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Memo To The Senate On Child Bride Marriage

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This article must have been written a while ago when the gist about the Nigerian senate amending the child bride clause in the citizenship bill was hottest. Sources claim the author is former beauty queen and Nollywood actress, Regina Askia, but I’m not so sure. Anyway, it sure makes a good read. Proceed…

I dreamt that Senator Ahmed Yerima was elected the President of Nigeria. He settled into Aso Rock and introduced a thirteen-year-old, Fatima, as his wife and First Lady of Nigeria. That instantly posed a problem for the media which did not know whether Nigeria had a First Child or First Lady.

Opinion was divided, but Ray Ekpu of Newswatch stepped in and decided that the media should hold a national conference and take a common position on how to address the President’s teen wife so as not to embarrass the President.

The Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka maintained that to be grammatically correct, we should not address a child as a lady and asserted with authority that a “lady” is a term used to address “mature women” not “children.” He argued that she should remain a “First Child until further notice.”

But the People’s Democratic Party maintained that the problem was not grammatical but political. To which famous lawyer, Chief Femi Falana pointed out that the “child” in question was not of voting age and as such should not impose a political burden on the country. He maintained that the nation should assume that the President had no legal wife or in the alternative ask him to produce another wife worthy of being addressed as a First Lady and who was of voting age.

We were still trying to solve the matter when we heard that some civil right groups had taken the matter to the court to annul the marriage and let the child go back to school. We told them to hold on that the child was still in school and will actually be a part time First Child or First Lady and part time student. The case was dropped.

We would have rested the matter there but guess what? Along came Prof. Dora Akunyili (I mean Prof Dora Akunyili again!) and said she had it on good authority that Her Excellency was still bed-wetting. She said it would do great damage to her rebranding exercise and wondered “how you could rebrand a country when the First Lady was busy wetting beds abroad.”

The Federal Ministry of Health responded promptly that it had developed drugs which could take care of bed-wetting, but if the drugs were not okay, then the First Lady could use catheter in the night and not wet beds in presidential guest houses abroad.

Everyone was relieved but guess what? The Central Bank came charging that such money would not be charged to any budgetary item and would amount to an extra-budgetary expenditure and fraud. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission agreed and said the National Assembly should approve a “Bed-wetting allowance” for the president, before any fund was drawn. They noted that if the man were to travel as much as President Olusegun Obasanjo did, then it would add to the national inflation and would be difficult to justify based on existing financial regulations.

Well the debate was still raging when we heard that President Barrack Obama was coming to Nigeria on a state visit and would be accompanied by his wife, Michele. Civil liberties organizations swung into action and tried to persuade the American Embassy to postpone the trip until the “First Lady” issue was resolved. But the Embassy said the visit was part of a tour of strategic African states and Nigeria was amongst the most important in Africa.

Obama actually came and was met on the tarmac by President Yerima with his wife, Fatima, in tow. Obama thought Her Excellency, Mrs Fatima Yerima, was the garland girl and bent down to have her hang a garland on his neck. Her Excellency on the other hand thought differently in the innocence of her childlike heart, and thought he was bending down to admire her dress. She giggled and said, “Isn’t this a very wonderful dress? It is the same colour with my undies.”

Michele laughed heartily and picked up Her Excellency in her hands, stroking her head. I nearly fainted! She turned to President Yerima and said, ‘This should be your beautiful daughter, where is her mother -your wife?’ To which President Yerima looked at her stunned, not knowing what to say. The American ambassador to Nigeria stepped in and saved the situation, ‘Mrs. Obama that is the President’s wife that you are carrying in your hands. You may wish to put her down beside her husband so that the reception will continue.’

“The Nigerian First Lady who had been struggling to get out of Michele’s hands, looked up indignantly at the American First Lady, said, ‘I will not be your friend again. Only my husband carries me up and you dared to carry me up.’ President Obama stroked his tie thoughtfully and said:

“Let us not have a diplomatic row over this, I forgot to tell Michele that in Africa you catch them young. It is entirely my fault. My apologies to the First Couple. And now Mr President can we proceed to other reception formalities?”

Soon the airport reception was over and the two First Ladies had to while away time while the Presidents discussed matters of state. Mrs Yerima insisted on showing Mrs Obama her toys and her grades in school. The other women stood idly by as one baby doll after the other was shown to Mrs Obama. “My husband bought this toy for me from China, she can even sing, let me play it for you.” Mrs Obama nodded.

“Her Excellency Fatima hit the button and the doll began to sing, “God damn America the great Satan, down with the infidels and down with the west…” Mrs. Obama cringed but the child paid her no heed.

She bounded over to the television and turned it on. Then she moved the dial to Cartoon Network and turned to Mrs Obama, “Do you watch Tom and Jerry?” But by this time Mrs Obama had had enough, she fainted and had to be flown back to America.
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