Monday 4 June 2018

Linda Ikeji's Pregnancy: Is Marriage Becoming Less Fashionable?

Linda Ikeji
A recent statement by the eccentric Charles Chukwuemeka Oputa popularly known as Charly Boy that marriage will no longer be fashionable soon because most people can't cope, got me thinking critically considering the fact that the 66-year old has survived the rigours of marriage for almost 40 years. He made the statement while commenting on the how millionaire blogger, Linda Ikeji ‘miraculously’ got pregnant without a man while she was celibate.
The African society is evolving and some intricate cultural, moral and religious values have continued to wane in relevance. Formal education and globalization have subliminally made us pull down some walls that define us thereby allowing the intrusion of detrimental western values.
In the olden days, it was a big shame for a lady and her family if she is not confirmed to be a virgin on her wedding night. This was the ‘Ibale’ culture in Yoruba land. 
According to the old tradition, a lady and her suitor can court as long as they want but they are never expected to have sexual intercourse with one another. After, the groom's family has paid the bride price, the groom is granted full permission to take his bride home. The bride and groom are expected to enter a house for consummation taking along with them a white cloth with people waiting outside for a feedback. On their return, the white cloth is expected to be stained with blood to indicate that the woman had been deflowered.
In the event that the lady isn't a virgin, she's put to shame and the bride price is returned to the groom's family with no man ever asking for her hand in marriage again. Some women defiled under different circumstances before their wedding day might commit suicide to avoid bringing disgrace to themselves and their relatives. They were regarded as 'Ajadi Apeere' meaning a 'bottomless basket' which connotes a worthless object.
Today, most newlyweds sleep off like logs of wood on the nights of their wedding as they is nothing new to anticipate or explore.
Today, westernization has changed us. Virginity is almost a taboo for people that have attained puberty. Young men now want to taste the soup before they pay for it; they want to drive the cars recklessly before negotiating for the price. Most young men even flee when they meet virgins as they feel they are inexperienced, boring and timid. Single Nigerian women have become warriors in the 'other room'. Premarital s*x which is regarded fornication in the Holy Bible and also condemned in Islam is now being done freely either as recreational activity, or commercial purpose, compensation, and lobbying. Some women even proudly use improvised s*x toys to masturbate.
Being a baby mama of an established person has now become a fancy job with the women parading themselves as influencers on social media while they watch their men wreck more havoc in the society with the rocket launchers between their legs.
The women draw hefty salaries from their men while they continue to live their lives of unlimited freedom without a concrete means of livelihood. In 2015, Davido during a brawl with his baby mama, Sophia Momodu revealed he was paying her on a monthly salary of N300,000. In addition to that, he paid a 2-year rent of a 3-bedroom apartment in the highbrow area of Lekki, Lagos State for her. Sophia was also reportedly given a sum of N500,000 as Christmas bonus and allowance. Trouble started when Sophia like Oliver Twist demanded for an increment in monthly allowance to the tune of N1 million according to Davido's account. This lucrative welfare package is even more than what some multinational companies pay provide for their senior staff with donkey years of work experience.
I remember during my elementary school days when I was taught that the man is the breadwinner of the home while the wife is the bread-eater who is confined in the kitchen. Some pastors even preached that the man is the head of the family while the woman is the backbone. Today, we have women gathering inspiration blindly from popular novelist Chimamanda Adichie, Meghan Markel, Hillary Clinton and others to be feminists. They now preach equal rights in marriages between a man and a woman. Unconfirmed reports have it that some feminists even want to be perpetually on top of their men during s*x.
Despite the stand of religious institutions and the Nigerian state, we have homosexuals discreetly living together under the guise of close friendship. In the past, men used to hide to sleep with prostitutes to avoid stigma but today s*x with whores is the highlight of hit tracks in the music industry.
