From my secondary school days, I never believed that anything called love existed. In 2001, after I graduated from Secondary school, I left Akanran side for Orogun where my grandma lived. I got a job as a photocopying machine operator around UI. It was while working there that I met a young, jovial, playful girl.
Her name was Nike.
We were friends for a while and gradually I developed an interest in her. It was Nike that made me discover that love was something that truly existed. Even though she was young – I was about 7 years older than she was – She displayed maturity that was beyond her years and that really touched me.
I told her how I felt about her and, at first, she laughed it off but gradually she began to see that I really meant it and she agreed to get on the journey of love with me. Every time she came back from school, she would first come to the shop where I was working just to check up on me. Afterwards, she would then head to her mother’s shop.
With each passing day, our love for each other grew. If we had a dispute, we settled it within a day. If it lasted more than a day, we will both be restless and we’d settle everything by the second or third day, max. The love was so strong that even though I was a moslem, and she was a Christian, I was ready to follow her to church and damn whatever anyone in the family felt. I was above 18 years old already, I could do and undo.
So I thought.
When I discovered she was a virgin, I wanted to keep her that way till we were married. Besides, many men were always disturbing her; in fact there was a fierce looking guy who showed interest in her and wouldn’t stop pestering her. I knew once she was deflowered, there would be the possibility that other men may share her with me and I didn’t want that so I left her untouched.
In 2004, I moved on to work in a shop where phones were being sold and, on the side, I started selling phone accessories. Business was growing steadily and I was making money. My mom would remind me to go back to school and get a degree but I never listened. At the time, I could boast of controlling about N600,000 – N700,000. The way I reasoned it out was that the purpose of going to school, it is to make money. Why should I leave a business when I am already making the very money I am hoping to make after I get a degree? It didn’t just make sense to me.
The whole time that I was making money, I never had a bank account, I always kept my money in the shop so that anytime when anyone was going to the market, I could quickly gather cash and hand to them. The belief I had then was that my business my never run out of stock, there must always be accessories to sell at every point in time.
During Nations Cup 2004, there was a match between Nigerian and Tunisia, I cannot forget that day. The match was in the evening but in the morning of that day, we went to the market to buy phones for the store. We returned from where we went to watch the match to discover that the shop had been burgled. It became a serious issue for us all because the shop owner believed that it was we (his boys) that masterminded the burglary. It was a devastating phase of my life.
Everything I had was gone.
When all that was happening to me, Nike and I had a misunderstanding and we didn’t talk to each other. It was at that time that I spotted a girl, Foluke, at my friend’s shop Orogun. I had always seen her and her twin sister in the neighbourhood; at that time when my life seemed to be collapsing, the misunderstanding Nike and I had lingered.
It was in that period that I told my friend that I would marry one of the twins. I didn’t mean it per se, they were just words I uttered because of the state I was in at the time. My friend encouraged me to talk to the girl and I did. She replied that we should see how things would play out. As it turned out, Nike and I resolved our issues by the third day and I completely forgot Foluke. I even told Nike about everything.
Meanwhile Foluke kept visiting and reaching out to me. When I was getting tired of it, we had a small fight and I refused to see her or talk to her. She went on to tell my friend about our misunderstanding and he assured her that it will all be resolved. They both came to my place to beg me when they found me by the staircase making out with Nike.
Foluke couldn’t believe what was happening because she had no clue that there was anything between me and Nike up until that time. All her along she had always thought that Nike was my friend’s babe. Nike would go visit Foluke and they would talk and she would entertain her because she always thought that Nike was my friend’s girlfriend. Foluke cried and left that night but the truth was out – she knew where my heart was, and it wasn’t with her.
With me not having a job, no school to go to, no money, I began to nurse the idea of traveling out of Ibadan to get a job or anything that would fetch me money but I never wanted to leave Nike behind. We had never been apart before and I couldn’t bear it to be away from her. She made me see the need to travel and get my life aright and I reasoned with her.
But before I left, I had a long talk with her and it ended with promises that we will always be in touch. She didn’t have a phone at the time but she promised to find a way to call me at least every day, and so did I.
