…I have no problem with the Rescue Mission Family.
Chike Okafor, the scintillating and superlative Member of the House of Representatives, standing in for his good people of Okigwe South Federal Constituency (Ehime Mbano, Ihitte Uboma and Obowo), in this no holds – bared, ground breaking interview with our Chuks Ofurum, touched on a number of burning issues in Imo State and in Nigeria. It is an appetising dish served hot from Daily Nigerian Horn Editorial table. Enjoy it.
Good morning Sir, please can you introduce yourself to Nigerians?
My name is Chike Okafor. I was born in a village called Umuokeh, in Obowo Local Government Area. Presently, I am in the House of Representatives, where I represent the good people of Okigwe South, comprising Ehime-Mbano Ihitte-Uboma and Obowo LGAs.
Talking about representing that wonderful place, you seem to be quiet this time around unlike your first tenure when you were so vibrant, any reason for this?
Well, there are two key criteria that makes a parliamentarian in our Nigerian context visible, vibrant like you said and makes you productive. One is membership in committees. We have presiding officers in our case in the House of Representatives, we have the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Then we have other officers like majority leader, minority leader, majority whip, minority whip and their deputies etc these are principal offices. These positions naturally confer some statutory responsibilities on those who are holding them. So as it were, those responsibilities make the holders visible. When you leave that level of leadership, which we call principal offices you how have committees; committee chairman and there deputies.
In essence, can I deduct that the long court processes actually slowed you down?
Well, that is a deduction and I am not sure it’s wrong.
Probably, this answer can come at the end of my tenure but I have been able to represent my constituency well. In this current 9th Assembly, I can tell you that we have not relented on what the core mandate of a representative is, which is to make sure that what is due to your constituency is brought to your constituency. As I am talking to you, I have completed a health centre in this current 9th Assembly. That is how it is in 15 other communities within my constituency. I may not have the records here but I am sure if you go to those communities, they will tell you. Within the first month of the emergence of Governor Hope Uzodimma, he was in my constituency to flag off my Community Health Insurance Scheme. I brought the Minister of State for Health and my colleagues in the National Assembly were there also. I have well over 22,000 beneficiaries. So the Governor was there physically in Otoko where that was flagged off. We started it in the 8th Assembly and we are able to sustain it in this current Assembly where not less than 22,000 people across the constituency – pregnant women, nursing mothers, expectant women and infants are benefitting from free medicare of the National Health Insurance Scheme. These are the two things I consider as my major achievements so far. And we are only 2years old in this current Assembly. Generally, I have not failed to give effective representation to the constituency. That, summarily is what I can tell you where we are. I am building classroom blocks in some select schools across the three LGAs courtesy of my intervention and that of the (former) Commissioner for Housing. In this same current dispensation, we were able to hand over equipments worth over N18million to some select public hospitals. These are our own little way of trying to ensure that some facilities are working in our hospitals. In the area of roads, through the NDDC, we were also intervening in some roads across the 3 LGAs. Today, as we speak we are criss – crossing, trying to connect communities, join the communities to help the communities who are mostly farmers to have access and means of bringing out their farm produce. I think we have done a lot now than we did in the 8th Assembly when we were learning the ropes.
Lets digress a little, the last Okigwe Zone Senate seat, that is the bye election, was so rancorous that up till today the issues are still popping up. As a major stakeholder in Okigwe Zone, what is your take on this? Can Okigwe zone survive this?
We have already survived. We have a senator, Frank Ibezim who has emerged. A distinguished Senator. What you said about what led to it is part of politics. I wish this question came much more earlier when we didn’t have a Senator but as we speak, Okigwe zone has a senator who is seating there and all the issues have been taken care of. We don’t have any issues currently. We have a senator who is duly elected and how else would you say that there is an issue when the elections and the petitions have been discharged by the court.
Imolites have been worried about the political torment that has characterized Okigwe zone politics. Do you think that Okigwe zone can ever get it right?
Have we ever got it wrong?
