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Saturday, 6 December 2014

BlogFeature: A.B.I.G.A.I.L

The article below is written by one of my BlogFeature writers Toyin Femi-Akinlade and once again, she's written a beautiful piece which cuts across an issue I feel needs to be looked into from the perspective she's written from. Enjoy, learn and share. 


My favourite position when I need to think, meditate or strategize is to lay flat completely on my back. It's for this reason I have been agitating for a sofa bed (yes, as a boss lady) in my office. My MD, who also doubles as my hubby (the latter came before the former actually so it's not an office romance something ;) however feels differently and yet he wants more of those brilliant ideas of mine. Sigh. Life can sometimes be like fermented zobo.

So on this day I'm thinking to myself, agreed I signed a lifetime contract with my significant other which includes sharing everything, secrets inclusive perhaps, am I really supposed to share EVERYTHING?! Like share every thought, every idea, plan, particularly when such is still at the forming stage?

What am I on about? Well I'll let you know. To buttress my point, I'll like to share yet another story with you from my 'Book of Bible Stories' (who remembers this book :). It is the story of a beautiful, delectable woman called Abigail, married to a man who was her exact opposite. Not a big deal because ain't opposites supposed to attract anyways, if my knowledge of elementary science hasn't failed me? But that's not even the crux of my story. We are later told of how David had sent word to Nabal (Abigail's hubby) telling him of how he and his men had been kind to his shepherds and he was generally expecting Nabal to appreciate his kind gesture either in cash or in kind. More like an 'anything for the boys' kind of thing; as we say in these parts.

For where? Oga Nabal just do 'eyes right' for David. As far as he was concerned, they were miscreants who may have escaped from their masters and were trying to squeeze favors out of him. David clearly wasn't pleased because it couldn't have cost him anything to kill Nabal's boys and take his herd of sheep (a prized possession at the time) away. He there and then decided since Nabal did not appreciate his act of kindness, death was his lot. Sadly, the death sentence was not only passed on him but his entire household as well.

Enters Abigail. One of Nabal's servant who most likely thought about Abigail and how she did not deserve to suffer for a crime she did not commit, ran to her and quickly gave her heads up. As a wise woman, she promptly gathered stuff, strategised on how to get through to David and quickly swung into action as soon as she met him. She apologized on her husband's behalf. In business lingo, she would have been said to have negotiated with David, marshalling out her points and pleading for mercy. But still this is not the crux of my story.

What then is it? It is the fact that as soon as she got the situation report and thought out her game plan she did not let out a word of it to her husband!!! These words jumped at me when I read them. What?! Were we not taught to always run things by our husbands? How could she have gone on such risky venture on her own? What was she thinking?

Can I talk to the sister Ruths in the house? Yes you. Sister Ruth is a wife whose whole life and existence revolves round Brother Boaz her husband. If they must move their bowels, daddy has to approve even to pass wind it must not escape daddy's notice. Hello!

For those already calling for the chopping board and butcher, kindly hear me out first. Let me tell you the flip side of this story I just shared. Nabal aside from his very nasty nature (which I am not saying our husbands are, God forbid!), was also an egocentric Alpha male like any of his specie (this is the only point I draw a similarity please). If Abigail had as much as hinted her husband about what the servant said  to her not to even talk of her well thought out plan to avert the unpleasant situation, her plans would have been DOA- Dead On Arrival! Why? Because Nabal's ego rather than his logical mind would have talked Abigail out of her plans, even though it was a plan that will save them all.

As much as we love our husbands and we are partners with them, co-captains in steering the ship of the home cum marriage to safety, it is not everything we must share with them. Not everytime share; sometimes withhold from sharing. We are not withholding because we think them dingbats with no gumption to make a sound decision. We choose to withhold not because we also want to assert our feminine authority, whatever that means. We withhold not because we need to also show off the fact that beneath the expensive weave or human hair is a mass of finely crafted grey matter by the Master Sculptor Himself. NO!!!

