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    Why Husbands Are Now Scarce Commodity?

    Ladies wishing to get married to wealthy, prosperous husbands in Nigeria may have to cultivate the habit of patience and understanding as such men are becoming scarce on a daily basis; PAUL OKAH reports.

    One of the controversial passages in the Bible is Isaiah 4: 1, which states, “And in that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, “we will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” As ‘ridiculous’ as the Bible passage may sound to many, especially self-acclaimed feminists, we are gradually getting to such a situation in Nigeria; whereby women struggle over men to marry them, as a result of many factors.

    The alarm

    In fact, way back on August 2, 2013, while addressing journalists in Abuja, the national president of the National Council of Catholic Women Organisation of Nigeria (NCCWO), Chief Felicia Onyeabo, said in the next ten years, there would be scarcity of good husbands in Nigeria.

    She said, “The future of this country is going to be very bleak for the male-child. How many girls do you see hawking clothes? Go to Onitsha, they are all men. We have looked round and have come to see that there is a neglect of boy’s education. Who are the armed robbers on the streets? They are mostly the boys. Let us concentrate on training our boys.

    “The NCCWO feels that a vacuum is being created, and very soon, we shall be faced with a situation where our educated girl-child will not find a corresponding suitable boy-child to marry. This is because more boys drop out of school, apparently because the high rate of unemployment discourages our young boys from appreciating the need to be educated.

    “The NCCWO also considers the fact that in the near future, quality husbands will become extremely scarce, with too many highly educated women looking for husbands, and settling for anyhow husbands, just to get married. The result of this type of situation is better imagined and will not augur well for Nigeria.”

    Apart from the points raised by Onyeabo more than seven years ago, many factors have ensured that women desirous of settling down in marriages hardly see good husbands to marry.

    Unemployment

    It is no longer news that the unemployment situation in Nigeria is becoming worse on a daily basis, leading to men not being ready for marriage, as a result not achieving financial success, while the lady advances in age and is willing to settle down with just any man.

    In a chat with Blueprint Weekend, a seamstress and mother of two in Abuja, Mrs Rosemary Okoronkwo, said she courted with her boyfriend for years, but had to leave him for her present husband, who was ready for marriage, while her then-boyfriend was still “parading certificates and searching for nonexistent jobs.”

    She said, “Indeed, ‘this life no balance,’ as some people will say. It is not only men that are scarce, good women are also scarce. Boyfriend/girlfriend matters are different from marriage. In fact, it is when you want to get married that you will notice the scarcity of good men, as it were. The truth is that the modern day woman pays more attention to comfort than love. There are many things love cannot do for you.

    “In fact, I dated this young guy for more than two years, but dumped him in 2015, when it appeared he was not ready for marriage. He has been searching for a job for years, but which lady would want to stay with you forever to suffer? Of course, I met my present husband shortly after I left my then-boyfriend and we got married in 2016. It is not a matter of love; a lady has to marry who can take care of her. Money is important in marriage, please. As women, there is a scarcity of good husbands; hence, you have to hold onto the person that can take care of you.”

    Insecurity

    Also, at the height of the #EndSARS protests in October, one of the protesters, a lady in her late twenties, told this reporter at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja that the most painful part of the police brutality was the killing of their future husbands. “Who will marry us if police continue killing our boyfriends and future husbands? EndSARS, please!” she asked when this reporter asked her reason for joining the protest.

    Be that as it may, the issue of insecurity is one of the reasons there are fewer men to marry the multitude of women waiting for who will take them away from their parents’ house. Evidently, men are always the target in any war situation, making many women to suddenly become widows and children fatherless, with unverified statistics revealing that we have more women in Nigeria than men.

    Also, there is no gainsaying that men are mostly killed by bandits and Boko Haram during attacks in the North-east and other parts of Nigeria, equally leading to scarcity of men for women considering marriage.”

    Polygamy to the rescue?

    In a chat with Blueprint Weekend, a social commentator and chairman of the board of Amaka Chiwuike Uba Foundation (ACUF), Dr Chiwuike Uba, said many women are unmarried because they lack visions, decrying the high rate of divorce in today’s society and how “criminalisation” of polygamy has made many women to remain single.

    He said: “Honestly, we should be more concerned about the number of unmarried women that are unemployed, visionless, and are standing akimbo waiting for the man that would solve all their life’s problems. Without any doubt, God’s plan is to have every woman married to a man. Unfortunately, crave and craze for women’s empowerment under the cover of civilisation has denied most women the right of being married. Why won’t we have more women than men when the laws have almost criminalised polygamy?

    “Polygamy is not a permanent solution to the high number of unmarried women in our society. A high number of those that are married are divorced or already in the process of a divorce. Single parenting is on the increase. Most women are finding it increasingly difficult to submit and obey their husbands. Domestic violence and crisis are on the increase and young men are unable to marry as a result of poverty, among other reasons. How many men and women are mature enough to manage the pressures from marriage? How many women are well-trained to manage a home? Marriage is now more cabbage in, cabbage out. The real problems underpinning the high number of unmarried women are beyond polygamy.”

    He said further, “Marriages are becoming less common in recent years. Many are more interested in cohabitation and single parenting than they are interested in getting married. We have fewer marriages, more divorces, and a rise in births outside marriage. For instance, whereas the marriage rate in the EU declined from 7.8 per 1,000 persons in 1965 to 4.4 in 2017, the divorce rate increased from 0.8 per 1,000 persons in 1965 to two in 2017, and the proportion of live births outside marriage in the EU in 2018 estimated at 42.4 %. Extra-marital births outnumbered births inside marriage in several EU member states: France (60.4 %), Bulgaria (58.5 %), Slovenia (57.7 %), Portugal (55.9 %), Sweden (54.5 %), Denmark (54.2 %), Estonia (54.1 %), Netherlands (51.9 %), Iceland (70.5 %) and Norway (56.4 %).

    “The statistics are not different in Africa, the USA, and other Americas. Almost 50% of all marriages in the USA end up in divorce or separation. In fact, researchers estimate that 41% of all first marriages end in divorce, 60% of second marriages end in divorce and 73% of all third marriages end in divorce. We need social and cultural re-orientation on the foundations of marriage, as an institution. Let me say it again, even if a man marries 20 wives or not, more women will remain unmarried in the end.”

    “Obviously, unemployment and poverty are among the major reasons why many men are not interested in marrying. Beyond that, as I earlier stated, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good women to marry even when there are more women available. What we have in our society today are beautiful women without character and brains. They are likened to a cemented grave. Containers look good when the content is so bad.

    “On the other hand, most young people are distracted by what they call ‘fun’ and craving materialism. It is more like what Oliver De Coque said in one of his songs: Let’s celebrate today, tomorrow will take care of itself. A child cannot marry a child. Many men are more obsessed with buying cars than they are with raising and building a family. Some of those that eventually get married turn their wives and children into punching bags. So, it is beyond unemployment and poverty. It is more of a lack of vision and focus. Some of us married when we had nothing.”

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