There are so many big men and leaders who don’t want to agree? Have they all agreed in Owerri and Orlu zones? I don’t know what makes Okigwe zone peculiar. In party democracy, you can’t make everyone to agree, even within the party. That is why we have inter and intra party. So within the party, it’s impossible. It is a struggle for power. Every major crisis that shows up in politics, some politicians use it to their advantage. Okigwe zone is the smallest zone in Imo State with six LGAs, Owerri zone has nine, Orlu zone has 12 and I’m asking, the major political actors in other zones are they all agreeing? What I am saying in essence is that the disagreement in Okigwe zone is not peculiar to us alone. It is a norm in politics. And it will get to a point in our democracy where everyone is on the same page. If there is no disagreement there is no longer democracy. Politics which is a struggle is what gives rise to disagreements and when you don’t have them, when these disagreements are no longer there, it means that whoever that is holding power will do whatever he/she wants to do and in the next four years, they will put whoever they want to put and the circle goes on. It is the reactions from the opposition that makes one to sit up and see what can be done to continue to enjoy the support of the people. But when you don’t have an effective opposition, I am certain that it will not help in delivering democracy dividends. So what I am saying is that this things are all part of politics. It didn’t start today. Okigwe zone is not worse off. It is not peculiar to our zone alone. You people should leave us alone.
Lets look at your party, APC, at the federal level, the Governor Mai Buni-led CECPC imbroglio, do you think that the leadership of the party are on the track by insisting on the committee?
I will give you my opinion. I am not a lawyer. Fortunately, these issues are canvassed by very eminent lawyers in Government. The Vice President and the Attorney General of the Federation are leading the arguments. We will see how all these will play out because these are authorities. Let them exhaust it then we will see how far we can go.
There’s this dichotomy between AA House of Reps and APC House of Reps and you said recently that you are aligned with Uzodinma’s government Sir, how can you describe the relationship between APC members in the National Assembly?
They are very cordial, there are five of us, originally, me, Ugonna Ozurigbo (Nkwerre/Isu/Nwangele/Njaba), Kingsley Uju, (Oru-West/Ohaji Egbema/Oguta), and Paschal Obi, ran under AA but then they now defected to join APC. Sometime in March, 2020. Don’t forget Governor Hope was physically present on that day and Senator Okorocha was there. Later on, we had elections that brought Princess Onuoha for Okigwe North so that’s what makes it five. Imo has ten federal seats, so as it stands now five APCs and five PDPs. What was your question again? (cuts in)
The Relationship Between The National Assembly Members
I can only speak for House of Reps. We have a very good working relationship with the Governor. Very good working relationship with the Governor. I speak from my own perspective. I am the oldest member in that context. I am the leader and we have our meetings every month. We have a good relationship amongst ourselves OZB, as he is called, recently lost his father and we are all working together. We’re part of the Committee, that are planning the father’s burial. So I can assure you that we are together. We may be having issues but that’s individual, politics is local.
From 2011 till 2015, you worked with Rochas Okorocha and today you seemed to have changed to Hope Uzodinma and people are throwing stones at you everywhere. Do you have any regrets changing camp to Uzodinma’s?
