Dr Ola Balogun is like the elephant and the seven blind men. He means different things to people. To some, he is a musician having established the Iroko, a 20 piece modern highlife orchestra that is dedicated to the revival and modernization of the exciting highlife music forms that were popular in the 60’s and 70’s. For others, he is an intellectual having also held strategic positions in various academic institutions.

There are those who would see him more as a journalist and author. The list is endless but beyond all that is the fact that Ola Balogun is a veteran in marriage having been in the sacred institution with his French wife for 40 years. In this interview, he bares it all to Sunday Sun. Excerpts…

Having been married for 40 years, how do you see the marriage as an institution?
Yes, I am a veteran of 40 years of marriage although my wife and I are not living together now because she prefers to live in Europe and I prefer to live in Nigeria. We are however not separated or divorced. We are living apart now based on a mutual agreement. She said that many of her friends don’t live in Nigeria any more. So many of her colleagues have gone to teach in America or some to practice Medicine in Saudi Arabia or Dubai. She complained that our circle of friends are not here again.

The cinema theatre and the play we used to go and watch are no more available and she does not want to stay in Nigeria again doing nothing and that our children have grown up. So, I would say I am a veteran of 40 years of marriage and in addition, I had a very close, intimate relationship while I was still married with a dear lady friend for over 10 years although we did not have children together. I have had my fair share of exposure to ladies. So, I think I can speak authoritatively about relationship between the sexes.

I can speak with some experience. One of the major problems of marriage in Nigeria now as I speak is that people are in love with the idea of marriage and not with the person they are going to get married to. They want to have a ceremony for all of Nigeria to come and see them, eat and drink and cut cake but the actual person they are to get married to, they are not bothered to know whether they are compatible or not. Some say they were told in the church that this is the person they would marry. Of course, you cannot marry somebody who is not your close friend.

The truth is that friendship and respect for each other are the basis of every successful marriage. Love can go but it is the friendship and mutual tolerance that survive all challenges. It is only rare marriages in life that two individuals look each other eye ball to eye ball and say I will be there for you. All the rest like going to the church and registry is just playing to the gallery. It is just for the society to know what has taken place but the real marriage has taken place between these two people.

There is a story I love to tell because that’s the way it should be. There is a man who married somebody and a couple of years into the marriage, the woman was involved in an accident and she became paraplegic, could not move her hands or legs and this man nursed her for 20 years and never married another woman. That is the understanding that I would be there for you.

The Bible calls it for better or for worse but it is better to say that it is just a commitment to the other person. And it is strengthened by the time children come into the world. By the time you have children together and you care for them together like when a child is sick and two of you carry him to the hospital, it creates a kind of bond that cannot be replaced. So, marriage is not about sex but sex is part of the bonds that tie people together.

How did you meet your French wife and what was the attraction?
It was at the CAEN University in France. What I noticed was that a lot of people were so stupid that anything a lecturer was doing, they were just writing it down. There were only two people in the amphitheatre in our set who would just be gazing at the ceiling. This is because you have taken the trouble to read the subject before the lecture and you knew what the issue was about and there is no need for you to be writing verbatim what somebody is talking because you have mastered that subject.

So, of all the people writing in that amphitheatre, only two heads were up. Our eyes met and we understood each other. From there, we chatted and from the second day we met, this lady just surrendered herself to me completely. It is not the length of courtship that matters in such a case but whether your spirit agrees or not. If a woman is bold enough to understand that this man has the qualities that I want, she would not be telling you come back six months or so.

Right from the first day you want to be intimate with her, she is yours because she has recognized that you are meant to be together. In those days at the University, I was sharing a flat with three other chaps and we had one room each but I had the bigger one because when we did the lottery, I won the sitting room and another bedroom.

So my flat mates noticed that this lady whom they have not seen before just started spending the night with me. But more was to come because not long, the lady took me to her family and said this is the man I want to marry. And those people had never seen a black man before, it is wonderful. I was brought up in a family where we do not judge people by their ethnic origin or their colour or religion. So, as soon as we agreed that we were for each other, he took me straight to her family and said this is the man I want to marry. These were people who had never met a black man in their life before.

