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Polygamy is as old as humanity … I do not know at what point in time the Christian civilization legislated polygamy out of existence. All that I know is that at a certain point in time, that time honored tradition of polygamy flourished to the benefit of mankind. It was a realistic age. It was a forthright age. It was the golden age of realism. King David of the Old Testament could not even hold himself. When he could not bear the heat, he succumbed to the spectacular lure of polygamy. God never punished him for that …

Christianity and its practitioners are sometimes the epitome of double standards. Yet, they mount the higher ground to preach superior moral values … The advent of monogamy has led to prostitution. It has led to matrimonial infidelity. It has led to late marriages or the non-existence of it. It has led to serial divorce and has broken more homes than when the fine ideal of polygamy ruled the world.

Jim Baker was a fine gentleman. A high-flying televangelist who stood tall behind the pulpit and the television tubes from where he preached against marital infidelity, fornication, adultery and everything so associated. At the height of his career, he had free access to the White House. He preached to presidents and provided for all the spiritual needs of men of timber and caliber. But behind the scene, he was a serial adulterer …

Reverend Jesse Jackson too. He was well loved. He was well respected. He was well heeled. At nearly the age of 70, while still married and preached one man, one wife, he fell in love once more. He made a lady pregnant and kept it secret. It was only after the story leaked that he sought redemption and forgiveness. Other prominent Americans who preached monogamy such as Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and Henry Hyde of the Clinton impeachment saga had practiced polygamy while pretending to be married to one wife at a time.

Polygamy by other names is very pervasive in the American culture, and in fact the culture of most Western civilizations. Still, it is highly frowned at in public places and official government settings. A poor man from the west who is caught practicing polygamy in whatever guise is treated with leprosy hate …

Honorable Henry Hyde was the Chairman of the US House of Representatives Ethics Committee which sat in judgment over President Bill Clinton’s sexual recklessness, particularly, the Monica Lewinsky issue. At the height of it, words leaked (thanks to Larry Flint, the publisher of the Hustler Magazine) that Mr. Hyde himself, while still married, had had an affair with a married woman. His retort, which bordered on absurdity and laughable tongue in cheek explanation, was that the incident, which happened when he was in his early 40s was a case of youthful indiscretion and exuberance. Americans, especially the Democrats, almost laughed their heads off. He could not continue chairing that all-important committee and it was thereafter that the impeachment saga of Bill Clinton began to have a K-leg [Nigerian English used figuratively to refer to something that has gone awry, as in: “his plans have developed K-leg.” – ed.].

Senator Bob Dole married his present wife, Elizabeth, after his first wife (who nursed him back to good health after he had suffered amputation from World War II wounds), had been abandoned by him. We could go on and on to point to examples of men of substance who have married severally (or maintained a double standard life of one woman at home and another outside, in the Western world, thereby circumventing the Christian doctrine of one man, one wife at a time.) Newt Gingrich, Larry King (King is living with his seventh wife), are shining examples. Those who preach monogamy[-only] are thoroughbred hypocrites.

They preach one thing and practice the other. You find most of them in Western civilization. Unfortunately for us in Africa, we tend to ape Western Christian culture (marriage-wise) without a thorough scrutiny. We ape Western civilization in all its ramifications, without question. Is monogamy really in tune with our traditional values? Is it in tune with our culture?

Do Africans have strong social value systems or established mechanisms put in place by government to check the devastating impact of monogamy[-only] on the entirety of our social lives and value systems? Has monogamy really worked in Africa? When shall we be realistic to call a spade a spade in order to do away with a blatant hypocrisy forcibly foisted upon us by that strange, alien culture which Chinua Achebe lamented in his classic novel “Things Fall Apart”? Yes, that alien culture which put a knife on the things that held us Africans together, for which reason, things fell apart.

Let’s therefore pause, and pay deserving tribute to the great people of Oyo kingdom whose study shows they have very low HIV/AIDS incidence. The HIV/AIDS prevention team, of which I was a member, was startled at the low rate of infection within the kingdom.

We had asked questions relating to our mission before observing our surroundings with clinical attention. Yes, Oyo kingdom in the present day Oyo State of Nigeria – that place where the Alaafin reigns as it would please his ancestors – has a low rate of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. We were pleasantly surprised at our discovery which had nothing to do with any special education or enlightenment program, that the absence of HIV/AIDS within the kingdom has a direct corollary to polygamy. We discovered that the people of Oyo town and its entire two local government areas are custodians of the finest variant of polygamy.

We saw it with our two naked eyes. We saw, because we lived amongst them for days sometime in 2006 – while on a special assignment for Africa AIDS Watch. There, our team saw men of little means, oblige nature. We saw Okada riders have as many as three wives. We saw young girls in their teens bear somebody’s Mrs. [to take the husband’s name – ed.] – with pride. Our team saw grown-ups – university educated women of diverse professions, bear someone’s Mrs. as second, third or even fourth wives.