I parked my things and went to Lagos.
The first week I got to Lagos, Nike and I barely spoke. I couldn’t do without her and so I returned to Ibadan. When we saw, she got angry that I wasn’t committed to the mission of getting my life back and track and so, in order for peace to reign, I returned to Lagos. This time, things got worse. The silence grew – weeks soon became months and it began to affect me terribly.
At that time, I had got a job in a company and I worked every day of the week except Thursdays. That was my off-day; usually I’d be tired to travel anywhere during my off period because I needed to get enough rest to keep me going from the next day, Friday to the next Wednesday. Coming to Ibadan was an option.
Meanwhile, from the moment Foluke heard I had moved to Lagos, she would call just to check up on me. She will come down to my place in Lagos to see me on Thursday and return to Ibadan the same day. When she came the next Thursday, she would show me the scars from the last beating from her parents for traveling but it never deterred her from coming again.
After six months when things kept on like this between Nike and me, I forced myself down to Ibadan. As I entered Ibadan, I went to her mother’s shop. From a distance, I spotted Nike with the fierce guy that had always been disturbing her all along. In truth, they seemed to be having a disagreement over something. The moment Nike saw me, she cried: “Oh my God!” Her look had shame in it. I turned around, got on a bike and called a friend to meet me up at the bar. I was drinking and was crying. I was not even drinking the alcohol with sense.
By the time I left the bar and headed home, I met Nike at my house, she was crying. She told me that a month after I left, the guy I had seen with her invited her for a party and he raped her. I was utterly disappointed. That day was the end of love for me. From then onwards, the idea of love faded away, it wasn’t anything sweet anymore. Nike was the girl I could beat my chest to say I loved and she had been taken from me.
That was the end the Nike chapter for me.
In January 2006, I came to Ibadan from Lagos, Foluke came to greet me at my mother’s place. My mom never warmly accepted any girl – she would warn them whomsoever got pregnant for me will suffer. So, it was shocking that mom warmly accepted Foluke. It was this singular act that made me fully shift my focus to her.
As we went along, I quickly discovered something even though I am a sex driven person, I don’t like to sleep around but with my woman, I love to have sex. I keep it real like that. When the relationship was on, we never saw often and so it was the times that we saw that we could have sex. Though I noticed that she wasn’t enthusiastic about sex, I didn’t take it too seriously.
It was in the same 2006 that one of my “big brothers” asked me to come along with him to Abidjan, he sells cars. I reluctantly went with him and that was when I saw an opportunity for business. He will buy cars and I will buy some spare parts to sell and things began to flow again. I needed to do business to keep body and soul together; and I had younger siblings that I had to support too.
In 2012, Foluke and I got married and we moved together to Abidjan. The third day after our wedding, my wife wouldn’t let me kiss her, let alone touch her. I began to ask her ‘how will you get pregnant when I can’t even touch you?’ The few times she allowed me touch her, she’d push me away before I cum. One time, she pushed me so hard that I hit my face against the wall and got a scar. Eventually, she got pregnant.
From then on, she didn’t even give me a chance to touch her anymore at all. I was getting frustrated but I waited, patiently. For six months of the pregnancy I lived without sex, then after she had the child, I waited for another three months before making any attempt to initiate sex. Still, my wife still wouldn’t let me touch her.
I didn’t know who to talk to about this. I told a woman who was a motherly figure to her in Abidjan and she blasted her and warned her that what she was doing was dangerous. Obviously she had been bragging about it to one or two people too who had warned her to desist from whatever she was up to.
One day in 2013, I made so much money from my business and I was very happy. I went to the stores, bought things for my wife and kid. I gave my wife some money and told her to do whatever she wanted with it. She was happy and was going to serve me food then I called her back that the only food I wanted was the one she had deprived me of. Sex.
Her face changed immediately and she said no. It was a firm no. I couldn’t imagine me struggling just to have sex with a woman I had legitimately married. It didn’t make sense to me.
Angry, I picked the key to my bike and headed out of the house.
