Is Polygamy culture dying? BEFORE the 1960’s,...
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Is Polygamy culture dying?



Is Polygamy culture dying?

BEFORE the 1960’s, many homes where polygamous that is, children who grew up in that era had more than one mother. This period which some have described as the ‘primitive’ age had a lot of families rooted in crisis as hatred strived amongst siblings and neglect of children from certain mother’s was the order of the day.

The debate of whether or not that era should be brought back has been a subject of discussion, with the present religious and economic realities standing as a factor for the decline of the practice.

From the religious angle, those who practice the Christian faith say a man is entitled to only one wife, using the scripture of 1 Timothy 3:13, as a backing.

The Muslim faith on the other hand supports the practice, insisting that a man can marry more than one wife as long as he has the capacity to take care of them. Although the faith allows the practice of Polygamy, it doesn’t impose it on anyone, insisting that the only condition to practice this is that you are capable of catering for them. The Quran reference, Qur’an 4:3 as a backing.

The African culture allows polygamy as far as the marriage is done properly.

Well, with all said, this is the 21st century, what do people really think about Polygamy? Should it continue to exist? Should it be totally abolished or is it part of those traditions that should be reinstated.

While working on this article a colleague of mine made a great argument, according to him, Polygamy is only going extinct because our ‘identity’ has been lost. He said when the British colonised us and brought the now practiced concept of civilisation, there was an unknown ‘mind rewiring’, that is, our perspective on things became what they wanted us to be. Monogamy was one of the things incorporated into our tradition because of the ‘assimilation’ theory we unconsciously adopted. We were made to think and act like them, our values became that which was accepted by our colonial masters. This theory was one which late author, Walter Rodney cited in his 1973 book ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’.

Taking to the streets of Abuja, a few residents spoke on their opinion about the Polygamy Culture.

Mr. Alex said he doesn’t encourage the practice because he was of the Christian faith. The practice according to him was an outdated one that should be abolished instead of encouraged.
In his words, “Polygamy is a practice that was done during our forefathers’ time. With the mordernisation now I don’t think anyone should still practice it. I am a Christian and I strongly believe in the practice of one man one wife because it is the way God made it. He didn’t say one man equals many wives. When you are taking wives more than one, I think in my opinion that you are short changing other men because I believe God made them equal from the beginning and that is the Christian point of view. The popular argument that women are more in number than men has not been substantiated. They are just speculations on what people think. No one has been able to prove it.”

A police officer by name Mr. Kwazhi says that the economic hardship should deter anyone that wants to marry more than one wife.

According to him, “I don’t support it because the way we are living now, you are not supposed to marry more than one. Back then when everything was very simple you can but now, to manage one woman is very hard not to talk of the situation of the country adding to it. Even if you have the whole money, I no fit because one wife is okay for me.”

Abdullahi said; “marrying more than one wife is already permitted in the Qur’an, nothing like economic hardship. But it’s not compulsory; if you like you marry plenty, if you don’t like you stay with one. After all if you don’t want, you stay alone as far as you can be responsible. Even to marry more than one, as far as you can take care of them, If you cannot, you stay away from it, If you can treat them equally, that is, love them the same way. Even if you love one more than the other because you are a human being, you don’t show it. When you have two things you must like one more than the other but the major things that you don’t show it.”

Mr. Emmanuel said; “monogamy is in vogue not because of the economic hardship but because having more than one wife is stressful and I don’t think Polygamy will come back again. The hardship in the country has even made people lose interest in marriage as a whole but been that it is compulsory; they try to marry one so that they can handle that one. I know of a man who has nine wives and I don’t know how many kids they have because they are many. But if you go to the family you will know what he is facing, joining the hardship in the country and the problem associated with Polygamy. You bring different characters from different backgrounds and putting them under one roof at the end of the day, your life will not be at rest. You can get a witch, herbalist and all that. Even to have two girlfriends is not easy because of the financial burden that comes with it, then talk more about wives.”

Mr. Okpara says, “It depends on your religion and tribe because there are those that permit it. Christians don’t marry more than one but when you go to Islam, it’s allowed even up to four, they can marry as far as you can cater for them. In this modern world and global hardship, people prefer to marry one so that they can properly take care of them.”

Monogamy was one of the things incorporated into our tradition because of the ‘assimilation’ theory we unconsciously adopted. We were made to think and act like them, our values became that which was accepted by our colonial masters.

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