Voters Are Wives Of Abusive Husbands

Voters Are Wives Of Abusive Husbands


By Lasisi Olagunju

The robust debates of 2015 have become dialogues of silence. The best that we have now are repeated instructions on how to keep quiet. When a government starts shouting down the people, know there is a huge problem. A Babalawo that replaces potent words with slimy saliva has exhausted his trove of incantations. These days, the message from our husbands in Abuja and the various state capitals is plain abuse. Even the media that drove the bridal vehicle two years ago have become agents of darkness. Two big government persons in Abuja were seen with disagreeable gesticulations. The scene was reported. Reporters then became, to the presidency, “fiction writers” repeatedly failing “to exhibit a sense of responsibility in their reports.” They churn out reports which are “fabrications that could only have been conjured by correspondents who would probably make better fiction writers than journalists.” And I wanted to ask why, but a friend said I should keep quiet. He wondered how I could easily forget how the man next door behaved every night his unsatisfied wife denied him dinner.

I don’t know why we can’t see the parallel between what our politicians do to us and what the abused wife suffers. The wife that suffers violence has no social solvency. She is as socially bankrupt as she is in finances. She must not have friends; otherwise, they plant rebellion in her mind. She must not have money; otherwise, she starts having ideas of independence. Did you read that report of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) moving to block a long list of websites that “threaten national security”? Can you remember that insecure husband who must monitor his wife’s every telephone call? The terrified woman must disclose who every caller is and exhibit the identities of all receivers of her calls. The abusive husband suspects everything around him, including the wife’s image in the mirror. When a man has failed in his duties, he loses all sense of security. I once heard of one who won’t feed his wife but must sniff at her underwear for alien scents. It is that bad, even worse, for a government that has broken its marital vows with the people. It monitors calls, combs through websites and the blogosphere in search of dissidents. There is a whole minister in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe monitoring and regulating WhatsApp and other social media messages. May God not let that kind of husband be our portion in Nigeria.

But do you blame a government for failing and going tough with dissident citizens? Listen to every woman going through violence and abuse. She is the designer and architect of her misfortune. The red flags were there right at the courtship stage: He loves money but hates hard work; he won’t tell his story in clear terms for the girl to properly evaluate him. Red flags!  But she ignored all. It was love – that inexplicable intoxicant that blinds even the eagle. Some governments are blessed with hordes of such hungry drunks. They are inebriated in perpetuity. Nothing their lover in power does is wrong. Every abuse is an expression of love. For the sake of the love of their lives, they are ready to disown and be disowned by their kith and kin. The marriage is done, then the scales fall off. They blame the devil and seek to unmake the past. It happens to the voter in Nigeria every four years. He regrets his choice and looks back. The impotence of the inheritor makes the widow long for the long dead, failed husband. For Nigeria and its peculiar voters, the best is always in the past, no matter how horrible it was.

With some others, money means love.  I once wrote about this. Romance and finance go together. A man may be blind and ugly in superlative terms, women will still struggle to have him if he is loaded in his bank accounts (and in bed). The latter is in parenthesis because, according to a female friend, “any fool can ride a horse and ride well.” Egypt’s last Pharaoh, Cleopatra, had so many choices, but she went for Julius Caesar and later, Mark Anthony – men of means, power and fame. They also chose her, one after the other, for the political capital warehoused in her bosom. It is so too with politicians and the voters they buy here with money. It used to be a prepaid game but philandering voters who do ‘runs’ with their votes have taught politicians bitter lessons. “The bird flies and so does the arrow. Someday they’ll meet!” Wizened politicians now do “see and buy” – show me you voted for me and I make sure you cook soup today. That is what political husbands do nowadays. And they do it and move on exactly the way clients of dingy whorehouses do. They don’t look back after doing it; and they are always shocked to hear complaints of abandonment from a populace who have collected their fee. You cannot be heard complaining of spousal abuse after selling your peace on Election Day.

There is an air of buyers remorse in the land. The very expensive 2015 marriage is fast turning to a union of disappointment. This is especially so for workers who work without pay; for trained hands which no longer have work to do; for sellers whose buyers have lost their purses. I know we have this culture of staying with husbands, for better, for worse; for kissing, for killing. The wife who wants to bail out of failure risks the label of promiscuity: She is insatiable. Give a big house to a thief, he still sees no reason why he must not steal a little! Saturate a promiscuous wife with wealth and riches; that won’t stop her from selling herself cheaply to a paramour. We have proverbs for all situations. You cannot loathe a failed husband and escape the reprimand of our culture of accommodation. If you want to test what I am saying, go online and remind your president or governor of his 2015 promises. Tell him he has failed and you will hear the story of how the last king failed too and you didn’t complain.

A lot of love and hate went into the last elections. And a lot has happened to question the wisdom of those days. But buyers may be remorseful, it does not stop them from being led again to the slaughterhouse. The Nigerian voter does it, for various reasons. It could be pecuniary and it may simply be pure love for their idol. It is like a rape victim falling in love with her attacker. It happens. In March this year, a Russian rape victim shocked her world. She made excuses for the monster: “He is a good man. He has just been unlucky. On the day he raped me, he had an absent look. It was clear that he was just too drunk, that he couldn’t control himself. A drunk man can do weird things, as everyone knows.He did not kill anybody after all, he did not torture anybody. What can you expect from a drunk man? And he had many problems. His mother was ill, his wife was scandalous, so he drank alcohol.”

The voter here does just that. He helps the failed governor with train loads of excuses on why the government is a failure and the governor must be allowed to repeat the class.

Sometimes the disappointed wants to move on but is unsure of when and how to take the plunge. One Jewish woman wrote about her “marriage of pain.” She regretted that the night that should have ended her marriage didn’t end it. She was “thrown against the wall repeatedly, punched in the arms and torso, then slapped to the floor, (her) glasses shattering.” She pulled herself up, made excuses for him and continually lied about her bruises. She allowed the abuse to continue thinking it would stop soon. Husbands living with victim mentality always transfer aggression to their partners. They must make excuses for the tragedy of their personal failures. They won’t stop inflicting pains and demanding more endurance from the docile partner. But we must not expect a marriage defined by infidelity to promises to end in praise. Most times, it ends tragically for that party that absorbs the punches of the abusive.  When you vote a governor or president and he violently shreds your trust and you stupidly pretend all is still right, he is encouraged to do more. And he will do more by telling you it is felony to complain and treason to move on to other choices.


Culled From The Nigerian Tribune Newspapers

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