Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:49

Kobo Kobo Love

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Both the elove for salessays, “Reasons you are not married” and “Sustaining Intimacy: What women and Men need to know on the challenging areas of intimacy,” are one-sided in their analysis of a general trend – the commoditization of intimate relationships.  While they addressed the female angle at length, they omitted the male.

Many men these days string several virtuous women along with promises of marriage while they milk them dry.  Along with their mothers, these men demand all kinds of favors from their hopeful brides in return for wedding rings.  Further, men today are particular about the kind of women they can marry.  Qualifications include:

  1. Have relatives living abroad who can send money or ticket to groom-to-be.
  2. Live abroad or have the potential to live abroad.
  3. Be in the medical profession or mental potential to be in it.
  4. Have access to moneyed or high ranking government or corporate persons who can guarantee upward mobility to the groom-to-be.
  5. Have business network which groom-to-be can immediately fit into.

Failure to meet these qualifications often results in the woman being dumped; or worse, if she showed potential and was married, divorced or killed.  I wrote the following piece a while back but I believe it paints a balanced picture of this disturbing phenomenon.

Kobo Kobo Love

Whether you read the above title as kọ́bọ̀ kọ́bọ̀ (small change of the defunct Nigerian coin currency) or as kòbò kóbò (thief thief) love, it is bad news – the commoditization of love relationships.   Mates and potential mates are screened through the prism of earning power actual, potential, or imagined.  As such, partners are pressured into making money in order to be valued and appreciated.  The pursuit of relationships has become so conjoined with financial or monetary rewards that true love is threatened with extinction.  Picture these all too common scenarios:

Scenario 1

Nwanneka has been married to Obi for almost a year.  In that time, she has taken the nursing exam twice and failed both times.  She works as a CNA while studying for her exam.  The constant conversation in her home is as follows:

Obi:  You you you are are just just just a use use useless woman.  Or o o ordinary nurrrrsing exam youuu cannot pass.  You’re you’re your mates arrre already making making money.

Nwanneka:  (shamed) You know I am trying my best.  Last time, I almost passed.  If not for one point.  I will pass next time.

Obi: ya ya ya yeah rrright!  That’s wha wha what you you said the the the the last time.  Foooolish wo-wo-woman.  Iffff I I I I knew you were such such such a failure, I would nt have have have ma ma married you.  You arree just a wwwwaste of tttime.

Nwanneka crumbles in disgrace.  True, Obi had told her from day one, since he married her and brought her to America that he wanted her to continue nursing.  He said he had married her because she already had a nursing certificate.  Unfortunately, nursing in Nigeria was easy for her but here, try as she might, she couldn’t pass the exams.  Thus, Obi got more abusive even to the point of threatening to get rid of her to find himself a smarter woman.

Scenario 2: Down the street in her driveway, Laite is showing off her brand new Porsche to Justina.  Her husband, Fola is tinkering with his 2006 Nissan right next to them doing his best to ignore their conversation.

Justina: (fingering the gleaming exterior of the Porsche and peering through the windows) Ore, this must have cost a bundle o.

Laite: (sublimely pleased that Justina appreciated the cost of her ride, she underplayed the impact on her wallet) Chicken change.

Justina:  (thoroughly impressed) Ore mi, show me the way, now.  Or you don’t want me to look good beside you?  How did you land it?

Laite: (definitely not wanting her friend to ‘look good beside her’ yet trying to cover up) I did travel nurse in California and Arizona.  I even went to Maryland sometimes.  Then I got two home care individuals.  Then I pulled this and that together.  Ore, it took planning but once I saw that Porsche, I just knew I had to have it so men, I worked for it.

Justina:  (still unable to see how the money added up) And your husband added money?

Laite: (immediately offended, hissed not caring that said husband was within earshot) which husband?  Does he even have enough money to pay his own car note talk less of adding money to buy me a car?  Please, if you are asking because you want to follow my example, ask better question.  If all you want to know is whether that yeye man gives me money, take your joke somewhere else.  We are talking one thing, she’s bringing up another, (rolling her eyes, she switched the conversation to a more pleasant subject) do you want to go for a ride?

Fola: (under his breath) some people see trouble sitting quietly and begin to drag on its arms.

So, what do you think would happen if Nwanneka fails her exams a third time or Fola gets tired of being disrespected?  True, we can argue that money has influenced relationships since the beginning of time – women marry wealthy men who can take care of their children; men marry women of a higher class in order to move up in life; and parents give their children in marriage to upgrade their status.  But the flagrant disregard for common decency in love relationships these days is troubling.  Lives are compromised and even snuffed out for financial gain or loss.  Entering into relationships  have become little more than bread and butter decisions and people no more than chattel slaves to be valued by their earning capacity.  Love has been vanquished by greed and those who dare challenge its tyranny are eliminated.

I beg, in the words of crooner Seyi Sodimu, “love me jẹ́jẹ́, love me tender.”

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Abi Adegboye Ph.D

Abi Adegboye began writing as a young girl growing in western Nigeria.  In a culture that reveres boys, she was born the second of three girls.  Certain she had to be her family's 'boy,' she climbed trees to harvest fruit, dressed chickens for dinner, caught mice, and whatever else required male-handling.  She also loved to read, write, and draw.  Her initial efforts yielded publications in local newspapers and newsletters.  However, she was advised to get a day job which turned out to be as a professor of political science.  This opened to her, a different avenue for publication in her areas of research including African women and development, women migrants, and the impact of public policy on women’s political economy.

On her 40th birthday, she rekindled her creative writing with the publication of Butterfly, a picture book and Reflections on Nigerian Christianity, a social commentary.  Since then, she’s co-authored Owanbe! Yoruba Celebrations of Life (2010), a cultural anthology and published Wanna B Prez? 10 Life Strategies from President Barack Obama’s Journey to the White House (2012), a YA motivational YA book, and Renike comes to America (2016), a novella.  

Abi writes multicultural fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults.  She shares her writing through speaking engagements, performances, storytelling, and classroom visits. 

For more information about Ms. Adegboye’s publications, or to connect with her, visit her

Website at www.abiadegboye.com

Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/abiadegboyeauthor

Blog at http://www.abiadegboye.com/blog

And Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/abiadegboye



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