In a few days, the year 2021 will give way for year 2022. You will agree that it has been indeed a remarkable year. While we thought the worst was over in 2020, we did not bargain for the Covid 19 Omicron variant that has claimed several lives in this last quarter.
Notwithstanding, it is Ok to celebrate Christmas and be hopeful for a very prosperous new year. Thank you for being part of my story in the year 2021. May the new year be our best ever in Jesus name. Amen
The 11th December, 2021 has joined the many days to be much remembered for the unforgettable events that culminated in the eternal exit of a precious gem, an uncelebrated heroine, the very quintessential Bolakale.
Often we take so many things for granted including people and relationships. We deal with people in relationships like they will always be here at our becks and call. Unfortunately this is not always so.
Life in this last days, has taught me again to value relationships, love like never before, give more, forgive more, pay attention to family and listen much more beyond the voices. If only we had all listened to what Bolakale was not saying, we would have seen the pains behind the unsaid words and her unspoken discomfort. And maybe, just maybe she would probably have still be with us now. Unfortunately, life sometimes leaves us with “if only” “how I wished” “if I could” and many phrases of had I known. This I am determined not to let happen to me again.
Now, this is all about Bolakale Adefila, alias Mama Eko and my own Anti Bola (that’s what I call her). She was until her death my sister-in-law, a widow, a mother and a grandmother, a school proprietress, a diligent go-getter and a Christian. Anti Bola was an entrepreneur per excellence who could turn around the least capital at her disposal in very little time. She was a great manager of resources. By all standards, it is easy to describe her as a very successful personality but those who know her would attest that the cost of whatever she achieved was stupendous and priceless.
Bolakale was the matriarch of our family, the one who organizes things, resolve issues, monitor delivery of responsibilities, a contractor, a consultant on all family matters. She places family first and would show up at the least expected family events. Her commitment to family remained second to none. She was the formidable force that held the family together and selfishly at her death, my first question was who would fill up this vacuum? She cared for everyone and it’s only in death that I now realized how inadequately we cared for her. This of course was not a deliberate I-don’t-care-attitude, it bred from the fact that she never complained and even when her health began to deteriorate, she made it so insignificant that not much attention was paid to her failing health. Her optimism and positive approach to life went beyond incurable.
While she was down, all she thought about was other people and how they fared, the hospital expenses and how to meet her other obligations. Once while I was with her in the hospital, her worries was on how to pay her staff salary. What a selfless personality. She constantly mentioned that her siblings (she called them Omo Iye mi) had done enough and she didn’t have a right to demand more. How wrong she was. Family is everything and trust me, we can never do enough helping one another.
It’s funny that in life there are people that you unconsciously think would be here forever so you keep postponing and procrastinating things you would wish to do for them as expressions of your love only to wake up one morning to discover that they had gone and you never got around to do some of those stuff. That is what happened to my dear Anti Bola, AKA Mama Eko, Mama God’s Blessing. “I did not get to complete all I wished I could do for you and it saddened me. But I am sure you know how much I love you. Our conversation in the hospital the last Sunday before you left fills my heart constantly with melancholy. I wish I had hugged you some more and let you know how much loved you are”.
My daughter, Iyinoluwa hasn’t stopped calling your name since you left. You were my children’s closest paternal aunt and you didn’t hide your love from them. You had always been our first guest in every new year (January 1st) for as long as I can remember. You would arrive on the 1st of January immediately after your church service and you had a gift for each person. Oh Anti Bola! my heart is bleeding…….. It’s just a few days to another new year unfortunately you won’t be here. There will not be those bottles of groundnut, no plantain chips and juices that you often brought.
Mama Eko meaning Mother of Lagos (a state in Nigeria) was a name given to her when she relocated to Ilorin from Lagos after the death of her husband. And then she became Mama God’s Blessing; being the name of her Nursery & Primary School. To me she was that sister-in-law with so many personalities. There are few times that she played the sister-in-law role so well that I just relaxed in my corner but most other times, she is that sweet big sister, loving, kind and very caring. As I listened to people talk about you since your demise, I realized how much your life impacted your community and I am indeed proud to have known you.
