Whenever an instructive comment is made, it’s possible to appreciate or acknowledge the one who made such a comment in Nigerian Pidgin (NP) by saying any of the followings; “dis na wod”, “na wod bi dis”, “no bi smol wod bi dis!” or “e mek sens” (sounds reasonable), etc. In NP, “na wod” as used in the foregoing, is an idiomatic expression, advice or a wise saying as we commonly would put it. An example of a wise saying is “dem no de rait marej fo fes” meaning; you can’t identify the one who is married by mere looking at his/her forehead. Against this background, the culture of ring-wearing is very relevant as a means of identifying those who are married in the public. While most people would take any ring worn on the ring finger as konfam (genuine), some strongly believe that not all wedding rings, so called, deserved our respect. Dem se no bi konfam (some are not genuine).

Once denied the pleasure of adequately preparing for the initial “forced rush” of civil servants from across the country, the city of Abuja is now synonymous with prohibitive cost of securing accommodation. But for our traditional spirit of always offering a hand of assistance to one another, to ste fo Abuja fo get as e fo bi. Today, Abuja is home to a great number of regular and executive squatters where prospective co-tenants without previous knowledge of one another, sometimes join resources together to rent a flat of two/three bedrooms with one of them using the sitting/living room as a room. By this development, we have high incidence of forced co-habitation and marriages of convenience popularly referred to as Abuja marej.

Drawing from above, the story of one Sam Okoro who had previously experienced two failed marriages in Abuja will interest you. At 56yrs of age, he’s currently into a serious relationship with a live-in-lover and has high hope of taking her to the altar bot pepe neva res fo im said (but yet to be financially steady). To the surprise of his co-neighbours, the “lucky” lady who was yet to introduce him to her parents and family members is already wearing a beautiful gold wedding ring. As usual, pipul mos tok, and it was talk of the town that di ring no bi komfam sam sam (the ring is completely “fake”). Someone concluded saying e don ful maket meaning; it’s now a commonplace thing. Within a short while, “Mr & Mrs Okoro” parked out to a different suburb of the Federal Capital Territory. Dem no send; they were never bothered.

There was a time when ladies would easily jump at an offer of an engagement ring as if it’s a guarantee to the proper marriage/wedding. Things have so changed that pipul de shain dia ai wel wel bifo dem tek ring. Dem no de lip bifo dem jomp. (People are highly circumspect). However, the bobos and bebes in the singul an sachin class who are so desperate and overwhelmed by the doctrine of bai faya bai fos, usually fall prey to the deft moves of some men and women of God who themselves are promoters of the God of shap shap. I have heard stories of how some ladies are being made to wie wedin ring during fasting and prayer sessions so dat Mista Rait go kwik kom.

Many years after the traditional marriage of a couple, they quietly knelt down and gave thanks to God for making it possible for them to come together as husband and wife. Thereafter, they bought their marriage /wedding ring and put it on each other’s ring finger. To them, as long as their parents had consented to and blessed their union, going to the church for a Pastor’s blessing was optional. Twenty five years into their blissful marriage life, they are planning to do a thanks giving wedding service. Must a wedding ring be blessed in the Church by a Pastor/Reverend? The answer is No. Except one is insinuating that traditional marej no bi marej. But when a marriage/wedding ring is blessed by the parents of a bride and groom nor a Pastor, dat won na ogbeju marej (marriage via the back door). Bai bai. End.

Edwin Eriata Oribhabor

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