You know how hectic Lagos traffic “Go slow » »” always is now; angry drivers and conductors hooting and cursing with rickety Molue excreting carbon dioxide. It becomes a little stuffier when you are trapped in between two tanker trucks emitting hot gaseous waste in the scotching atmosphere. As if that wasn’t going to be enough a problem, deafening hooting of massive passengers and conductor fighting over change nko? And other alarming bleat-like sound emanating from the wee-condemned vocal cords of those assistant conductors, whose primary job is to shout Obalende!... Ikorodu!... Ajegunle!... and so on. Sometimes, I wonder why Lagos still remains a wonder land for some of us in the rural that have not been to or experienced the worst of traffic-mare that makes one leave home dark in the morning before the dawn and arrive back home later in the dusk. How terrible! Eko o ni baje o!
Right there at the corner where I was seated, I was already boiling for heat and anger. Who was I angry with? I could not really say. Maybe I was only confused. About what? I don’t know! Stop asking such question because I want to believe I was not in a psychiatric rehab interview. Oh…ho…yes! I think I know now! I was actually running late to Dele’s place. Dele once lived in Ibadan but finally settled down at Abuja. It was two days before his wedding and I was coming down to Lagos after five or more years of departure, a year after my secondary school education at Ikorodu High School. It’s down-town Lagos. I had left Ibadan since 3:00 PM and had to arrive at my destination around 11:00 PM. It sucks when a trip meant for just two hours tragically wastes eight hours of one’s life. Though it worth the price.
Yes it does because I had just been deemed fit as one of my friend’s, Dele of course, men-in-suit for his wedding. It felt more than winning the 2014/15 Champions League trophy! That was my first experience! And I had the best of it all, except the exploiting aspect of the engagement tradition. You know how it always is in this part of Africa? That is not exactly where I am going. All I am simply doing now is getting you along in order not to be bored on board.
The exact gbegen, call it palava or as you want it, happened on my friend’s day. There was a heavy rain. The rain almost cost us the engagement or traditional wedding scheduled time. Dele was superstitiously accused by one of the bride’s family of pissing in the river at a time in his childhood. The Yorubas believe that if rain falls on one’s celebration day and hinders events, it means one must have pissed in the river at a time in one’s childhood. That’s a made believe anyway. I love superstitions! They make you foolish as a child and make you laugh at your childhood as an adult. That is still not our pivoting point, dearest reader. The rain stopped at about 9AM and everybody started the wedding drama. Dele, Olowe, the best man, and I were trapped in a bus that conveyed the groom’s family from Ibadan, waiting for the call of the master of ceremony of the engagement tradition.
While in the bus, Dele was trying to reflect on his life as a bachelor and was a little proud of becoming a real man in no time. He tried to reflect back on the old school days and Olowe being one of his school mates burst the latest news of the day concerning one of their friends in school. He said the guy, a good brother in the Lord, got married to a daughter in the Vine Yard whose parents refused to give their consent. The wedding held still, with friends of the husband acting as parents for the bride. This did not, at first, mean anything to me until my teacher, (don’t ask ‘who?’), forced my head to ponder on its implications. At a point, I was crying for these rebellious victims because they have actually set a time bomb for themselves. This may not even explode in twenty years to come, but if nothing is done to avert it, it will sure explode!
According to my own favourite literature about Adam and Eve, there is a portion of the story that says, “And the Lord God said it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him.” In all standards, therefore, you would agree with me that God instituted marriage. One important thing I have also learnt about Him, which I will never forgo or toy with, is that He is a God of principle. When dealing with anyone, He gives the terms and conditions of the deal: obedience to these codes of conduct attracts the blessings of the deal, while disobedience to them attracts the curses of the deal.
Now if God made marriage, an agreement between a young man and a woman to become husband and wife, whoever must deal with Him in this institution must follow the precept and the terms and conditions, if and only if they want the blessings therein and not its curses. God is not wicked, just principled. His first and ever potent condition to marriage is, “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, (who has done same-wise): and be one flesh.” Here is where the problem lies; the correct interpretation of the above condition. My favourite literature says and I quote, “But the natural (civilized, modern, educated, etc.) man receives (believes, subscribes…to, accepts, etc.) not the things (conditions, terms, codes of conduct, etc.) of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness (rubbish, outdated, archaic, uncivilized, etc.) unto him: neither can he know (understand or comprehend) them, because they are spiritually discerned (detected, sensed, perceived or recognized).”
The condition as given above by God will shallowly be interpreted as every young man or woman does not need to be imposed upon by their parents, therefore has the right to leave, whether the parents both support the union or the kind of spouse or job they are into. This is the natural interpretation that evolves from the natural reasoning faculty of man. This naturalness makes the law to suit man and his desire. The pastor that joined these folks together in ‘woe-ly’ matrimony might end himself in trouble with God because he was supposed to be their spiritual eyes to see clearly the place of parents in marriage. I presume he does not know too. The place of the parents in marriage as instituted by God can never be overemphasized. The simple interpretation of this condition is that, before marriage can be established between a man and a woman; both parents must have reached a harmonious consensus on the kind, tribe, religion, job, age, people, etc. of the man or woman their daughter or son would like to marry. This means that the pastor that joins any couple without the amicable consent of the parents is doom, while the man and woman joined are cursed and have laid the same for their generations unborn. Oh…o… now you know, exactly, why I was crying for them.
The law that governs the civilized society of man says, “Anyone above eighteen years has the legal right to emancipate from their parents and can perform civil rights without interference from anybody…such has the legal right to marry and be married to and not to be imposed upon but willingly…” This means that legally, a child at eighteen and above is free to do and undo inasmuch as it is not against the human or societal law. No wonder a son or daughter who does not see beyond their nose can quote what the law says and get into eternal trouble with God for the rest of their life. What an ignorant world! The law uses the police who can be paid off but God uses nemesis, grievous than the Hindus’ Karma.
God, according to my own favourite literature gives a bidding by saying, “Honour (obey, acknowledge, respect, etc.) your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land (marriage) which the Lord your God (not your law or wisdom) gives you.” Disobedience to this is violating the vital spiritual term and condition and without reconciliation, your marriage may not know peace for the rest of her life. This is highly detrimental. I bet you don’t want to experience His wroth. I think there is a place for Love and also the one for the parents’ consent, isn’t that so?