Sir Chuba C. Oranusi and Lady (Dr.) Ifeanyichukwu, got married in 1994. Chuba, a Knight of St. Christopher in the Anglican Church, is also a lawyer and a politician based in Onitsha. A former member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, his wife was former bank manger and now a lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Anambra State. Blessed with four children, two boys and two girls, in this interview with JEFF AMECHI AGBODO, the couple shares with our readers, the story of how they met and their marital experiences. Excerpts:
How did the journey begin before both of you got married?
Husband: I got married on December 4, 1994 traditionally and in April 1995 I did white wedding. Both of us are from Oba in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra. The journey has been blissful and I have a successful marriage. I used to see my wife when I was in the university. Her father was a lecturer at College of Medicine of University of Nigeria, Enugu campus. We come from the same town, Oba, and I used to visit their house occasionally. Then I was a young man pursuing his academics. I used to see her when I visit her house but I had nothing in mind. Then she was in secondary school. But in 1994 when I thought of marriage I remembered ladies I knew who could fit into what I wanted. It was then that a certain situation brought us together. I went to their house and saw her. What I saw pleased me and we got talking. Eventually, we agreed to marry and that agreement was consummated in the traditional marriage of December 1994.
Wife: I thank God for the journey so far; it’s not our making but the special grace of God that kept us going, till this stage. Like he said, that time he used to visit our home. He was felicitating with my elder brother and my elder sister. So I didn’t remember his face until we met again that day. He is from our town and he stayed with one Prof. Okafor from our town. He used to occasionally visit our home. But I was not keen until he came to ask my hand in marriage. He came that day and I was called that someone wanted to see me. I asked what for and my elder sister jokingly said in Igbo language that it is my in-laws and I told her that they should leave me alone. Eventually, I came out. I saw and met with him.
Was there any opposition to your marriage?
Husband: There was no opposition from my family. My father had died then. I went for a funeral of our grandfather with my mother. Then, I had not discussed with my wife about marriage; it was her elder brother that I met and told him that this your sister, Ifeanyi, has grown up that I would come back for her. We laughed over it. After that funeral, on our way home, I told my mother that I had found someone to marry if she agreed. She said I hope she is the one that is well-endowed. I said yes. So, my mother and I agreed to marry her even before I spoke to her about marriage. In other words, my mother gave her blessing even before I approached her. It would have been a big disappointment if she had turned down my proposal. Every member of my family was impressed with me because she comes from very respected and responsible family in our town.
Wife: There was no opposition to the marriage. My parents said that it was my decision to agree to marry and since I accepted to marry him then they would support and bless the marriage. It was both of us that agreed that he had seen his better half and I had seen my sweetheart. So we agreed and God blessed the marriage.
What made you go for your spouse instead of any other lady or man in town then?
Husband: First, I’m a parochial type of person, I believed that I must marry from my town, Oba, and marriages in Oba are about 70 percent between Oba people. It is not like we don’t marry outside. Most of people who married from outside are like assets, not liabilities. When I saw my wife and looked at her closely I knew that she represented everything I wanted in a woman. I was looking for an intelligent girl, whose intelligence is equal to mine so that when we produce children, they would not be failures but at least average intelligent children. That was my number one goal. I wanted a woman who when I behold, I would feel happy that she is a beautiful woman with brains, well-trained and mannered. I run a temper and I’m easily disappointed if people behave the way I don’t like; it makes me withdraw. So, knowing the way her parents lived, I felt immediately that she has what I wanted in a woman. As a matter of fact, we didn’t court. I just saw her and asked her hand in marriage. I told her three things would stop me from marrying her. One, if she said no. There is nothing I could have done about it. Secondly, if we don’t have matching genotype; luckily, she is AA while I am AS. Thirdly, if she does not believe in God; I don’t believe in going to see a native or witchdoctor. She said let’s pray and see how it would go. Then she was serving in Kano State as part of her youth service. I visited her in Kano two or three times and we agreed to marry and set a date for our traditional marriage.
Wife: There were other suitors that came for me but I chose him because it was the perfect will of God. If not, it wouldn’t have been possible because some of the suitors came and I turned them down. One thing led to another and I told some of the suitors no. But when he came to seek my hand in marriage, I said to myself that he must be a God-fearing person and I saw the fear of God in him which is the ultimate. He said he had nothing but he believed totally in God and above all, he is a handsome and promising young man that has so much love to offer. I said God, if it is your will, let it be done and God did it and we consummated the marriage by the special grace of God.
How did you propose to her? What exactly did you say to her as to make her accept to marry you?
