Tell us a bit about your background.
Samuel: My name is His Worship, Chief Magistrate Elekeson Samuel Elekezie. I am from Igbere in Bende Local Government of Abia State. Before becoming a lawyer and later magistrate, I will make bold to tell you that I was a taxi driver.
Martha: My name is Mrs. Martha Elekeson Elekezie. I am a nurse by profession and I equally hail from Igbere as my husband does.
While we thank God for keeping you alive all these years, could you tell us how you met before marriage?
Samuel: Our meeting was ordained by God because many years before we met when I was not even contemplating getting married, that was in the ‘70s, I was so sick and I went to one man by the name of Samuel Onwughara. He was a prophet of God. While he was praying for me over the sickness, he said he saw a pretty damsel behind me. He said the girl has two names. He didn’t know their full names or meanings but he said the names began with ‘M’ and the other one ‘N.’ He said that the girl was my wife-to-be and if I failed to marry her, I would be in trouble. He asked me to write what he said down, that it was from God. I wrote it down. About 10 years or so after that encounter with the prophet, I was at Igbere Secondary School, after being invited by the Principal for their inter-house sports. I was at the gate of the school looking for who would go and call my cousin for me. All of a sudden, I saw my wife-to-be. I told her I needed so-and-so person. At the same time, I asked her about her name and she said Martha Nwakaku. I then remembered what the prophet told me and shouted instantly, ‘You are my wife.’
She laughed. After all said-and-done, in the evening, I went to her parents and told them their in-law was around. They asked who the person was. I told them I was the one. That was how it started.
Was it the same thing with you, or are there details you would like to add, at least on your own part?
Martha: We met at our school’s inter-house sports preparation. I went outside the school gate to mend my sandals and he saw me and asked me about his cousin and also my name and that was all.
Was there any opposition from anywhere, relatives, friends, concerning your marriage?
Samuel: Yes! There was opposition from my wife’s side. One of her uncles did not like the relationship. Even the Polaroid picture we took on the first day we met at the inter-house sports, when I went to see her in their house, the man cut off my own side and gave her to give back to me. He said that I was a taxi driver, and there was no way a taxi driver could marry her sister. So, the man convinced other people and they vehemently opposed the relationship then. That was what I passed through initially.
Martha: Yes, there was a place he used to live with his mother before he came back to his community and my father warned us not to get married to people from the place. As a result of that, some of my people refused him to marry me until they found out that he was not from that place. My people also opposed the marriage initially because by then my husband was a member of a white garment church.
What made you decide to go for your wife out of the many ladies available for a pick within that period?
Samuel: I chose her because of her character. All my people including my late mother welcomed her when I introduced her to them. She is a very humane woman, when she was still in the village, if she saw old women coming back from the farms, she would assist them by carrying their firewood or fetching water from the stream for them. That endeared her to so many people in the village.
What qualities made you choose him above other eligible bachelors or suitors within that period?
Martha: He is tall and fair in complexion; I never wanted to marry a dark and short man. Not only that, I saw in him a promising young man who had a bright future.
What do you remember about your wedding day?
Samuel: It was a very bitter experience. What I remembered most was during that time, Igbere people had what I referred to as draconian law by saying that every wedding must be in Igbere. They said that if one went contrary to that rule, nobody would attend his wedding. For me then, I did not have any house at Igbere; neither did I have anybody I would go to his house to stay at Igbere. So, I decided to do the wedding in Aba where I stay. I saw the law as draconian then and opposed it, coupled with what I said earlier, that I decided to do the wedding in Aba. Because of that, it was only my mother-in-law that came from Igbere for the wedding; none of my relatives, including hers, attended. Igbere people in Aba also opposed the wedding being done outside Igbere. But because of me, the Presbyterian Church for the first time conducted a wedding on a Sunday. Late Rev (Dr.) A.A Otu, a cousin to Dr. Akanu Ibiam, championed my cause. But thank God, today that law has been abolished. The Lord used me to abolish it. I will never forget the incident.
Martha: What I remembered most was when I was marching to the altar my husband looked back because he was already at the altar and gave me a wink and that made me to miss my step.
Could you remember your first misunderstanding in marriage and how you handled it?
Samuel: To tell you the truth, there is no remarkable misunderstanding I can remember since I married my wife. There is none; God has been helping us.
Martha: I could not remember our first misunderstanding, but I know we had some. But we were able to resolve them between us. We had never invited a third party to help us resolve our problems.
What were the major roles each of you played in the raising of your children?
Samuel: Two of us being core Christians and my wife being a member of the Scripture Union, made us raise them by the Word of God. Both of us have been trying our possible best and my wife, being a nurse, played a prominent role in raising them.
Martha: We had been able to raise our children with the fear of God. I was the one at home taking care of the children while he provided and still provides the financial backing.
How did you successfully handle your finances as a family?
Samuel: Everybody in the family including the children has separate accounts; we don’t have a joint account. But I remain the sole administrator. However, I don’t take decisions on my own. If we have any problem or need, I call a meeting where a decision would be taken on how to raise money to solve it. Even though I’m the sole administrator, in terms of finance, I don’t allow anything to be their problem.
Martha: My husband is the breadwinner; he gets and provides the cash and he makes sure we do not lack.
What’s your advice to people who are yet to get married?
Samuel: My advice is that marriage is an institution from which you keep on learning and learning from. You cannot graduate from it because nobody has matured in the institution of marriage. This is because you can be with somebody and you say you’ve understood him or her, the next day he or she could change. So, it’s a question of being patient and honest.
Martha: I have one piece of advice: whatever made you say you love someone, maintain that till death no matter the circumstance.