I have labored through ages just to understand your perception(s) and misconception(s) about me. You are always in the run to chide me on what you think is my shortcoming. I understand your grouse, your sincere though misplaced concern. I am that adamant in accepting that that is not in or part of me. And I care very little of your perception(s) about my action(s) or inaction(s) provided I did it without infringing on your rights. Each time I tried to make sense of your too-often and predicted tantrums, I end up more confused than convinced.
It is understandable that you care about our accidental marriage. It is not in your own interest, neither mine, too. That you don’t want our past (which we were not party to it) to hunt us is perhaps that’s what informed the instinct in you to be the custodian of my conduct in this marriage. But, my dear, you have to understand that we came long ago from different yet reconcilable heritage that all of us was proud of (if not you, I am very proud of mine), and not ready to trade it off just because of marriage. I understand that as water is to plant so is sacrifice to marriage. But to sacrifice is not to deny the existence of possession but to let it go at a cost commensurable to the ultimate sacrifice.
That today I am writing this letter to you is not an invitation and/or solicitation for you to change your perception(s) about my conduct in our uneventful marriage. It is an exercise to vent my disappointment about your failure to grasp our elementary differences which, if well appreciated and respected, will spice-up our life, our marriage. You see, there is beauty in varieties. Look at colours and how they beautify nature—the green grasses, the red roses, the yellow flowers, the grey cloud, the blue sky, even the brown soil. So is our differences—Caucasian, Mongolian, Negroes, Tall, Short, Dwarf, Stoic, Fat, Lean, Temperamental, Docile, Jovial. Life would have been ‘bitch’ if it were laced with SAMENESS.
Now, let me educate you on some crucial issues about my life. This is not a consolation that I have taken your reproach seriously but to make you see things clearly per chance, you will one day appreciate our differences and come term with the reality of our existence.
One; too often, you seem to be obsessed with my choice of being polygamous. I am polygamous, a very proud one. And you owe me no explanation or clarification. Get use to it. Like I said, I have a heritage that I am proud to be identified with. Polygamy is sanction by my heritage and I see no better option and/or alternative that I will opt for instead. Just like I have no qualms and will certainly no lose a single second of sleep because you opt for countless mistresses over polygamy. Be and let me be.
Two; there is always a sense of uneasiness with you whenever I exercise my legitimate right of living my life the way I wish. You become alert and unnecessary tense if I excuse myself to go and observe my routine prayer. You worry so much about my fitness when I choose to observe fasting. Oh dear! You become restless and hysteric that I choose not to shake hand with woman- I wonder how that affect your monthly allowance. Get life and use your energy on other things that directly affect our marriage. Being married doesn’t mean I have to suppressed or hide my innate being. We have peculiarities and distinctiveness that we don’t bargain on just because of marriage. Besides, we have a different calling in our sojourn in this temporal and limited life. You see yours in unrestricted quest for material possession. Congratulations, I am happy for you that you have recognized and identified with your quest. Well, I have mine too, which is not restricted to that, I have other quest that my conscience dictates. Congratulate me too and let me be.
Three; my dear, how insensitive can you be that my dressing is an invitation for relentless criticism of yours. It is now a past time for you to mock how I appear. Isn’t love transcends mere replication of your image in me? I don’t want to sound thankless but I cannot see the love you only expressed in chiding me about my dress-code instead of singing praises of me that I look beautiful in my choice attire.
I am not nagging, oh darling. I just want you to extend the sovereignty and exclusiveness of choice that I extend to you. I don’t complain about the added layer on your face in name of make-up. I care very little about half kilogram of someone or synthetic hair that is imported all the way from Brazil, Malaysia or Peru on your head. I am not worried that you choose to go out in your bedroom dressing. Sometimes, you even let your underwear out as a mark of being civilized and enlightened yet I am unperturbed. But, why- if fairness is in your dictionary, sincerity is your watch word and you reciprocate respect- you cannot extend such absolute rights and freedom of choice to me? Why? And you profess you love me, can we call this abuse of my fundamental humanly rights accorded to me by Natural and unnatural law love?
Four; I understand your genuine concern about how I brought-up our children, especially our girl-child. I sincerely acknowledged your care and I am grateful to that. What I found bemusing is that you make my shortcoming an avenue of ridicule. We all have our shortcoming. It is antithesis to normal thought-process to rationalize idiocy. I won’t waste my time mentioning yours. Let’s all mend our shortcomings by bringing all hands on deck.
There are lots of observations that I have my reservation with respect to the way our marriage is cruising. I am not asking for divorce, at least not yet. I want to give the marriage an air of doubt. Sometimes, separation isn’t the best option. Shortcomings, mistakes, weaknesses are better observe by second person. This brings me to the crux of my letter.
Yes, I recognized your concern about how I spent ‘our’ collective income. This is timely, for if, you let me carry-on spending every dime we get recklessly, you may end-up paying the debt that you didn’t incur and benefit from. But then, we have priorities. And there is mark difference between our collective income which we have to spend for the benefit of all and our respective income which we all have an independent and absolute discretion on how we spend it.
My grouse isn’t whether I spend my income judiciously or not but on how dare you dictate how I should spend my personal income without lending me same credence to dictate yours? You see no reckless spending when you disburse millions of Naira in ‘New Yam Festival’ in spite of the fact that the money can be use in salvaging the plight of teenage girls that get impregnated, carry the pregnancy to term, give birth only to sell the innocent child at the negligible amount of #80,000.
It is justifiable for you to spend huge amount of money in organizing ‘Osun Festival’ even though you cannot afford the payment of monthly allowance of your employees. One disturbing question is your utter lack of concern whether some ‘Osun Muslims’ who do not want their collective money to be spend there or not.
My dear, you have gut! It is morally sound and rationally okay that you annually budgeted millions of our collective income to organize and broadcast ‘Calabar Carnival’. Dear hubby, don’t you think there are other pressing avenues that these huge sum of money can be better utilize and for the benefit of all- Christian, Atheist, Muslim alike? Avenues like Primary health care, befitting secondary schools, Small and Medium Enterprises.
Unless, my dear Rationalist, you are of the opinion that this marriage is to be operated on the basis of George Orwell’s rhetoric: all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others. Otherwise you could have seen no ‘evil’ in me spending millions to organize ‘Quranic recitation competition’ despite the existence of other pressing needs. ‘Nnewi Afiaolu Festival’ is to you, ‘Qur’anic Recitation Competition’ is to me. Live and let me live- should be our watch word if we want a happy marriage. But whereby what is good for the goose isn’t good for the gander, I think, dear Rationalist, is a recipe for unhealthy business—for we are all shareholders with equal shareholdings in this company called Nigeria.
22. 11. 2015.
Letter to That Nigerian-Rationalist By Adamu Tilde