Anti Bola was a giver to the core. She had little yet she emptied herself into lives of people, making sacrifices that only a super human could make. Little was much to her and she appreciated every little gift you give her. Anti Bola would never show up at your doorstep without a gift. Amusingly she appears not to come with anything but her handbag. However when she brings out the stuff in the bag, everyone would have a gift to himself or herself. I often thought of her bag as a bottomless one going by the items (such as bottled groundnut, juice, biscuits, fresh oranges, banana, and many others) that came out of the bag. She had little but gave so much of herself, so, so much that it is easy to conclude that her exit was more of a sacrifice of not being a burden to others. Oh Bolakale!
Anti Bola, my dear sister in love, I am comforted that you are in a better place. Your selfless life and love for humanity (not just family) is the legacy you have left for us. Your struggles are finally ended. Indeed you fought the good fight and now a crown awaits you in glory. I still haven’t gotten use to the fact that you are gone. I have not stopped calling your name since last saturday like you will reappear or like I would be awoken to discover it had all being a dream. I will keep your memory forever in my heart and that I will cherish all my days. You are indeed in a better place. Adieu to my Sister in love.
Yippee!!! My best season is here. I doubt if I will ever stop being excited about December. This wild excitement I have about December is one that I have had from as far back as I knew myself and even as I grew into middle age until now, December has not stopped being an amazement to me.
December being the twelfth and the last month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars is also the last of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It is a month loaded with exciting activities across the nations of the world. It’s a month that cannot be ignored.
I guess there are so many things to be excited about this last month of the year; It always announces the end of an era and ushers us into a brand new beginning. December gives one this psychological feeling of freedom from all the hassles of the year and climaxes into a brand new beginning that birth hopes, opportunities and optimism.
The height of my excitement is the eve of Christmas. And I always wished I could keep that moment static and bask in the euphoria of the birth of our Lord Jesus. Many have argued that the date may not be accurate, but I am sure if another date was fixed for His birth, the impact would be the same.
Man is essentially a spiritual being. So, I naturally reconnect with my creator through retreats and spiritual engagements in December. It is an opportunity to thank God for making it to the end of the year. Trust me, not many people did. I have a long list of people; great men and women that passed on in the year. May they their memories remain in our hearts forever. There is therefore no better time to let God know how grateful we are to be here.
One of my major retreats schedule for December is the attendance of the annual Shiloh Convention organised by the Living Faith Church Worldwide. It is often a life transforming events with real live testimonies of God’s faithfulness and encounter with God through His word. My encounters since 1999 when i began attending are too numerous to share here. I hope to do that someday. But please be my guest for the 2021 edition titled ” More than a Conqueror” It starts on the 7th December 2021 and can be watched online. Check their website for details. https://faithtabernacle.org.ng/
There are other series of worship and musical concerts that keep me busy at Christmas. With technology, you have access to nearly all of these activities online. I am particularly excited by “The Experience”; an annual night of all worship through songs and special ministrations. “The Experience” features international gospel Artistes including Travis Greene, Maverick Choir, Sinach and many others. #TheExperience2021. #TE16G · #TheExperience2021
One of my desires every year is to complete the study of the Bible and indeed it is one PDP that I have always scored a 100%. This is because I usually draw out a schedule by the end of the year. I breakdown the bible into daily reading portions using different strategies as helped by the Holy Spirit. However, for year 2022, I trust God to help me do something different; I would be doing a chronological study of the bible and intend to do the New Testament twice and the Old Testament once.
I will be glad to have you do this with me. There are 1189 chapters in the bible. If you are doing the bible in one year, you would read less than 4 chapters a day. I believe God for grace that together with you, by December, 2022 we shall review our experiences together.
Now the best way to study the bible is not just by reading through like a novel. You can try the following:
Create a time daily for study and meditation and stick to it. (the early hours of the day work well for me)
Pray before you begin reading. Ask God to open your eyes and your heart of understanding by the help of the Holy Spirit.
Always have a jotter and a pen when studying.
Underline the striking points and note them in your jotter as you are inspired.
Identify instructions and commandments that you must adhered to as shown to you in your study.