Let me answer this question this way, 2011 – 2015 I owe my stay in politics to Okorocha, who brought me and made me Commissioner for four years and I worked with him till a chance came for me to run for House of Representative and I did. When people say change camp and don’t change camp, I don’t understand it. When Sen. Hope was declared the Governor by the Supreme Court January 14th 2020, I hardly knew him and before him, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha was the governor and that Government for no reason didn’t like us and was antagonistic and hostile to us, people like me. Personally speaking, my vehicles were seized, it was in the news. I’m sure you read it, my wife’s school was marked for demolition. I have another personal property I acquired as a banker, It was marked for demolition, these things happened between July and November 2019. I was invited by two or three Judicial Commissions notably, the one headed by Justice Iheka. I came there two times, I moved straight to National Assembly. The letter was written to the speaker and then I was invited, I had many other invitations even before I regained my mandate, I came. I have every reason to say and I’m sure you will believe that that Government was hostile to someone like me. I wont speak for other people. So while the matter was in court, I didn’t know what to expect, I stood firmly with the Rescue Mission in the 2019 election, so whilst Hope Uzodinma was declared Governor, people were celebrating, but for me I had mixed feelings. Now looking at the indignations and humiliations, the harassments and intimidations that I faced in the last 7-months of the Government of PDP then, so this is a new Government and nobody saw it coming. As for me, it was a moment of retrospect. To me it was a relief, and I spoke to my leader (Okorocha) directly and he said that it was better for us, it was a relief. And there was a directive that we should mobilize and we mobilized. We were physically present and it was a good thing for me. When I was in court fighting for my mandate there were those who were close to know some details and those to keep out because you don’t know who is who. So I believe that whilst senator Hope was fighting his matter what I found out was that some key members of my political family were part of it which necessitated that I was now getting feelers while I was in the village. Later that evening, we could see others accompany Uzodinma to INEC. For me those were signs of good things to come, and all of us were physically present at the Heros square when Uzodinma was sworn in, my political family; the Rescue Mission said we were all going to work for this man. And as for me, once I had an instruction and directive I run with it, for the good of the people. I ran with it with two hands. For me at that point in time, I saw that as a directive for us to go and work with the government on a personal note, within 48hours, my assets that were seized were returned back to me, without me even making a call. I got a call the next day after swearing in the governor. I went to the government House and they retrieved my vehicles that were seized since July. So we, Federal House Members and the governor had a meeting and everything was pointing towards how to work together and I was so excited. Few days later we prosecuted the Okigwe North election, all of us worked together. So to answer your question, I don’t know what happened thereafter but for me, I don’t have personal problems with the Governor. So having been invited by my political family for us to be part of this system and government and I got in and began to also see that Governor Hope Uzodinma means well for everybody and I don’t have personal issues with or reasons why I would not commit myself to his Government. This is where I am. So I don’t know whether some other persons have personal issues with Governor Hope Uzodinma. For me, when we got in and started working with him I saw his heart, he made clear to us in some meetings where we attended at that level, that God has made him governor, that he will work for God and humanity. I see him also doing exactly that. The next election that came up in Okigwe was to replace Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, I didn’t see anything different between this one and the one that produced Princess Onuoha. If we all work together, Princess was a candidate of APC and she lost in the court to PDP, another election was fixed before Uzodinma emerged, the election was fixed by INEC before we lost our Senator and then all of us came together to work with the Governor and then that election that was before us were won together. The smaller elections in Njaba, Orlu, Orsu, Oru East Constituencies we all worked together to prosecute those elections, and we delivered, those who could like Okigwe Zone was one and we moved on.
Where people are confused about the situation is that you once said that Okorocha is your political father, what is the exact relationship?
Father and son; cordial relationship.
Sir, are you comfortable with this bashing they’re giving your father from the government?
There’s a governor in Imo State and he’s of my party before the government in Imo State, there was a government that was not of my party and I felt mistreated by that government. And everybody could probably summarize that to mean politics. I was not of the party. They were mere approaches to me, where they offer to me at the time to say if you realign politically as it were especially when Sen Uwajumogu passed, everyone saw that the election was conducted in my Zone to fill that position and they know my position, I’m not boasting. There were direct offers to say if we are disposed to work with us, then all these things you are experiencing will not be the case but I remained in APC. To answer your question Senator Hope Uzodinma was a candidate of APC in 2019 election, he eventually has become the Governor of the state. I am a member of APC holding position at the Federal House of Reps. Uzodinma is the Governor of the state and leader of my party, we will not stop supporting him irrespective of what is happening between him and any other person. See, people play roles in your lives. God use people to bring you to support you and make you who you are. At any point in time you chose your fights and you also stay in-house and to get to the last question you asked, we stay inside and we don’t have to make public some efforts we are making to ensure that APC would be bigger and better. The disunity was what cost us 2019 election, it didn’t start now. Whilst we were going into the 2019 election, Senator Ben Uwajumogu had been elected, then Senator Hope Uzodinma had joined from PDP. But for some political reasons they were not in the same political camp with Governor Okorocha and us and that was what gave rise to all these. So we don’t want to make that same mistake again and its my prayer and desire that these issues will be resolved because its what caused APC Imo in 2019 and if these issues are not resolved I’m afraid it will also affect APC in 2023 elections. We are working inhouse to ensure and see to it that we have one bigger fuller house APC before the next election.
