We started this series asking the question whether or not God hates divorce. What prompted this was the death of gospel singer, Osinachi Nwachukwu, allegedly as a result of domestic violence unleashed on her incessantly and over time by her husband. Apart from the anger and sorrow triggered by Osinachi’s death, it also raised questions about the role of the Church especially and society at large in the vexed question of divorce. Should a person, male or female, remain in a troubled and life-threatening marriage for fear of what people will say or on account of some doctrines ostensibly couched as God’s command or will? The various interpretations of the scriptures that say God hates divorce; that two shall become one; and that what God has joined together, let no man put asunder – are these “death warrants”, so to say, that condemn victims of abusive, troubled, and life-threatening marriages to remain in such relationships until they meet their untimely and tragic death? Does divorce necessarily and irrevocably shut the doors of heaven against divorcees; in other words, will divorcees end up in hell fire, regardless of what else they do and how else they serve or love God? The Church was on trial, so to say! We were not interrogating divorce or polygamy from the traditional African society perspectives. Anyone interested in that aspect – which is not a bad idea at all - is free to explore it.
We answered these questions by saying that, yes, God hates divorce or, better still, God hates putting away and that this admonition from God applies more to men who change wives as if changing their disposables. God expressly cautioned men not to deal treacherously with the wife of their youth. God’s perfect will for the man – and woman – that He created and placed in the Garden of Eden was one man, one wife; one man, one machete (to quote the engineer-turned celebrated novelist, the late T.M. Aluko); not one man, multiple wives or one man, many machetes. That is the perfect will of God for man but man lost that Paradise right there in the Garden of Eden as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve due to the manipulations and machinations of the devil. Henceforth, only the permissive will of God became available unto man. And this came at a huge cost – God having to send his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross as propitiation for, and remittance of, the sin of mankind. We also argued that the loss of God’s perfect will affected man in all ramifications, including the institution of marriage, which God Himself, in His wisdom, had instituted. It is not on record that Adam asked God for a wife or helpmeet; it was God Himself who reasoned that it was not good for man to be alone and, therefore, decided to make him a helpmeet.
Going forward, we asked whether God hates polygamy, seeing that many of the Christian fathers were polygamists? If God had wanted man to be a polygamist, He most probably would have made multiple helpmeets for Adam - but he made only one, Eve – meaning, then, that God’s perfect will for man is for one man to cleave to one woman so that the two can become one flesh. Once the perfect will of God for man was lost in the Garden of Eden, man began to satisfy his wants or lusts – and not needs. Exasperated – if we may call it that – God chose not to lose His sleep over the turn of events; even though it grieved Him sore. So polygamy is not the perfect will of God for man. But given the free will to choose, man has, however, exercised his prerogative of choice and God has lived with it. Does God, then, hate polygamy? Does He love it? Or is He indifferent to it? Look at it this way: In this age and times, it is not all the decisions that our biological children make that we are okay with but it is not all the time that we breathe down their neck or force them to toe our line. As the saying goes, we allow them to make their mistakes and learn thereby! Oftentimes, they come back and say, “Daddy, you were right!”
But can our society survive in present-day Nigeria if we preach or practice monogamy? By “our society” I mean the largely monogamy-practicing parts of the country, especially in the South and also majorly among the Christendom. We are being invaded. We are being swarmed. We are overwhelmed because we marry one wife and have few children. Whereas there is a section of this country where men marry many wives and give birth to many children. It is ironic that those who have the financial capacity to raise more children are the ones that have fewer children while those without the means are those churning out children like it is no man’s business. We have started seeing the consequences: The children that they so churn out and that are thereafter left untrained are the ones making life difficult for their more fortunate counterparts. Like the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo prophesied, the children that were left uneducated are the ones now making life uncomfortable for those that were educated.
After a long period of absence, I went to my home town early this year and everywhere had been taken over by strangers, most of them from the northern parts of the country. Youths from the North are deliberately being unleashed on the South. And these are mostly vagrants. They have practically taken over. It would have been a different matter if they add value; they do not! Rather, they add nuisance! I heard it said that a revered man of God from Osun state, a Pentecostal pastor, said he recently went to his home town, which is not far from the cradle of the Yoruba, and was alarmed to find that strangers now outnumber the villagers. He was said to have raised the alarm that in the event of a showdown, the strangers would overrun the entire village in minutes! The population streaming down South from the North is overwhelming the South. They are leveraging their population to “capture” the South. It may sound like a joke but my friend, Babafemi Badejo, once said all the Chinese and the North needed to do was exercise some patience as they would soon take possession of the Southwest without firing a shot! Most of the “Andrews” jetting out of the country are Southerners; the South is, that way, being slowly but gradually getting desolate and depopulated. It is a matter of time before their situation becomes like that of Turkey and Lebanon!
Two weapons working against the South are population and politically-motivated land-grabbing through warfare and ethnic-cleansing. The North’s uncontrolled population explosion means they can unleash millions of their people on the South. The South is taciturn about breeding babies as the North does. Look around you; it is usually in the South that people marry only one wife and have, as a matter of choice, one or two children. The Church preaches monogamy but should this be for every Christian or the pastors alone? Peter posits that those who would be deacons should be men of one wife. Should this apply to other Christians who are not pastors? If so, how will the South or Christians specifically close up the population gap on the North and or their Muslim counterparts? If we remain in the same country, we cannot allow the present population inequalities between the North and South, if we can call it that, to remain or even fester. Unfortunately, the gap will keep widening if it is not consciously addressed. Should the South begin to procreate like some sections of the North so as to do some catching up or what?
Between Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and bandits, the ethnic cleansing and land grabbing that have left blood, sorrow and tears in their wake is not alien to history. Ask how Turkey, a country with its Christian landmarks and antecedents, became 99% Muslim. Lebanon, now 67.6 % Muslim, was not always so. Christians, now 32.4% of the population, used to be in the majority. Christians were once dominant in Lebanon; no more! War and population were the two weapons employed to change the demography of Turkey and Lebanon. The same weapons are actively being employed to alter the demography of Nigeria. If the trend continues, in the next generation or the next, non-indigenes will overrun the South. And the meaning of that should not be lost on any discerning Southerner, whether Christian or Muslim. The homeland is gradually but inexorably slipping through our fingers.
I dare to say that monogamy is one of the factors responsible for this. What we will do to step up our own population is left for us to decide. On the alternative, how do we slow down the alarming population explosion of sections of the North, which they are deliberately offloading on us? If they won't slow down - and we won't abandon monogamy - how do we restrict them to their own part of the country? Population is a very potent weapon of war; it may be silent but it is vicious and effective all the same. CONCLUDED!
- Bolawole is a former editor & chairman of the editorial board of The PUNCH newspapers. He is also a public affairs analyst on radio, television, traditional and digital media.
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