My Father’s 14th Wife by Debo Adejugbe
I woke up this day to the blaze of lovely sunshine streaming through the AC vents and I began to wonder where it all began. My Childhood, the several women I’ve had the opportunity to live with and learn from, the bittersweet lessons they’ve imparted, the several jostle for attention in the house and the periods when everyone had to scheme against each other because it was in vogue. Those awkward and deafening silence at the dining table, the several arguments we had just for the sake of having one, the scheming put into the next day even when we weren’t sure we were going to wake up. I took everything into perspective this lovely morning.
The house we grew up in was something criminally special, an entity that deserves a place in a worldwide list dedicated to chaotic establishments. Yes, that’s the house where father honed his promiscuous legendary status. He has been through a retinue of women that would last 100 lifetimes and they’ve oscillated between weird and abnormal at times.
You will understand after reading my story.
Father was born 98 years ago to a father from the North and a southern Mother, he represented perfection in a multi-ethnic society like ours. He could move around without tribal challenges because of that special breed that he represented from birth. He had the opportunity of being nurtured by a white woman (Elizabeth) who gave him everything he required to prosper – at least to an extent.
He was in the care of several white nannies who did their utmost in line with the wishes of his foster mother, they simply nurtured him to the best of their abilities and gave him all the education they could, before he revolted.
When Father was 42 – tired of the endless taunts of being a white-black boy – he decided to legally extricate himself from his foster mother and her several nannies, it took him close to four years to make this wish come true. He was given the opportunity to be a man, but there was still visiting rights accorded to the foster mother. It took another three years for him to finally become a self-governed man, after the courts had established he was fine by himself. That landmark judgment marked the beginning of father’s problems. He slipped into confusion and self created delusions about women.
I will talk briefly about the journey it took to get here, I won’t tell you about my mother, my grouse is with my father’s 14th wife (even if I really never warmed up to any of his other wives).
His foster mother had nurtured a pretty white girl for him to marry, he however decided against such move as a way of convincing everyone he was man enough to take these decisions. He got a beautiful, black and well read wife, who excelled in sports in addition to being trained by his foster mother(perfect combination you’ll say) but the marriage was short lived as various factors contributed to its demise; she decided to watch events from a distance. Father took another wife in no time.
The second marriage didn’t take long as she died just after six months in the relationship; He wasted no time on mourning and took for himself a third wife who stayed with him for nine years and marshaled the affairs of our house with military consciousness that was never in our DNA, her military style helped her stay that long. We were forced into unity after series of bickering and a full blown war was quenched in our house.
It wasn’t long before someone with equal tactical and decisive discipline eased her out of father’s love after nine years; the new woman came in as the fourth wife and was getting all the love but died just after six months. Father was devastated but decided to move on, so he married his fifth. The fifth wife was a friend to the fourth wife, so she decided to continue her legacy; she was in our house for a little over three years (she decided to leave because she couldn’t handle our problems coupled with the children’s complaint about her autocratic style). She gave dad a beautiful bride to make everyone happy. She left unwillingly and still harboured an ambition to remarry father.
The sixth wife gave us stability for four years but there were several complaints about the way she favoured some children over others and how she was spending father’s money lavishly; several people contrived to get her out of the picture due to her obvious inefficiency and corruption. The plan succeeded but we didn’t really see the seventh wife as better even though she brought stability and discipline; her disciplinarian attitude helped push her out and we got for ourselves a beautiful eighth wife who had everything a woman should. She was beautiful, gorgeous, mannered, loving and always attentive, eager to please us.
Father’s eighth wife gave us some beautiful years, but everything was falling apart underneath due to unimaginable level of corruption that was institutionalized; she brought us into this mess we are working towards correcting today. When we couldn’t take it anymore, we revolted and asked for a new wife for dad. We decided on who we wanted but dad’s eighth wife made sure she gave us someone else – we accepted, just to get her out of our house.
We didn’t have time to assess wife number nine though, as one of wife number eight’s friends chased her out of the house and dad had no choice but to accept her – just for the sake of the children.
Enter wife number TEN!
