Nigeria: Memoirs Of My Chequered Life

My name is The Federal Republic of Nigeria. I was born in 1914 following a union between a certain Southern Protectorate and Northern Protectorate, both of black Africa, but with different religious orientations. The
midwives that saw to my safe delivery were Flora Shaw and Lord Lugard of the British Empire.

Mine is a story of true love, and abuse of trust.

My parents were christians and Moslems respectively. Though I can’t tell which of them was what because my midwives adopted me immediately after Iwas born and would not tell me anything about my parents. It is however worth noting that the union between my parents was supposed to be the epitome of true love which conquer’s all things and knows no religious differences, though the reverse unfortunately seems to be the case. I was raised by my midwives, who tried within the limits of their interests to be good parents to me until 1st October 1960 when I told them
that I had reached the age of majority and they reluctantly granted me independence.

I would say that my woes in life started once I was granted independence by my Foster Parents and Midwives. Though I wouldn’t say that I regret asking for independence because I feel that was the best decision at that time, and I’m sure if I had to take that decision again I would do it over and over again.

For three years after my independence my benefactor was the Queen of England. After then, so many suitors came my
way and I gave my heart to the one I thought loved me the most, but the other suitors that I had would have none of that.

They started saying that I should have married them because they loved me more. They started causing problems, attacking my husband from left, right, center and back. Then in 1966, one of my husband’s adversaries came and killed him and forced himself on me. He came into my life and tore my life apart, and left my young children in
despair. He forced me to be his wife. I didn’t even have a say in my own marriage. I wept uncontrollably over such a
horrible experience.

Sometimes I used to have nightmares about the lost of my first love. Though he had his own faults, but he was such a
nice gentleman; so caring and loving. Frankly speaking I always harboured dreams of a blissful and romantic life ever after, but it unfortunately was never going to be. The bloody man that married me, oh I can’t forget him, was called Ironsi, and he lived true to his name: threatening me with his guns and ruling over me with an iron fist. I was so terribly hurt, but I couldn’t help myself. I started praying for God’s intervention. Then one day I heard the news that he had been murdered, and I said ‘thank God am free’. (though, as it turned out, I was wrong because I suffered worst things in the years thereafter) He was killed by another man in military uniform. Though he married me for less than one year, I didn’t miss anything from our forced marriage. I was very grateful to the man that killed the man that killed my first love.

He told me his name was ‘Go On With One Nigeria’ (GOWON), and that he killed Ironsi because he loved me, and that he saw the misery that I was about to pass through in his hand. He promised that he would love me with the whole of his heart, and that he would not allow any harm to come to me. To be very frank, I believed him, apparently because I was desirous of someone who would love and hold me through thick and thorns. I was also very much fascinated by the fact that his name seemed to suggest that I had at least found someone who really had me at the bottom of his heart and was willing to sacrifice everything, including pledging by his name, to keep me whole. I fell completely in
love with him, and he at least tried to keep his words to me.

He led me through one of the most difficult periods for me and my children when a certain Ojukwu came up to wage war against me, saying that he wanted to take some of my children away from me, but Gowon didn’t allow him. He fought him with everything he had, but so many of my children lost their lives and I wept so much for all my children who lost their lives in such a cold- blooded manner. I was so sad and felt so terrible, but my husband was always there for me. Just when everything was going to settle down so that my husband would start taking good care of me, another man in military uniform came and pursued my husband away from me and, worst of all, divorced my husband from me because he thought my husband was weak and not capable of taking a good care of me.

But I was not complaining, and my husband was just emerging from a very difficult conflict from which we needed some time to recover. That man came and forced himself on me as my husband. He said his name was Murtala and promised that he was going to reform my life and restore back to me the self-confidence which had brutally been taken away from me over those perilous years. I had no alternative than to endure him because it seemed as though I was doomed to be unhappy in relationships. I’ve always wondered why God always brought my way men who would hurt me rather than help me, who thought they loved me even more than I loved myself.

Fortunately for Murtala, he came into my life at a time that some very considerable wealth came into my life from the petro- dollars produced by the oil that had been discovered in one of my estates. He awashed himself in my money and I must say he got a bit confused about what to do with that much money. He virtually lost interest in agriculture, which was the main stay of my economy, as a result of the enormous wealth which he stumbled upon. However, a few years into our marriage, I was thrown into another state of mourning as some other of my husand’s brothers, who were apparently envious of the great wealth he was enjoying, murdered him in cold blood, and by twists of events a certain OBJ came into my life. He told me that he was not going to force me to marry him, but that he would rather help me to make a choice of who to marry into my life.

I was very excited because for once, after so many years, I was going to have an opportunity to choose someone whom I loved to marry as my husband. He kept to his words and I was able to choose a husband for myself. I made my choice and I was willing to live with my choice and bear the consequences. But that was not going to be because a certain Buhari came and toppled my hopes and expectations; he cut short my dreams of a romantic life with my hand-picked husband, sent my husband away and forced himself on me as my husband. I couldn’t resist him even if I wanted to. I know you may think that I am foolish to allow men dictate the affairs of my life with such wreckless abandon. You may think that I could easily say no to them and refuse to accept them as my husbands, but before you crucify me, spare a thought for me because you can’t imagine what would happen to my numerous children if they became a sheep without a Shepherd, they could become like Somalia: living in a state of anarchy without any hope for a better tomorrow.

