Right here before me is a popular Nigerian magazine. It contains stories and pictures of some society weddings. As I savor the glamour depicted by these pictures, my head cannot stop making some calculations; and my mind keeps asking some questions, most especially on one of the weddings that involved the son of a popular business mogul and a lady banker. I keep wondering: How much could this wedding have cost? How much did they pay for the hall? Who made this giant wedding cake, and how much could the person have charged? How much did KSA collect to play at this ceremony? Who owns this heavy Bentley car in which the couple rode? Where could they have imported the bride’s gown from, and how much could that have cost in dollars?
Questions upon questions! Yet, I don’t have a single answer to give. But I’m enjoying the pictures; though I’m upset by the mode of dressing of some of the brides and bridesmaids. Come on! How could they have thrown decency into the winds like this? How on earth could a brand new wife be this semi-naked on her glorious day? Yet, her parents posed with her in a picture of this nature! And here I am, an innocent Catechist, being assaulted by “things” that should be reserved for her husband’s eyes only.
As I think about the parents of some of the new couples in this magazine, so I am wondering how some of them actually met. Some would have met in schools; in the course of work; in the church or mosque; or at parties – similar wedding parties! Luckily or unluckily, the relationship might have been arranged by their parents. Yes, you can call it “parental marital arrangement.” It is a common thing among the rich people of Nigeria. Mr. A and Mr. B are “business friends.” They both agree for their children to marry each other because the wealth must be kept within the circle; the circle of rich men. Their children don’t have to love each other. And they don’t have to know each other well. It is “arrangee” relationship that must lead to “arrangee” marriage.
Many of the rich people’s weddings in Nigeria involve baby adults; most especially those arranged by the parents. Baby Adults or Adult Babies? It’s like talking about the English words valuable and invaluable; they mean the same thing. So for the sake of convenience and pronunciation, let me stick to baby adults. I am talking about those married couples who continue to behave like babies. Again, I will restrict myself to the husband because he is expected to be the head of the house – at least in the Nigerian or African culture.
His wife would most likely call him “baby” while courting, and in the early part of their marriage. “Baby, when am I having the money?” “Baby, dinner is ready;” “Baby, dad is on the line.” She says. Since there is much to a name, one shouldn’t be surprised that our oko iyawo (husband) truly lives up to his name. He behaves like a baby – a true baby. Oruko lo n roo (He’s confirming his name by action).
As we all know, babies have some unique mannerism. They want to be cuddled; they want to be spoon fed or breast fed; and they want to be led. Babies learn from adults. They cannot do things on their own so they have to be assisted by adults. Babies cry, but they are comforted by their mums. That’s why they are babies.
But babies also grow. They grow into adulthood. That is what is expected of every baby. There is time for everything: A time to be a baby; a time to be a toddler; a time to be a teenager and, of course, a time to become an adult. Lo and behold, many of our so called Nigerian husbands remain babies! They refuse to grow up.
By their acts you shall know them. Let something happen at home, a baby adult husband will immediately pick up the phone and call his mother. He says: “Mum, it’s Debby again o. I can’t tolerate this any longer. She’s just…” He will begin to speak like a baby that he is. Don’t be surprised if he suddenly breaks down on the phone, weeping like a baby. Every decision in the house is made for the baby adult husband. His mum must tell him what to do, and his dad must decide for him. He’s still a baby!
His wife looks up to him for guidance, but our baby adult husband is not familiar with the 12 marks of a real man. He’s not a man.
Baby adults are everywhere in the country. Check the offices; you will find them there – the baby bosses, and the baby subordinates. They don’t speak or act their ages. They simply behave like babies.
In the government circles nko? They are there. Listen to any of them on the radio, or watch him speak on TV, you won’t stop asking yourself: “How did this guy get to this position?”
Baby adults can’t make up their minds. They can’t take decisions. And they don’t accept responsibilities. They are not adults; they are babies.
If you are in a relationship with a baby boyfriend, or if your husband is a baby adult, you must recognize that you have a job on hand. You have to go extra length to nurture him into adulthood; otherwise you may become frustrated sooner than expected.
As for other instances where the other party is a baby adult, you equally have to take him the way he is and become his coach. Afterall, babies are to be led. But I know some babies can be quite stubborn. You must do everything within your power to help them up. That’s why some of us try to criticize our government officials constructively. But because they’re babies, it is quite hard for some of them to understand on time.
If you are already an adult, try to remain an adult. Don’t become another baby in the house. Your wife of 20 years may continue to call you “baby.” That’s just a display of affection. You must know that you are no longer a baby. You have grown up. Agba kii se oro bi ewe o (an adult doesn’t behave like a baby).