What was the reaction of your wife’s parents?
They took me as their son from that very day. Even today, my mother in-law is still quarreling with my wife saying why does she decide to live in Europe and leave me here alone in Nigeria. My mother in-law is trying to fight on my behalf and I am the one saying no, my wife is right because the set up in Nigeria is not like when she was teaching here.

We lived in Nigeria for more than 20 years but she is quite right to say that most of our friends and colleagues have gone. She would just be at home by herself as our children have grown up and gone. I travel a lot and I am not often there. What would she be doing and she has retired from teaching.

Based on your experience, what is the difference between the expression of love in France and other developed societies when compared to Nigeria?
I am in the best position to say that because I have lived intimately with my French wife for over 20 years and about 10 years with another lady who is a Nigerian and who was very well known to my family and my mother loved her. I think I have experienced love in about three circumstances in different parts of the world. All human beings are one and the same.

That emotion and commitment to another person is the same. And a woman who is prepared to leave her own country and family following you 4,000 miles to your own country which she didn’t know is really committed to you. Although there are special cases like I heard there are people from Russia, they want to escape from their country and they want to have the passport and exit visa.

You hear that some Nigerians marry from Germany because they want to have the nationality there. But in the case of genuine commitment to each other, human beings are the same all over the world. I am 65 years today and I must tell you that I have not noticed any difference between people who belong to different ethnic groups or religion in Nigeria. A human being can come from your village and be a very bad person. A human being can come from a totally far off place and be your best friend because that person is genuine and open to you.

Do you agree with the notion that the “white” ladies are more romantic and possessive than their black counterparts?
Every woman is possessive but what happens is that in Nigeria where there is a known tradition of polygamy, a woman would expect that a man would sometimes stray. I always say to the younger people that a clever woman always sees what she wants to see. A clever woman would not quarrel with his husband that somebody told her that they saw her husband with a woman somewhere.

If she is clever enough and she has children there, that man would always come there and in fact nobody would tell him and after some years he would be tired and come back. She would be the one asking aren’t you going out this evening? When a man has school fees to pay, he has to buy uniform, his mother is in the hospital and he has to pay doctor’s fee, his car has problems and another woman comes and tells him that he needs money from him to go and bury her mother somewhere, he tells her to hell and come back because he has not finished coping with his own immediate problem.

So, if the woman in the house is a little patient, she holds everything because the man has no other life than his children and his home He is only gallivanting and trying to show off that he can conquer the world but after sometime, he would get tired. When people were asking why did Mrs Clinton not leave her husband because he was having an affair with another woman, she looked at them and said did they think she was crazy.

She had created a home and cultivated a family for about 30 years and she would just abandon the man for another woman. The average African woman is more highly attuned to the reality of life. A man is likely to have one or two side shows but it does not mean that a man does not love his wife. Monogamy does not exist and has never existed in the world.

Even the people who brought it to us, the French who are Roman Catholics, I lived in France for so many years and even the Reverend fathers have girl friends and they have children. The President of France had concubines outside the official wedlock. Go to Italy, that is where the Roman Catholic ought to be strongest, all the men there have lady friends. Monogamy is a façade. You go to America, I would say that they are serial polygamists. So, in the reality of human existence, monogamy is very rare.

Is it true that white women go for black men because of the notion that they are better in bed?
It is possible because of the circumstances of life in countries like Japan, Europe and some other places Some of the men are likely to be too stressed to be able to perform efficiently from the sexual point of view because they are a bit neurotic some times because of the pressure. In Africa, most of the time and even in Asia, there is a healthier life style. People are in the farm. Even if the man is not doing any manual work, he has more opportunity for exercise and he is more vigorous physically.

So, you can say that a woman has a better chance of having a more satisfying love partner on the ordinary for sex from Latin America, Africa and Asia than from Europe. But it is not to say that Africa has the monopoly because you see that the white women who go as sexual tourists, they can go to Thailand and they find the men there who can service them or they can come to Gambia, they also find the men who can service them or they can go to Brazil.

So, it is not a monopoly of Africa alone. It is not that they are more specially endowed but I do not know because I am not a woman. However, in some senses, the average African male knows better how to handle a woman. An American woman wears the trousers at home and he can easily dictate to her husband but an African man would not allow that. Women ironically, prefer a man that does not take nonsense and they do not like a man that is being controlled by his wife although they want such a man.