It is this and many other reasons that have made me to endure hardness all these years, while hoping that one day God would visit me and make me a home with a husband that I would be proud of. That aside, my new husband, Buhari, was a very rough and presumptuous man, full of bias . He abused me without compunction and increased my miseries in leaps and bounds. Fortunately for me, another man called IBB came and took him away. IBB was a sweet-tongued and compelling military man, who had his way with words. He promised that he would only stay with me for a while while he prepared the grounds to make me choose a husband for myself. But days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months turned into years, yet he never allowed me to choose a husband for myself. He used me in such a terrible manner that I would ever live to regret: he exploited me with impunity, took a lot of money from my estate to enrich himself.

He was so terrible and callous, he killed alot of my children who dared to question him and nearly ruined my life for me. After many years of misery, he allowed me to make my choice of a husband, but at the eleventh hour he annulled the process and threw me into a state of chaos. He subsequently went away for good and asked a certain Ernest to help me get a husband of my choice to rule over my affairs. But just before I could shout for joy, a certain Abacha ‘wielding a black eye glass over his eyes’ came and said that he would be my husband by force. There and then all my expectations crashed landed and the ghost of my miserable life returned to me. This Abacha was as bad as IBB, if not worst, he killed my children, looted my estate in a very avaricious manner and mismanaged my resources in an extremely disheartening manner. He became richer than me overnight and made plans to ruin my life for life.

But thanks be to God who did not allow me to see shame because suddenly the God of heaven intervened and he, while engaging in his habitual infidelity, lost his soul to the devil whom he served and went to hell. It was then that a nice gentleman called Abdulsalam came into my life and made a difference. He gave me a chance to choose whom to marry, and when OBJ was presented to me, I didn’t have any hesitation in accepting due to his past kindness to me. My relationship with him was not so smooth, but it was at least manageable, though as a result of my unwholesome experiences over the years with my numerous rogue husbands I had become unwilling to commit my life to any man for life anymore.

So I chose to have only a ‘courtship relationship’ with them for a few years to see whether I would find better joy from such a relationship. So at the end of my eventful but not particularly blissful relationship with OBJ, he reluctantly introduced me to a man whom he called Umaru. Umaru was a very nice gentleman, very calm and calculative. I didn’t have much problems accepting him into my life, but the problem I had with him was that he was not his own man. He allowed some people who didn’t have my interest at heart to rule his life and misdirected him on a lot of issues. Unfortunately, he became fatally ill and passed on to the great beyond in some very confusing circumstances.

After him came GEJ, a similarly calm looking gentleman, but with a very unassuming way of doing tthings. We are still getting to know each other though, but with the little I’ve known of him so far, he seems to be very passionate about me: trying everything within his powers to restore unto me the years that the “cankerworms” and “palmerworms” that invaded my life had eaten. He is however having a lot of difficulties getting along with the friends of Umaru, my late husband. They are doing everything within their power to frustrate my husband and make him run away from me, but my husband is clinging tenaciously to me though his enemies have resorted to killing my innocent children with bombs and various forms of violence in the name of religion. Now I am in a state of distress; my children are dying day in day out.

Many people are calling on me to divorce my husband because he is seemingly not capable of protecting me, but he is a very nice and caring gentleman who is very much interested in my well being. His detractors are the problem, they are doing everything within their powers to discredit him in the eyes of my children. I don’t know what to do because for so many years of my chequered love life I have suffered so much maltreatment from the hands of my numerous ‘lovers’. I don’t want to lose GEJ because he really seems to care about me, but I don’t really know what to do now.

I have already suffered so much in life, and it cannot get worst than it has already been because, even if every other person thinks otherwise, I know I am a survivor. May be am thinking from a besieged mind which has suffered so much abuse and is willing to accept anything that looks good on face value. I don’t really know what to do now. I hope that the good Lord will intervene on my behalf and deliver me from this distressing situation.

6 thoughts on “Nigeria: Memoirs Of My Chequered Life” by emmanuel abasiubong (@angelabazz)

  1. In 1960, you told your parents that you had reached the age of majority or maturity?
    You were also writing worst instead of worse.
    I saw another error but I can’t remember where.
    Don’t worry, God isn’t sleeping.

    Well done.

  2. @Bunmiri, Thanks for your comment.

    “majority” is a legal term which carries more weight than “maturity”. So legally speaking its correctly used in that context.

    As for “worst” I must admit that sometimes its not easy to wrap ones head around the fine distinction between the comparative term “worse” and the superlative term “worst”. Thus for ease of reference I’ve taken the pains to reproduce the places I made use of the word hereunder.

    1″… I suffered worst things in the years thereafter…”

    2″…pursued my husband away from me and, worst of all…”

    3″ …This Abacha was as bad as IBB, if not worst…”

    4″…I have already suffered so much in life, and it cannot get worst than it has already been…”

    I think in the first two places I’m technically right, if you consider the distinction between the two words, and in the last two places, looking at the context, I should indeed have used “worse”.

    Thanks greatly for taking out your “precious little” time go through my work. I really do appreciate the corrections. Bless you

  3. Oops! Please forgive me also for not spelling your name correctly.

  4. Regarding your comment, I think your use of ‘was’ in number 1 is wrong,it should be ‘worse’. As per the whole article,its a nice concept albeit a very political one. I’ll differ with you on Murtala Mohammed, Gowon and GEJ,especially GEJ!

  5. … apart from certain structural faults and flaws, I think it’s a good piece…

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