Why surfing the internet recently, I stumbled on two articles by different people. One was written by Linda Ikeji possibly to address the mixed reactions that had characterized her childbirth out of wedlock whereas the other article was obviously written to condemn Linda’s childbirth outside wedlock. I was so annoyed with the writer condemning Linda’s childbirth outside wedlock that I did not finish reading the article hence I did not memorize the name of the writer. I want to make it clear that Linda Ikeji as a citizen has the inalienable right to Private and family life as contained in S.37 of Nigeria’s Constitution ( as amended) .
Why hold on to a culture that has made Africa primitive and backward ? The Igbos call it ‘’Ime Mgbuke’’, pregnancy out of wedlock . It is time for us to do away with all our obnoxious and primitive culture , norms and values . The bible clearly states it in the book of Amos 3:3 that two cannot walk unless they agree. Today , many women have died in trying to keep their marriages or to continue staying with their partners even when it was clear at the outset that such marriages/relationships could not pull through. Why choose to suffer for the rest of your life because you do not want people to either call you a divorcee or one who has a child out of wedlock? Is keeping your marriage or relationship more important than your life and personal comfort? For those believing in the phrase ‘For better for worse’ ,have you not read the gospel books of Mark 9:43 and Matthew 5:30 that it is better to cut off your finger that makes you commit sin than to go to hell with that finger, or do you think the finger as used means your physical finger? What assurances can you give me that your spouse will not remarry in the next two years after your demise if you die as a result of that marriage or relationship that is making you uncomfortable?
Recently, I lost a cousin sister, who is still in the mortuary as I write this piece. She had a pregnancy for a man she was in a relationship with and my extended family insisted that the man responsible must marry her. I objected to that decision but who was I to object the decision the ‘’ supreme beings ‘’ in the family hence at the end of the day, the man in question was forced to marry her but today my cousin is in the mortuary few years after such forced union called marriage . Who knows what my cousin sister might have experienced in that ill-fated marriage and as it is in Africa the women are always at the receiving end of any family quarrel hence they tend to endure a lot? It is now that my family realized that my cousin’s death was manmade but when I told them earlier on to allow her have the baby at home and move on with her life nobody listened to me because to them it was a taboo and a disgrace to our extended family. Even if we finally confirm that it was the husband that killed her after series of our ongoing investigations, does that bring back to life my late cousin sister or does that prevent her husband from remarrying in the next two years?
Why force somebody to marry another person just because the relationship has a pregnancy attached to it, even when it is clear at the beginning that such marriage will not pull through? Today, many women have been infected with HIV, hepatitis C and D just to mention but a few courtesy of their randy husbands. It was not that these women were not aware of the randy nature of their husbands/fiance but they were afraid of answering divorcees or ladies who had ‘’ime mkpuke’’ respectively hence they remained in that relationship or marriage until their husbands expectedly infected them.
The truth is that in this part of the world, most marriages came into existence not because love existed between the two partners but because there was either pressure on the part of the ladies to change their maiden names as their mates or those younger than them were already in their husbands’ homes or on the part of the men that their mothers needed grandchildren hence anybody within reach could fit in. Most women go into marriages today because the man can provide their basic needs of life not that they love the men in question. As a counselor in a church setting, many women will openly confess to us that if they refuse to marry the men in their lives where will they live or how do they survive in a city that is very competitive? You see that most women in this part of the world go into a relationship because the men can cater for their basic needs not that they truly love the men hence the men use such ladies as their sex objects, having unfettered access to them sexually without minding if the ladies are in the mood or not . Many relationships/marriages fail nowadays because most men cannot contribute any other thing except money while many women cannot contribute any other thing except sex. Survival of marriages/relationships these days has gone beyond money and sex.
However, in the case of Linda Ikeji the story is different. This is a lady that has made it in life in the area of fame and finance. She never depended on any man to set up a shop for her at Alaba international market or to rent and equip an office for her. To me , Linda Ikeji represents what womanhood should be . Women must be empowered first before going into any relationship or marriage as my friend always tells me ‘’never argue with anybody who is to defray your bills in a beer parlour because if you win him in the argument ,he may get annoyed and leave, then you will have to pay for your bills and if Satan is on your side there will be no money on you during that time .’’ Today, many women have been made second-class citizens in the homes they built just because they are afraid that their husbands may throw them out of their homes anytime, and of course some of the women may have nowhere to go to from their husbands’ houses. In fact some parents would make it clear to their daughters before giving them out for marriage to always resolve their differences with their husbands and never should they come back because to the parents it is a taboo to have a divorcee as a daughter hence the lady must remain in such abusive and uncomfortable marriage like that of my cousin sister until such ladies would be on their way to the mortuaries.
