Written by Kemi Ashefon - Nigeria
Joyce was transfixed. She never believed this could happen. "Madam, I am sorry, he didn't make it, your husband is dead," the doctor said. "Of course Nnamdi cannot be dead. He can't die!! He should not die!" she screamed and fainted.
By the time she came to, she remembered her last moments with the man she married 35 years ago.
"Nnamdi, I have told you that girl is evil. Leave her alone and come back home. The kids need you, so do I," she told him two months ago when he visited her. Nnamdi had moved in with his mistress and had left her alone in their mansion.
"Joyce, I have to stay with her now that our baby has been born. I cannot leave her all alone at home," he said as he closed the door of the chauffer-driven vehicle.
Anytime her husband visited, the voice of her pastor echoed: "Sister Joyce, something tells me your husband is in danger and this could lead to his death. Make sure he sees me whenever he returns from his trip."
Joyce never told anyone that her husband had moved out of the house to live with his mistress. She could never have told anyone that they both agreed that he should get a woman to give birth to a male child! They had six girls, who were all married with children. Ironically, all their grandchildren are boys.
"Nne, you know I love you and will do anything to make you happy," Nnamdi told her exactly a year ago. "Last night, my uncle called from the village and insisted that as a titled chief, I must have an heir. He even said I could be deprived of my title if by the time I turn 70, I still don't have a son." Initially, she was confused. She knew how her husband cherished his traditional title and how much he spent to earn it.
By the time he talked about it ceaselessly, she agreed that he got a woman to make his dream come true. Adaora was the daughter of their chef, John, who had served them for over 25 years. In fact, the 22-year-old was born in the servants' quarters where John lived with his wife and a child. Quite respectful, Ada, as she was fondly called, came to the main house to play with Joyce's children. Everyone loved Ada. As a child, she was chubby and beautiful, now as an adult, she was stunningly gorgeous.
John was stupefied when Joyce and Nnamdi proposed to have his daughter as a mistress. Nnamdi promised to marry her as a 'full' wife if she bore a son for him. This proposal came with a juicy package for the chef- a new house, a car, a lump sum in his account and he ceased been a chef. He could not turn down the offer and within a week, Ada became a 'part-time' Mrs.
John's wife was happy too and other members of staff wondered at the sudden fortunes of John's family but none knew Ada was traded for this. If Joyce thought their plans would be followed to the letter, she was wrong.
The first month, her husband was 'normal' and came home after seeing the young mistress. By the second month, he started spending some nights at her place and only came home on Mondays! She complained about this but Nnamdi told her that Ada was scared living alone in the big house he bought for her. By the third month, she was pregnant and needed to have him at her side especially during the first trimester.
If only she could turn the hands of the clock! Gradually, her husband stopped coming home and she had to make excuses to their friends and church members that he was on business trips. At a point, she could not hide it again from her children and she opened up. The girls were furious! They knew their father had a firm control on their mother but not up to that extent.
Nneka, their first daughter, who was a medical doctor, could not stomach what had happened and flew down to Nigeria from the United States where she lived. She accused her father of infidelity and wept at the deceit they played on all the children. Other daughters, who also lived abroad, came to Nigeria and quarreled with their father.
But the deed had been done and Ada was expecting a baby. Nnamdi tried coming home to see Joyce but he hardly waited to eat any meal! When his wife started telling him about her pastor's prophesies, he overlooked it and said Ada was a good girl.
Unknown to Joyce, Nnamdi had been coerced by John and his wife to marry Ada. They went to a registry and even had a traditional wedding in their hometown! Ada had become a 'full' wife, who was a expecting a baby. Joyce was kept in the dark and kept praying for her husband's safety. Her relief came when Ada was delivered of a baby girl! She thought she would have her husband back. How wrong she was!
Nnamdi stuck to Ada and told Joyce he had to help nurture his baby girl. She was sad and knew she had lost him to the other woman.
Nnamdi suffered from hypertension and was able to manage it for many years. She was alarmed when a week ago, Ada called her and said her husband was ill. She went to see him at Ada's place and ordered that he should be taken to the hospital. Joyce was shocked that Ada and her family had kept Nnamdi's state of health for three days without informing her. He was admitted into a hospital and the doctor diagnosed that his heart was enlarged, not only that, some strange substances were found in his blood. He was poisoned! She contacted her daughters abroad and they all agreed that he should be flown there for treatment. He died before they could complete the arrangement.
Ada and her parents were arrested by the police. Then, John, Ada's father, confessed that they agreed to kill Nnamdi because they were scared he would dump their daughter because she did not give birth to a son. Their calculation was that as a legal wife, Ada had a right to the family inheritance whenever her husband dies.
"So, Nnamdi has ended his life without an heir he longed for? He had succeeded in creating trouble for me before he died. At 57, I have turned a widow," she cried.
*All names and events are fictitious