Wife number ten spinned a web of fear and bullied us into submission. She had this fear written all over her face and personality, she did a few good things but we never got past her very sinister aura and we rejoiced when she died after five years. I knew dad was glad too, even if he didn’t show it.
When wife number eleven came in, we (the children) decided to give her time to settle down; she did settle down but her priority was to stabilize our household for the return of wife number five. Wife number five became wife number twelve, she came with her love for dad intact but also with vengeance on everyone that had participated in the problems she had after leaving our house the first time around. We did protest but she had already developed a thick skin to all our various inventions. Everything that worked on the other wives suddenly became impotent and we were forced to watch her run her rule around dad and his friends.
Father’s number twelve began nurturing young girls to take her place, she had so many of them trained in her art but decided to spring a surprise on us when we forced her out after eight years. She gave us a sickly beautiful bride and a handmaid to tend to her.
The sickly thirteenth wife had plans. Hampered by ill health, she was too slow for our liking and we started grumbling, not even minding the struggle she was going though at the time. We took our destiny into our own hands when we couldn’t bear the torture of the slow-paced developments in our household; we revolted and asked father to take the handmaid as a mistress.
Father reluctantly accepted but kept an eye out for his sickly wife. He finally gave in to our prodding when the thirteenth wife died.
Enter the story of my FATHER’S FOURTEENTH WIFE!
Father married wife number thirteen’s handmaid and begged everyone to give her time to adapt, as she wasn’t trained in the art of marshaling such a great empire as ours. He wanted us to treat her with respect and accept some of her shortcomings as learning steps. We agreed and gave her an overwhelming level of support to become the substantive wife in the house. We claimed to have done it for her because of her gentle and unassuming personality, that was our undoing.
She started with promises of addressing our major problems in the house. Education of the children, our problematic power issues, stamping out the corruption seed planted by some of father’s former wives, equality, working on the roads linking dad’s several properties and the issue of security of our lives and properties, were all well documented in her speech when we gave her that overwhelming support to be dad’s fourteenth wife.
Trouble began when we noticed that she started acquiring expensive shoes, very scarce clothing materials, countless aides and assistants, extravagant headgears and several other items that were purposely acquired to transform her from the erstwhile handmaid we knew.
She made sure that father’s palm oil plantation located in her town become a surreal battle seed anytime we try to revolt. The proceeds from the oil plantations were misused and diverted to several channels to take care of her excesses. She began courting the high and mighty – using dad’s palm oil proceeds to settle them – making life so unbearable for us.
We have no security anymore as armed robbers, thieves, looters, ritual killers, religious fights etc have taken over father’s estates. So many of the children died in some of our protests, in our churches, in mosques, in places of celebration or without cause; its been one problem to the other and the courtship with the corrupt society men and women has left us powerless, needing a messiah to deliver us.
Her handmaid has exhibited worse reasoning level compared to father’s fourteenth wife, leaving us with no option to look forward to. If we fight to push the wife out and force the handmaid on father, we’ll have so much to cry about and yet, we don’t want father’s fourteenth wife to continue. Its a great dilemma in our household, because we forced her on father and he blames us for everything (even if secretly).
Father’s fourteenth wife has a very good friend, Aliyaro, who has helped her siphon all the palm oil proceeds. Experts told dad that our palm trees are becoming redundant and would stop bringing out meaningful fruits in the next few years; she doesn’t care. We now pay more for a bottle of Palm oil because she told father to hands off on any help he was giving us.
When an arm of father’s headquarter company was bombed, one of fourteenth wife’s friends accused her of complicity but the friend was incarcerated and the truth is long gone. She even renamed one of our household monuments without consultation and regard to our feelings. We are dying by the numbers and I think that’s her end game because she looks the other way while a new member of the family dies every day. We need help!
She has laid out a three year masterplan and a four year continuation agenda on how to manage our household. I’m afraid because she has already bankrupted dad and her masterplan would bring nothing but pains, tears, sorrow and great slip into a lifelong coma to everything our household represents.
We are dying and we need help! Help us address the issue of my father’s fourteenth wife, I’m begging PLEASE.
I am @deboadejugbe.