“Gbenga, how far with Chika? Thought she was joining us. Una quarrel?” Segun asked, gulping a glass of ice cold beer the bar man just poured into his glass. It was hectic working in a bank, but hey, thank God it’s Friday.”Gbenga, wetin dey? What’s wrong, and on a Friday? Abi, na work wahala?”.
Gbenga heaved a sigh, and threw the remainder of his whisky shot down his throat. He grimaced and beckoned to the bar man for another shot while chewing thoughtfully from the bowl of peanuts which came with the drinks. He still didn’t make any response.
“Look, I don’t know what the problem is. If you’ve quarrelled with Chika, go make up with her. You’re bad company today. Five years together and you’re still love sick. Abeg, shey you say you go wife her this year. This na February o”.
“We’re not getting married”, Gbenga responded solemnly.
“Eh..? Na joke be dis. Commot for here”.
“My parents have sworn to make life miserable for us if we marry”.
“Are you serious. They knew about her for ages, why now”.
“They want me to marry a girl from my tribe. They said Chika could be my girlfriend, but not my wife”.
“Does she know, what will you do? Damn, this is so not right”.
“We broke up today. I had to. I love her and I realise that anyone I marry will so not be for love but, I can’t disrespect my parents”.
Whoa…I know. I can imagine the curses being rained on Gbenga. This is fiction, but it represents the story of many unfortunate, star crossed lovers. What we want versus what is expected from us. Many relationships have broken down irrevocably and many marriages in shambles. In situations like this, I wonder who is to blame. The parents, the man or the woman who is forced to make a decision for the sake of what is expected as a good child.Where do we draw the line in situations like this. Is it wrong to give in so peace can reign or, is it right to fight for what you want.
In Nigeria where there are different tribes, this is usually a decisive factor. It has marred many relationships for some, and at the same time, built interwoven and strong relationships for others. Tribes have been broken down to different genres of belief. The Ibos’ love money and will sacrifice any member of their family for that cause. The Yoruba’s are unfaithful and will bring shame to you. The Hausas’ are not of our faith, and are entitled to marry four wives. Edo and the rest of the Riverine areas will so tie you up with ‘kumnomi’ that you will lose your identity. Haba, all in one country. Even among the same tribe, there is still boundaries created.
I’ve seen inter tribal marriages that work better than same tribe marriages. We live in a cosmopolitan society, yet our lives depict those who live in an archaic society devoid of development. People are pushed into unwanted marriages because, it is their obligation. Some young people actually believe this, and pass the trend down to the younger generation.
Mind you, some Ibos’ marry more wives, than is needed to save one man’s life, Yoruba’s who would kill their spouse for riches, Hausas’ who practice voodoo to the extent of being martyrs for voodoo, Edo and other Riverine areas who believe cheating is for life elongation. It’s all somewhat interwoven amongst the tribes. It’s the person and the family that really matter. They are the one’s you need to study before you make that choice. As for parents, advise your ‘adult’ sons and daughters. You are free to share your fears about their choice, but don’t blackmail them into conforming. That’s why they are called adults, not children. They are old enough to understand your fears, but mature enough to make their decisions.
For those comfortable marrying within their tribe, that’s great. But, it doesn’t give you the right to judge those who marry outside their tribe. You made your choice, let them make theirs. After all, there is a saying, “as you make your bed, so you must lie on it”. Face your bed, let them face theirs.
No tribe is perfect, absolutely none.