“I was fifteen when my father called me into his room and told me that I would be getting married in a month’s time to Mr. Adamu, his friend’s elder brother.
Mr. Adamu is the ugliest man I have ever seen in my life. The shock on my face must have upset my father, because he scolded me and told me that Mr. Adamu would make a very good husband. I had always known that being married off early to an older man was my fate, but I never knew it was going to happen that early.
“That dismissal Friday morning, as I lay on my mat and cried my eyes out, I tried to look into the future and see what it held for me; it was bleak. Ever since I was old enough to grasp the facts, I was to understand that my primary role as a woman was to be a good wife and bear children. My mother reminded me of this every time I failed to do my chores correctly. In my village, women usually don’t go to school. In fact, I didn’t know what school was about until I was nine, when my younger brother started attending the local school in a neighboring village. I once asked my father why he didn’t allow me to go to school like my brother; he just shook his head and told me it would be a waste of money to do so.
“Back to my marriage to Mr. Adamu. He came to our house the next day, to formally seek my hand in marriage. His greedy eyes swept over my figure and he smacked his lips several times. Obviously satisfied with what he saw, he counted some money and handed it to my father. I was disgusted, as I could not fathom out why Mr. Adamu would want another wife, since he had four already, and many children. Unfortunately, our tradition forbids women from asking questions. We are only meant to obey, and besides we don’t get to pick our husbands – they pick us as wives.
“What disgusted me most was the delight and eagerness with which my father accepted my bride price. I suddenly realized that after all these years; I really didn’t mean anything to him. He had always me as a commodity to be offered to the highest bidder.
“The day of the wedding was the worst day of my life; people danced and drank while I sat there wondering how I would survive. The wedding night was even more unbearable and is one I would never want to remember.
“I am now nineteen and I have two children. I am expecting my third child in six months’ time. Sometimes, I wonder what life would have been like if I had gone to school like children in the urban areas. I know that is just a dream, I can never be free from this kind of life. I cannot even contemplate divorce; if I should attempt it, I would be ridiculed forever. However, I would keep this dream alive for my daughter (my first child is a girl) and I hope that she would never have to live this kind of live. Her story be different, and better than mine. She would go to school and realise her potentials. I would teach her to stand up for herself and help her realise she is not inferior to anybody. She wouldn’t have to be subject to any man, neither would she grow up believing that her only worth as a woman is to serve her husband. God helping me, my daughter’s story will be different”.