Editor's note: The issue of husband scarcity is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, rather, some women around the world also face the same problem.
In this feature article, Wale Akinola had chats with some affected women who shared their experiences. He also talked to some experts and religious leaders on how to find a lasting solution to the predicament.
After many years of effortless search for a man who would seek her hands in marriage, a 37-year-old Khadijah resorted to her fate. To her, being lonely is not her plan but when the suitors refused to come; she decided to move on in her life.
A Masters’ holder of electrical and electronics from one of the universities in the north said the issue is not peculiar to her as some of her friends also suffer the same destiny.
“Movie abi real life?” Actress Mama Rainbow shares how one of her sons told her to join witchcraft, fans react
PAY ATTENTION: Subscribe to Digital Talk newsletter to receive must-know business stories and succeed BIG!
Unlike in the years back when men swam around a lady like bees and compete to have her as their partner, the story is no longer the same now because women have outnumbered men and the few ones are not ready for marriage.
Narrating her ordeal, the beautiful Khadijah who graduated at the age of 25, said she thought she would get married before she reached 30 years of age.
She noted that when things could not work out as planned, she had to enrol for a masters’ programme when she clocked 31.
According to her, she had been in two relationships but opted out when she realised that the supposed husbands were not ready for marriage.
“It is not possible for me to beg men to marry me at all cost but what do you do when your expectations are not met? Do you kill yourself? No, you have to go back to your God and seek His mercy. This issue of scarcity of men here in the north is a great concern for the parents and guardians.”
Khadijah stressed that she never thought she would be single now, adding that as she advances in age, no man is ready to propose to her not because she is ugly or uncultured but for the reasons she is yet to understand.
In her submission, a 35-year-old Oluwaseyi, who lives in the Ikorodu area of Lagos state, said she sees the inability to get a husband as a great problem because of internal pressure from her family, friends and relatives.
She noted that she is not finding life easy because of her predicament, saying that there is no happiness in the life of any woman without a man.
Oluwaseyi said that in the last three years, she had dated about four men but the relationship crashed because of their lack of commitment.
She stated that she cries every time she sees her mates with their husbands and children, lamenting that it is sad that she doesn’t have a child or a permanent man at age of 35.
No child, no husbands: 3 beautiful single ladies who desperately need life partners, check out their videos
Speaking with Legit.ng, a Lagos-based gender counselor, Adewunmi Kemi, noted that searching for husbands has become one of the major challenges faced by many young girls today.
She said the fact that in many prayer houses, the majority of the intentions are a prayer for a life partner, calls for great concern.
Adewunmi wondered whether their mothers and grandmothers really faced the problem of husband scarcity or if there were adequate corresponding numbers of both genders during their time.
Causes of the scarcity of husbands
She identified unemployment as one of the major causes of the scarcity of husbands in Nigeria, saying that it is no longer news that the unemployment situation in Nigeria is becoming worse on a daily basis.
According to her, the situation has led some men not being ready for marriage because of their inability to achieve financial success while the lady advances in age.
"He told me God wants him to divorce me": 21-year-old lady narrates how pastor dumped her, shares video
She stressed that few women are willing to marry a man who earns less than they do, adding that, as female earnings increase, women see men with less earnings as being unfit to marry them.
“What we face today is that the descriptions by most ladies of who their ideal man should be are always the same. If for instance, the opinions of 100 ladies are sampled on different occasions concerning marriage, we will find out that they want almost the same thing from men. But the reality is that the person who has their dreamed qualities is just one, so where do the remaining 99 ladies get their own husbands.”
A level 12 officer at the federal ministry of trade and investment, Abuja, Abdul-Hakeem Olawoyin, said the level of insecurity in the country is another factor that contributes to the scarcity of husbands in Nigeria.
"You will remain unmarried": Bitter Whatsapp chats leaks as lady 'scatters' her relationship over flowers
He said that many able-bodied men have been killed especially in the northern part of the country in the last few years due to insurgency by the Boko Haram sect.
Olawoyin noted that some soldiers have been killed in the battle against the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents, adding that women who have become widows in the process are now finding it difficult to get men who are ready to marry them.
He also noted that there are more single women in the southern part of Nigeria because of their religious creeds, adding that while Islam which is the predominant religion in the north allows a man to marry more than one wife, Christianity which is popular is the south preaches one man one wife.
What are the implications for a woman without a husband?
Olawoyin, however, said that Islam as a religion does not permit a woman to live without a husband to avoid any form of adultery or fornication.
He said in some parts of the country, any woman who lives without a husband may be accused of being promiscuous, adding that if a woman’s husband dies, she should be allowed to marry another man of her choice.
Olawoyin added that any woman who is above 30 years of age in Yoruba culture and refuses to bring her would-be husband to his parents would face some forms of abuse, insults from the people within and outside her family.
Are Husbands really scarce?
Responsibility scares most men away, young Lagos businessman says
A young man in his late 20s identified simply as Joseph maintained that husbands are not scarce rather some men are shying away from being responsible.
