Singer, songwriter and businesswoman, Muma Gift Eke, popularly known as Muma Gee, has opened up like never before.
In this explosive no-holds barred interview, the mother of three talks about her growing up, sex and female genital mutilation. She equally reveals the unpleasant underbelly of her collapsed marriage, as well as plans for the girl child. Enjoy it.
What is new about Muma Gee?
That is the Muma Gee Foundation. It has always been my nature since I was a child to give. I got that trait from my mum; it is like a lifestyle for me. Mum has always been a positive force in my life. I watched her share the last pinch of salt she had; she was selfless, up to the point of sharing her wrappers with those that did not have. When I hit stardom, I realised that one of the things I did unconsciously was giving. Today, I am a success story and I ask myself, ‘why did God single me out for success?’I am thankful to God, and that is why I can’t stop giving Him the glory for elevating me, and I really can’t pay Him back aside the praises and gratitude I give to Him. However, I realised that by giving, I am also doing His work. But it is not all about giving gifts, money and shelter. It is also about sharing knowledge that will empower people. I have realized that it is my duty to support, protect and advocate for the girl child, and I am going beyond the conventional. The voice of the girl child needs to be heard because she is the custodian of the family, and the family is the smallest unit of society. Once we have strong families, the future of our society is secured. But with the way things are going, I am afraid and that is the reason I have decided to catch them young; we must secure the future by first securing the girl child. The kick-off date for the projects is November 20, where we will have ‘The Muma Gee pre-inaugural lecture’. Expected to speak are Dr. Joke Sanwo-Olu, wife of the Lagos State governor, who is also the mother of Lagos. She definitely will have a lot to tell us. We also have Senator Florence Ita Giwa, Mike Omotosho, Data Okorodudu and Dino Melaye, among a host of others.
Why the girl child, were you a victim of abuse growing up?
Well, a few times. Because I am a girl child and a woman, attempts have been made even by my fellow female who claimed to be my friend, to abuse me. I did not know she was a lesbian, but of course, she did not succeed because I fought back with my life. Talking about males, yes, it has happened and it came from people I trusted. I have been harassed, but never been raped. Also, I am a victim of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and it has had emotional and psychological effects on me. I spoke to BBC about it and they asked if I was willing to speak as a celebrity about being circumcised and I am like why not? I have been keeping quiet about it based on ignorance. I must confess that, until I grew into a girl, I never knew that it had a big implication; but I just knew I grew up not chasing men. And no matter how ‘beautiful’ a man is, you can’t seduce me. Never! Unless I choose to get laid, no man can get me laid, even if it is rape! If you like, be Goliath, you won’t succeed! I remember growing up and my friends shared their feelings like, ‘I wish my boyfriend is around and he could just feel me’. I don’t feel that bullshit around me, and in my imagination I am like ‘are these girls okay?’ I did not know that these were natural things women experience, but was not happening to me. Now, the question would be ‘was I not having boyfriends before I got married and when I got married, how did I survive it?’ That is why I said that unless I am moved by a man’s affection for me, there is no way he could get me in bed. That feeling of being loved must radiate in me before I submit to a man. Aside that, I am not crazy about ‘man matter’ and I am not a lesbian either; I am a Christian and my upbringing will not allow that, but circumcision took its toll on me. Ironically, at first, it was working for me as a young girl because I wasn’t messing around. The only messing around I did was being too passionate about music. Back in secondary school, I was always involved in music and when I got back home, there were shows and I always wanted to showcase my talent, and my family felt I was going out to sleep with men. I don’t give a hoot about men. In fact, I don’t feel sexual urge. It is so difficult for me and I consider it a waste of time. Before I got married, I knew the duty of a woman was to satisfy her husband sexually and otherwise, so there was need to do that and have kids. In my culture, a woman cannot be barren; it is your duty to have kids. It took like three years after my marriage for me to have a baby. Those three years were spent on getting acquainted to the new system I was going into because I was not used to it. I won’t say I was a virgin at the time. By the time I got married and my marriage went sour, I chose to be celibate. Men just don’t matter to me when it comes to sex because I am circumcised. It may be negative in some way, but in some other way it has helped my life. So, I am a victim of what the girl child goes through because female genital mutilation is painful. Though, the practice is dying out, it is still being secretly practiced. These and more are the issues the Muma Gee Foundation will tackle.