Identify examples and learn from both good and bad deeds.
Identify God’s promises, covenant and terms in your daily study.
Examine yourself to see that you fulfill relevant instructions and terms of the covenants.
Take a decision on required steps daily.
Meditate all day on the key scripture. Note that you do not need to memorize scriptures as you meditate daily it just sticks.
Don’t stop even if you miss out on any day. Make up for it the following day.
So guys let’s go study and make our 2022 an amazing time of fellowship with God. See you by His grace by December 2022 in Jesus name, Amen.
I had been sitting in the café for over one hour just sipping my tea and eavesdropping on a conversation between my friend’s husband, David (not his real name) and two other men who apparently were his friends. Their conversation was centered on how much their families; wives and children meant to them. I listened in amazement as David painted the picture of a shared love in his home. He expressed his affection for his wife, Grace and the sacrifices he would be willing to make for her and the children and all sweet blah blah blah…
The conversation was very strange because my friend, Grace (not her real name) had confided in me about how unhappy she was in her marriage. I had at several times counselled her on patience and the need to give her husband time.
What were her complaints? “David does not love me” she says frequently and each time I asked her how she knew this, she goes; “He hardly talks to me, does not remember my birthdays and when he does, there are no gifts, no anniversary presents, no valentine gifts, nothing special that I can point to as a gift from my husband. And then he does not appreciate anything I do, fails to help in the house and hardly notices nor care when my health is challenged. He hardly observe changes in my appearance even when I had my face made up and fingernails fixed, he barely noticed”. The list was endless and my conclusion always; my friend was a very unhappy wife. So you can imagine my amazement to hear her husband declare his love for his wife publicly. How ironic?
The story of Grace is not peculiar, it is actually that of many married women here in Nigeria. From an informal survey among working class married women, some of which are my friends and colleagues, I gathered that most women feel unloved and are just enduring what they described as a loveless marriage. Many agreed to have transferred their love to their children and their career. A few of them admitted that they felt loved by their spouses but also added that it could be lot better.
What on earth could be wrong with our men? They spend years or months of efforts, waiting and impressing a lady only to bring her home, get her to change her name, mother their children and simply forget about her. It is true that many of them claim they love their wives and even boast about how resourceful, beautiful and supportive she is. They could sing about it to all who cares to know but not to the only one person that needs to know.
I once asked a male colleague why in his opinion would a woman feel unloved by her husband and he responded with another question; “what exactly do women want?” This response simplified the whole essence of a loveless marriage to mean that either wives are asking for too much or husbands are ignorant of the needs of their wives.
So what do women or specifically wives want as proofs of love from their husbands? In very simple words, the answer is love, love and more love.
Love has expressions and no man can pretend not to know. This is because the expressions of love was what secured the wife in the first place. But how ironic, that suddenly after marriage, dear husband (former lover boy) is now confused and does not know what to do. The wooing of a woman is a lifelong Ministry that no man should retire from.
In a quest for proofs of love I consulted the bible and google (I actually asked google for proofs of love) and trust me, the list is endless. So if I miss out any, kindly send your contributions.
Dear Husbands, in the words of Mother Theresa “go home and love your family” and your family starts with your wife.
Tell her you love her daily. Mean it and look into her eyes when you say it
Spend quality time with her. Stop running from home only to return at midnight when everyone has gone to bed.
Take her out on dates as you used to do. All these other dates that you keep outside will wear you out.
Hug, be tender to her even as you go through the day. Stop being the lion of the tribe of your home. Calm down.
Biblically, God love and gave His Son, a major proof of love is giving. Dear husband when was the last time you gave anything to your wife? How often do you give? All these no birthday present, no anniversary gift, no valentine gift, even mother’s day gift must change. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
Be patient and kind.
Be protective. Are you protective of your wife? When she has crisis or challenges who does she call first? If it is not you, then it simply means you have failed in love.
Show your partner that you desire her
Trust her and stop sniffing
Do something spontaneous with your partner (Join her in the bathroom)
Pay special compliments. Tell her how good she looks after a hairdo.
Be the first to notice a change in her whether positive or negative.