Husband (burst into laughter): Well, like I told you, she was serving in Kano and I visited her two or three times. On the first and second occasions, we talked. But on the third occasion, it is like her parents wanted her to come down to the East for a particular purpose and I thought it would be an opportunity. Once she did, I invited her over to attend a funeral and when she came, it was a good opportunity for me. So, I bought a GL ring and when we came back to the house, I asked her: would you marry me? If you agree, I would adore you. I would make sure that I give you the best I can to make you happy. She looked at me and laughed and brought out her finger and I put the ring for engagement on it and that was it.
What did you say when he proposed to you? What exactly did he say and what was your reply?
Wife: I accepted and said yes, I will marry him because he has all the qualities that I wanted in a man.
What do you remember most about your wedding?
Wife: It was by the special grace of God that the wedding held, not because there was any opposition. We had already fixed the wedding but at a point I was sick. I was heavy that time. Few weeks to the weeding, the sickness became so serious as to make me admitted in the hospital. It was on the eve of the wedding that I was discharged and I managed to go for manicure in preparation. The next morning which was the wedding day, we went to church and after the wedding I was not fit enough to stand to snap pictures. We moved to the reception hall. I stayed for sometime but could not continue to the last stage because even my doctor was there to monitor me. He saw that I had no strength in me. From there, I was driven straight to the clinic. I didn’t know what happened at the hospital. It was later that I was told that they moved me into the scan room to know whether the baby was okay. The doctor confirmed that it was fine inspite of the high temperature that I ran that day. That is why I told you that it was the will of God for us to wed that day. I carried the baby for nine months and delivered without any problem. All things worked for good. The devil didn’t want me to wed but God said no and I give Him the glory.
Husband: Well, on the eve of the wedding, she was discharged and taken home to go and prepare. There was no GSM phone then for communication. So, on the wedding day, I was in the church waiting for her to come. I was praying to God for her to make it to the church but eventually she arrived. Immediately we finished the church service, while people were waiting to take photographs I took her away and we drove to the hall at People’s Club where we had our reception. We skipped some of the items in the programme. During the time for bridal dance, I literally carried her because she could not stand on her own; she was weak. I held her. Some guests noticed what was going on while some said it was love that made me carry her and held her firmly as it were. God works in mysterious ways. He made it possible for her to stay, from the church service time to the reception without further emergency that would have taken her out of the place. That is why when our son was born later that year we named him: ‘Chukwuemerie’ meaning “God has triumphed.” It was everybody’s reasoning that with the high temperature she ran that day that she would have had miscarriage but God said no and she carried the baby until she was delivered of him successfully. We give God the praise.
Could you remember your first misunderstanding and how did you resolve it?
Husband: Well, my wife also has a temperament just like me. She had earlier told me that she runs temper and she can easily burst out. So, after some time, we had a disagreement and she reacted so agitatedly. I couldn’t understand it. I had in my hand an object as at that time and she thought I was going to use the object to hit her during the altercation. She immediately collected it from me and smashed it. I was shocked and weakened. I asked myself: why should this be? I said: God, I prayed to you and you assured me that she was my wife. How should I tackle this? In fact, I never saw my father hit my mother. So, for me it was not an option for me to hit a woman. I said to myself if this thing continues that means I will have a problem. I had already made up my mind that I will never walk away from my marriage if she annoys me, no matter what. Or, resort to be going to the bar to drink beer and stay out late at night. So, that was the fiercest ever disagreement we had. If I didn’t restrain myself, I would have hit her. But for the special grace of God, if that object that she flung away had hit me, it would have killed me or caused serious injuries. Since then, we have not had such misunderstanding again. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have disagreements. We do but we always sort it out immediately without third party intervention. I later realized that most marriages that broke did so because the couple didn’t sit down to sort out their issues. You can quarrel with a woman but don’t hit her. Don’t walk away and go get drunk and come back, eat, lie down and snore. It will definitely ruin your marriage especially when you have children. Those children would be the ones to suffer your inability to manage your marriage.
Wife: He has said it all. But at that time, I started praying over my temperament. As a human being, it will come and at times I would sit down and reflect and tell myself that I should not take certain things for granted. I called God to be my helper not to overreact. The most important thing is that, at the end of the day, we don’t call an outsider to come and settle matters between us. We have to sit back to resolve our differences and apologise to each other. As we promised, that no matter the quarrel, we should not sleep over it but should make up immediately, with that and the grace of God, we are able to sustain the peace in the family. To err is human but to forgive is divine.