“As I rode off into the city, I thought to myself: ‘why would I have money and be begging for sex when with less than 50,000CFA I could get a fresh, clean babe for one night?’ I drove to one of the big clubs in Abidjan. I headed straight to the part of the club where I could pick a girl for the night. I found a fresh, fine babe and we left the club for a hotel. I got into the bathroom to have a shower before getting on to the main business. I came out to meet an empty room.
She had gone with my trousers and the key to my bike.
Inside of my trousers was all the money that I had made that day – everything totalling 390,000 CFA. That was both my capital and my profit together – all gone! I went to the reception desk to ask if they had seen the babe I lodged in with; the receptionist said she stepped out. I went out into the street, she was gone. I never got to have the sex that pushed me out of the house in the first place.
I was totally flustered.
The only luck I had was that the boxers I wore was one of those types of knicker-boxers that could still be worn around. I had to loosen the head of the machine to join wires in order to start my machine. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. I got home and my wife didn’t even ask where I was coming from or where my trouser was. I found that extremely callous. It was that day that I began to contemplate having a second wife.
Second week after the incident at the hotel, I went for prayers. When I brought up the issue of taking a second wife during the prayers, I was told that I should keep praying and that eventually I would see a sign. Not long after that, a young lady who worked in a store next to mine was walking past when her key fell off the hands and I called her attention to it. As she bent down to pick it, I asked her casually for her number. She said no. She is Ivorienne. The person seated next to me then asked her ‘why won’t you give him your number na?’ She smiled and then gave me her number.
Her name, Hawau.
Hawau and I began to talk and we were getting close. I observed her closely and for the first time since Nike, I began to feel again. About a month later, we met up someplace outside our work area. That day was valentine’s day – 2014. I told her that I had a wife and a kid already. I told her what I was passing through in my marriage. I told her that I would like to marry her if she was willing to be a dutiful and obedient wife. At first, she didn’t believe me but as we talked, she realized I was serious and asked for some time to think about it.
I called one of my Alfas and told him that I wanted to do a joint business with someone and that I wanted him to pray and help me ask God if to go on with the person or not. After an hour, I called him back and he said some astonishing things. He said in his prayers, he saw that the person I was referring to was a woman and not a man and that I was meant to marry the woman.
However, he said before I marry the woman, I must make some appeasement. He told me to take a basket of sweet things and a chicken to greet the girl’s mother. He said the chicken will be killed and the woman must pray for her daughter and me; and rub the blood of the chicken into the ground with her feet. And that it must be after the Asri prayers. When I told the Alfa that the girl’s mother lived far away, he said I should get the sweet things and that we should pray over them and give them away before living together.
I told her to write her mom and inform her of our intention to be married. She did. Her mother gave her approval. I went to meet the head of their family and we contracted the marriage. I rented a place for her and we were married. The whole time, Foluke did not know what was going on. I had structured my life such that I didn’t spend Thursdays to Sundays at home with her – I spent those days with Hawau.
For six months, Hawau and I were married and Foluke did not know anything.
When Hawau got pregnant, I felt that it was time to announce to everyone that I already had a second wife. When Foluke heard, she fainted. We rushed her to the hospital where she was revived.
Her father called me the next day and said something profound: that when the unexpected happens to a man in the course of his life’s journey, it is up to him to figure out how to navigate his path and it is up to him to put his house in order and conduct his affairs. He also assured me that Foluke would begin to give me everything she had always denied me.
When my parents heard, they burst into tears. I had come from a polygamous home and my father never wanted that for us his children; but when everyone heard the whole story, no one could blame me.
I had a talk with Foluke and I tried to assure her that she would never suffer. I explained how her actions had led us down that path. In the ileya of 2014, I gave her some money and became magnanimous towards her.
It was after that she changed. She began to allow me have sex with her. I then began to wonder why it had to take a second wife for her to wake up to everything I had been talking about.
Still, somehow, I felt that was only a ploy. It was when I spoke with Folake – her twin sister – that I figured out what the plan was; she was expecting that I’d take the child from Hawau and divorce her. I put my feet down and said no.