Stop calling her “Mama Bose” . Haba! what would you call her mum
Put her in first place (after God).
Surprise her with little things. Come home with surprises.
Show concerns on bad days (in sickness, work pressure)
Take a walk together. Workout together where possible. Stop all these “be going, I will catch up with you”. Are you ashamed of your wife?
Visit family and friends together.
Take a vacation together. It could be to the village.
These are just a few of the long lists of expressions of love that can restore a lasting peace into marriages. I encourage every husbands to review and make them a lifestyle. Trust me, it will be a seed that will bring a profitable harvest to the family as a whole. So Dear Husband, please go home and love your wife. It has a ripple effect that will ultimately change the world. So let me end again with the quote of Mother Teresa “IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, GO HOME AND LOVE YOUR FAMILY.” That’s where the world begins
Our Choices in life are personal and everyone is absolutely responsible for the outcome of his/her life.
My mother who is 81 called me on my mobile phone on October 1, 2021 to inform me that she had just taken the second Jab of her Covid 19 Vaccine and that she was fine. This may seem like a normal occurrence but to me it isn’t and there is a story behind it.
When the first batch of vaccines came to Nigeria, my mum was the first member of the family who showed interest. She consulted the children and we all discouraged her. In fact I led the team that opposed vehemently wondering why an eighty year old woman should be afraid of Covid 19 in Africa where the average mortality age is about fifty. And so she didn’t go for the vaccine. So when the second batch came, without any consultation she went ahead for both doses and only called to notify me and her other children. She took the decision and was ready for the consequences of her action. This is very significant to me. What is the lesson? She showed to me again that in life, major decisions (nearly all) are personal responsibilities particularly as adults.
Yes, there might be inputs informs of suggestions, shared experiences, counsel, advice or even threats, the final decision is often a personal one. You are absolutely responsible for the decisions you take and the outcomes. Let no one therefore pass the blame of the consequences of a decision on a third party.
We have at several times handed over key decisions of our lives to people who have no business deciding for us and the consequences are always very grievous. Imagine being directed in traffic by a novice who keeps waving his hands asking you to reverse your car and that the road was clear. The moment you hit the wall or there is an accident, he disappears. You cannot blame him for the accident.
It is time to examine our choices and ascertain if they were genuinely ours or those of friends, family members, leaders or even mentors. While it is true that we need all of these people in our lives to counsel, guide or advise, life’s choices are our personal responsibility.
This important subject of personal responsibility must be taught early to our children. It begins with the choice of friends, books to read, programs to watch, site to visit on the internet and many others. As parents all we can do is point them to possible outcomes of a choice, the final decision is the child’s. It’s a case of forcing a horse to the river but not being able to force it to drink water.
Time to wise up and stop leaving major decisions of your life to those who have no business in it.
Life does play tricks on us and often catch us off-guard. It is funny how we just have faith and believe that some things cannot happen even when it is so glaring that it was inevitable. This was exactly what happened to me yesterday 22nd August, 2021.
“Yinka Anifowoshe (Azuka) is dead?”
This is a statement I will have to come to terms with. Sharp, piercing, rude. “No he cannot die”, I screamed at the voice on the phone and hung up.
I resumed what I was doing and made my mind blank. I only just saw him about three hours back in the hospital. He was unconscious but still blinked his eyes a few times. I encouraged his wife and assured her (like I was God) that Yinka will rise again and she must not despair.
How right I was. Yes, Yinka will rise again but only at the resurrection. Now I am too stunned to look at that woman. Did God fail? NO, He never fails. But so many things we do not understand now, the bible says we will understand by and by
The voice on the phone had asked me to check people’s status but I refused hoping it was a lie. When I couldn’t bear it any longer I summoned courage and picked up my phone and there it was. His pictures were on many of my contact’s status. I made a call to my pastor who was his friend and who was supposed to have accompanied me earlier to see him and he confirmed the news. His words still echoes in my ears “Yinka is dead, I am looking at him right now in the mortuary as he lay”.
