Runaway Fathers And The Quest To Find Them During Marriage By Daughters

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It’s a cultural thing here in Africa for the father to give out the girl in marriage and accept the bride price ! If the father isn’t around or dead the uncle takes over even if the man has never contributed a penny in the girl’s upbringing or even psychological. The most problematic trend is a man that absconds and goes AWOL due to his irresponsibility or philandering but at the end of the day, the daughter of the ex must come looking for him. That is the situation in some African societies and this has made some men to be irresponsible.

I have a problem with daughters looking for their absconding, irresponsible fathers when it’s time for marriage. Any culture that permits a man to abandon a child at birth and resurface to claim bride price when the child has grown into a woman is an irresponsible culture and should be done away with.

Last week, a woman went looking for her father. This man abandoned her as a child. He also abandoned the child’s mother. The woman raised her child alone. Sadly, the mother died and the girl’s aunty, her mother’s sister, raised her.

At a young age, she left her aunty and traveled to another state to fend for herself. She sold on the streets, tried her best and grew into a beautiful woman. Then she had a suitor.

Then she traveled to meet her aunty who partly raised her, but that one,fearing culture,would not receive anything, not even a drink. They said she had to look for her father, the man who abandoned her as a child and never since asked of her or look for her.

So she started a search for the useless man. The man was hard to find. She went to the man’s village and met her uncles. They didn’t know where he was. They didn’t know if he is alive or dead. They said they last had communication with him 4 years ago. And they will not collect even a drink unless the girl can show them proof that the man had died.

So the girl continued the search. For weeks, she went village to village looking for the man. She followed every lead -like a detective. I saw her frustration. She clearly believed she couldn’t marry without her late mother’s sperm donor .

Then ‘luck’ smiled on her and she found the man. Still strong. Still a serving civil servant.

Guess what? The first thing the man demanded before agreeing to give a marriage list was a live goat from the girl’s suitor for daring to impregnate his daughter before looking for him.

It pained me so much. I opened the door- blind and looked at him. He sat there as if he just won a jackpot.

How can society allow this to happen? The earlier the society starts putting checks and balances to this “funny ” culture is searching for the man the better for us and the men. Some men must understand that there are consequences of their actions and that is it.

Aniefiok Udoabasi & Anthony Nwosu

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