Speaking with Legit.ng, Joseph said:
"Husbands are scarce because many men lack the capacity to take up the responsibility to be a husband... Simply, they lack what it takes to be a husband which is 'responsibility'."
“In 2019, I was homeless and was living at an hotel”: Ara shares her story of how she fell from grace
Financial reasons inform men's decision, Maureen claims
A customer representative in a chat with Legit.ng, stated that finance plays a huge role in the decision-making process of most men who are due for marriage; They take a pause to check their financial capability before taking the step of settling down with a woman.
"I don't think husbands are scarce.
"The number of men that are willing to settle down is high, but due to financial reasons they cannot do the needful.
"If the tables where to be turned, so ladies will be the one marrying this men, then you will see husband's are not scarce."
Husbands are not scarce, Barrister Michael Effiong insists
Barrister Michael Effiong is of the opinion that Husbands are not scarce rather a lot of factors inform the decision of most men in Nigeria before settling down with a woman.
"I do not think husbands are scarce. In my opinion, there are many folks who are not in a hurry to work the isle mainly because the socio-economic conditions are not favourable. I mean, it is becoming hard to cater for oneself not to talk of carrying on the responsibility of a breadwinner of a new family. This is the case in most developing or low income economies like Nigeria.
"Moreso, folks have become more selective with who to settle with, as relationship have also become even more transactional in some cases. The ladies looking for husbands are more concerned with finding a "good man" who can "take care of her needs," while there are grown-up males of marriageable age in abundance, who according to many ladies fail to meet these standards, hence disqualified as "husband material."
"Most folks I know who are comfortable and well-to-do would prefer settling for not just the beauty or physical attributes, but for class, character, and value, if not more. Anything less is non-negotiable."
"I don't respect the dead": Blessing CEO slams Nkechi, Anita Joseph, other celebs over IVD & late wife's saga
Husbands should not be scarce, Pastor Oluwole Sola
In an interview with our correspondent, an assistant parish pastor of the redeemed Christian church of God said, statistics showed there is equal number of men to women.
"In my opinion, husband's aren't scarce. This is because statistics shows that there is almost equal number of men to women worldwide and also here in Nigeria. Infact the records shows that men are slightly more than the women. Therefore, clearly husband should not be scarce."
Reason single women experience delay, Pastor Sola shares details
Pastor sola hinted further at the reason why some women experience a delay in marriage.
He highlighted the factors below;
"This is where the issues usually lies. There are a few factors responsible for this;
1. When God created man, there is a corresponding woman meant for him. However, when such a man miss that particular woman it distort d divine arrangement. The man meant for that woman that is wrongly attached will experience some delay and d chain will likely continue like that.
"I've hidden this for long": Nigerian lady exposes dad, shares sad video of him beating her mum, seeks help
2. Humans have preferences either male or female. While there are plenty men and women out their, all of their attributes won't suit mine e.g color, ascent, height, size, etc. There is little or nothing anyone can do about these attributes. So there is a need for some sort of sieving and sorting. The person you love may not love you in return.
3. Individual shortcomings. There are some things that we can't tolerate in some people's habit e.g some ladies are dirty and sometimes have bad odour, some have very bad attitudes, some aren't friendly, some are too classic, etc these can be worked upon and necessary corrections made.
4. Mapping and sociable. Some women aren't sociable. They want a godly husband but won't go to church. They want a social husband but won't attend events. When the wrong type of man comes they will turn them down.
What men look out for in a woman
The man of God maintained that what men look out for in a woman is, largely depends on the man.
He noted that, on averagely, men want;
1. A lady that is homely
2. A woman that will respect him ( for me this ought to be mutual)
3. Beautiful looking (all of us want our wives beautiful )
4. Intelligent and smart.
5. A wife they can showcase anywhere
Pastor Sola sends words of wisdom to the singles
In conclusion, the revered cleric maintained that "all women are wife materials."
"Does the woman has virtues a man wants? He who finds a wife finds a good thing. You only seek out values. Women should keep adding value to themselves, trust God and patiently wait for the perfect gentleman," he urged.
Pastor Sola admonished:
"Also, our culture of until a lady finishes university before thinking Abt marriage is faulty in my opinion. Allow ladies to have male friends early enough, it exposes them to the terrain and eventually there won't be much stress at a later age."
There's a man for every woman, Ayomide maintained
In a chat with Legit.ng, a business executive identified simply as Ayomide, opined there's a man for every woman.
The young lady who is in her early 20s maintained there is no scarcity of husbands rather time says it all.
"I don’t really believe there’s a scarcity of husbands. I mean, there’s a man for every woman. The difference is in the time frame," Ayomide said.
She noted further that some men are not husband-material, hence ladies experience delays in marriage.
Ayomide stated thus:
"Apart from this, I think why some ladies are not married is because some of the men out there are not ‘husband materials’. A lot of men don’t want to get married. They just want to enjoy life and preferably, have baby mamas. They don’t want commitment.