As at a decade ago, you could lose your relationship for demanding for oral s*x from your partner but today giving head is like a norm with so many ‘headmasters’ or ‘headmistresses’ with many years of experience throwing caution to the wind for sexual satisfaction. We now have leaders of tomorrow who leak the anus, toes and also eat the faeces of their partners during tense romps.  People even brag about sucking genitals at informal gatherings like they should be awarded medals for the act. Sultry young girls commonly referred to as slay queens also take to social media to make mockery of one-minute guys and others with small manhood.
The changing societal values account for why Linda Ikeji who is widely regarded as a role model to many ladies could openly celebrate her baby bump with her man missing in action. Many believe Linda Ikeji's engagement news which she hasn't confirmed till date was arranged to cover the perceived shame of pregnancy especially against her teachings on celibacy. Nollywood actress and movie producer, Toyin Abraham in the heat of the moment also prayed for Linda's 'blessing' when she is still single but reported to be engaged to a man who is also invisible.
Recent research has shown that marriage is becoming obsolete especially in developed countries like China, United States of America, Japan, United Kingdom and most European countries due to varying factors. The figures keep declining disturbingly. Several Nigerian celebrities have taken to having children illegitimately as marriage is seen as a bondage which doesn't encourage youthful exuberance, liberty and career development.
As of today, public figures like Flavour Nabania, Reminisce, Charles Okocha, Olamide, Timaya, Daddy Freeze, Davido, Wizkid, Solidstar have baby mamas with no feasible plans about marriage in sight despite the vast financial resources at their disposal.
Other figures that have caught the single parent craze are; Sauce Kid, Tekno, MayD, Ice Prince, Toyin Lawani, Waje, Mr 2Kay, Jim Iyke, Mikel Obi, Femi Fani Kayode, Kemi Omololu Olunloyo, Bisola Aiyeola and Teddy A (Big Brother Naija ex housemates), Waje Iruobe and several others smart enough to hide their private affairs from the public space. We also have people like Ireti Doyle, Dino Melaye, Tonto Dikeh, Tiwa Savage, Toke Makinwa Chris Attoh and Damilola Adegbite walking out of the marital institution because it wasn't working.
Consciously and unconsciously, the lives of these people with massive followership on social media and maximum recognition in the public space have continued to shape the thought process of the younger generation.
Most career women in Nigeria now see marriage as a limitation to their work progression. Numerous companies in Nigeria feel more comfortable employing single and young people who can withstand overtime sessions at work. Telecommunication giant, Globacom was earlier this year accused of firing married women for obvious reasons although the company has denied it.
Several men have developed insatiable urges for s*x in such a radical manner that what their wives bring to the table means nothing. Social media has increased access to women of diverse shapes and ages willing to offer s*x for money. The muddle has further been complicated by the widespread issue of indecent dressing among women which has left many men with erections even on Monday mornings, influence of corrupt songs and x-rated music videos and pornographic materials online have turned decent men to perverts without conscience.
Most men now feel sleeping with one woman for the rest of their lives is boring. So cheating is inevitable or probably just having a child or two and forgetting about marriage. The sanctity of the institution of marriage is been constantly abused by people who only got married because it’s supposed to be the next stage after school and getting a good job.
A friend was seen cheating on his wife weeks after getting married. The gist was that he married her a virgin and he couldn’t cope with the slow learning process of romance on her part. Instead of mounting unnecessary pressure on her, he decided to seek help outside till she mastered the act of making love. Today, most women have come to admit that men must cheat on them and they tend to endure the downsides of their men so far he takes good care of the home. People are dying in silence simply because the institution of marriage is no longer being respected.
Adverse economic conditions have also forced young men to settle for the baby mama option especially when you are dealing with an Igbo girl whose kinsmen might require 'Buhari's head' as bride price and other materials for traditional marriage rites.
The moral decadence and marriage decline can only get worse with public folks constantly raising the bar of oddities every day. As we join Linda Ikeji in celebrating her pregnancy which shares close similarities with the birth of Jesus Christ – Virgin Mary in consideration of her initial stance on s*x, we should take a few moments to reflect on how our values and standards have changed as Africans.

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