The same family of yours came out with this fabrication that because of you in 2019 that Chief of Staff to the President asked Okorocha to allow Nwajiuba to contest for House of reps to be made the Speaker. Okorocha said he’ll not dump you, that Okorocha made that sacrifice to keep you and this time around you’re supposed to also make sacrifice to keep him and you left him, how true is that?
I will answer you. In 2017 or 2018 you remember, I’m not judging issues because I didn’t hear from Senator Okorocha say this thing you are saying. I keep hearing from the mouths of people I call miscreants within that political family. I never heard it come from Uche Nwosu’s mouth. You can only be hearing such things from them (miscreants). Okorocha nor Uche Nwosu wouldn’t have said this, I have a robust relationship with them; family relationship not political and the responsible and responsive Rescue Mission which I was a key member of, those who have maturity and understanding, I have a robust relationship with them except for those few miscreants who think the only thing they can do is to maintain elegance and probably keep getting patronages from these key principal actors to open their mouths and talk here and there. So what you just described about the former Chief of Staff making plea to Okorocha to give ticket to Emeka Nwajiuba didn’t happen. There was no such thing because you wouldn’t hear it from Okorocha because I never heard it. There was no such thing. Let me also give you a clue to buttress the point. In 2018, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara defected to PDP. The Senate President Olusola Saraki defected to PDP and some members of those two chambers went over. Oshiomhole had become the Chairman of the party. There was a conscious effort by the party to ensure that not so many more members defected because if a lot more members defect that would make APC a minority party in the House, so it would be easy to change the leadership. So there was an understanding for those members of the House of Representatives who were not going to defect. What do we do? Sit down especially those of us in the House of Reps for those who were determined to return, whether it was first term or second term or third term or forth, you will get your ticket. For those who were determined to come back, as a preventive for anyone to defect, it was written, it was signed. I wasn’t too far away from that understanding. I was a key participant to the understanding that for you not to have considered defection, and I was very close to Dogara, extremely close to Dogara. So I was a key person who did not give thought to defection. But then I was getting instructions and directives from Imo under the leadership of Rochas Okorocha and we are APC. So that understanding was heard, it was written and signed. I was part of that understanding so whenwe were preparing for primaries, for those of us who were part of that understanding. Securing our tickets was a done deal. Okay now considering it had to do with my ticket, primaries were conducted, why did Pascal Obi, and Uju Kingsley loose their tickets? If it was all about securing ticket for us, why did Austin Chukwukere, why did Goodluck Opiah who were sitting members despite all the trouble and money backed up by Government how come they couldn’t secure the APC tickets? But these serving House of Representatives members in those constituencies ran away with the APC tickets. Their case was not different from mine. It was not possible for Opiah to loose the APC ticket for Oguta, Ohaji/Egbema/Oru West. It was not possible for Austin Chukwukere to have lost the ticket for Ideato North and South, despite everything that was done, despite the clout of the people who were running against them, the serving members of the state government at the time, they were all powerful and had all the resources. That was what took place. I was in the boat. There are a lot of people that I can mention now that even in their Constituencies, the ticket could not go, who everybody knew was his right hand man, so you see, that puts a lie to talks by these miscreants. Despite all the fight against Nkiru Onyejeocha she got the fourth term ticket because she was part of the understanding. She ran in 2015 under APC. So despite what was done to her in Abia, Nkeiru Onyejeocha had to come back for a fourth term. So this is the true situation. Take it from me. There was no such thing as pressure to take the ticket and that affected this and that, no. there was no pressure. My ticket was intact and who was coming for it knew it was intact. My written consent was needed. The national party leadership ratified it and efforts and approaches were being made to me directly from my brother