polygamy. I mean strong men in all ramifications: maintaining discipline on the home front, being able to satisfy all your wives sexually, being able to provide for all your wives and their children, etc. If you cannot, it better you marry only one wife. That is not to say there are no squabbles in monogamous homes, but there is no rivalry between wives because there is one wife. Besides my Christian faith, that is the other reason I am not a polygamist. I no get power to manage two or more women.
I knew from an early age that I could manage only one wife. Realising my “weakness” early in life gave me a clear sense of direction. My father was a monogamist, but I did experience polygamy from afar, from neighbours and relatives. There were polygamous homes where there was law and order, and others that were like Armageddon: Half-siblings fought and injured each other, wives fought to finish. One wife bit the nipples of another wife. Another one almost bit off an ear of her co-wife. One strong wife beat up her husband mercilessly for taking sides with the other wife.
But in the polygamous homes where there was law and order, discipline was palpable. Every wife knew her place in the hierarchy. Sometimes, seniority determined the place of the wives. In some other homes, it was based on favouritism. The amebo is the favourite wife, while avwiorovwen is the less favoured wife.
Amebo can spend a month with the husband, before the avwiorovwen gets a couple of days with the husband. I remember one particular avwiorovwen who was close to my mother. She could go for months without “seeing” her husband. Once her husband gave her the nod, she would gladly inform my mother that her husband had allocated “time” for her.
I am informed that Islam does not encourage favouritism in polygamy. To marry more than one wife, you must have the capacity to love all the wives and treat them equally. I do not know how it works. Speaker Abass is a Muslim. He has to find a way to instil discipline on the home front and avoid allowing domestic squabbles to spill into the public space. He has many official functions to perform in his time as speaker. Thunder must not be allowed to strike at the same place again.
What happened was a blight, but it will soon be forgotten because of the pace at which we are seeing breaking news. But there must never be a breaking news over Abbas’ domestic squabbles spilling into the public space again. Abass was elected to manage a 360-Member House of Reps. It is an enormous task and I believe his colleagues who elected him believe he has the capacity to carry out the task with distinction. But charity must begin at home by managing his two wives well.
It is not as if monogamists do not have their own challenges or similar challenges. Not all monogamists can provide for their wives financially or satisfy their wives sexually. I have said it several times here that I have problems with polygamy. It is part of our culture, heritage and religion of some of us. I just do not subscribe to it. That’s all. But I believe that those going into polygamy must be equal to the task. From my personal experience as a monogamist, managing one wife is heavy luggage. Additional wives means additional luggage. That is my view as an outsider.
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