“Right from her parents’ house in Ibadan during the Ileya of 2014, Foluke began to beat me. When we returned to Abidjan, she continued. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle her but it felt very repulsive to lift my hands against her. I remember this one time when was preparing to go to my business one morning and she started raining curses – her reason was that Hawau called her. When I told her that Hawau couldn’t have called her because her phone could only receive calls, she slapped me. The slaps and ripping of shirts into pieces soon became a regular thing. In all these, I always remembered her father’s words and I would calm down.
I bought a phone for Foluke and I set the phone to automatically record her calls onto the memory card. One day, I listened to the recorded calls; my brother, the things I heard were unbelievable. She had visited babalawos, Pastors and all sorts of Cele prophets. There was a call where she said, “se bi nitori o n ri owo lo se lo fe iyawo o mi, toba ya a ri okuta, a pe l’owo”. There was another one where she said, “omo tiyen fe bi, s’aye lo fe bi si ni, tabi orun?”
I came to Ibadan with the memory card and played it for my father-in-law. He was so disappointed and he begged me not tell anyone in my family. Because of my respect for him, I didn’t. I gave him the memory card and I returned to Abidjan. Eventually, Hawau put to bed, but she almost lost her life in the process.
That was when I became really afraid of Foluke.
Every night, whenever I was going home, my heart would pound hard. Though Hawau gave me peace, the fear of what drama Foluke might bring was real. Whenever she starts, she would beat me and tear my clothes. At some point, I thought of running away from her but then I always remembered her father. In order to step down the fear, I began to smoke and drink again – something that I hadn’t done in almost a decade. Along the line, Foluke came to Ibadan. When she called that she was coming, I told her to stay back for a month as I would be coming home too.
I came home and called a meeting of both our families; there I narrated everything that had been going to them. When I brought out the bag containing my clothes which she had torn and damaged, everyone was shocked. When my father challenged her to speak in her defence she said nothing. I made it clear that the only reason why she was still in my house was because her parents were good in-laws. I let them know that she’d have to decide if she wants to stay in the marriage as an obedient & respectful wife or if she would stay back in Ibadan. She agreed to be respectful, peaceful and submissive.
She returned with me to Abidjan on a Wednesday; by Thursday she began her troubles again. Still I endured. The Saturday of that week, I went out and returned home hungry. I went to her shop. When I asked about food, she ignored me. I got home and realized that there was no food in the house. Because I had begun to feel very unwell but she didn’t attend to me. I had to call a friend who came by the house to see me. My friend got me pap. I took the pap and I vomited. My friend was clearing the vomit when Foluke came in, hissed and walked out.
When my friend was done, he took me to Hawau’s place.
It was Hawau who prepared me a proper meal. I went into the bathroom to have a bath; as I came out I fainted. When I came around, my arms were stiff. I began to scream – “my hand! My hand!” Then I fainted again. When I opened my eyes again, I was in the hospital with drips being passed into me. Meanwhile, Foluke stood a corner, her eyes spewing fire. I could hear her say, “sheybi he went to marry a second wife ni, he gets what he deserves.”
When I was going to be discharged, the doctor told me that I was very lucky to have survived such an ordeal. He warned me that if I should ever have such again, if I don’t die instantly, I’d have a stroke and be completely paralyzed. All through the ride home from the hospital, I began to beg Foluke to spare my life so that I can properly father her daughter. She said nothing all through the long ride home.
The third day after I came back from the hospital, she confronted me for having a picture of our child in my bag. She took the picture from my bag and we began to struggle for the picture. As we tussled, she put the phone in my hand. I let go of the picture and smashed the phone on the ground. She began to mouth off that she’d beat me as usual.
As she raised her hands at me, I grabbed them in mid-air and began to squeeze her wrists. That day, I beat her. After I was done beating her, I called her dad and my dad and told them what I had done. I told the landlord to cut the light to the apartment and that he should refund my advance rent as I wasn’t renting the place anymore. I packed the things I could and moved out of the house.
All of these was in 2015.
