They Know Why Some Men Are Polygamous, Do They Know How Women Feel?

By Sandra Ijeoma Okoye

There is no denying the fact that marriage is a tough obligation in life, particularly as it is ordained by God, and thus it is customarily compulsory. It is an onus that most people invariably saddle themselves with at some point in life. The fact cannot be exaggerated that polygamy has rendered many wives miserable, and has also given them much more than they ever bargained for in terms of physical and emotional fulfilment.

Against the foregoing backdrop, it is not surprising that since famous Nigerian actor and movie director Yul Edochie welcomed a son with his second wife, Judy Austin, as he revealed through an Instagram posts, that both the news vendors and virtual spaces have been agog with confrontational comments over his resort to become polygamous. It would be recalled that the 40-year-old actor threw his fans, colleagues and social media into a frenzy on Wednesday after sharing pictures of himself and his baby boy on his Instagram page. Given the trend of comments that has been trailing the announcement of the untoward connubial issue, it is expedient to ask, “Has there been people that have been showing concern about the psychological disposition of the wife, May Edochie. Aptly put, are people sparing a thought for the woman the same way they are subtly hailing Yul as “Agu”? Little wonder, a video he did to that effect where he boasted that he is a lion, and that he roars” is causing sensation on virtual space.

At this juncture, it is germane to say that since the disclosure that backlashes and kudos that have been trailing the Nollywood actor, no doubt, have collectively become a source of concern to most Nigerians as most celebrities are not even left out in the rancorous debate and seeming mockery even as an old post that vehemently condemned polygamy which has being credited to his father was dug out by social media trolls.

According to the post, “Marrying two women doesn’t mean you are a man, it just means you are about to suffer and breed confusion among your generations.”

Since on Wednesday when the Nollywood actor took to social media platforms to announce his new marriage, and arrival of his cute baby boy, all manners of reactions have been circulating on the media space.

His post came as a shock to many as the thespian who got married to May Aligwe when he was 22 years old has four children with her (three sons and a daughter) has now become a polygamist.

Be that as it may, it is expedient to say in this context that while all manners of comments have been trailing his announcement that most people have failed to realized that polygamy is a phenomenon that is often associated with Nigerian people. In almost all societies that cut across the country, polygamy is an acceptable and valid form of marriage, but unfortunately the woman has always been the receiver of the short end of the stick, and nobody cares to know about that.

In fact, monogamy has been associated with people of lower social status. Proponents of polygamy have claimed that the more wives a man has, the more children he is likely to have, and the more children, the greater the chances that the family will enjoy immortality.

This is indicative of the high regard in which the tradition is held by some Nigerian (men in particular). The theological thinking of various Christian denominations is divided on the subject of polygamy.

Meanwhile, while the debate rages, it is apt to opine that an average Nigerian man is polygamous in nature, it is in their genes. I wonder why anyone is surprised about Yul’s announcement which came as a rude shock to many.

In fact, in the olden days, polygamy was a type of marriage that was commonly practiced in Nigeria and even in other other African countries, whereby men married two or more wives and were not required to take permission from anyone, as they would even hail him as polygamous as one of its advantages is that a polygamist does not need to engage in infidelity but some end up marrying more wives, particularly when they are rich from village standard which was usually measured through the size of a man’s farm.

To prove the fact that polygamy is literarily a Nigerian and that it is in the genes, it has withstood many fight to obliterate it from the society. It would be recalled that with colonization and civilization, apart from Muslims being permitted to marry up to four wives at a time, that not few men are literarily forced by religious leaders and legal considerations to stick to one wife, but hide or find excuses to cheat on their wives with numerous girlfriends, side-chicks and other concubines whenever they get tired of their wives. In fact, Nigerians that are traditionally subscribed to polygamous heritage seem oblivious of the interpretative meaning of David Rovics’ saying that “They'll say you are bad or perhaps you are mad or at least you should stay undercover. Your mind must be bare if you would dare to think you can love more than one lover.” Given the foregoing situation, let me say they know why some men are polygamous, do they know how women feel?

Sandra Ijeoma Okoye (Author)