- I’m shocked, says groom’s father
- I knew that people would be, ‘cos what I did is not common –Groom
CHUKS ONUOHA, Umuahia
Pa Daniel Kalu, father of Ejindu Daniel Kalu, the 42-year-old man who wedded two brides the same day in Amangwu, Amogudu, Abiriba, a renowned rural agrarian community in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State has expressed shock at what his son did. “We have not seen this kind of thing before,” he told Saturday Sun.
So shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. And, the two shall be one flesh. That is the biblical standard: a man and a woman. In traditional African society, the marital standard is not different.
But when the news broke out that a man had gone contrary to that age-old standard by wedding two brides at a go, people found it difficult, strange to believe, which is why the story has been trending on social media since it broke. His father and elders of his village find it even stranger. But the man at the centre of the storm is surprised to see people counting it as something abominable that he amended marital tradition a little by adding one more bride to the wedding train.
Comments of people expressing shock on the information about a egroom wedding two brides at the same time in Abiriba ruled the airwaves and social media last week but details about whether the wedding took place in a church or traditional setting was quite hazy. Some people even made reference to the biblical warning that said when strange things like this start happening then the end of the world is near.
Journey to Abiriba
To get the full details of what happened and where the wedding actually took place in Abiriba, you needed to travel. Abiriba is one of the popular towns in Abia State. It used to be said of its population that they were busy making money when other people were busy sleeping. If you are coming from Umuahia, it takes about two hours to get there by bus. The driver whose bus you boarded terminated the journey somewhere at a junction. After stepping off the locomotive, you began to make inquiries about the man.
The first person you asked, a woman, selling beverages and other provisions at a spot close to the junction, explained that the bridegroom had been living with the two women before he decided to ‘solemnise’ the union by wedding them. She added that although nobody knew whether he did that in the church or village square, the incident has been attracting a lot of attention.
But it was from the commercial motorcyclist who took you to the place that you eventually learnt that the wedding took place, not in a church, but in front of his father’s house. In fact, on arrival at the place, you met the man and his two wives in celebrative mood, entertaining guests who had heard of their unusual wedding and had come to see things for themselves.
Meeting the man of themoment
After exchanging pleasantries, Ejindu opened a refrigerator and without asking you what he should offer you, brought out a bottle of beer and placed it and a glass on the table for you. But on learning of your identity and purpose of visit, he sent for his Personal Assistant (PA), whom he insisted would need to be around before he could say anything.
Not long after his PA arrived, he emerged from the inner room with his two newly wedded wives dressed in white T-shirt with a red collar. They wore it on top of black skirts and blue jeans. They sat together on the settee facing you, with the groom sitting in the middle of the two women.
The interview was about commencing when his PA interrupted and pleaded with you to have it done in Igbo language for the purpose of clarity and understanding of everybody. You acceded to his request. But just when you thought the bridegroom was about telling the story of his strange wedding, he demurred by insisting that the traditional wedding gift which a visitor/well wisher usually give to newly married couple in Abiriba be given to him and his brides before he could talk.
As you did not know of this custom before hand and, was, therefore, unprepared for it, you earnestly pleaded with him to waive it. But when all entreaties to make him change his mind failed, you decided to leave him and go into the community to find out what happened.
But not before he had introduced himself and even revealed that he truly wedded the two women last Saturday. He also disclosed that he was aware that the incident would generate some controversy and was ready for it. But he insisted on not giving further details until he had been presented the traditional wedding gift.
I knew that people would be shocked
Earlier, he introduced himself as a businessman/trader that deals in provisions and building materials in Abiriba and Aba. Saturday Sun later learnt that he owns a shop at Orie Akwa, Abiriba, a nearby market. He said he had instructed his wives not to talk to anyone about the strange marriage but to refer all enquiries to him.
“I knew that people would be coming from all over the place to see me because what I did is not common. I decided therefore that anyone who comes here must give me a present as tradition requires,” he enthused. “Yes, I am the man that wedded two brides at a go last Saturday and you can see them here. Go back to your office and tell them that I am demanding the traditional present. It’s not as if I am hungry. This is my father’s house. I renovated it but I have my own house.”
With those remarks he refused to speak further on the matter until his traditional marriage present is given to him and his wives.
Father’s and others’ comments
At the Orie Akwa market, where 80-year-old Pa Daniel Kalu, Ejindu’s father operates a shop, he explained that the incident is strange to him as it is not part of their tradition for a man to wed two women at the same time.
“But the society is dynamic. What is happening these days never happened in our own time,” he said. “I married their mother from Igbere and until I completed the marriage rites she did not know where I lived, let alone sleep together with me. And I have nine of them, six males and three women. We have not seen this kind of thing before.”
A man from the community who insisted on remaining anonymous told Saturday Sun that Ejindu was already living with his first wife when he started dating another girl from a place not too far from the community. When this caused a big outcry, he decided to prove to people that he could have two of them by organizing a mock public wedding in which he presented each of them with a wedding ring while they, in return, equally presented him with a wedding ring, each, as an indication of their exchange of marital vows. You can see that he is wearing two rings on his ‘wedding’ finger. No priest officiated at the so-called wedding.”
The source further revealed that, “both of them have children for him. One has four children and the other three. When he decided to formally marry them he felt it would be unfair to marry one and leave the other. So, he felt that the best thing to do would be to marry the two together same day. The ceremony was actually in front of my house. It was not in church. The wedding attire was entirely their idea.”
Earlier, Ejindu’s father had revealed that before the public ceremony which is today being widely reported on radio and social media, he and Ejindu had gone to the parents of the two wives to conduct the traditional marriage rites. And, traditionally, after that he had the right to conduct the ceremony in any manner he chose. He gave his wives’ names as Ebere and Oyiridiya. They are from the neighboring villages of Amanta and Amaba, respectively, all in Abiriba.
Eighty-year-old Pa Egbuta Ochuru Ikwan, an elder in the community also joined others in saying, “Tufiakwa” (May this abomination never stand), adding that he has never seen or heard of something like that, since he was born.
“I was born in 1932,” he told our correspondent. “Since I was born I have never seen this kind of marriage in Abiriba. Time was when the man who would marry a young woman took responsibility for her upkeep and care until she became old enough for marriage. At such times, marriages were conducted in chastity. Premarital relationship was a taboo let alone marrying two women together the same day. What he did was to recreate history. But I will not encourage my children to do such a thing because that is not in line with both Christian and traditional beliefs.”