I have been following the “developing” story of the feud among the Okoye singing and dancing twins, P-Square, and their older brother Jude, but not with keen interest. The reason is because musicians (performing artistes, generally) by their nature, are given to squabbles, which are, sometimes, orchestrated to attract attention. Of course, many of the fights are real and often lead to splits, legal actions and even deaths, in extreme cases. Needless recounting some of them as we have a surfeit of such well-known fights locally and internationally.
So, why am I on about the P-Square fight, which, according to latest news, has led to the split of the twins? Among the reasons being adduced for their disagreement and eventual split is the role of the women in their lives. Interestingly, I know Lola, Peter’s wife, having worked with her in V-mobile, now Airtel. Even so, I cannot say what her role has been in the whole saga and I don’t want to personalize the issues, but I want to dismiss the insinuation that the bickering among the erstwhile “tight” is a result of the influence of their wives.
Let me start by saying that a family means man, wife (wives) and children. Any other person, including siblings, parents, cousins, aunties, uncles, nephews and nieces are part of the extended family. The moment a man marries, the definition of “family” must change otherwise there will be trouble. Let me put it on record immediately that I am NOT advocating total abandonment of the extended family, but that must come only after the immediate family. So, if you, a man, used to consult your mom or dad or brother or sister or uncle or auntie before taking a decision, your wife becomes your primary source of advice as soon as you get married. This is a reality most young men do not face until they start facing problems.
According to the Holy Bible in Mathew 19:46. Jesus said: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH ‘? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Under normal circumstances, this quote wouldn’t require any explanation or interpretation but the extended family system practiced in Africa, especially in Nigeria and particularly the kind we have in the South East, has tended to undermine this crucial Biblical injunction. And this is one reason some people, in hasty generalization, have concluded that the Okoyes are being manipulated by their wives and as such have lost the “anointing” of carrying on together.
Now, much as I do not have any evidence to the contrary, I wager that the men rather than their wives are architects of their current conditions. Primary among my reasons for saying so is that if indeed their feud is engineered by their wives or one of the wives, then they have failed in managing their wives. Any man who cannot control his wife’s excesses and vice versa is not serious.
Secondly, any brother who doesn’t recognize his brother’s wife and her important place in his life is foolish. Thirdly, any brothers who do not pre-empt the influence of their wives even before they marry and plan for such an eventuality are not wise. Fourthly, how much acculturation do men give their wives when they are bringing them into a strongly-knit family, if there’s anything so called. Fifthly, and this is for those who erroneously believe that because they are twins, Peter and Paul are not supposed to fight, the fact of blood relationship doesn’t obliterate the fact of individual differences.
The last point is at the core of my submission. As siblings grow and acquire experience (socialization) they begin to manifest their differences. Even identical twins. Even Siamese twins! This is even more so when they get married and form their own families and begin to deal with other dynamics of life and living. So, as we say in Mbaise, if the music changes, the dance steps must also change. If you used to barge into your brother’s bedroom before, you must knock and wait to be admitted, after he gets married. It could be as simple as that!
Unfortunately, most guys prefer to play the ostrich with regards to their change in status and especially with regard the consequences-until trouble starts. And even when trouble does start, they pretend there’s no trouble and avoid confronting it until it snowballs into a crisis, like we are currently witnessing with P-Square. Perhaps, a stitch in time could have saved nine.
So, I posit that the importance attached to extended families is exaggerated. While it is not a bad idea in the strict sense of the word, it has the potential to cause rifts, divisions and wars. By the way, who hasn’t heard about sibling rivalry? In most cases, it starts even without spouses-as kids and teenagers. It’s just there. Vicious, at times. Unforgiving. Never-ending. And as soon as the spouses arrive, they are so easily and unjustifiably made into scapegoats.
Gentlemen, while I urge prayers and wish divine intervention in the sustainable existence of family ties, a lot depends on the man to protect his wife and at the same time safeguard the cohesion of the extended family. In the face of a choice, I’d rather keep my wife and children (my immediate family) than hang self-destructively on the other one.
So, in the case of Peter and Paul Okoye, if they have to split to make progress and avoid uglier consequences, let them split. After all, one mother can birth but not one god (chi) creates. It might as well be that the individual differences which Peter and Paul have successfully masked over the years can no longer be hidden. Let’s not rush to blame the wives, if we don’t have compelling evidence other than our African tendency to blame the women for every family feud.
By the way, I can’t verify an insider gossip that this imbroglio has nothing to do with the women, but mostly with one of the twins, who’s a lavish spender and more extroverted. Jude being the older brother and Manager, of course, wanted to control him but Peter won’t have it and wanted him fired. Paul won’t have that, and so they came to this sorry pass.
NB: Notice that I kept using man and wife. That is because I am strongly of the view and inclination that marriage is (and has to be) between a man and a woman, male and female-as God ordained it. However, I’m pro-choice, which means, I won’t bother with any choices you have decided to make in the matter, so long as they do not affect me directly. Even my male dogs know so.
Emeka Oparah is the Director, Corporate Communications and CSR, Airtel Nigeria. He blogs at www.wilberforce.com.ng