Nollywood film-maker and founder of Abuja International Film Festival, Fidelis Duker, is now enjoying the benefit of early marriage but that is coming after he faced dark moments with his wife four years into marriage.
For him, he kept his vow when he impregnated his wife,Temitope, at a very young age, and went ahead to marry her despite the odds.
18 years down the line, Fidelis in an interview with Vanguard recounts some of the challenges he had faced as a young married man.
“Our first four years in marriage was one of the toughest part of my entire life. After our wedding, we lost our apartment, and my car was damaged beyond repairs by one of my friends who had an accident with it. My office was the only thing I had left. But the irony of it is that nobody knew what my wife and I were passing. I was practically living in my office with my wife. Early in the morning, we would take our bath before staff would resume duties, and after work, we would stay back. Sometimes, we would stay with my friend who was then living in Yaba. While we were passing through the hard times, my wife didn’t give up on me, neither did my friends know our predicaments. For eight months, we were homeless. Most of my friends will be shocked to hear this for the first time. Finally, we rented an apartment in Ijaye, on the outskirts of Lagos, and moved into the house. But all this while, my wife stood by me and never regretted her decision to marry me.”
On the early pregnancy. the ace film-maker said: When I made the vow that any woman I would date and later get pregnant for me would become my wife, I didn’t want to break the vow, even though I was dating other girls. At that time, I was a bit comfortable as I had started making films. I felt the only thing left for me was to get married. In fact, it was my car that I used on my wedding day. The economic situation was a bit conducive at that time in 1998. I was less than 30 years and you can imagine the kind of risk I took. But I was ready to go into marriage. I think I became matured very early. When my friends and colleagues in the industry were not ready to go into marriage, I took the bull by the horn. I only worked for somebody in a computer firm for six months in my entire life. Parents support I think my dad was pretending, but my mum supported me. When I told her that my wife was pregnant for me, my mum asked me if I really wanted to marry her? I answered in the affirmative. Unfortunately, my mum died one or two years after our marriage. For my dad, he was indifferent as he never really encouraged me. He wasn’t pleased with my decision even though he didn’t make it known to me. Also, my father in-law never wanted the marriage because my wife is the only child of her parents. And she was still in school then. But like my mum, her mum also stood by her and ensured that she didn’t abort the baby.’
On cheating on his wife, he said “I have done a lot of things that hurt her. Apart from cheating on your wife, there are other things you can do to hurt her. Your wife might expect a gift from you on her birthday, and you forget to buy her a gift year after year. Definitely she will feel hurt. But one thing I like about hurting my wife is that she’s quick to forgive and forget. She’s my best friend and my everything. I married my friend.“
On her part, Temitope says “marrying early was a blessing in disguise.” I wasn’t ready at the time I got married. Though we had challenges along the line, we were able to overcome those challenges. On the part of my parents, it was not easy for them to welcome the idea. That is why I ensured that my marriage is a success. Like I used to tell young girls, marriage means commitment. You must love and respect your husband: know what makes him happy and the things he doesn’t like. I wasn’t aware of any woman in his life. Maybe he was very careful to keep me in the dark about it. But I would have still married him if I knew he had a woman. And if he had been into drinking and smoking, nothing would have made me to marry him.“