Just like that, Coronavirus, a new viral global disease tagged COVID-19, descended and began to ravage the world, touching heads of government, ministers, celebrities, royalty, captains of industry and ordinary people. Nigeria is affected too and it has not been a palatable experience.
The COVID-19 index case was an Italian man who flew in on a Turkish Airlines flight for what was supposed to be a short business trip, but rather brought the plague to Nigeria. As more Nigerians imported the virus into the country and infected others, the government decided to take more stringent containment measures by imposing a lockdown and ordered the citizenry to take shelter at home. The essence is to make social distancing more effective and, therefore, aid the effort to prevent community transmission (which would be disastrous) and thereby break the spread of the virus in the country.
The stay-at-home order has had the beautiful effect of compelling family members to be together. As a result some interesting dramas are playing out in different homes. Ranging from the good, funny and bad to the annoying. Some women long abandoned by absentee husbands are gleefully celebrating the lockdown that has forced their husbands to be at home. In a recent viral video, a woman was praying and praising God for the lockdown, while shaking her Lamborghini, in apparent expression of gratitude for the lockdown which has enabled her get quality time in the ‘other room’ with her husband now compelled to spend time with her. I walked through a narrow path in Yaba area to check on Sister Alice, a church member who is bereaved and saw Mummy Efe as she is fondly called, a witty woman, sweeping and singing at the same time. The song was indicative of that of a wounded lioness that had survived a fight with a lion on heat. A wise person would easily deduce from the song that she was troubled in her spirit and now letting out the burden through a song of praise. Her husband had tried to be a husband now that he is compulsorily quarantined. Mummy Efe pushed him away and stood her ground, refusing to tango with him. Her songs were full of idiomatic expressions and the husband knew he was the clear target of the darts she was throwing with her words. Her husband was never seen at home except in the middle of the night when all home troubles were over. For some women, the bad treatment or neglect they got from their husbands before the coming of the lockdown accounts for the unwelcoming way they react to their husbands’ attempt to get close now that they have been forced to stay at home. Interestingly, power has changed hands. Some women are rejoicing because all the uncountable reasons for irresponsibility by men are almost over within the short period. One should not quickly be judgmental at this point because people that wore the shoe knew where it pinched them. To some, it is payback time. Those men who treated their wives like mere piece of cloth and preferred side-chicks to the mothers of their children, physically abusive men who took their wives to the gutters at the slightest argument because they were assured of ready oil rig exploration activities outside their matrimonial home are now biting their fingers in regret.
What should one say about men who are stingy at home, but are big philanthropists outside the home? Men, whose office romance are stronger, prioritised and admired while madam is considered fat, shapeless and old. For men who spend hours and hours at viewing centres, drinking and supposedly having a good time; men who acquire property without the knowledge of their wives; married men who behave as if they are still single and very available; men who move from one lounge to the other to watch all UEFA matches while their wives are left alone at home; all ‘busy bee’ husbands who leave their wives to do all the talking and raising of their social media age children alone, the chickens have come home to roost. It will take the grace of God for women who have passed through all these to welcome their men with warm embrace, now that such men have been forced to stay at home.
It is said that hell had no fury like a woman scorned. For men in this category, one can only imagine their faith if the same women decide to put their senatorial constituency on lockdown too, as a payback to the absentee husbands, who want to relax in the garden they refused to clear of weeds, prune the hedge and water the flowers. What if women pretend their men do not exist and mind the children as they have always been minding them? What will happen if they are turned into flatmates instead of husbands? When Sister Alice’s neighbour was celebrating the coming of COVID-19, people around her thought she was suffering from acute malaria or new signs of metal disorder not knowing she was pouring out and trying to mend her broken heart. Overwhelmed by the long mis-treatment, she bursted out: “The only lifelines I have in my marriage are my children.”
Inasmuch as the world is experiencing a turbulent time because of Coronavirus, a lot of women who have been wounded emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially are celebrating the virus, not because they are happy with the too many deaths recorded across the world, but for the burning fire they have passed through in marriages and relationships. In a video that went viral recently on social media, an African woman was seen in open celebration and welcoming the quarantine. She turned it into a serious praying session, thanking God that at least the quarantine session had united her with her husband again. She could be clearly heard thanking God that she could now spend time with her husband, instead of him going to small houses and staying late. Now, the man can help out with household chores. Another sister said: “This is the first time women know the whereabouts of their husbands.” When some women tell their stories, one will understand better why they are smiling and celebrating the coming of Coronavirus despite the consequences of the disease.
In another account, a lady wrote a poem about the virus, calling it all manners of good names like ‘Home Keeper, the Power that humbled China, Italy; United State, Germany and other world countries and a great reminder to all to focus only on God who has the final say.’
It is not only in Yaba, Lagos, that women are singing songs of neglect. In Asaba, Delta State, which is also in lockdown, a certain Mama Ejiro has also closed all her marital borders because of her non-performing husband. For years, he would not return home from January to December. Now Coronavirus has forced him to come home.
Dear all, the Coronavirus pandemic should teach us a big lesson. That lesson is that men should be responsible heads of households as Christ is the head of the Church. Now that God has allowed the virus to pass through the world, it has shown us our scorecards, highlighting our failures and pointing out our areas of weaknesses and where we need to make improvements. As the Bible says: “What a man sows, he reaps.” If you were busy chasing shadows and neglected your home as a husband, your reaping time is now. Government officials who criminally neglected to build our hospitals because they could afford to jet out at the slightest opportunity are now facing the music as they are taken for isolation to the very hospitals they failed to modernize, equip and staff with competent well-remunerated healthcare professionals. They are facing the music and running helter-skelter. This is the time for spouses to rebuild their marriages and make the bond strong. It is not a time for recriminations and retribution. A word is enough for the wise. Spouses please re-bond and make your unions strong again.