No! I screamed. I didn’t cry, I just began to shake uncontrollably. At that moment I did so many things that I don’t want to bore you with. Yinka’s death simply hit me like a sledge hammer. Only a few days back he sent his promotion letter to me and we were both excited as we praised God for the promotion. In his words he said:
“thanks so much for the love and support Ma….. We will continue to make you proud Ma”
Ooh Yinka! OOH Yinka! Is all I have been saying since it happened. I unconsciously asked God in my heart why? And His response has being a subtle “why not? Who can question God. Can the clay ask the potter why it is made a vase and not a pot?
Yinka my cheerleader, my subtle support system. Yes, he was a junior colleague who showed great respect for me but he was quite close to my heart. Often times while we still worked together he would sit with me in my office with words of encouragement and assurance that endeared me to him. He believed in me as much I believed in him. Even though we barely meet physically, he never misses to send monthly prayers to me at the beginning of each month. And each Christmas, Yinka would show up with a chicken or some yams and packs of juice in my house. This he did even years after we no longer worked together. He was such a thoughtful and considerate man.
Ooh Yinka is gone, his sun has set and his time here is over. He touched lives, raised a family and lived well. Going by what happened in this last week he was loved by many and I know that even in death his life will continue to speak by the legacies (his wife and lovely children and family) that he left behind.
Adieu Yinka, Adieu to an amazing young man, My cheerleader, my friend and my brother. Rest on at the bosom of the Lord, where there are no more pains and sorrow. Even though it hurts now and our hearts bleed for you, we are assured that we will understand it better bye and bye.
P.S: And yes did I and every one that loved Yinka sleep last night? Maybe very late but even with the pain we all slept and probably feel a little better this morning. I have cried a little, like many this morning too and even last night was only able to sleep after taking a pill. In spite of all of these I ate dinner like some of us also did. We weep, we mourn, maybe for the immediate family it will be much longer to overcome but eventually, all we will have left are his sweet memories. Let us therefore live life well, redeem our time, value relationships, be good to others and prepare daily for eternity. It is well.
Real growth is when you start checking and correcting yourself instead of blaming others, you take your power back by being responsible for your life. – Anonymous
I grew up in a society where everyone else is to be blamed for the errors of other people. I was not exempted from this abnormal behaviour. Not until I began to mature did I realise that I am mostly responsible for the outcome of my life and no one else.
Mothers did not help in this blame game either. I remember sometime ago, I watched a toddler who was just learning to walk run to his mother. He hit his foot against a stone, fell and began to cry. I watched amusingly as the mother picked up a stick to hit the stone as if it were the cause of the fall. The toddler was appeased and stopped crying. In this simple illustration, the mother failed to point out to that little toddler that he fell firstly because he was not careful enough and that it was also expected to fall once in a while until he is fully able to walk well. She chose rather to blame the “poor” little stone.
When a student fails an examination the teacher is often blamed for his failure. Often times the only one at fault in matrimonial challenges is the other spouse. In my country where so many things are wrong the only person to blame is the government whose name may be Mr President, My Governor, Mrs. Senator or one semi-illiterate who was carelessly elected into the House of Representative or became a local government councillor. We often forget that all these people were helped into power by the “saints” of the same society.
It is obvious that nothing changes until you begin to accept the responsibility of changing yourself. No one has the power to change any other person. You may try but changes only happened because the other party agreed to change. So to have good governance, you must change the way you vote.
Today most marriages fail because of the illusion that the other party will change once the marriage is consummated and so when the expected refuses to happen, things fall apart. So to enjoy marital bliss, stop pointing accusing fingers at your spouse. Change yourself and watch him or her change.
The summary of this write up is change begins with you. You can change yourself, change the things you don’t want, change the places you go to, change the friends you have, change your habit and cultivate positive habits, change the way you vote, change the things you say, change your life style, change your response to situations. But by no means must you imagine that you have the capacity to change others.
Agreed, it is possible to have people change in response to your action or inaction. Both are always variables that when properly used can ignite a positive social change in the community, family or other forms of relationships. However, the responsibility of change still rest on the individual. It is therefore important for you to Identify areas where you want to see change and make conscious efforts to.
