So it happened that my Ex and I were on the verge of the break up back then and the next thing I knew was that I was being served with a court summon from the customary court.
I remember vividly that I was at a family friend shop when I received the call that I have a letter and the person asked if he could come deliver it. I told the person he could and when I read the content of the letter I burst into tears at the Lies which was told against me.
The part that made me cry the most was where they wrote threatening of life as one of the claims by my Ex. Threatening of life ke? Emi? Jesu gbami oooooooooo!!
On the morning of the day I was told to be in court, I arrived very early at the court as advised by some legal friends and they told me that once our case was called up, I should tell the judges that they have no jurisdiction over the marriage.
How do I tell a judge that he has no jurisdiction over my marriage? Am I not playing with court contempt? Won’t the judge in annoyance tell them to lock me up for insubordination or insubordiworld sef!
When the court opened; I got down from my car and went inside, met my Ex inside the court room with many other people who came for one case or the other. I was just smiling to myself like an idiot while putting up a bold face though I was dying inside.
Two friends who offered to be with me in court were also there but we all sat separately.
As the court progressed with different funny cases; someone tapped me on the back and said my attention was needed, I looked back and saw that it was my Ex calling for my attention.
Got up from where I was sitting and went to meet him and he said to me; “. See ooo, when they ask us why we are here, let’s tell them that both of us came here willingly to have the marriage dissolved”!
I looked at him and told him point blank that I was no longer scared about the dissolution of the marriage but I won’t lie in the court about anything!!
Eventually our case was called up and we both went to the front of the judges like previous people did. When the judges saw us, they looked surprised and I’m sure they were wondering why these young couples have decided to part ways.
They looked at him and said; Mr Lagbaja, are you here to dissolve you marriage and to which he said Yes! I was asked the same question and I said No, they looked at me in amazement and said to my Ex, “Why do you want to divorce her”?
He told them it was because the marriage was no longer working. They asked him why it was no longer working and why he wanted to do away with me. To these questions he kept saying “It’s because it’s not working”.
So one of the three elderly judges abi Na Wetin you Law people they call them, looked at my Ex and said to him, “Mr Lagbaja, you’re a yoruba man abi”? Pls tell us in yoruba language every single bad thing your wife has done so that we can record it and substantiate your claim for divorce.
At this point, I was sure the antenna of everybody in the court was fined tuned to hear the sordid details of what kind of terrible person I am and I guess infidelity was probably ringing out in their minds. My Ex once again told them that it wasn’t just working and that our parents have tried to counsel us but it’s not just working!!
At that point; one of the elderly judges angrily said to him, you’re just saying it’s not working, it’s not working since morning, do you think the marriages of we elderly ones here as your judges are beds of roses? Don’t you think we a times want to do away with our wives but we just decided to make it work?
They looked at me and asked; “Have you agreed to what he’s saying”? And I said to them, “It’s of no use being in the marriage any longer since his mind is made up but I just want things to be done properly”.
They asked me why and I told them we went to the Registry during our marriage ceremony. Immediately they heard this; their countenance changed and one of them angrily asked my Ex, “Mr Lagbaja, is she saying the truth” and he affirmed that we indeed went to the Registry.
They turned to me and asked if I had a copy of our marriage certificate with me and I told them he had forcefully collected it from me during one of his episodes of physical aggression.
He once again confirmed my statement and one of the elderly judges who has been busy writing the court proceedings looked up in anger and furiously continued with what he was he writing.
After a while; he looked up and read those law grammars, “According to Law something something of the Nigeria constitution, subsection something something, this court has no jurisdiction over the marriage of Mr Lagbaja and Mrs Lagbaja hence this case is hereby struck out.
Mr Lagbaja, only the High court of Nigeria can dissolve your marriage, you’re hereby advised to go there!
While leaving the court premises that day, I remember my Ex showed me a copy of the summon I was earlier served with and he told me that they just gave him is own copy that morning and what annoyed him was that the sum of 20,000naira or so was collected from him to file the court summon while the particulars of claim revealed 320naira as the total money paid into the government account.
At that point, I didn’t know when I started laughing uncontrollably at how the clerks of the customary court have “Mugu” him.
I left the court that day to resume to Afternoon duty and I remember one of my Ogas telling me, “You look good “. I smiled and said to myself, if only this woman knew that I’ve just gone though one of the worst days of my life, she wouldn’t have said I look good!!
You know; some of us are quite good at masking up the pain we are going through and people think we have everything in control when we are in fact very close to our elastic limit but one way or the other, we are able to stay calm in the face of great storms.
We are able to carry on because God in his infinite mercy wired us to be strong and we are able survive what could have killed us or made a mess of our entire life.
By the way; My Ex and I both work in the same place so you can very well imagine the emotional trauma after we’ve both eventually parted ways through the dissolution of our marriage by the High court and I had to change back to my maiden name.
Some used to tell me that they would have left my place of work for another place if they were in my shoes but I used to them why should I? In as much as the divorce wasn’t based on promiscuity, I’ll walk head high from the entrance of where I work to the last point in the premises….
To be continued………