Nkiruka or What Lies Ahead is Greater: Angel Nduka-Nwosu


There are some things your mother should have told you the night before your wedding. Infact, there are some things she should have made clear all those years she made you stir egusi soup in your sweaty Illupeju kitchen. 

All those years you measured uziza while your brothers laughed loudly at Didier Drogba’s goals during EPL.


She should have let it be clear that marriage was no bliss. She should have explained that marriage was nothing like the saccharine sweet singing of the women in Zee world movies and Telemundo. That sometimes, marriage could take on the bitterness of unwashed onugbu leaves. That most times, marriage could leave you looking at your certificates and wondering how the best graduating student in university was made to stop working and look after children. Children born to a man who sometimes made your eyes purple when Arsenal lost a game. And being Arsenal, they almost always lost a game. What sort of man befriended a team that constantly lost and used that as an excuse to turn his wife into a punching bag?

This is how it all started


You were twenty three when Godson came to your mother’s one room self-contained flat with promises to marry you and help take care of your younger ones. You were twenty three and straight out of the University of Lagos and NYSC when Godson, a forty five year old man realised he needed a wife two decades younger than him. 

Godson came with promises to your mother that he would ensure that the death of your father five years ago would not stop your two brothers from finishing secondary school and going onto university. If you hadn’t won a scholarship to read Economics, you could have ended up being married at 16 like your best friend Nneka who now had three children at 22. 

You knew Godson but you did not want to marry him. You knew that he had a large spare parts shop and you knew he had a supermarket in your part of Surulere. You sometimes came to his supermarket to buy things on credit and he would tell his manager not to embarrass you for wanting to take without paying. Who would have thought that all the while, he wanted you as a wife?


You did not want to marry Godson. You did not want to marry Godson until your mother reminded you of all the times he brought a sack of rice for the widows. You did not want to marry Godson until you remembered that almost six months after NYSC, you had not secured a job at the organisations you wanted. 

You thought that maybe just maybe a marriage to Godson could see you fulfil your duties as the Ada, as the first daughter and stop the feeling of emptiness that pervaded you each time you saw the patchwork uniforms of your brothers.


In the beginning, the agreement was that you will have two kids, take care of them for two years and actively open a business selling jewellery, ankara and gold. The kids came. A boy and a girl. Then another baby girl came. Then two years turned to four turned to five. True to his words, Godson made sure your brothers were well sorted out educationally. He constantly sent money to your mother. He sent money to your uncles. He bought their silence.

Each time you mentioned to Godson that you needed money to start your jewellery business, he slapped you and asked if you weren’t happy that a pauper like you was living in a seven bedroom mansion in Egbeda? He asked if your late father could afford to eat every meal with a piece of chicken and fish the way you did now? 

Nkiruka, he asked if your mother even understood how to use Youtube on a smart phone the way you did? He told you to kneel down and tell him thank you for lifting you out of the fog of poverty.


Ibiwari was that next door neighbour who your husband always spoke about in disdainful terms. She was almost forty and was unmarried. Yet, if one had placed both of you side by side, they would have thought you at almost thirty was older than her. 

Ibiwari was a woman who worked as a top executive in one of the leading pension firms on the island. Her skin shone and she was always hosting parties and meetings for women on the estate where both your houses were located. She made it clear at those meetings that she volunteered for women’s financial organisations and was always willing to help women with grants for businesses.

Although most men did not like their wives going to her house, for some reason they kept quiet. Maybe it was her aura. Maybe it was the smell of money that seemed much more than what they could ever have that surrounded her. Maybe it was the fact that she played a major role on the estate association and no one wanted to offend her. Or maybe, they were just too chicken to stand up to her.


The day began like any other day. You had woken up the children. Made them breakfast and then proceeded to tell the cook to excuse the kitchen so you could make Godson’s breakfast yourself. For a man that rich who still had a cook, he expected you to cook and clean as though help was non-existent.

