Wednesday 15 October 2008

Nigeria: Divorce mentions adulterous incest

The son of a gun

Far be it from me to profess I have the gift for prescience, but did I not write about the brood of African leaders and their antics a few days ago?

In that blog, I talked about an unguarded interview given a few years ago by Olugbenga Obasanjo the first son of the erstwhile President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and that had its fireworks.

That seems to have been the tip of the iceberg of a saga that is almost too unscriptable for words or unspeakable to the hearing.

Mr. Gbenga Obasanjo has been involved in a lengthy divorce from his wife of seven years and had filed a 50-paragraph affidavit stating a number of salacious, embarrassing, reprehensible and corrupt allegations – they are explosive to say the least.

Adultery and Adulterous Incest

Obviously, if a divorce petition includes other parties, the moral implications of adultery are somewhat muted, but for an affidavit to cite the petitioner’s father for adultery with his wife and his father-in-law for adulterous incest with his daughter leaves other mentioned affairs lying in the dust.

This affidavit would most likely be sworn to and presented as a valid legal document in this divorce; it makes it difficult to challenge the veracity of the claims – they must either be true or outrageous to the extreme.

If this were not fiery enough, the petitioner claims his marriage foundered because he tried to put a stop to the adulterous relationships. For these sexual favours, his wife was won numerous oil contracts and business deal for her chain of companies.

The petitioner exposes a network of enterprises that could only have existed through influence peddling, corrupt liaisons, patronage, nepotism and name recognition.

My grandfather is my father

There appears to be two children in the marriage and their supposed father casts doubt on their paternity by seeking a DNA test that brings in his father and father-in-law – how reprobate can this get?

Some matters need to handled with discretion especially where children are involved though this matter of a seemingly seriously wronged man by his wife, his father and his father-in-law is a powder-keg ready to shake Nigerian societal values to its core – this case cannot be an exception.

But this can almost be too reckless on the part of the petitioner, representing the very ugly face of acrimonious divorces – if the children were to find out that their father is either of their grandfathers rather than the husband of their mother – how damaging would that be for the children and to what end?

Worse still if both children were fathered by each of the grandfathers – my head hurts already – this is just as vindictive as anyone can get and it is a shame. It is however reminiscent of the acclaimed vindictiveness of the ex-President; that his son can be just as nasty is no surprise.

Sex abuse in Nigeria

Now, these are the issues I want to address that get no airing within Nigeria and in particular within Yorubaland; the rotten practice of paedophilia, child sexual abuse, incest and the patriarchal domination of women for use as objects of sexual gratification.

Literally a year ago, I was invited through blog-tagging to talk about my first sexual experience, it was interesting to read stories of people who only tasted the forbidden fruit in their late teens when they could decide, consent and willingly participate in the sexual activity that some religiously bound would call fornication.

Within that orgasmic excitement was another set of voiceless people damaged by experiences before they reached the age of 10 by trusted family members, relations, neighbours, teachers or servants – boys and girls abused for the sexual fulfilment of godless and evil adults – I was 7.

The lack of family support

The need to shed more light of these evils in Nigeria is pertinent because abused children never seem to get heard when they speak and never get justice when the abuse is exposed – too many families are too embarrassed to deal with what is essentially criminal in the extreme and usually psychologically damaging to the child that the scars may never heal into adulthood.

If, and I say, if Gbenga Obasanjo’s wife ever had an incestuous relationship with her father, one can only assume that she had been abused by the same man since she was a child. It is a difficult thing to contemplate let alone visualize – words fail me.

The other issue here is the family dynamic, we get brought up in homes where we not only respect our parents, and we fear them sometimes to the point of trembling such that very personal matters like this never get discussed.

The focus of the parents is so much on provision – food, shelter and education that other social aspects of development are left un-catered for, we are already in the School of Hard Knocks from what is supposed to be the safety of home – it probably makes us stronger but leaves scars deeper than can be healed over time for some.

Any boy or girl abused at home should be able to call on the protection of either of their parents or close family members and the hope that their ordeal is addressed with concern, sensitivity, empathy and fairness – for crying out loud – this is supposed to be your family.

Big-man sexual industry

The other matter is curtailing the untrammelled propensity for men to see every woman as an object of sexual gratification with the excuse that the woman was attracting the sexual violence meted out on her person.

It is unconscionable that there are men in authority who use their genitalia to acquire sexual favours so as to offer women positions they could and should be able to obtain by merit.

Unfortunately, for some women, they are left with no choice in the matters of survival because these “respected” patriarchs who have no scruples, self-respect or moral compass.

Society does have to take a stand against the sexual terrorisation of women from rape, through abuse to sexual favours to offer opportunity, it is unacceptable that this kind of behaviour be tolerated – and for all the respect and admiration I have for Bill Clinton, this topic does leave me particularly disappointed in his lapse in judgment with regards to Monica Lewinsky – it did little to free women from the sexual domination of men in power in both the West and everywhere else.

As for the paternity of children in a marriage, if that needs to be questioned – we have reached the epoch of depravity from which there is no redemption.

The whole matter is disgraceful for all concerned by commission, by omission or indifference.


Perspectives on the battered child syndrome in Nigeria – Citation

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