I read where linda Ikeji was apologizing to the little girls that looked up to her as their role model in case the little girls assumed that Linda had taken a wrong step in having her baby out of wedlock . Honestly I do not understand the need for such an apology as she owes no one any apology. It is left to the young girls to choose the life they want to lead ,be like Linda Ikeji who was empowered before going into a relationship hence she knew when to call it a quit when the relationship went sour because she was financially stable or be like my cousin sister still lying in the morgue while our investigation continues, who remained in a marriage she was uncomfortable with but decided to remain there because she was not financially empowered before entering the marriage or that she was afraid of what people would say if she became a divorcee. I cannot choose for anybody but to me instead of answering a corpse because I don’t want people to say negative things about me if I walk out of a relationship/marriage, let me remain alive then let people say all rubbish against me. Even Jesus that sacrificed his life , did the world not ‘’compensate ‘’ him with most horrible death at that time ? The mouth is created for eating and talking hence saying any rubbish about me is one of the functions of the mouth.
Come to think of it ,why must Linda wait any longer to have a baby naturally ? Must everybody join us in the practice of medicine to know the following facts about the ovarian capital of females: The ovaries of females while still developing in their mothers’ wombs contain the maximum number of 6 million ( some authorities say 7 million ) primordial follicles at about 20 weeks (of intrauterine life ) . Process of atresia (the degeneration of those ovarian follicles )set in subsequently such that
- at birth the number of ovarian follicles is about 500,000 ( Some authorities say 700,000 to 2 Million )
- At puberty ,it is 250,000 ( some authorities say about 500,000)
- At age 25years,it is 60,000
- At age 40years ,it is 8,000
It is an arguably fact that all oocytes are produced before birth; each oocyte is surrounded by cells and this combination of the oocyte and the surrounding cells is called a follicle; the earliest developmental stage of the ovarian follicle is called the primordial follicle and no further production of primordial follicle after birth. Also, Menopause is a natural process and new study has shown that some women are no longer going into menopause at the ages of 45-55 years as some women are now going into menopause at the age of 39 years for reasons I may not start giving here.
More so, Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) is a clinical syndrome defined by loss of ovarian activity before the age of 40 and about 1% of women suffer from POI and who says that Linda may not fall within the 1% or do we think as the percentage is small that those that fall into it are not human beings or not created by God? I hope we are not expecting Linda to become another biblical Sarah who had Isaac many years after her menopause? Do I need to stress myself in convincing my reader that the reproductive capacity of women decreases with their ages and that the tendency of having children with chromosomal abnormalities increases as the mothers’ ages advance beyond 33 years. Do we expect Linda to start moving from one hospital and prayer house to another in search of pregnancy at an age above 40 years when her ovarian capital will be close to 1000 ?
Mind you ,today most domestic violence against women is unreported because the victims are afraid of being thrown out of their husbands’ homes or answering divorcees hence the mortuary attendants should be booking a space for them in the nearest future . I do not intend to argue with anybody on this matter as I never argued with the members of my extended family when I made it clear that our late sister should be allowed to have her baby at home since the man was denying being responsible for the marriage and to me there was no need for any paternity test because even if the paternity test proved that the man was the father ,would that make him love my late cousin?
It was Prof Ndili that said that the most important aspect of every man is his belief system and he went further to define what belief system was all about ; belief system is the sum total of all things that the man takes to be true. I must hold on to my belief system because it has not disappointed me . I believe that our women should be empowered like Linda Ikeji before going into any relationship/marriage so that their senses of judgment regarding their relationships /marriages at any point in time will not be hampered by the fear of being thrown out of their husbands/fiance’ homes or how to survive in life when such relationships/marriages cease to exist . I see no reason why any woman should sleep with a man for money or continue any abusive or uncomfortable relationship/marriage just because that should the only way for the woman to survive in this our competitive world.
Dr Paul John ,Port Harcourt,[email protected],08083658038
Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dr Paul John and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)