Going to Nigeria In Search of a Wife?

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

Until recent times, eminently marriageable women were not difficult to come by. And one could suppose that it was also the case in terms of finding eminently marriageable men. It was a time when marriage was considered a union between two self-respecting families. Today, more so in the last two decades, things have changed. But of course, things have been changing since the dawn of time.

The Nigerian society, as with societies elsewhere, is not socially and culturally stagnant. We see the effects of westernization and globalization and other internal and external factors that pull and push at the larger African society. And no where are these factors more pronounced than in Nigeria. In the next couple of weeks, one may make submissions on such cause-effects; but for now, the focus is on the idea, and the futility, of going to Nigeria to find a wife.

Today, finding a wife — not just a lover, a mistress, a concubine or a booty call — can be a difficult task. This has been true especially in the last ten or so years with the deepening poverty, pervasive hopelessness, scarce political goods and services, cultural and social desperation, and the widening gulf between the rich and the poor. And all these, in so many ways, have contributed to the desperate need to go into exile or to find a mate who lives abroad.

In spite of the current putrid and abysmal conditions, Nigeria is still home to some of the most disciplined, well-behaved, well-schooled and well-brought up women. To find, to meet or be introduced to such women can be challenging. In order words, how to find them or be found is not as easy as it used to be — at least not in any of the big cities or medium sized towns and villages. Therefore, in places like Lagos, Ibadan, Jos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Zaria, Enugu and Aba, we find that more men are postponing marriage.

Some men are postponing marriage because, amongst other reasons, they do not have the financial wherewithal. Although financial stability is not the sole reason for marriage, it is a major factor most men, and women, consider before they agree to a marital union. In today’s Nigeria (1999-2010), five groups of men have all the money they need, or at least enough money to spoil a woman five times over: the politicians; traders; 419ers and the dream merchants; bankers and investors; and the continental hustlers.

A typical Nigerian senator, governor, banker, 419er or hustler will not hesitate throwing 10, 15 or 25 thousand dollars at the feet of his lover. As part of the package she may also be entitled to a car, a house or apartment, two or three foreign trips a year, clothing allowance and whatever else that needs to be done to keep her happy and wishful. She may or may not be in college, she may or may not have a job, she may or may not be older than 20. This sort of pact has gone beyond sugardaddism; it is now a way of life.

It is to this pool of women Nigerians living overseas are likely to go home to when searching for a wife: women who have a sense of entitlement; women who are used to being showered with hundreds and thousands of dollars at an instant; women who control men with the allure of sex; women who wears some of the finest clothes the best boutiques in Dubai, London, Paris, Tokyo, New York and Berlin can offer; and women who drive some of the best cars in Nigeria.

These are women who are used to a life of freedom, risks and opulence. What does a typical Nigerian living anywhere in the West have to offer such women? Mind you, the typical Nigerian living overseas (like me) is a struggling man: living from paycheck-to-paycheck. Some of us work 40-80 hours a week; we work on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and on holidays and even the graveyard shifts. We have nothing to offer these Sisi Eko, yet, we desire them.

Depending on where you live in the United States, if you make less than $80,000 per annum, do not waste your time chasing after these Sisi Eko. You are not man enough to man these women. And when it comes to sex, you will have nothing to teach them. First, most of them no longer have a sense of wonder; second, they have been poked every which way; and third, you may be dealing with a blackhole.

There are no reliable data that points to the frequency of divorce within the Nigerian enclaves in the US, Canada, UK and elsewhere in the west. What is however clear, is that, the numbers are significant. For instance, casual conversations with friends and friends of friends in the United States show that 4 out of every10 marriages folds within 3 years, 6 in 5 years, and 9 in 7 years. The wahala starts within 9 months of arriving in the US; and it reaches its boiling point once the Alien Registration (Green) Card is received.

Not minding what I have submitted, some men area able to find true love with these Sisi Eko. Nonetheless, I would rather you find a wife wherever you may be living in the west. If you are currently dating a Nigerian, an African, African-American, Indian, German or Korean, please marry her. If you would rather marry someone from same or similar background, then, by all means stay away from the Sisi Eko. Something else: don’t go to Church looking for a Church-girl; the odds favor you in the Vegas strip joint.

And now the men. My female friends have also allowed that finding a man, a real Nigerian man for a husband is a problem the womenfolk have also been dealing with for ages. Vera Ezimora, that fine and free-spirited writer it was who summarized it this way:

Marrying a Nigerian man is like buying a car from an auction. What you see is NOT what you get. What you see is a fine man who promises to give you the world and beyond; what you see is an honest and mature man who is secure in you and what you both share. What you get is a man who cannot control his sexual urges and wants sex on demand; what you get is an insecure man who panics at the mere mention of another man’s name. What you want is for him to change, and what you do not get is change.”

Vera went on to say that “Investing in marriage is like buying a computer out of the auction; it is not guaranteed to work, there is no warranty, a return policy is non existent, a refund is most definitely out of the question, you are guaranteed that tons of viruses would be visiting you and crashing your system, the price you pay for it has nothing to do with its quality or the services it would render, hackers would definitely be accessing your computer, no company would want to insure it because they see it as a definite “liability”, and it will come with missing parts that cannot be replaced because they are off the market.”