What you don’t want, you do not watch. Rather you take steps to alter the course you do not want or variables that are within your own capacity to change. For example you cannot change your haters but you can change the way you respond to them. A few areas to start may include:
Wake up early
Have a vision. Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Vision propels you.
Plan your time
Read, study, meditate
Fellowship with people of the same faith
Be kind and not judgmental
Maintain a diet, cut down junk foods. Eat healthy
Be productive. By all means work. Engage your mind and your hands
Be deliberate in your choices
Laugh some more
Relax some more
Live your size per time
Invest in yourself
Save for raining days
Give back to others
Be true to yourself, speak out when you are hurt
Celebrate small wins, allow yourself to be happy
Avoid too much negative news. Do not kill yourself over what you cannot change
Cultivate positive relationships among friends and family.
Explore new places. Go on vacation from time to time. Go see the world.
Ever since Covid 19, many have lived in the fear of contacting the virus and probably loosing a loved one to it. Holding on to Faith in the saving grace of Christ, I had grown far above the Covid 19 scare.
However with the introduction of the COVID 19 vaccine, came many theories of conspiracy some of which are not only very disturbing but seems so unreal. Then with the vaccine and the many theories of conspiracy came a fear that was more scary than the virus. I actually began to think that taking the vaccine was a sin.
Today, many have gone ahead to take the vaccine in my country Nigeria but are too ashamed to admit it because of the conspiracy and religious bias. I encourage anyone in doubt to consult the Holy Spirit and take a decision.
I initially told myself I didn’t need the vaccine and I prayed God to help me take a right decision on it. And this is what God did. He led me through Matthew 3:15 . “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” So I agreed that I do not need the vaccine but to fulfill all righteousness and convinced in my Spirit I went ahead. And so for the record purpose, I took my first jab of the vaccine yesterday.
And guess what? I don’t feel like a sinner. I am more assured of my redemption and convinced that it had nothing to do with my salvation.
P.S: My safety is not and can never be because of the vaccine, I am saved by grace through faith. “For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God;” Ephesians 2:8 AMP. This alone is my boast.
Have you ever come across people who think they have answers to all questions? They act as if they know everything and always had a comment about every subject of discussion. Some of them practically complete all your sentences for you. They often take over the conversation and make others look stupid. I have come across several of such people and let me guess….. you are probably one of them.
Now you want to know if this is a character problem. Not necessarily. In most cases people who have this habit are not dull people. Some of them are actually smart people who just don’t know when to shut their mouth and remain silent. Knowing when to talk and when to remain silent is what distinguishes a wise man from a foolish one.
While it has been confirmed that talk is cheap, I read from scripture that “even a fool, when he holdeth his peace is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Prov 17:29). The Amplified version says “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent: with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent”… Hmmm! This is interesting. It simply means Knowing what to say and how to say it are as important as knowing when to say what you know. Put simply, there is a time when silence is golden.
Let me share a practical example. I was at a management meeting sometimes ago where various Heads of Units were represented. The subject matter was a very sensitive one that was eventually resolved after several deliberations. In closing the Chairman (just for formality sake) asked if there was any other comment. Surprisingly, one of the management staff who I have always respected stood up and made the greatest mistake of his career by his comments. Today, when I remember this incident, I wish he had shut his mouth.
In this Sorosoke (Speak up) generation, talk has become so discounted and has landed many in trouble. People who have no idea of a subject matter go publicly to make statements only to return a few days later with an apology. Many lack the depth of knowledge on a subject matter and yet they discussed it with impunity. Wisdom indeed is profitable for direction so I admonish us to go for knowledge and above knowledge pursue wisdom passionately. It is only by divine wisdom that a man’s words become golden.
I always advise people to “be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]” (James 1:19 APV). Read https://glitter-s.com/2020/09/15/be-calm-please-listen/ Where you are boxed into a corner and you must respond there is nothing wrong with saying things like; I will get back to you on this matter or can you give me some time to investigate this?
It is also always advisable to invest time in reading. However no one has a monopoly of knowledge. You can know a little of many things but cannot be an expert on all things. It is therefore important to speak with authority only on things you know about and when it is appropriate.