who was coming to run against me, why? So count your teeth with your tongue. So if my ticket was a problem, if Distinguished Senator Rochas Okorocha didn’t want to betray me, did he betray Pascal and Kingsley Uju, did he betray them? He refused to betray me by insisting he didn’t want the ticket to go to Nwajiuba. So he betrayed Paschal and Kingsley? He betrayed them. He didn’t want to betray me. Oh I thank God he didn’t want to betray me. He betrayed the Deputy Chief of Staff and his Principal Secretary? So that is why I am saying that you will not hear him saying this. I can put it to you that you can never hear him say it. Maybe you heard it from those miscreants who didn’t know who were not even anywhere near where we sit down to discuss, who were only PAs and SAs, because they found themselves suddenly for some reasons, very annoying reasons that brought us where we are now, people who probably never had the chance to be Chairman of their ward. Because for some reasons found themselves in position of Chairman of your state, they now think they can talk anyhow. They knew nothing. So my brother, my ticket, there was never time any condition was given about my ticket. The issues were about the Senatorial ticket, that is the Orlu ticket and Imo guber ticket. I don’t want to go into that. Those were the issues in contention. And meetings and discussions were going on along that line, please sort this out, please accommodate these people and so on. So what happened to Nnamdi Obiaraeri who was our candidate for the Senate? What happened to him? He was betrayed?
Sir, there was this disagreement between the Senate and the House of representatives over the Petroleum Industry Bill, now Act.
I don’t have the details but what is important is that you know, our legislature is bi-cameral; two chambers. It doesn’t mean that when it comes to appropriations and so on that the Senate is superior to the other, no. it doesn’t mean. So before the passing of the bill, there must be a joint understanding. They cant pass a different bill and we pass a different bill. What they will present to the President will be one and signed by the clerk. So those disagreements are in percentages and figures. So I’m sure they will come up with an understanding. It is a normal thing. We are 360 so it is a market, an open market. And those in the Senate are more matured so I know they will have some clear understanding and agreement but for us we must fight it out, rough. So I can tell you that the conference of the Committees and the conference of the leadership will sit down and harmonize it.
“There is no Hon. Deacon Chike Okafor without Deaconess Akudo Okafor. So, who is this woman? Up till now you people are still like twins. What is the secret?
“OK. I got born again in 2001, at the age of; I was yet to turn 29. Before then, I was a Catholic. I went to seminary school. I served Mass until my 26th birthday in 1998. But when I went to National Youth Service, got a job in Port Harcourt, had encounter with God, I had a couple of relationships, those I believed I was going to get married to but I will tell you this: My Dad called me; there was a lady that I was in relationship with from Oguta. You know this strong Otti woman, Vivian Otti, I was in relationship with her cousin.
I knew Vivian as far back as Ninety ninety something. I was acting acting as if I was going to marry the lady. My father called me and said, he will prefer that I married from Obowo. He put it to me like that. Hai, it was difficult. So, back in Port Harcourt where I was working, my younger cousin, her father is my father’s uncle; her father was the one being buried that day the Supreme Court judgment that brought Uzodimma to power, which I told you that I was in the village for a burial. (Cuts in)
It is the man that was being buried on that January 14, right?
The first child and first daughter, who is my cousin, came to do National Youth Service in Port Harcourt, lived with me. They were born in Warri, my wife was born in Warri. You are asking me how I met her, right? She was born in Warri. So, when I was now telling her that my father was insisting that I must marry from Obowo, she said that I will marry Akudo, her friend, her childhood friend. Where was Akudo, she couldn’t remember. She was in the university. From that year 2000, she kept saying it, 2001, 2002, there was no GSM. Then I came home one December. I went to their house. I saw her. So, it was the testimony of my cousin who lived with me, who went to the same primary school with her. So, when I saw her, I said this is my wife, then I married her the next year. That’s how I met my wife, through my cousin, Blessing nee Okafor. You say we look like twins. (cuts in)
Yes what is the secret?