Don’t you think that white women are more explorative in matters of sex?
I can tell you this based on experience. Every woman is curious and interested in sex; every woman in all parts of the world whether Eskimo, Chinese or Swiss. But in Nigeria, there are some ethnic groups who either by training or nature produce ladies who are very good in taking care and satisfying a man; the Efik for instance. Along that line, you go to Douala in Cameroon and you go to Kenya and Uganda. They are some how very adept in satisfying a man.

They understand the psychology of a man and how to look after a man. You know that story of the Onitsha man who went to Calabar for a conference, they did not see him for some weeks and they sent his friend and that one too did not come back. When they came, they said these women know how to take care of men. You find that French and Italian women would be more romantic in some ways than the English woman who is more rigid. But individuals are different; just like the French, the Greeks and Italians are very much interested in food.

They cook wonderfully well and their dishes are incredibly good and rich. But the English are not interested in food. They only eat roasted beef and things like that. Their only interesting menu is may be the breakfast and the tea. If they want to eat properly, they have to go to a Chinese, French, Greek or Italian restaurant.

But you would agree with me that white ladies are more bold in making a sexual statement?
In Senegal, they said there is a particular incense that a lady would put on her clothes and a man would be highly aroused sexually. You find such traditions in some places. Some would think that if they wear jigida, it arouses the man and so on. You go to Ethiopia, it is another thing. You go to South Africa, they say that if the woman is fat enough, you would really enjoy yourself. But there is no white woman in the real sense of it because they are really different.

Don’t you agree that women in developed societies are more adventurous when it comes to sexual relationships?
I can tell you confidently that it is not true. Every woman is different. There are some women here who can almost break you as a man sexually. You do not need to go out of this neighbourhood to find them. If you stumble on the right woman, he can exhaust you and give you different sex styles. There is a story that a friend told me in Ghana.

There is a certain headmaster who used to victimize female primary school pupils. He would tell them to fetch water to his house and as soon as a girl brought the water, he would close the door and jump on her and virtually rape her. So, she now targeted one small girl who was about 14 and thought it was business as usual and little did he know that the girl was so experienced and almost a nymphomaniac and by the time he now jumped on her, she proved to be far more experienced and knowledgeable than he thought.

And by the time he finished and was exhausted, the girl told him, I surprised you, didn’t I? I hope this is not vulgar but there is a prostitute in every woman including in the Queen of England. She displays that aspect of her only to her boyfriend or husband. When a woman is with her person in the sanctity of her bedroom, she would be passionate and do all kinds of things but when you see her on the streets as a very respectable woman, you would never imagine that she could do such a thing. When the Queen of England is in her bedroom with her husband, it is not the Queen that you see on the streets.

What is the importance of sex in marriage?
We are animals. The human being is an animal and that animal is supposed to procreate. Nature has arranged it for the human being to reproduce and for you to do that, you have to be attracted to have sex with the opposite gender. That process is the trap that nature has set. And that period of looking after a child is a pleasant hard labour because it is so wonderful to have a child. What I miss so much is children jumping all over my head.

I used to complain that why are you people waking up so early and jumping on my bed but when they left, I regretted it. If I can bring them now to jump 20 times on my bed, I would love it. I think the best pleasure that a man could have is when a little child hold your hand and walk down the streets with you or come and lie on your lap or you carry a baby in your arm. So, nature has set a trap and at the same time has placed honey all the way.

You said earlier that an intelligent woman should not bring a beautiful maid into the house. Why do you think so?
This is because the male sex organ does not have a conscience and it has a brain of its own. People can be easily led astray if they see something close at hand which they feel they can enjoy quickly without anybody knowing. So, an intelligent woman would not bring a beautiful young housemaid to live inside the same house with her husband even if that person is her relative or sister.

The man can be tempted any time because men are weak. If you bring a very attractive young lady into your house as maid, even if you are a saint, there would be a day that may be, the woman has traveled and you are alone in the house or in the middle of the night he has gone to the toilet and he passes in front of the room where the maid is sleeping and sees her lying naked on the bed, anything can happen.

Clever women would make sure that they have maids that are very young or are very mature women or even a man in some instances. Even that small child, there is no guarantee that a man cannot rape an eight or nine year old girl.