A wise woman who when she perceives that on a particular issue, it is the man's ego and not his logical mind that will do the talking and reasoning, is best advised to withhold from sharing that bit of information. She is however at liberty to share as soon as she sees that his ego has taken the back seat and his logical self is behind the wheels. This doesn't just apply to marriages only but even in our dealings with male bosses or business partners.

For those who still don't catch my drift, permit  me to be vulnerable with you by sharing a personal story. I know this certain couple who today have been together for almost four decades. The hubby some twenty eight years ago was a Principal Manager in UBA of old (i.e. before the merger or is it acquisition now with Standard Trust). The wife on the other hand was a Senior Nursing sister in a private hospital. As a good wife, she urged her husband to buy a piece of land as is the wise thing to do after been married a couple of years. He agreed. He bought the land only that it was in an area he didn't consider as a choice area for him at the time, so he just bought the land and moved on. Still the wife encouraged him to  fence their parcel of land in order to prevent 'land grabbers' from cunningly selling a part of it. After much ado, he agreed only that by the time he did, almost half plot was gone. He couldn't be bothered anyway.

Again madam encouraged;

 'Why don't we just put up a structure, a bungalow maybe. We could just start from there then as soon as we can afford it, we will buy land in your choice area and build another house there. Then we'll just rent this out.'

This was the point madam met with a stiff resistance from Oga's ego. He would have none of it. In fact, she was warned never to talk about the parcel of land again. She obeyed but like Abigail, she kept her plans to herself. She with her colleagues pooled money together monthly out of their meagre salary and rotated the money amongst themselves. What we call 'ajo', 'esusu' in this part. As soon as it got to her turn to get the contribution, she moved in pronto to the site to start developing it. After all, she had only be  warned not to talk about it not do something to it. ;)

She started with foundation first, gradually having gotten an architect to draw a building plan for her, she got to work with the little she had. Then something happened suddenly. The game changer! Landlord increased the  rent and asked for two years upfront payment for a house they had lived in for more than five years. What?! This was what kicked oga's ego out of the way and his logical mind swung into full gear immediately. 
He thought,

'Rather than pay this ridiculous increment to this my Shylock landlord, why don't I add some more and spend it on my site instead?'

Oga then with no recourse to madam, decided to go to the site to see the situation of things. As he drove down, he's mentally noting the things that needs to be done for starters. The need to get some labourers to clear the land as it would have naturally been overgrown with weeds, the need to get back in touch with his building contractor etc. Imagine his shock when on getting to the site he sees not a land overgrown with weeds but with foundation already laid and labourers on site. By one side he also sees stacks of bags of cement and his thought is that his land had been sold to someone else.

As he starts to shout and beckons on one of the site workers to find out what is going on, the omo onile (land merchant) who happened to be around at the time strolls out of the makeshift shed on the site with a widening smile on his face further stretching his tribal marks.
'Very good', he says
'So this is the kind of dubious thing you people do', he continues
'Dubious thing? I was just going to greet you and tell you it's been awhile you came around. I guess it's because of your busy schedule. Madam has been doing a very good job anyway.'
'What are you talking about? Which madam is that?,' oga fires at him.
'Err.. Sir do you have more than one wife? It's your wife, mummy that I'm talking about.'

To say oga was shocked will be an understatement. How did she do it? With which money? Few months later, the building was completed. It's been twenty one years since oga has been a landlord. Some of his colleagues were not so lucky. Some of them ate with their ten fingers speaking figuratively, some were forcefully retired before they could get round to completing their house. The oga in question is my dad and the madam... my mum of course.

Be wise. Be an A.B.I.G.A.I.L

Article by: Toyin Femi-Akinlade
Twitter: @y_toyin

1 comment:

  1. This is sooo true. Sometimes silence is the foundation of life changing results. Keep it coming Toyin!!!!! Great stuff..


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