The title of this topic is neither an emphatic statement of the creator nor that of his messengers – even though the marital and non-marital behaviours of many of His prophets (both of the Qur’anic and Biblical relevance) would immediately confirm and give legitimacy to the same title. The title is rather a product of the writer exercising his right of interpretations and prerogative of entitlement to opinions.
The motivation for this write-up – not my first on this subject matter – came from a video which I saw recently on a WhatsApp platform. As the story goes, the pastor of a church in Baltimore, USA (I imagine attended by Nigerians) had slept with the wife of a parishioner. Not satisfied, he (the pastor) now embarked on a journey of discovery of wanting to know what it tastes like to bed a woman and then her daughter in succession. The parishioners – led by the husband of the lady and father of the girl concerned, and armed with a series of WhatsApp exchanges between the pastor and his daughter, laid siege for the randy pastor and had everything recorded.
Allow me to say very quickly that this is not polygamy as envisaged by Islam – or any faith for that matter. This is filth, pure and simple. And under the Islamic Law, a man is not allowed to marry (or have canal knowledge of) the daughter of any woman whose canal knowledge he already has.
Back to our topic: without suggesting in the slightest that it is normal for a man to behave the way the Baltimore pastor did (it is indeed abnormal, even for a non-pastor to do this), my emphasis here is to show that man – be he Muslim, Christian, agnostic or atheist – has not been wired to be fully satisfied by one woman. By nature, he would always want more.
Evidences abound – and they cut across race, religion, class, status and even level of belief or disbelief. Even people who are acknowledged consciences of their societies have been found wanting in this regard. Nothing makes a man fall quicker than his insatiable taste for the opposite gender. An adventure of a kind.
Does this mean that every married man is going about looking for someone other than his wife? Far from it! Many have been known to stay faithful to their wives over decades of marriage. And I am sure that we would find some among my readers here. But does this mean that such faithful husbands have never at any time privately or publicly wished for a little more? Each can answer that question within their person.
I have been told many times that a lady (under normal circumstances) needs to be emotional connected to take the conjugal lane with a man – what my president would call “the other room”. This is not the case with men. In fact, the reverse is almost the case. For a man, it is often a physical rather than emotional exercise. This is why a lady would be likely to say no to her husband – the very man that she loves most genuinely – when they are in a state of quarrel, but the man would still try his luck even as he is fully culpable in the same state. The childish ones amongst us would even continue the quarrel thereafter.
Exercising my prerogative of entitlement to an opinion, I would state that I doubt that a Nigerian Christian man is any less ‘polygamous’ than his Muslim counterpart. And stretching the same argument to a monogamous Nigerian Muslim husband, it is equally my doubt that he is any less ‘polygamous’ than his fellow Muslim husband in a polygamous relationship. The Christian is restricted by adherence to his religion – a truly commendable act for those who sincerely observe it, while his Muslim counterpart is self-restricted by a combination of unrelated factors – at the head of which is most likely living in denial. He seeks it, but can’t do it. The Christian is officially not allowed to do it. The Muslim won’t officially do it. Emphasis on officially.
While the Muslim man wins the prize for multiple marriages, there is in reality nothing to choose between him and his average Christian counterpart in terms of unofficially doing that which to one is officially forbidden, and the other, officially sanctioned. Anyone (certainly Nigerian) who believes differently must read different newspapers from the ones I read and watch different television from the ones I watch. Putting it in raw language, the average Christian is not any less guilty of cheating on his spouse than the average Muslim. It is a different thing entirely if someone chooses to define Christianity in a different way from mine. After all, it was only days ago that a top clergy declared that Father Mbaka is not a Christian. I leave that debate to my Christian readers.
This allows me to conclude that going by what I have seen in my decades of existence, bearing in mind that cosmopolitan Lagos is the only place I have lived in Nigeria, taking cognisance of the fact that as a Yoruba man, I have as many Christians in my eco system of existence as there are Muslims, and adding to these facts my more than average exposure to the western (Christian) world, I submit without hesitation that the normal wiring of a man is to be polygamous. It is a different thing entirely if he refuses to activate the polygamy in him – the activation or non-activation of which shall always remain his prerogative.
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