As I read the BBC article on Abubakar, I initially found it funny that he discouraged others from following in his footsteps. But, I found nothing funny about his comment,
"A man with 10 wives would collapse and die, but my own power is given by Allah. That is why I have been able to control 86 of them,"Of course, there could have been a miscommunication between speaker, translator and interviewer, especially if Abubakar's primary language is Hausa and not English. Yet, the word 'control' conjured images of mindless animals being herded to slaughter. It made me bristle. But, as I took some time to think about what he was saying, something clicked. Although I have publicly called for the illegalization of polygamy and have been heavily criticized for it, I must say that Abubakar might be onto something.
ABUBAKAR HAS TO BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT
For those of us that are familiar with polygamy, we know that it is a system that can breed serious competition amongst wives trying to gain favor from their husband for themselves or their children. Therefore, to maintain a family as large as Abubakar's must require a delicate balance between keeping competing wives and interests in check. However, the pictures of Abubakar's wives showed relatively content women. And, while I have no idea how he manages to feed and clothe his large family, I daresay, Abubakar must have learned how to keep what must be a complex network of partnerships, interests and differing attitudes together under his 'roof'. Regardless of how I feel about polygamy, I have to commend Abubakar for his management skills. He should write a book and share his tips. I don't think I would go as far as Durano's suggestion that pharmaceutical companies "analyze and recreate what makes him tick and ... produce a product that would effectively compete with viagra from his DNA.[sic]" But, that is a story for another day.
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO NIGERIA?
Source: Lagos City Photo Blog
The Niger Delta and the stalled Summit that Yar'Adua proposed also reflects a the importance of controlling tense situations. As with Abubakar's large family, the ultimate goal is to keep Nigeria together and control the various problems that will undoubtedly arise. Instead, the planned Summit was forced to fall apart before it even began. Since then, there has been sluggish progress in bringing security to the residents of the Delta. And, the village of Abonema, from which my mother hails, has become a ghost town because cult members and armed gangs turned it into a battle ground. Some leadership is clearly needed for the populace who are at the mercy of armed thugs and criminals.
No matter what one thinks, leadership requires some level of control. The word 'control' might not be palatable to the sensitivities of many but the reality is that a nation will fall apart if those charged with its maintenance fail to control the many competing factors and interests. I do not suggest a clampdown on differences as can sometimes happen in Nigeria, just a better effort at getting most things under control. It would give citizens more faith that something good is on the horizon. Abubakar is managing to do it in his household, why can't Nigeria?