Eeeh! He that findeth a wife…There is no marriage that doesn’t have issues. What you see couples do is packaging. There is no marriage that is perfect. Package your marriage, just like you package yourself. This dress you are wearing is packaging (general laughter). I mean packaging. If you are attending a function now, you put on your red cap and they begin to call you High Chieeef! That is packaging.
If you don’t do that packaging, you will never move in life oooh! Divine life is yours, “Kochakalabai!” Life in you, Christ in me, a lot of glory. But when he finishes, he whispers to his wife, sickness has come o o! They will now call in the Doctor to check his health condition. Some times they sneak out and say that they are going to the Mountain to pray. They will switch off the phones; Pastor is going for one week prayer and fasting. The Pastor has sneaked out to Lagos. If he has money, he goes overseas where his health will be thoroughly investigated.
When he comes back, he will be jumping on stage, including all the big time Pastors, Oyedepo, Chris Oyekhilome, all of them. So, what am trying to say, I just got born again. I read books. There are books in marriages and relationships. I read books by Faith Oyedepo. I read books by Pastor Bimbo that died in Plain crash. I understand that you are marrying a woman that you don’t know where she was born. You don’t know where she was raised. You don’t even know her family antecedents, both natural ones. You are marrying a man you don’t know the environment in which he grew up. These are two strange people coming to live together as man and wife.
So, what you need to be tutored is to say that: one, that I am of the love because love covers multitude of mistakes and sins, where there is love; then understanding, tolerance, empathy. Check if it were you. That thing done to someone else, if it is done to you, will you like it? Don’t do it. Then, you begin to understand each other as you grow. You know where the man is wrong and where the woman is wrong. You must fight. Some times I fight with my wife Akudo but not physical fight because I don’t tolerate, whether you are a man or a woman. I don’t tolerate it. There are so many ways you can vent your anger, if the woman really lives you. Like now, as I want to go to the gym and she asks me, what do you want to eat and I respond, I don’t care. I don’t want to eat. She will now know that she did something that angered me. She will insist and ask please what is it and I will snap, I am not interested! But you don’t do it before the children. You can always have a conversation, discussion. Talk things over. You don’t bottle things in. Women know how to do that perfectly well, as they begin to shout and cry. But a man will bottle up his anger in his heart. ,It might be mistreatment from her family; one way or the other. He will hold it up in his heart and things will keep going wrong but when you talk things over, you lessen the burden. Let me give you an example. I was listening to one woman Mildred Okonkwo, she is a Pastor. Her husband is Kingsley, Pastor K Okonkwo. She was saying something. She said, when she got married to her husband, there was something the husband did that she didn’t like and she was not happy. Each time the man approaches her, she will say that she wants to be on her own and the man thought his wife was having a quiet time in prayer. The woman wasn’t giving him food and the man will go to the kitchen and help himself to some bread and drinks tea for a whole day.
The woman was singing and praying and was asking herself: does this man know that I am angry and he is freely moving as if nothing is happening. She now went and called their Pastor, who asked whether she has confronted her husband on that thing she said her husband did and she said no. How then will he know? He now called Pastor K and Pastor K said really! Is that how you read that thing I did. No,no,no,no, not exactly! But when you were angry and you were angry and you were singing and praising, I thought you were having a quiet time with God. The man said, I thought you wanted a quiet time with God, I said Ok this woman wants to be more spiritual than me and he too, he started singing and praising and praying.
The man said, I thought you wanted to have a quiet time within those two days, I also started my own quiet so that you will not beat me spiritually. The woman said: talk things over; that if she had walked up to him that first day and say look at what you did that you didn’t do right, they would have settled it that day. But when you don’t talk things over and you bottle it, at some point, ego will come in. There shouldn’t be any ego in marriage. If anybody should have ego in marriage, it is the man. There shouldn’t be any ego in marriage.