What are the objectives of the Muma Gee Foundation?
The Muma Gee Foundation has a strong focus on the girl child. We are into human capital development and youth mentorship geared towards productivity and enhancing economic growth and nation building. We will also launch a campaign against domestic violence and rehabilitate victims as well as attend to social or situational needs of the girl child and widows. We equally want to create awareness about Female Genital Mutilation and put a stop to it. That is what the voice of the girl child in Africa is all about. We are creating awareness about social vices like prostitution, drug abuse, violence and related issues. We are also working with law enforcement agencies and educating young people on the dangers and implications of anti-social behaviour, organizing concerts and talk shows as a strategy to harnessing the skills of youths. Also, we shall develop opportunities and platforms for skills acquisition and empowerment of the girl child, and set up rehabilitation centres to take care of the needs of the girl child. We shall be holding counseling workshops and conferences as well.
You took time off your career to start a family. However, you and your hubby have drifted apart. Do you have any regrets making that sacrifice?
Yeah, I did actually, but I am a deep person and as such, I have a deep understanding of my responsibility as a woman. I believe that one of the duties I have to fulfill here on earth is motherhood, and that includes getting married and building a family with a partner. In fact, where I come from, we do not believe in divorce or separation. Coupled with my Christian background, it was a huge disgrace that my marriage failed; but God in heaven knows I did my best and the fault wasn’t from me. If you have two partners and one wasn’t ready to settle down; and per adventure, you get involved and are willing to sacrifice everything to make sure the family works, but this partner just picks his bag and says, ‘I am done with this stage of my life, I am going kids or no kids!’ I was so shocked I called it the 8th wonder of the world. I never dreamed or imagined a situation where I, who has been so committed, was being treated so shabbily. And the most devastating part of it was to have built a career for years which I put on hold just to kick-start something, and this person wakes up one day and says look ‘I can’t go on with this’. Then I got the shocker of my life when I read in the news that I was frolicking with different men. That was the ultimate bullshit! Tony, you are an attractive man, and you knew me when I was younger, and per adventure you could have made a pass at me if I was such a person or I could have made a pass at you. I have always been a reserved person. I may look crazy and wild on the outside, but for a man to come up with such lies is outrageous!
I have never drunk alcohol nor prostituted since I was born, and even as a single woman, I never messed around with men. I have always been a focused person, and then suddenly someone is saying all these lies against me? It was a campaign of calumny. He did not just say that, he went online and posted it just to dent the image I had built over the years. It was crazy! But trust me, as a woman who understands how God functions and the spiritual gifts God has bestowed upon me, I have the understanding that whatever happens to me is not by accident, and trust me, I have no regrets whatsoever. Why? I have these three lovely children. When you see them, you will know that the grace of God is truly upon my life. I give God the glory and I maintain a cordial relationship with their dad. When you see my ex and I (hanging) out for dinner or something, you would think he is my boyfriend. However, I have closed that chapter of being that close to him. No, we can never be (that close) again.
Would you give marriage another chance?
People say ‘never say never’ but the black dungeon that that ex put me through made me go blank for men. For years, I lost it for men. It is difficult even though I am trying to revive myself; but you know what I say always, the grace of God is upon my life and I am learning again to see how I can give love a chance and how I can forgive men again. One guy made me hate men, and trust me, because of my spiritual belief and because I am on a spiritual mission on earth, God will always direct my steps; and if He says I should remarry, I will remarry. If He says I am not going to remarry, I am cool with that. Marriage for me was bondage; it is supposed to be a thing of joy, but I saw hell! In fact, as a tourist, the worst place I have ever been to was the London Dungeon. My marriage experience was worse than the London Dungeon, so just imagine me going back there. I am working on myself. I wish that I had a psychologist to work with. I see my kids growing everyday and they teach me a lot; and I am like a child again growing with them especially when I help with their homework. It is fun to me. We go swimming together. My only regret is that just one man made me hate the male folk. I am sorry to say that, but by the grace of God, I shall overcome and flourish and maybe, fall in love again and experience happy married life. I look forward to that because my dream about marriage had been to grow old with my spouse. And if God says yes, He will make that man available. But meanwhile, going back there will be like drilling a six-inch nail through my head.