As for me, well, I am still at my game: going to art and music festivals; feasting my eyes at women on the dance floor; reading and catching up with movies. Every so often, however, I cook for friends and family members. But mostly, I talk intermestic politics over a glass of wine and a bowl of pounded yam and egusi soup with assorted meats…still single and available and looking for a wife for down the road. No Sisi Eko for me, though. Oh no…just the neighborhood girl.

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Mamaebi May 23, 2012 - 5:25 pm

I am African American and have been married to my Igbo king for 11 years. His brothers never thought it would work and are insanely jealous of our relationship and how all the elders in his village love me because my husband taught me the culture, language how to cook the food, greet etc; Our children are proud to be Nigerian American and have been raised village style. When it comes to the family my husband leads and I follow. We had some hard times is the first 7 years and most of it had to do with financial struggles and outside family nonsense but now we are more in love then we were a decade ago. In 2 more years we will be ready to move back to Nigeria and I am more then ready for it.

Patricia December 16, 2010 - 8:45 pm

This article is interesting and somewhat commical in respect to the attitude of westerner women’s attitudes. You are merely judging western women’s attitudes based upon your cultural upbringing and background. There are admirable and undesirable traits in all cultures, which we view as good or bad depending upon how we were raised. I love some aspects of the African cultures, and I do not like other aspects of it.

One sentence I liked in about what ADEVEX said is “Observation is linked to your how well you can judge character beyond what you see”. I would like to add not only should we judge a potential spouse beyond what we observe, but stay in a relationship “long enough” to allow the true character of the person to surface. Usually, the good and “ugly” side of a person’s character, which we all have, will come out given the right circumstances and pressure. After a man, or woman, see’s the true nature of a person’s character, they can decide if they can live with that person based on that–not what part of the world someone is from.

dmyles December 1, 2010 - 4:56 pm

I find this article very interesting.. Its great to see the writer’s point of view on the topic. I would love to see statistical data supporting any claim passed on as truth.. (75 out of 100 people surveyed for example) i have been married to a Nigerian man for almost 13 years.. I am very submissive and supportive. Things were not always easy but hard work can be applied to succes in almost anything..

Dongo October 4, 2010 - 9:25 pm

The mistake men make is to bring women from Nigeria to Europe. If you cannot find a decent woman to marry in Europe then it could be your fault for being too fussy.

Some women bring men to London and such men normally run away after dem eyes don open. Why must you go for what you want than what suits you. Just be reasonable like Sabella.

Don’t carry what you cannot handle. Most Nigerian men are too greedy for beautiful women. I think it is better to abstain from sex during courtship; otherwise you may not be able to see signs of incompatibility. Sex can cover your eyes and get you in a big fat mess.

ADEVEX September 16, 2010 - 3:38 pm

Man don tire sef. Marrying is 95% luck and 5% observation. Luck is linked to your destiny. Observation is linked to your how well you can judge character beyond what you see.

Ayobami May 20, 2010 - 8:27 am

We are getting it all missed up here, there is no problem with marrying anybody from any part of the world, however, if one chooses to marry from among his nationals, well, I don’t think there is any crime committed, if one further decides to go back home to find love, its also not a crime and whether one’s marriage will work or not does not depend on where you shopped for the wife. The reason why men ship in women from home is because of the overly westernized attitude of the home girls in the US, some of the gurls here in Nigeria are also catching the flu. The highly educated and widely traveled children of politicians, top government officials and business magnates are in this bracket, then we also have the category of girls you are talking about, who have been exposed to the good life that comes with sleeping with big men, they are not good for any man regardless of the location, they are public limited companies and their stocks are sold on the floor of the stock exchange, to the highest bidder. Nevertheless, I need to point out that when men come home to find a wife, they always look in the wrong places. The girl your sister brings from her Uni campus to come and spend the weekend with you is not a good girl. The good one’s do not leave their school to go and hang out with some friend’s brother. The good one’s are not exactly as funky as you would want them to be, they are probably too busy building a serious career to pay attention to some bloke visiting home from the US. Whether you agree or not, the good ones go to church and you can still find them there, its just that the men coming home to shop for wives are themselves too westernized to pay attention to the good girls. Moreover, they also have issues any woman regardless of their location may not find it easy to put up with, if your US based ex girlfriend will not take shit from you, why would you expected your imported wife to take it ? The good thing I know about some of the girls at home is that, some of them are from backgrounds where divorce is no issue for consideration, they will try and make it work. I believe there is no need to campaign that brothers should not go to Nigeria to marry, we dont have to put up with a deluded westernized Nigerian girl just because we are afraid the ones at home are no better. I live in Nigeria, and if you ask me, I will tell you there are tonnes of decent ladies in Nigeria who are not hell bent on relocating to the US so that they can dump their husband and move in with a boyfriend ( they have good jobs) they are single and they are decent, may be, they are too decent for some of the men coming home to look for virgin mary and they are determined to make their marriage work.

jacob chuks May 16, 2010 - 4:50 pm

Sabongo i will eat ur food any time. Im divided on where ur passion really lies…..is it cooking which u damn good at or writing?


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