Somehow, I never knew I’d have a reason to paraphrase that crossing-dressing Nigerian artiste, Charly Boy. He of “Our mumu don do” fame.
But I was left with no choice after hearing the story of one Saudatu Aliyu of Minna, Niger state.
By now almost all of us have heard how Saudatu was swindled to the tune of five million naira by an in-law who claimed to have married her off to former President Muhammadu Buhari.
When this newspaper broke the news that a Minna-based lady had won a court case against her son-in-law, who claimed he had contracted a marriage between her and the former president, I dismissed the whole incident as a case of advanced senility. To me nothing else could explain why the woman could fall victim to such an obvious scam.
It was not until her interview with other news channels, and an eventual long piece by Daily Trust which revealed her age that I began to look at the matter seriously.
A 40-year-old can’t possibly be going senile, it has to be something else.
Apparently, like we’ve all heard, the swindler one Gambo Adamu, was married to her young daughter. With what seemed like the daughter’s connivance, a plan was hatched to deprive Saudatu of her hard-earned money, through a bogus NGO and later the false claim of marriage to Nigeria’s No 1 Citizen.
Obviously, a hardworking philanthropist, Saudatu was fond of visiting hospitals and orphanages to donate to them from the proceeds of her food-making business.
Her son-in-law, being criminally-minded must have decided to take advantage of her generosity, by urging her to register her activities under a non-governmental organisation, NGO, and then use it to get business contracts.
Of course, she agreed to such a win-win proposal and soon got everything registered.
It was after having won her trust that Gambo Adamu brought up the issue of taking her NGO activities to Abuja for exhibitions, and eventually came with the issue of marriage to former President Buhari.
Where her mumu shone very brightly was when she decided to believe that the former president was indeed interested in her though he had not once picked a phone to call her.
Then he agreed to marry her, without even seeing her, by sending the sum of N100,000 as dowry. Does this sound believable even if it comes from her own son-in-law?
In any case, of the four obligatory components of an Islamic marriage, one is the presence of the legal guardian of the bride. No one was either invited or notified to be there as her legal representative in the marriage.
Yet Saudatu believed she had herself a new groom. And if for any reason the then president wasn’t able to reach her before they tied the knot, at least now that he has sent her a dowry, one would have expected him to reach out to his bride; yet he never did.
Still Saudatu believed so much in the union that when Gambo, the son-in-law urged her to rent and furnish an apartment, which will serve as a love-nest for her and President Buhari she agreed.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, she was made to prepare delicious dishes, a number of times, which Gambo would come and pick for onward delivery to Mr President, whenever he queitly visited Minna.
Never mind that he could have the choicest of meals from Niger State government House, as the nation’s president, still he chose to eat only what his unseen bride had cooked.
In Saudatus’s own words: “Each time I finished preparing the food and dressed up to go and meet Buhari with it, Gambo would tell me to wait for him. He would then come and collect the food or send his friends to come and collect it from our house. He never allowed me to follow him with it. I spent a lot of money preparing the food…”
I can’t believe that up to this point Saudatu didn’t sense that she was being duped.
In fact, it was after the food cooking episodes that her duplicitous son-in-law decided to advise her to buy new bridal clothes, ahead of her eventual wedding to Muhammadu Buhari.
What I can’t believe is why she couldn’t even demand or expect a phone-call from the former General, acknowledging her tasty cooking and thanking her for it.
How is it possible for a man to marry you by paying the dowry and not wish to see you even once?
Even though her parents were alive and well, and very curious to know who she was cooking delicious food for, she never asked that their son-in-law should try to reach them, if not her.
As someone who was married before Saudatu Aliyu knew all these are the proper customs to follow, once you have sought someone’s hand in marriage? Why didn’t she get suspicious when she saw nothing like this in her marriage to the president?
Honestly, the more I ponder on the whole episode, the more difficult it is for me to accept that a successful and hardworking business woman, who had a lot of savings to show, could fall for the lies told by this young man; and lose five million naira in the process.
Asking a few hard questions would have uncovered the crook she gave her daughter to. Instead, she believed his lies, fell for his promises and made a complete fool of herself.
Can it be that her ‘mumu’ knows no bounds or could she be the victim of hypnotism?
Yes, people talk about evil geniuses who use supernatural means to hypnotise others and swindle them. Was that the way Gambo Adamu got his mother-in-law to part with so much, without asking the right questions?
Was that why she believed it was possible for a sitting president to marry her in absentia and even send her a dowry to prove it? Whatever really happened between Saudatu Aliyu and Gambo Adamu, it’s my hope that other women would learn from it and not be so gullible.
Though the judge has ordered Gambo to pay her back the sum of N2 million, I personally believe he should pay her all of the five million she lost and serve a prison term with no option of fine. This might deter the criminally-minded men like him from targeting hardworking but gullible women.