Why Adultery was not a sin or a Crime in Nnewi before the White man came with his own definition
By Anayo M. Nwosu
Nwosu Ezeechedolu, my grandfather never had female friend until my grandmother died and he remarried. He had decided to exercise his right of getting one to augment his sex needs.
My grandfather took all the necessary precautions before he invited Madam Ejelubechi over. He had heard from his friends how good Madam Ejelubechi was n’enu ákwà or “in bed” and decided ka ọ sụrụtụ or to have a bite. He made sure that Nne Ogbonnaya, his wife had gone to Eke Ogwugwu market before he allowed his fun giving visitor into the room adjoining his Ozobi or visitors reception veranda.
But Nne Ogbonnaya didn’t go straight to the market for reasons best known to her. Perhaps, she sensed something the same way Uche, my only wife senses some of my kurukere movements.
My grandfather had only untied his short wrapper to mount when Nne Ogbonnaya banged open the Ozobi’s wooden door to the embarrassment of my grandfather and his female guest. And the man in my grandfather convulsed the way the recessing antennae housing the eyes of a snail do when rattled.
Madam Ejelubechi scampered for her clothes and escaped through the back door while my grandfather’s wife kept raining abuses on her. But that was not the end of it.
Nwosu Ezeechedolu, a prince of Nnewi and a holder of ọzọ title called some elders to his Ozobi for a meeting. They needed to devise a way of dealing with Nne Ogbonnaya before another woman in the community would learn that kind of behaviour from her, a trend that would not augur well for the menfolk. A charge had to be framed.
Nne Ogbonnaya was found guilty of “ị gbọ amụ ụja” meaning that she “screamed at a sacred penis”. She was fined a goat which was killed, cooked and eaten by men only. The poor woman had no option than to pay the fine and was forgiven. And life continued as if nothing happened.
Madam Ejelubechi was my grandfather’s iko or agịlị with who she can have a sexual intercourse.
Nne Ogbonnaya knew she was guilty. She knew that Nnewi tradition permitted a man to have a married female friend known as Iko or Agịlị. With this woman or Iko, a man could do with her what he would do with his own wife inside an enclosure. It was legal. Any protest from a wife was akin to that protest of a cock which it’s throat has been severed from its neck.
This tradition was directly attacked by the Christians’ 7th Commandment. Nnewi elders countered that it would become a sin or alụ if the act was not an acceptable tradition. Nothing was stolen. Our elders believed that there was love in sharing. But it had to be consensual.
The word “cheating” by a married man never existed in Nnewi lexicon. It was the coinage of the whiteman. Only women cheated.
Nnewi man knows for a fact that by paying a bride price, a wife belongs to him.
Back then, no married woman had an Iko or Agịlị not approved by her husband. Then, any unapproved sex was regarded as stealing or Ohi Ọtụ and the culprits were treated as thieves.
Any modern wife who wants the charge of cheating extended to husbands should lead a revolution for abolition of BRIDE PRICE payment by the men. That thing makes one person “the owner” and the other “the owned”.
A lot of people have been telling me that I look like my grandfather. But the Iko or Agịlị system has been abolished. Besides, my beautiful wife always transforms to a flaming fire whenever she feels that I have been possessed by the spirit of my grandfather.
But why did whiteman come to spoil Nnewi for men?
Ana aghana! implying that Nnewi men have been de-manned or de-nwoked by the modern world.
Even polygamy that serves as a succour, which also offers the capable or sexually demanding men varied anatomical options was also criminalised. But we have resisted that. Thankfully, Moslems are in agreement with us on that.
Right now many men from my town are getting used to plugging to and sticking to one socket or having to bear the moral burden of adultery created by our association with the whiteman, his laws and his religion.
Men are not the only losers.
Married women also lost a great deal.
Wives no longer have an alternative avenue or means to augment rampant poor sexual performances of their husbands. Dignified avanues to enjoy another size or better firepower have been deemed a sin.
With the current conundrum, all must live with the sexual content of a marriage package.
Written by Anayo M. Nwosu