"However, as a Christian single lady, one can prayerfully ask God for a responsible man who will be the perfect will of God for her. The question is, is she ready to accept that will of God, regardless of whether he’s rich or not, tall or short, fair or dark? One has to ask for the grace not to be choosy so as to get the best from God.
Pregnant mum of 3 with ulcer lands in hospital after fasting for almost 90 days, says pastor instructed her
"Then, some ladies have bad characters. No man wants to marry a lady who’ll give him headache with the economic situation of the country. Men want peace and so, women should be able to give them that."
Parental factor plays a big role, Ayomide hinted
Speaking further, Ayomide noted that the influence of parents cannot be ignored in this matter.
"Also, the influence of parents is another factor. Some parents are so adamant on the fact that their daughters must marry from their tribe. The world is getting digitalised now and people no longer have a rigid mindset as to the tribe to marry from or into."
A word for single ladies, Ayomide urged ladies to be modest in their appearance
"Finally, you are addressed the way you are dressed. If you dress irresponsibly, you strike some men as a street or 'runs lady', not someone they will want to settle down with. They won’t tell you that but deep within them, they know they won’t marry you," she noted.
"The man was married with kids": Lady in her 40s who sponsored her wedding leaves marriage after 3 months
What will happen in the next few years if the problem persists?
An economist and social psychologist, Gbolahan Olayiwola told Legit.ng that the number of single women may double the current figure if something crucial is not done by the government, the parents, and the religious leaders.
He said that gender norms are central to shaping how the status of singleness is interpreted, adding that if compared with men, women experience greater pressure to conform to the ideology of marriage and family because conventional constructions of gender emphasise caring and dependence as a central element of successfully performed femininity
According to him, the high rate of single women in society may contribute to the increased rate of social vices like fornication and lesbianism.
Marriage is boxy and restrictive; women’s success is not attached to it
However, a Lagos-based legal practitioner, Damilola Ajisafe said that the societal belief that marriage is a must is boxy and restrictive; hence it is a choice for her.
In a chat with Legit.ng, the lawyer noted one could achieve the condiments of the marriage commitment, partnership, love and respect without necessarily being married.
She explained that her knowledge of the fact that marriage is a choice liberates her from societal expectations.
Damilola said that marriage is not the ultimate goal even as this fact is popularised among women who realise their potential.
According to her, the belief that society has for the longest time infused into women that marriage is the ultimate achievement, without which, a woman can never truly be happy is not correct.
She said marriage is really about commitment, partnership, love and respect, saying that a person can get all of these without being “married” to the other person.
Damilola said knowing that marriage is a choice liberates her as a woman from what society expects of her and definitely makes a large number of the society uncomfortable.
Actress Abiola Adebayo shares grass to grace story, says she used to hawk bread to raise her school fees
“Marriage isn’t the ultimate goal for me and so many amazing women out there because we are capable of so much more and are fully aware of this incredible fact.”
How can government, Mosque and Churches be of help?
Speaking on the solution to the problem, an Islamic scholar, Ustadh Ibrahim Tijani, told Legit.ng that the menace would be tackled if male Christians are also encouraged to marry more than one wife.
He said apart from the fact that the number of men who die annually keeps increasing; the birth rate ratio of female children outnumbers male children.
Tijani noted that Islam permits a man to marry a maximum of four wives if he has the capacity to cater to them equally, adding that if every man marries at least two wives, then most women - unmarried, divorced or single would eventually get their own partners.
He advised that the pastors should also encourage their men to marry more than a wife based on the reality on the ground.
The cleric also said the government at all levels should provide gainful employment for the citizens and that there should be a board in each state that will cater for marital affairs.
He said any man or woman who is ready for marriage could approach the board for possible spouse searching and assistance from the government, saying that the decision would help in reducing the high rate of single women in Nigeria.
Finally, most single women who are currently in search of men to marry may soon achieve their aims if the parents and the religious leaders start changing their (single women) perspectives on polygamy.
Also, the government at all levels should also borrow a leave from a state like Kano, which some years back, approved the sum of N240 million to organise a mass wedding for singles, divorcees and widows. If this is done, most unmarried women would get their husbands and the men would be inspired to take up marital responsibilities.
If you like don't pray because Twitter people said so, married lady in US tells single folks, and shares her story
Larmmy Ogidan-Odeseye, a married mother of three, has advised marriage hopefuls on the need to start now in praying for their future spouses.
The senior software analyst and philanthropist popularly known as Chelsea Godmother stated in a series of tweets she made on Tuesday, May 17.
Larmmy's statements on marriage may not be unconnected to the recent viral video of single ladies asking God to take them to their husbands' houses during a church service.
We need husbands seriously, single women cry out in Gombe state
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that some single women in Gombe state cried for help over their inability to secure men who would seek their hands in marriage.
It was reported that Oba of Yoruba in Gombe, Abdulrahim Alao Yusuf, said that 60% of the non-indigene population in the state is made of people from the southwest part of the country.