‘Escortion’ in this Delta community is an elaborate ceremony where the parents, relatives, friends and kinsmen of the bride follows her on foot all the way from their house to her husband’s compound.

The trip is characterised by singing, dancing and merriment of all kinds as they draw nearer to the final point. Women, who have been ‘escorted’ to their husbands’ houses wear new garbs of confidence, earning the respect of fellow females in the process. As a result, those yet to fulfil this important requirement look forward to it with great anticipation.

While the norm in marriages and all its accompanying processes usually involves a man and woman, in this Delta community it was the case of four brothers of same parents and six, strong women. It was indeed an unusual event in more than a few ways.

two of the four brothers – Mr. Assembly and Mr. Louis Onofighe – who spoke with newsmen noted that though they had been married to their wives at different times, they decided to hold the ‘escortion’ ceremony on the same day for a number of reasons. According to them, together with Paul and Zion, the other two brothers, they had planned the event several years before it was recently staged, adding that they have been commended by many people from far and near for the initiative.

Louis, the younger of the two men, who is married to two of the six women, said that he was happy to have made ‘history’ with his siblings and that he was sure other people would learn to work hand-in-hand with their brothers through their display of love and respect for one another.

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“The ceremony was like a carnival, it was attended by dignitaries, politicians and other important people from across and beyond Delta State,” he began. “It showed the level of unity amongst us as brothers and how understanding our wives are.

“When we came up with this plan, a lot of people thought it wouldn’t be possible and that we were crazy. They predicted that there would be a quarrel amongst us and that it would prevent us from achieving the target.

“But we promised ourselves that we were going to work together and actualise the plan.

“The ceremony was one of its kinds in our community. Apart from the dignitaries that came, there were enough foods and drinks for everyone to enjoy themselves. It was a huge success,” he added.

Speaking on how he met his two wives and how he had managed to live with them peacefully despite the two women bearing five children for him, Louis said the history behind the journey was an interesting one and that he thanked God for giving him the strength to handle the situation.

“My wives have been with me since I was an undergraduate at the Delta State University where I studied English,” he revealed. “Though I met the first, Philo, before Juliet, I felt I couldn’t leave any of them because of the role they played in my life.

“They were with me when I had nothing, now that I am somebody in life, they ought to enjoy with me as well. The two of them have given me five children.”

While revealing that he and his brothers had to wait for one another till they were all ready for the important ceremony before it was done on December 1, the businessman said that they secured the understanding and trust of their wives for the event to come to fruition. According to him, the women’s patience made the plan to work.

“It wasn’t as if each of us didn’t have the resources to do this ceremony individually over the years, we just wanted to have it on the same day,” he told our correspondent. “The eldest of the four of us whose wives were ‘escorted’ on that day, Paul, had been married to his two wives for many years. In fact, one of his children is over 20 years old. He decided to wait for the rest of us to be ready before he did it.

“The wait wasn’t easy for our wives but they had to do so because of the trust they had in us.

“Once in a while, we addressed them and made them understand that what we were doing was for the benefit of all of us.

“And while the waiting lasted, none of them complained. This helped with the stability we needed to actualise the dream,” he said.

Asked how he manages to satisfy his two wives in bed and ensure that none of them feels cheated by him, Louis paused for a few minutes, burst into laughter before managing to find his breath. He told our correspondent that indeed keeping up with the demands of the bedroom had required a lot of “wisdom and calculation” from him.

“Attending to two women in the bedroom has not been easy,” he said. “But as a ‘correct’ Isoko man, I know how to make them happy in that regard.

“But I am lucky that they are the type that won’t complain even if I don’t come close to them for a month. Though there are times they also turn me down, we all show each other understanding in the bedroom and find a way to strike a balance. I am really happy having the two of them in my life,” he added.

Also speaking about their decision to have their wives ‘escorted’ on the same day, Mr. Assembly, a father of three based in Bayelsa State, said that part of the reasons why they decided to stage the ceremony on the same day was because they didn’t want to bore their friends and other guests with too many invites for such events. According to him, since they shared a similar network of friends and associates, it was wise to gather all of them together at once and hold this important traditional ceremony. Assembly, who married one wife on the day, said that he and his siblings were happy to show the world that such a thing was possible.

“We actually married on different days but decided to have the ‘escortion’ ceremony on the same day. It is the final and most important lap in the marriage process in our culture and community.

“Louis married two wives, the last child of our family, Zion, married one wife just like me, while the eldest among us, Paul, also married two wives.

“The ‘escortion’ ceremony is very important in our culture. If you got married and have yet to participate in the ceremony, your marriage is not complete.

“One important reason behind our decision is that most of our friends, associates and relations are the same, so it would not be fair to bring them to our community four different times when each of us would have had his ‘escortion’ ceremony. We felt that it would save our guests some stress if we did everything on the same day.

“Even though the ceremony was held on the same field, we organised different canopies and stands for each couple. We had guests coming in from different places. It was like a carnival,” he said.

Explaining how his wife felt after the ceremony, Assembly told our correspondent that though they had been married for several years, he had never seen her more excited and fulfilled like on December 1 – the day of the event. According to him, her confidence appears to have been suddenly boosted.

“My wife in particular had been looking forward to that occasion; she couldn’t hide her joy when the day finally arrived.

“She was very happy to have finally completed the last lap of our marriage process. She is very proud and fulfilled now.

“The ceremony boosts the confidence of any woman. It enhances their status as married women.

“With this development, she can now be able to speak in the midst of other married women. It is a big relief for her and the wives of my brothers,” he said.

While the Onofighes have carved a new niche for themselves in their community and surrounding towns, in Delta State, taking two women to the altar – traditional or cosmopolitan – on the same day is not a new venture for men. In fact, it is becoming a trend in the state.

For example, in March 2017, a man identified only as Emamuzo, married two women – Janet and Osioni – in a traditional ceremony. In October 2018, one Obukeni Ochendu married Ufuoma Ozoro and Oghale Andrew in Igbide Kingdom.

The practice is not limited to Delta State. In fact, in Abia State, a man identified only as Master Ejindu took two women – Oyediya and Ebere – to the altar on same day in February 2018 at a Pentecostal Church around the Abariba area of the city. A 30-year-old man, Isyaka Dahiru, also did a similar thing in Nasarawa State shortly afterwards. There have been a handful of other similar marriages across the country in recent times.

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