By John Okiyi Kalu
I have received several calls from local and international media organizations on the marriage at Abiriba involving a man and 2 women.
Since I am also from the great Ancient Kingdom of Abiriba it behoves on me to make certain clarifications, with regards to the marriage, in order not to allow the gullible to be misled.
The man involved in the marriage story had extra-marital relationship with the two women, at different times, that led to each of them having children for him outside wedlock. Each of them have at least 3 kids for him before the much advertised wedding and at some point he decided to bring them home to live with him. They have been living together for at least 3 years.
You cannot validly live with someone’s daughter at Abiriba without paying her dowry and the young man followed the tradition of Abiriba and paid the dowries of the women who had children for him and formally brought them home with their children.
Polygamy is allowed in Abiriba.
As regards the “white” wedding, I am not aware that any particular church “joined” them together. But I know that, according to our cultural practices, it is possible for the age grade or other traditionally recognized institutions to conduct “white wedding” at Abiriba without necessarily involving the church.
Even where churches are involved in “white” weddings involving a woman who already has children for a man or confirmed pregnant the standard role of the officiating priest will be to pray and bless only.
For the avoidance of doubt, that wedding was not a classical case of taking two maidens to the alter for marriage. The man was already living with the women and their children before deciding to formalize the arrangement.
The man could have decided to perform the marriage rites for each of the women one week apart and it won’t make the news cycle. But he chose to perform the rites same day, probably as a show of equal love for them.
He has not done anything different from those who marry two or more women at different times or those who impregnate women and marry them later.
So many in our (Nigerian) society marry one or more of their baby Mamas and that’s exactly what the young man did: he married his baby mamas same day.
Life is about making choices and managing circumstances.