The Marriage, the Death and the Law – Abdulrasheed Ibrahim

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The rate at which some married couples are sending themselves out of this world this time around is becoming too alarming, disturbing and disheartening. There was the story of Cynthia, the banker, whose husband was sent to the gallows by the court of law for the killing of the young lady. A female lawyer by name Yewande Oyediran in Ibadan, Oyo State narrowly escaped death for the killing of her husband .She was arraigned before a court of law for Murder but was eventually convicted for Manslaughter. She is to spend seven years in prison. Very recently, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice organized a press conference where he told the world that his Ministry had concluded the arrangement to arraign before the court of law, one Mrs. Udeme Otiki Odibi for the murder of her lawyer husband , Mr. Symphosa Otiki Odibi . It was alleged that Mrs Odibi stabbed her husband to death and mutilated his body. According to the Attorney General the woman must face the law.

As if another woman teacher in Ikorodu, Lagos State was waiting for the Attorney General to conclude his press conference, she took a knife to scare away her husband whom she said had turned her to a boxing bag for constant beating. In the process the devil intervened and the woman sent her husband packing from the world. According to the said arrested woman, she said her relatives had long advised her to leave the husband but she refused to do so because of the two children she had for the man. In Bayelsa State , a High Court has sentenced another woman by name Victoria Gagariga to death by hanging for the killing of her husband. Not long ago I read an on line news where it was alleged that some men in America are killing their imported wives from Africa. Also a Danish citizen was alleged to have killed his wife and a child as a result of domestic violence.

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While all the incidents related above are very sad, we must all try to do whatever within our power to find ways and lasting solutions to this kind of unfortunate incidents. There must be an end to marriages that lead to either the death of the husband or the wife through domestic violence. One continues to wonder why many well celebrated marriages end up either in the violent death of either of the couple. When this happens, either the wife or the husband is arraigned before the court that eventually applies the law by sending the accused to gallows if found guilty. Is the law no longer deterrent enough to deter the estranged husband and wife from killing each other in domestic violence? If the marriage is no longer working, must the husband and wife resort to cat and mouse relationship or domestic violence that may eventually lead to death?

In my salute to Pa. Gomez at 90 I wrote thus: “Recently Pa. Gomez was seriously disturbed by the cracks in many homes where either wife killed the husband or the husband killed the wife and came up with a book titled: GUIDE TO HAPPY MARRIAGE, to save many homes from being collapsed. Apart from this, he has also set up a MARRIAGE CONSULTANCY UNIT in his law firm where people are encouraged to seek for counselling.”

While this step taken by one of the oldest lawyers in Nigeria is very commendable, we must also be involved in the act of saving the institution of marriage. The rate at which divorce cases go to our courts these days are becoming too alarming. One of the lessons that need to be learned from this development by those who are yet to marry is to be very prayerful before going into the marriage. The marriage goes beyond the assertions that: “The lady is extremely beautiful and nothing can stop me from marrying her”; “The man is wonderfully caring and handsome that only death can stop me from marrying him”. Those that are going into marriage, by the popular parlance must shine their eyes very well. They must look before they leap as the refusal to do the needful may be disastrous. Anyone that unnecessarily rushes into marriage without serious caution will definitely rush out of that marriage.

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Those you see today celebrating decades of marriage anniversary are people that have gone very long ways in their relationships. They have learnt to, love, tolerate and endure one another. That is to say whenever there is dispute, the husband and wife know how to manage it between each other without the third party intervention. For the benefit of young men and women who are contemplating going into marriage and those already in it, I believe they will find one thing or the other to learn from what the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo said about his marriage in his autobiography published in 1960:

“It is I think pertinent that I should, at this juncture, say a word or two about my wife and what she has meant to me. Throughout all the changing fortunes of my life since I married her on 26th December, 1937, my wife Hannah Idowu DideOlu Awolowo (nee Adelana) has been a jewel of inestimable value. She is an ideal wife; and I am sure she too regards me as an ideal husband .The outpouring of her love and devotion to me and to our family is exceedingly and beyond words. She is a resourceful business woman; and in this regard she is a worthy upholder of the traditions of her mother (Madam Elizabeth Oyesile) and her grandmother (Chief Adebowale Oyegunle) both of whom are successful women traders. The grandmother at the age of over 100 is still carrying on her business, though now on a token scale…With my wife on my side, it has been possible for us to weather all financial storms. Because of her charm, humility, generosity and ever-ready sympathy and helpfulness to others in distress, she is beloved and respected by all other friends and acquaintances. She has courage of rare kind- I have too…I owe my success in life to three factors: the Grace of God, a Spartan of self-discipline, and a good wife. Our home is to all of us (us and our children) a true haven: a place of happiness, and imperturbable seclusion from the buffetings of life…It is a matter for joy and profound gratitude to Almighty God that our mutual love and devotion has been richly blessed…”

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As if the wife of late Chief Awolowo, Chief (Mrs.) H.I.D. Awolowo (now deceased) inherited longevity from her grandmother, she also died almost at the age of 100 close to about three decades after the demise of her husband. How many husbands can say this type of things about their wives and vice versa today?

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