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SIDE CHICK AND SIDE COCK

“Religious leaders don’t steal or lie, they don’t get divorced or have abortions.” –John Hagee

Those familiar with popular television evangelist John Hagee who spouts outrageous beliefs and has millions of followers would believe he lives an immaculate personal life to keep his congregation listening to him. They would also see him as righteous and heaven-made. In fact, were he a Nigerian, such names as ‘Daddy’, ‘Man of God’ ‘General Overseer’, ‘Prophet’ etc would have become his nickname. Indeed, people apparently will follow John Hagee blindly and will not question him even when details of his adulterous personal life are made public.

John Hagee was the leader of a United States charismatic Trinity Church in 1975 and was the father of two children. John Hagee had an adulterous affair with a woman and admitted to immorality in front of his church. He divorced the mother of his two children and married a younger woman (Diana Castro, now Diana Hagee) from that same congregation.

Even though he did not repent to live a life based on Biblical principles, people continued to follow his ministry. In fact, John Hagee left his church and became the pastor of another congregation- the Cornerstone Church.

There are many John Hagees in Nigeria sharing similar features. They are educated, ostentatious in fashion and lifestyle, possess gifts of oratory, hugely affluent and can throw wealth around for all to see, love things of the world, ride exotic automobiles and have large followership. In addition, some of them carry curly- hairs like their American and European counterparts and can do anything to win any beautiful woman’s heart. The convergence in their trade is that both are pastors. These are the people Jesus Christ described as ‘Wolves in Sheep clothing’. My people at home call them ‘Soro Okwu Onum, Esona Omumen (follow my mouth, not my behaviour) pastors.

But unlike Hagee, the Nigerian modern day pastors and Imams would never admit to guilt and they are everywhere in this country. The celebrated case of alleged infidelity leading to divorce involving the flamboyant Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy Church and his estrange wife Anita, is a case in point.

It is sad that infidelity has suddenly become something to be proud of. In the olden days, men hid their extra marital affairs from their wives and friends. But now, men flaunt their girlfriends more than their wives. In the same vein, women showcase their male partners or sugar daddies openly. Presently, names such as ‘ Babe’ ;Baby’ ‘Baby Mama’ ’Baby Papa’ ‘ Side Chick’ and ‘ Side Cock’ have found their way into our vocabulary and are commonly and freely used in public discourse.

A good number of men claim to be married to just one woman, but the truth is that is the opposite. I am beginning to respect those with two or three legally married wives. Men now claim to be living better than our forefathers who had more than one wife and took care of all. But the truth is that they are in no way better than our fathers, they are only smarter than our forefathers were.

We live in a civilized world where men carry the Bible and Koran on one hand, while they use the other to commit all sorts of crime. People keep using religious words and titles to cover up for different atrocities they perpetrate. In fact, the pew is now more sanctified than the pulpit. Why go on preaching against people with two wives when you have five girls in your place of worship and two from each other places you visit? Why do you claim to be very polished and educated that you can’t imagine yourself with two wives when God knows you have ten concubines?. That is hypocrisy.

Oyakhilome’s church, Believers Love World Inc popularly known as Christ Embassy is regarded as one of the biggest denominations in Nigeria with membership in thousands and branches all over world. I am not sure the church has fully recovered from the damage that singular act did to it.

The Oyakhilome’s case was just one out of hundreds of others in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world. The profile of Men of God divorcees is worrisome. Among divorcee Pastors in Nigeria are: a-Lagos based Pastor, Ope Balogun who divorced his ninth wife on allegation that she was “a troublesome wife”.

Pastor Chris Okotie of Household of God Church Ikeja had thrown away his marriage rings twice. The Founder of Communion Church, Lagos, Bishop David Benecoch sent-away his wife after 20years of wedlock claiming that God instructed him to do so. Pastor Goodness Enemchukwu of Jesus World Church Lagos broke-up with his wife of 26 years while the late Pastor Philip Mokungah (the founder of Oasis Church in Plateau state) experienced it before death.

In Enugu, Pastor Ralph Okebu and his wife Prophetess Caroline Okebu were locked up in a long drawn battle over the ownership of their church, Victory Pentecostal Ministries International Incorporated . that led to the church being divided into two factions. Members who belonged to the camp of Pastor Ralph Okebu turned up in the morning while those who hold allegiance to his wife, Caroline came in the afternoon. Before the worship arrangement was arrived at, congregants on both sides had fought physically over the use of the church auditorium located at Km 1 Enugu – Onitsha Expressway. The wife accused the husband of adultery.

Some years ago, two young ladies one of them named Ese Walter accused a pastor with the Common Wealth Of Zion Assembly, COZA, located at the Central Area Abuja of manipulating them sexually and spiritually and making love with them against their wishes. In Ogun state, a pastor raped a church member inside the altar. Sadly enough, in all the cases mentioned above, the accused pastors refused to admit their guilt.

Marriage ordinarily, is a sacred institution: a union between a matured man and a matured woman in keeping to the biblical injunction of “till death do us part”.

Infidelity and cheating scandals are even more pronounced among entertainment celebrities and remains the major root cause of marriage breakups. It’s a big deal to hear about celebrities who have cheated on their partners. But while some celebrities eventually find their way back after some therapy and forgiveness, others break up and enter other relationships. Nigerian celebrities are no exception.

At the last count, there was about 66 reported cases all over the world. These include; Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Tristan Thompson and Khloé Kardashian, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, Jude Law and Sienna Miller, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.and Rihanna and A$AP Rocky.

In Nigeria the following male celebrities have been accused of cheating on their women, Sammy Okposo, Tuface Idibia, 9ice, Adeniyi Johnson, Teebillz, Maje Ayida, Oritsefemi and Yul Edochie. Female celebrities alleged to have cheated on their men include, Angela Okorie, Mide-Funmi Martins , Lola Alao, Uche Iwuji and Uzoamaka Ohiri

In primeval Africa, marriage was reverenced, as married couples were cherished and viewed to be most responsible people in their societies. Sequel to this, advices were sort from the married at families and public issues/functions while the bachelors’ and spinsters were neglected and often regarded as “irresponsible, useless and foolish persons”
But the advent of 21st century marked the end of an epoch in marriage institution in Nigeria and in the world at large as the divine institution automatically transformed in nature and definition and diversified into unlimited categories such as “gay marriage, multiple wedding, co-habitation, white wedding, and court wedding, among others”

Some factors facilitating broken homes in Nigeria include couples’ quest for materialism, marrying for economic reasons, women emancipation, sexual apathy/dissatisfaction, parental/family interference and intrusion of third parties on what God has joined together, barrenness, provocation and brutalization, suspicious movements and infidelity.

Indeed, the effects of divorce on the family life cannot be underscored because one divorce leads to another just as trading of words sometimes lead to a fight. Thus, the reasons you hardly see a broken home or a divorcee who ever enjoy a happy home without recording second or more divorce before death.

OBINNA F, NWACHUKWU

See also Why I killed late Aishatu ‘Damori’ - 18 yr old suspect

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