Keeping quiet until you get all facts about a matter does not make you a mumu (foolish man). Sometimes it is simply wise to say nothing. Learn when to speak and that rightly. Silence indeed can be golden but only to the wise.
It was 9.pm and I was just checked-in to my hotel room for the night. I sorted out my clothes and hung them in the wardrobe. I was going to spend a few days in the town. Tired and completely exhausted from my journey, I crashed on the sofa in the middle of the room. I must have slept off probably for about 30 minutes when suddenly I was startled by a sting on my stomach. I jolted now fully awake and my first thought was a scorpion bite. As I struggled to unwind my jeans zip, I felt another sting now on my waist, I hurriedly pulled down my trouser and then I saw the object as it fell off to the tiled floor. It was a black medium sized cockroach.
This was strange to me, I didn’t know that cockroaches bite. You probably didn’t know too. But believe me, cockroaches like all roaches bite, I was a victim. Strange as I felt, I refused to accept my friend’s interpretation of witchcraft. The cockroach probably fell into my body while I was arranging the wardrobe and was trapped in between my blouse and my jeans trouser. It had to bite in its bid for escape because there seemed to be no way out of the trap. This is the story of most domestic violence where the man is the victim.
Domestic violence which often occurs between people who are or have been in a close relationship can take many forms of abuses, including emotional, sexual, physical or stalking. Abusive relationships always involved an imbalance of power and control. An abuser uses intimidating, hurtful words and behaviours to control his or her partner. When this is done repeatedly the abused loses self-esteem, withdraws from society and in many cases develop a mental disorder that may be catastrophic.
It is not uncommon for a married woman to be assaulted by her husband. Statistics has shown that women are vulnerable and are more victims of domestic abuse than men. This seems to date as far back as creation where I try to imagine in my little mind what Adam must have done to Eve after she ate the apple and they were thrown out of the garden. He probably dragged her on the ground angrily and railed abuses on her as they exited the garden. Domestic violence against women in particular often occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is an entitlement, acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported. Sadly so.
Today the table is turning and women have in more recent times shown that no one has a monopoly of violence. Like the black cockroach, the woman is no longer contented to remain trapped in between the folds. That men are victims of domestic abuse therefore is also no longer news. However, men are often reluctant to report abuse because they feel embarrassed, fear they won’t be believed, or are scared that their partner will take revenge. So most violence against men except for extreme cases go unreported.
Why and how can a woman who is often described as the “weaker sex”, vulnerable, susceptible and defenceless successfully attack a man? Did the man just sit and watch her kill or assault him? What weapons are available for the woman and how easy was it for her to use it against him?
A review of domestic violence cases reflects that it is an outcome of a buildup, a combination of multiple assaults that climaxed into real violence that may or may not result into death. Often times the woman is like that black cockroach, trapped and pushed to the point of reaction. Or like the goat that suddenly attacks the dog that pushed it against the wall. There are many stories that often leave us wondering why?
There is the story of Udeme Otike-odibe (a lawyer) who allegedly killed her husband in 2018, Damilola Ayeni in 2018, and Maryam Sanda who also allegedly killed her husband in 2020. All of these and many more are real life stories that are in recent past and happen in our society (Nigeria) where we have had very few reports on domestic violence against men.
Why are women now taking up arms and fighting back?
What are the options to reduce this growing spate of violence?
Why must one remain in an abusive relationship?
Is the culture fuelling abuses in marriages?
What is the role of religion in abused relationship?
Is separation the only solution to abusive relationship?
The answers to the above questions are not far fetched and as we cast our mind on the subject of domestic violence, we would all agree that no one has a monopoly of violence in a relationship. The once-upon-a-time docile partner can turnaround to be the violent one. Similarly the abusive partner may end up being the victim of his/her previous’ “victim”.
It’s no use remaining in an abusive relationship only to end up a murderer. While the sanctity of marriage must be kept and maintained in line with biblical and cultural injunction, partners in abusive relationship must not continue to endue hoping things will change. Steps must be taken to resolve amicably. Seek counsel if you must, maintain contact with and seek support from family and friends. By all means do not remain in an abusive relationship and do nothing. Either way, you may react when pushed over and the consequences may be disastrous.