When I returned her home, here in Ibadan, everyone around came to beg on her behalf but I was resolute. At first, people didn’t take me serious until they began to make arrangement for my kid’s education in Ibadan. One of my uncles however mentioned that in Islam, when a man initiates a divorce he must stay in the same house with the woman and share the same bed with her while fulfilling other obligations for a period of 3 months BUT he must not have sex with her throughout. This was so that to give room for possible reconciliation and to confirm that she’s not pregnant.
While she stayed back in Ibadan, I returned to Abidjan and life went on. Along the line, towards the end of the 3 month period, I came home. I can’t even say this was the reason why I came but I did. One of the nights when I was home, I went for an outing and came home drunk. As I entered the house, she went on her knees and began to cry and began to beg me. That night, we made love. On another night, we made love again.
When the period was over, I was asked if I still wanted to divorce her and I said yes. She was asked to do a pregnancy test. The result showed that she was pregnant. It was with that pregnancy that she gave birth to a set of twins.
Remember the recorded call from the memory card where she said “a ri okuta, a pe l’owo”? My brother, it happened o. Mo ri okuta, mop e l’owo. Right after the twins were born, everything went down for me in Abidjan. Things got so bad that I had to bring Hawau to Ibadan as I had nothing to sustain her with over there. When I returned with her, I had no dime to rent a place. It was with the benevolence of a friend’s mother that I got a room to stay.
My brother, I did okada business. I plied Eleyele-Ologuneru route as a full time job. How did I get a bike, I had to sell a piece of land I had bought and used the proceeds to pay school fees; the rest was what I used to buy a bike. I did the okada work from November 2016 till August 2017.
In August 2017, I began to ruminate over my life and I could see my life falling apart. The school fees of my kids, put together, was about N50,000. With Okada business, how do I pay school fees of N50,000 every 3 months? The proprietors of the schools were kind to me, they allowed me pay the fees in instalments.
I went to Lagos at some point, that was when I ran into one of Foluke’s friends. She owned a shop in the same complex as my wife in Abidjan. She was the one who told me that my wife had always put portions inside my foods. I didn’t believe her but I acted like I did. She told me that the very week we had the fight that led to our separation, she was doing an aajo; that I had eaten the ako and that it was only for her to put the abo portion in my food when we fought.
When I got home, I called everyone and acted like an Alfa or a seer had told me what the lady told me. With confidence and plenty action, I accosted her that she had been putting things in my food. She burst into tears and admitted that it was true but that it was merely love portions she had been putting in my foods.
From then on, everything continued to go from bad to worse.
All through her stay in Ibadan, Hawau suffered and it hurt me so much that the one who was truly making me happy was the one who was suffering the most. I was her only relative here and I was the only one she knew. I had no money and so she had to manage. I’ll give her N500 to manage for 3 days. She and our daughter will eat amala for 3 days. She will buy ewedu N50, ponmo N50, add ata gigun and salt and they will eat that for 3 days.
Oh my God!
I couldn’t even buy her or the child clothes. At that time, she was pregnant; eventually she had the child through caesarean section. The child was put on oxygen but eventually, the child died. On the day the child died, Foluke pestered my life for N600. Foluke tormented Hawau so much that she said she wasn’t interested in the marriage anymore.
In September 2017, my father died and after the burial, I returned to Abidjan with Hawau.
The saddest part is that when we returned to Abidjan, Hawau’s mother began to demand that her daughter to leave her marriage. Now that I am putting my life together again, the one woman who truly brings me joy is being pressured by her mother to leave me. Very recently, she went to see her mother when she returned, it was a new Hawau that returned. The Hawau that left wouldn’t even raise her gaze to me is beginning to raise her voice at me. Now I am confused, I feel like if her mother’s wahala is too much I would just release her and let her go.
My fear right now is, if I let Hawau go, my life will crater into chaos. I will get randy because I can’t marry a third wife; what am I looking for? There’s nothing a new girl wants to give me that Hawau cannot give me but I am losing faith that I can keep her. Please tell my story to the world I want people to learn one or two things too. What advice would you give me – where do I pick these pieces from?
Should I hold on to Hawau or let her go?