Bridget was a graduate of Sociology from one of the first generation universities in the southwestern part of Nigeria. Typical of most Edo ladies, she is stunningly beautiful, and of average height. Her sojourning in a Yoruba speaking region of Nigeria was due to the fact that her parents were staff of the university where she graduated. Very fair complexioned, she was always bombarded with score of admirers; the genuine and the “touch and go” whose main motive was to have a taste of her beauty.
Bridget could speak English, Yoruba and Isan (her native language) fluently. Although her parents were not to be counted among the super-rich but you could hardly tell because everything was smooth for her. Bridget’s problem started sometime in 2003 when her relationships with Bayo was shattered.
Bridget met Bayo in their sophomore while in the university. Bayo is a Yoruba guy and his parents’ house was just a stone throw from Bridget’s. Also the two of them were in the same faculty but studying different courses.
“I have known Bayo for a few years before we started dating. We lived in the same neighbourhood and I have always known him to be gentle. Of course we were not friends but we see almost every day. I did not take his love advances serious at first particularly that we were living very close. I was afraid of my parents”. Bridget confirmed when asked how her relationship with Bayo started.
The relationship between the two lovers blossomed into a serious one. The parents of the two lovers got wind of their children’s affairs. Initially, they neither approved nor disapproved. As far as they were concerned, it was an affair between two teenagers. Besides, they met mostly in school since the two of them lived in the campus hostel and stayed apart as much as possible whenever they come home during weekends.
“As our relationship grew, our parents seemed to be getting attuned to realities of life. I was no longer afraid of visiting him in his house and he too was free to come to our house. Before long, an unstated mutual understanding developed between our parents. We were happy that our parents supported our relationship”. Bridget stated.
Amid tears, Bridget related how the relationship took a dive. “Sometime in 2003 my mother asked me come to her office in the campus. On getting there she handed me a brand new Nokia phone and a line. When I asked her who was the owner of the new phone and line she said that she bought it for me. I was so happy because mobile phone was an exclusive preserve of nouveau riches as at that time. Few students that had mobile phones then were respected and they would do anything to harass and intimidate others even when lectures were on-going. But if I had known that that phone would be the genesis of my predicament I would have rejected it”.
Unknown to Bridget, the phone was actually a gift from Mr. Lawson, a non-academic staff in Bridget’s department. Mr. Lawson is also an Edo man. His home-town is just some few kilometers from Bridget’s. Bridget knew Mr. Lawson intimately. Apart from being a staff in her department, he is also the secretary of Edo people in the university.
Prior to this time, Bridget’s mother had always asked her to borrow any textbooks she needed from Mr. Lawson on the pretext that he was like an uncle to Bridget. Probably due to connivance between Bridget’s mother and Mr. Lawson, the latter never requested for the return of all books borrowed by Bridget. According to Bridget, Mr. Lawson was very nice to her. Not long afterwards, the bubble burst.
Bridget told of how the whole fiasco started.
“On that fateful Friday, my mother called me on phone that I should come home for the weekend because there was an important issue to be discussed. I did not want to wait. I immediately went to her office to have an inkling of what she wanted to tell me. I was actually thinking that the discussion might be about my dad. My dad had been bedridden for almost three years and had to apply for early retirement from the university authority because of his failing health. On getting to her office, she said that my father was ok and that the discussion was about me. When I pestered her further my mum insisted that the discussion was too important to be tabled in the office. Naturally I was apprehensive”
“My mum kept me in suspense till Saturday. Around 11a.m, my mum asked my siblings to vacate the sitting room but my dad was there. Then she started, telling me how she loved me, how she had been planning my future, how she did not want me to marry a man outside my tribe because of the heartaches my elder sister was suffering from her Yoruba husband. Of course I knew where she was going but not in the least had Mr. Lawson in mind. And I did not utter anything to betray my inner turbulence”.
“She closed her statement by telling me how she had sealed my fate, how she had accepted Mr. Lawson’s request to have my hand in marriage; that my mobile phone and line and various gifts were courtesy of Mr. Lawson and that a date had been picked for my engagement ceremony”.
“To say that I was pique would be an understatement, I was burning inside. I thought of my mother’s betrayal of Bayo; his respect for my family, his love for me and his numerous sacrifices for my younger brothers to ensure that they secure admission to university were just few of his caring nature. And true to nature my father did not utter a word; he sat motionless as if already dead. I knew his presence at that meeting was at my mother’s insistence”.
“I could not recall saying anything meaningful; my ontology was a massive turbulence, and my protest was vehemently rebuffed by my mum. According to her, a date had been picked and nothing would change it. I had my plans too”.
“On the engagement day, I acted usual. Around 10a.m on the engagement day, I watched would be in-laws and groom arriving. Then I did the unthinkable. I left the house through the rear exit and went to my hostel room in campus and left my phone at home”.
That action was considered an affront and my mother practically cut me off from the family: no feeding allowance, no books, and no tuition fees; even my elder sisters would have nothing to do with me. It was a living hell”.
Not long after a succor appeared in the horizon for Bridget.
Mayowa was a Yoruba boy who also lived in the same neighbourhood and was a year ahead of Bridget in the same university. He was quiet, brilliant, a semi-introvert and a man any lady would want as husband.
Mayowa and Bridget met at the height of her crisis. Because her mum had driven Bayo away, it was not long before she accepted Mayowa’s entreaties. Their relationship blossomed and Mayowa took over Bridget’s finances.
Soon afterward, Mayowa graduated and went for the compulsory one year national service of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC. After a session, Bridget also graduated and went to Ibadan to learn computer. Though the two lovers were separated, there was constancy in their relationship. But as a prodigal son that will lose track, Bridget started another relationship with a new guy, Tunde in Ibadan.
According to her, the relationship was a sham. Tunde left her in Ibadan without informing her and another lady ejected Bridget from the apartment she was living because the house belonged to Tunde. The lady claimed to be Tunde’s fiancé.
Prior to this unfortunate turn of event, Bridget had informed Mayowa that a man of God told her that she was not destined to marry Mayowa and that the relationship would end in disaster if they did not heed the warning. Mayowa pleaded with Bridget not to end the relationship but she was adamant, claiming it was God’s will. After months of fruitless persuasion, Mayowa accepted his fate and started a new relationship. Fortunately for him, he secured a good job and got married.
After being jilted by Tunde, Bridget tried fruitlessly to return to Mayowa. But all her entreaties amounted to nothing. While narrating her ordeal, Bridget has this to say:
“I was the architect of my doom. Mayowa loved me. He cared for me. He was there in my moments of need; when my family neglected me he was there always. I lied to him about the man of God because I thought Tunde actually loved me. I was afraid of the distance between me and Mayowa but I achieved nothing afterward. I will be 37 this October, yet nobody has proposed to me. My only solace is my job but it was not enough. I have forgiven my mum for my separation with Bayo. But who do I blame for cheating myself out of Mayowa’s committed and true love? I LEARNT A BITTER LESSON”.