Professor Uju Anya has taken to social media to narrate how her mom dumped her dad after 26 years with 5 kids during civil war.
According to her, during the civil war, her dad left her mom alone with his family, 2 kids (age 6 & 4) while she was pregnant with a 3rd, and he was spending his lifetime in Biafra with a mistress and side chicks.
Also, at Enugu UNTH where the woman works, one day, a doctor cornered her, grabbed her breasts, and tried to rape her, claiming he thought she needed love since everybody knew her husband’s attention was occupied with others.
Read more of her words below;
Ozzy’s questions always get me deep in my feels pondering life. This time she got the thinking about how my mom, a Trinidadian woman living in Enugu with her Igbo husband whom she met at university in England, decided to leave him after 26 years, a civil war, and 5 children.
Marie Anya didn’t play games with loyalty and commitment. She followed her husband with their newborn daughter from England to Nigeria in the early 60s to live in his homeland. She always worked and contributed to build family wealth. Bore my dad 6 kids, one died in infancy.
During the war, Dad left Mom alone with his family, 2 kids (age 6 & 4) pregnant with a 3rd, while he spent Biafra with a mistress and side chicks. Mom (a nurse midwife) ran escaping bombs with in-laws, delivering babies and giving injection to earn money for family survival.
2 decades in Enugu, Mom never perfected Igbo. Understood, but struggled to speak. Dad said he needed somebody with whom he could express his true heart. There were many somebodies. Women constantly stopped Mom on the streets greeting her as “nwunye di’m” or “my co-wife.”
Mom suffered other humiliation besides Dad’s side chicks approaching her. At work in Enugu UNTH, a doctor once cornered her, grabbed her breasts, and tried to rape her. Said he thought she needed love since everybody knew her husband’s attention was occupied with others.
Dad eventually made good on the nwunye di claim and married one of his many side chicks—the mistress he had since the war—and brought her to live in our house. Mom desperately begged him to keep her in a separate place, he refused. Dad was head of home and everyone in it.
Mom went to umunna council of male elders begging for help. Dad was a rich man with many houses. Why must he have 2 wives in one? Nothing. Women elders also supported Dad. All said, who do you think you are that you must have one man—and such a big man—only for yourself?
Mom gave up and began to plan to go. She was a devout Catholic and couldn’t openly tolerate polygamy. She could pretend she didn’t see her husband’s infidelity for 25 years, but the breaking point was being forced to publicly condone it by living with him and another wife.
For the last 2 years of her marriage, Mom meticulously prepared to run. She hid cash, sold jewelry. Took a suitcase to her work office, packing little by little. My clothes were disappearing, and I didn’t understand. When a bag was full, she hid it at her best friend’s home.
Mom’s chance came with a wedding invite to Lagos. She first traveled to buy tickets, cuz she couldn’t use any agent in town. She sent big suitcases to a friend in Lagos, then left Enugu with her youngest kids (me, 10, brother, 13) with overnight bags to attend the wedding.
We never made it to the wedding. We arrived in Lagos at another family friend’s house totally unrelated to the people getting married, and I saw our huge suitcases sitting in their guest room. That night we boarded another plane much bigger than the one we flew from Enugu.
It was only after we were in the big plane that Mom explained what was going on. She said, I’m leaving your dad, and we’re going to live in America. This is your chance to say no. Aunty is in the airport, I can send you back with her. Brother and I said, what?? Let’s go
Why all Mom’s secrecy? It was late 80s Nigeria, and she wanted to run and take her 2 youngest kids, cuz 3 oldest were adults. But, by law, children belonged to the father, and she was kidnapping us. We arrived in US and hid 2 more years, cuz Dad came to take back his kids.
So, that’s how I ended up here. My life changed overnight, and I moved to a new continent with no prior notice. My mother—a rockstar badass—at age 48, decided she was done with her husband’s mess, took her kids, and, for the THIRD time, began a new life in a new country.