We observed them live happily with their spouses. We saw even the husbands of this bevy, stray into town as occasion would permit, to look for concubines. We saw them all and we wandered in deep thought – of an aspect of our culture – an aspect which has never ever been taken into consideration when analyzing the cause(s), effects and prevention of HIV/AIDS amongst the people of rural Africa.

The result is that in Oyo, we found a very low rate of sexual immorality and promiscuity. We saw that there were few, if not a complete absence of, kids born out of wedlock. We also noticed that the schools brimmed with healthy, appropriate school-going age population. We saw few or no AIDS- or HIV-positive people. The people’s internally/naturally generated HIV/AIDS prevention mechanisms have been carefully implemented through the prescriptions of the natural laws of nature. When men and women of marriage age do not stay in perpetual wait for the right partner that may never show up, vices associated with sex disappear.

In most traditional African settings, men of worth – successful farmers, wrestlers, warriors, great hunters, and traders – married as many wives as possible. Because of this and many more, the paupers amongst members of the community aspired to be like the successful ones. Getting the best women in town as a trophy made possible by success therefore became an added incentive for young adult men to work hard. That was what we saw manifested in Oyo kingdom.

I feel very sorry for Africans who ape social prescriptions defined by Western standards. You would often hear a supposedly educated African talk and make wild references to Western ways without facts to corroborate. “If it were in America, this would not happen.” “If it were in Europe this or that would not happen.” It’s all lies. Westerners who introduced Christianity with powerful evangelization were masters of deceit.

Fashion that at the time they were preaching Christianity with the concomitant admonition for man to love his neighbor in one breath, they had a gun in the other hand pushing deep into Africa in an unbridled conquest. Thus with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other, the progenitors of Western civilization wreaked the greatest havoc ever recorded in human history against Africa. As we write, Africa and the entire world is yet to recover from this. The result is that Africans have without discrimination thrown the most important segments of our cultural values overboard. How can we succumb easily without hesitation, without scrutiny, without question?

How could we have imbibed Western culture so wholesomely without resistance? How could we have in good conscience jettisoned important aspects of our culture in order to please the white man?

Polygamy is an essential part of African traditional values. It’s part of our culture. It is the jettisoning of it that has led to unimaginable crimes in today’s African setting. It is wicked for men of worth, of circumstance and means not to have more than one wife, or as many as they could sustain as was the case in the good days of our ancestors.

It is wicked and a punishment on the womenfolk to have been abandoned into solitude, into rejection, into poverty with the allure of prostitution. And talking of prostitution, if there were no buyers, would there have been any sellers? The menfolk who mount the pulpit of higher moral compass to preach against social evils as prostitution, are even the worst culprits. They abet that crime which directly or indirectly is associated with the idea of monogamy.

They encourage the debasing of our womenfolk by preaching against one sin during the day while helping in the propagation of that same sin at other times, usually, at night. It is wicked on the part of successful African men or those of means not to have embraced the time tested values inherent in polygamy. It is only a crime if the women so involved kick against it. For in the innermost hearts of most women, it would have been better to get married to a polygamist than to stay unmarried or marry a man whom they do not love.

At the time the Right Reverend Jesse Jackson was having his own affair with a woman other than his wife, he was the official spiritual counselor to the then beleaguered Bill Clinton. He would counsel Clinton in the day only to, at night, retire to the warm embrace of his lover. The result of that dalliance, you already know.

While President John F. Kennedy was the commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces and the loving husband to Jackie, he was having a running affair with Marilyn Monroe.

Every successful man or woman on earth that we can recollect has at one time or the other been connected with multiple sex partners. Even Jimmy Carter, the righteous-looking Baptist gentleman at least conceded to have once looked lustfully at a woman. The point is that even our role models have come to live by example that sexual variety is the spice to life. The multiple partners of the Reagans are legendary … Ronald was the master of it all. I could go on and on.

If the aforementioned examples were the cases, why then the loud hypocritical disposition towards polygamy, particularly by men and women of substance? Why do journalists and supposedly people of conscience shout at the rooftops in protest whenever a man who society thought ought to have only one wife takes a second, third and maybe more wives? Leading us now to ask the salient question: Is it better to be a serial divorcee than a celebrated polygamist? Why can’t mankind be realistic – call a spade a spade?

Why can’t biological man be the way God created him? Why shouldn’t he get into the world to increase and multiply? African woman, yield to the enticement of the African man. Women (African women in particular) please, be the way you ought to have been before the Westernization (in Africa) of [the one] man-[one] woman relationships. Don’t be shy about it. The powerful ones amongst humanity have seized the center stage of [the one] man-[one] woman relationship while the weak amongst them sulk on end and would rather resort to moral prescriptions of Western standards as a cover or a helping hand. Anything that is not natural is not natural, full stop. It’s time to roll back those aspects of Western culture that appear counterproductive and or strange to our cultural values.

Godson Offoaro
“Let’s Get Real, Monogamy Has Collapsed”
The Daily Sun (October 18 & 25, 2010) (edited)

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October 2010
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