Meet the pregnant lady who is happily married to a dead man. It was gathered that her marriage, has made her mother in-law Mrs. Mary Torkwase Antom, 58, from Tse Baraku in Kwande LGA of Benue State, the happiest woman on earth. Reason: her dream to immortalise her husband and son’s names has been fulfilled, thanks to what she considers the wise decision she took after the death of both her son and husband.
A 1986 diploma holder in Catering and Hotel Management from Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, she worked as a caterer at the prestigious NICON-NOGA hotels in Abuja, between 1988 and 2001, before resigning, to set up a booming restaurant business on Makurdi Road in Lafia.
How she lost husband and son
Formerly married to Mr. Patrick Terlumum Antom from Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State and a retiree of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture (they got wedded in 1980), the union was blessed with only one child, Thomas Awuhe Antom. Born on June 13, 1990, the boy was in SS2 when he died in 2004, from a heart-related sickness. A year later, his father, Patrick, also died.
That left the woman devastated. “Growing old is tough, but growing old without the support and company people close to you is tougher,” she told Saturday Sun . Add to that the fact she is diabetic and you begin to understand why she feels that life can never be tougher than she had seen and may climb to “toughest” if she does not do something drastic to secure not only the family name but also its property.
“I had lived a happy life with my late husband,” she explained. “We shared ideas and always kept our resources in one account. We achieved a lot during his lifetime, we had very good plans for our only son, but God took him away. To worsen matters, my husband also died. We have a lot of landed property; we equally have business establishments.”
Mrs. Antom popularly known as ‘Hajia Mary,’ said: “My worry is, when I die, who will take over this property? My husband had, while on sick bed, warned me seriously not to allow any of his relations to benefit from the property that both of us had laboured strenuously to acquire. He was not in good terms with them before he died.”
She was in a dilemma about how to solve the problem she was confronted with when a friend told her about a pretty young unmarried lady, one Miss Juliet Muese, from Obi LGA who was on the verge of being disowned by her parents for her inability to identify the guy responsible after becoming pregnant out of wedlock. All of the three men she mentioned, one of whom is Igbo, denied ever knowing her and even threatened to arrest her with the police for trying to defame them.
On learning about the incident, Mrs. Antom became determined to seek Juliet’s hand in marriage for her dead son, in keeping with Tiv tradition. She travelled to Obi, met with and held a close and lengthy discussion with members of Juliet’s family on that score. The idea was to bring her into her home with high hope that she might deliver a baby boy who would later inherit their property. With the parents of Juliet readily agreeing to the marriage proposal after the long talks, Mrs. Antom repeated the visit accompanied by some elders from her husband’s village to perform the traditional marriage rites that would formally seal the deal.
“What I did is a well-known practice in our place and culture,” she said in defence. “There are a lot of children, almost 18 per cent of them born after their father’s death. Majority of them lost their fathers before they were born, it is not a new thing, such cases are everywhere in our place.
These children answer their father’s name, some of them have even won local elections; they are grown-up people today and nobody has said anything; they have gotten their dues in our community, so my case is not an exception; all I need is a grandchild and a bona fide inheritor of my property.”
Culled from Sun News