Sunday 29 April 2007

Four weddings and a lesbian

Strangely not fiction

You probably have heard it said, there is no smoke without fire; well, that is the accepted wisdom in all places but the home country - it is never smoke or fire, it is usually an explosion, how and why is usually unfathomable.

News is a strange commodity in Nigeria; the truth is hard to gather, rumour and speculation is rife, everything seems to be stranger than fiction, superstition hinders objective analysis, urban legends have no time to develop because all is sudden like a miracle and impossible to investigate like waiting for a miracle.

I do, I do, I do and I do

Take for instance, a "devout" Muslim man is allowed to take up to four wives but rarely have we seen the four wives taken at one wedding ceremony; one such ceremony allegedly took place in Kano State last weekend. The venue where the event took place has now been flattened because it did not meet planning regulations apparently.

Civil law enforcement would not have been too concerned about the event but religious law enforcement using a vigilante volunteer force of busy-body people working in parallel or sometimes at odds with the police are out enforcing Islamic law and are after the "bridegroom" and brides who all seem to have gone into hiding.

Funding fo(u)r weddings

The big gathering was not a wedding, we are told by the "groom", but a fundraising event to provide for the weddings of the four brides who presumably are singular brides of different grooms, in fact, the "groom" refers to the brides as sisters and it appears "Big Brother" was just trying to help out little sisters - plausible enough, one can accept that at face value - weddings are an expensive business in Nigeria.

Those who have besmirched the name of the "groom" will find a robust counter-offensive to clear the good name of this benevolent sibling, considering the "groom" until now never knew the adjective used to describe the fiesta ever existed, talk less of the practical consequences of the noun as a lifestyle.

Only in Nigeria

Now, gender equality still has a long way to go in Nigeria, and we cannot even begin to talk about sexuality issues where homosexuality is viewed as abominable and un-African - we know where they are coming from - heap on that the concept of Lesbianism and people go into hiding, buildings fall, Islamic courts are agog and maybe we have a news story or a Nigerian farce.

So, imagine a situation where the groom is anatomically female going by the name Aunty Maiduguri and the incredible is almost drowned out by the derisive laughter around the world - It is Nigeria, where things do happen so differently, you can always expect to be pleasantly surprised, shocked or confounded.

This is not a good time for sexual orientation rights in Nigeria and it is not enhanced by this unravelling saga.

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