Who are you doing ego for. You are doing ego for a man or woman you play about with on bed. So, what is the ego. Take your ego and go outside. You can do ego with your children, not the woman that you shut the door and you are naked together, if she does a thing you are doing ego. The word she used: she said that is hypocrisy of the highest order.
Your husband is the person that sees you at your lowest unguarded moment. So, what are you doing like this for him or for her. So, what am I trying to say? The success of my marriage is that my wife and I disagree just amongst ourselves. We sort things out prayerfully. We do have fellowship. There are times I will tell my wife we don’t have fellowship with our children, we want to have fellowship all alone.
We keep the Bible; do appraisal. In the last one, two, three months, you have done this or see what you said or you did this; why? She will say her own and I will say mine and we sort it out. There are times we now call the children in a fellowship. Tell me what Mummy is not doing right. Mummy will say tell me what you think Daddy is not doing right because they are now growing. So, constant communication.
I am based in Abuja but I come back here every week. I hardly have spent weekends in Abuja because my family is here. Constant communication! Even when I am there, my children will not go to bed until Daddy has called and we pray on phone, video call. It’s not possible. If I stay two days there without call, my wife will say, Daddy this children are drifting from you. You know where you have issues in marriage is when the woman wants to endear the children more to her more than to their father. It should be the other way round because they are closer to the children; the woman working to have the children endeared to their father and the man also working to have the children endeared to their mother. Before you know it now, it is a complete balanced family.
There is nothing to struggle for. Another thing that breeds silent problem in marriage is when you don’t tolerate your in-laws, either way. For some, it is that they were mistreated when they came to marry him or her. But when you are married, you are against all odds in marriage, abi? Forget, love doesn’t count any wrong. You can’t marry now and detach your wife from your family. The secret of my marriage now is that I am the closest to my parents in-law. In a family of eight children, my wife is the last. She has six sisters who are married. The first sister, Ada Nne ya, her own first daughter is 33 years. She has married and born children. My father in-law is 93, my mother in-law is 87 but I am the closest to my parents in-law. My wife is the closest to my parents. I have an only brother. The closest to my wife is my brother. In fact my brother’s wife, who is a banker will come to me and say: brother, I don’t know what Ifeanyi, my husband and Akudo your wife are doing. They are whispering. Are we two safe?
These are things I did consciously from the beginning of the marriage. Whether you were shown love from the onset or not, the truth is this: Do you know that your sister’s children, you don’t care whom their father is, they are your blood. But can I shock you? Why do men go and do DNA on their own children? Do you do DNA on your sister’s children? Do you need to do DNA? Why? Your sister carried that pregnancy. You don’t care, it doesn’t matter to you who impregnated her. If she deliver, the child is yours. It is your blood. If she is the promiscuous wife, she can get impregnated outside and born the child into your house. Your mother in-law owns your children more than your mother because it is her daughter that carried the children in her womb.
But your mother cannot be that sure that they are your real children because if you have a promiscuous wife, she can go outside and get pregnant and import another blood into your house. I emphasize this because one thing that creates problems in marriage is relationship with in-laws. Your wife’s family and your family. How does your wife embrace them and vice versa. If you decide to and tell yourself that your children belong to that family you married her from and then you treat her family like her own, there will be peace.
What creates problems in young marriages is your relationship with your in-laws. I think that’s what kept my marriage. From the onset, I had understanding with my wife. I am not a saint. Nobody is a saint but I tried to make up issues with my wife. We cover each other’s shame. That is the packaging. When you have issues, close it up and talk it over behind the children. The one the children need to know, you make them know it. There are certain things they need to know. Like when you take some decisions such as you want to pack to a new house; you want to start a building, let them know of such decisions you are taking. Let them be part if it. Bring them in. It is a raw sense of belonging. They grow up with it. Some of us suffered it. At eighteen years my father drove a car into the house, only for me to know that he has been paying for the car for the past six months. At sometimes I asked my father: Do you think I am too small, you should let me know. For me, there is nothing I am doing now I don’t tell my children because family unity is important. You cannot succeed in the outside without making sure that the inside is intact. That is the secret of my marriage.