The high profile wedding of perhaps the biggest female pop artist in Nigeria at the moment which was contracted less than three years ago has been rocked to its very foundations within the past week. I have read many accounts of what happened and watched the video of Tiwa Savage’s interview concerning the matter. I have also read varying comments from different quarters- from celebrities and regular folks alike; from the amusing to the ridiculous to the downright insensitive.
One thing I have marveled at in all of these is our penchant for passing judgement quickly on matters we know little about. Even before the video of Tiwa’s interview was released, many had based their judgement on the series of comments made on Instagram by her estranged husband, wasting no time in lampooning the singer as a loose woman who was more interested in advancing her career than building a home. And when the singer came up with her own side of the story, there was a clear shift in opinion as many of those who had hitherto berated her as the faulty party swiftly made a U-turn and began to verbally attack TeeBillz instead. It’s what you get when you have a fickle-minded audience playing judge and jury in your case.
I have followed all of the drama with some measure of amusement and annoyance. I am amused because virtually all 180 million or more of us have turned marriage counselors. Everybody has something to say about the Balogun’s marriage. It’s no different from comments made by enthusiastic football lovers during a football match and how we always feel as though we know exactly the strategy a coach should have adopted and who he should have played in what position or substituted to win a match. I am irritated because of the glaring hypocrisy that has become second nature to us in this part of the world. Many of those who have brutally criticized Tiwa’s choice of a partner or handling of her marriage are doing no better in their marital lives.
Let’s face it, the only reason there’s a lot of noise about the couple is because they are celebrities. Many marriages the world over (and Nigeria is not an exception) are in troubled waters. The difference between the rest of the world and us is that we have been taught that it is a taboo for a marriage to crash. We have perfected the art of pretence. It’s sickening. Many marriages are only “working” because of the fear of how those in the union would be perceived by the society if things fall apart. Most of what we have here are marriages of convenience. Family and friends already we know we are married, they bought that expensive aso-ebi and danced to owambe music. We have posted fairy tale pictures of a perfect union all over social media, and so how do we tell the world that it was all a farce? No, we would rather die than admit it.
We live in a hypocritical society. One that expects you to murmur “fine” as the staple answer to “How are you?” because we really don’t want to hear your problems, we have many of our own behind the fake smiles and kisses. Some of those who have been less than empathetic to the issues the young couple are going through have never known any semblance of love in their own marriages. It would hardly surprise me if some of the women who have been overly critical of Tiwa, branding her a less-than-virtuous woman are being pummeled by their spouses everyday. It’s the way our society works; tactfully distract attention from your own problems by having plenty to say about another’s.
Cases of divorce are on the rise here in Nigeria. Young couples who have been married for less than five years are calling it quits every day, yet we have little qualms playing judge and jury when the log appears to jut out of another’s eye. Our level of hypocrisy is of stratospheric dimensions. It’s mind-boggling really. Even many of our parents who have been married for decades can hardly boast of being truly happy in their marriages despite the length of their union. The reality is that with the married it’s almost always impossible to know the entire truth when things head south. Now that we have two different versions of what transpired, who do we really believe? We are not members of their family, and I dare say even their family members may not know the true picture of things.
For anyone to sit behind a computer and take sides on who was wrong and who was right just smacks of poor discernment even though it is impossible not to deduce one or two things from all that has been revealed so far. One thing in particular struck me in all Tiwa said, which was admitting that she made a mistake in going ahead with the wedding in the first place in spite of the signs that she saw and the warnings she got.
First off all, it takes plenty of character for an adult to accept responsibility for their mistake on national TV. Secondly, it was clear that she was worried about getting older and more successful by the day as a single lady and as such rushed into the marriage. I may be playing the devil’s advocate here, but I can only imagine the pressure she must have been under to get married and start having kids before “it became too late.” And that’s where the rest of us come into play once again. While it is the ultimate decision of an individual to take decisions especially regarding something that has the potential to make or mar like marriage, we cannot deny that society plays a huge role in our decision making.
What if we didn’t harp on marriage so much? What if we didn’t emphasize marriage as a yardstick for success in women? What if we stopped pressuring young people to get married willy-nilly without considering if that’s what they truly desire?
On the other hand, this entire saga is a lesson for all of us and celebrities in particular about being more circumspect about putting our private lives out there all in the name of keeping up the times. If Tiwa and Teebillz had been a little more discreet about their relationship then maybe it wouldn’t have degenerated into the huge scandal and topic of national discourse that it has become today.
At the end of the day, this too shall pass, and Nigerians will move on to the next juicy gist that helps them momentarily forget the many problems that plague them.