Everyone had left the house when the thoughts of Godson mocking you about Youtube during your last fight came running into your mind. Once again, you found yourself looking at your certificates with one hand clutching your phone. This could not be the life you were going to live, you thought to yourself. There had to be a way out.

With a sigh, you left the certificate and turned to Youtube. There had to be something you could learn from the comfort of your home in a way that would not rattle Godson. There had to be something that you could do to earn some money before thinking of leaving Godson or getting a lawyer. You remembered the fear in your daughter’s eye when she saw Godson slapping you and you decided at that moment that enough was enough.

As though the universe willed it, you saw a recommendation on how to bake a cake without an oven. It piqued your interest and you remembered how in university you had always admired the girls who made cakes and small chops in their homes and brought it to sell.

Why couldn’t you? The thought at earning what could be yours and yours alone came excitedly.

You took note of the account. Rushed to the market and with some of the housekeeping allowance Godson gave you, you bought things to aid your learning. For the next month, when Godson was in bed, “travelling” or magically did not come home, you woke up and went to the kitchen to practise how to bake cakes and make small chops. This was not selling gold like you dreamed about but there was a peace you felt in those nights mixing batter to make a cake in an improvised oven and in those afternoons frying samosas that you had not felt in years. 

For that month, you lied to Godson about what the kids needed at school and when he grudgingly gave you a much bigger sum than usual, you used part of it to buy your very first electronic oven. Thankfully, Godson thought the kitchen was beneath him and hardly came inside it so he did not see it.


It was March and Ibiwari was hosting a party for the estate’s women and you had just successfully made a batch of cupcakes, your first full chocolate cake and your very first complete platter of samosas, spring rolls and puff puffs. She had advertised this party throughout January and February on the estate’s group chat. It was to be in celebration of International Women’s Month. 

You did not even know that there was a month set aside for women and women alone. It was to be held in her house and big women from the financial women’s organisations she volunteered with were going to be there. All women coming were encouraged to bring something that showcased their skills.

Godson was away on one of his “trips” and you decided to go. The party was catered to already, but you took your cupcakes, chocolate cake and platter to Ibiwari’s house and shared it with the women there. 

Ibiwari was discussing a drive she was planning in April to donate sanitary ware to the women in a prison when to your utmost surprise, one of the heads of the women’s organisations present, asked who made the cake that had just been shared. You said it was you shyly and she said you had to make some more for her child’s birthday. The next woman beside her asked if you were available to make small chops the next week for an office event. You almost said no but you remembered that Godson would not be around. So you said yes.

When you went home that day, you could not believe yourself. Practically half of the women there had taken your contact and wanted you to make a cake for their child’s birthday. You checked your phone and the proposed amount of payment from the woman who needed small chops almost made you collapse in fear and joy. It was a lot bigger than two of your housekeeping allowances from Godson put together and she was even apologising for it being too small.


Nkiruka, your mother should have told you that sometimes the only strength that a woman can gain on dark days is remembering the story behind her name. Your mother should have let you know that your name was not just a recalling to the reality of new beginnings. She should have explained that she named you Nkiruka because she badly wanted to move on from the feelings of grief that pervaded her when she lost her own mother while seven months pregnant with you. 

Nkiruka. What Lies Ahead Is Greater.


The day you went to deliver the small chops will always stick in your mind’s eye.

You had returned feeling elated when you met Godson fuming. Beside him was your mother and an uncle who were begging him to forgive you.

What caused it? One of the women at the party had casually mentioned to her husband that Godson’s wife had started a new business making cakes. He told Godson. Godson, who claimed to be on a business trip to South Africa but was with one of his underaged side chicks in Yaba found his way to Egbeda immediately. He was going to kill you, he shouted. Your mother went on her knees pleading and crying.

She asked why you decided to disgrace her. She asked if you did not know that multiple women will kill to have a man as wealthy as Godson be their husband. Your uncle told you that there was no way on earth that he was ever going to return any bride price back to Godson. Where would he even get the money to start with? He asked if you were not aware that Godson paid the school fees of more than half the children of your relatives? He asked why you decided to be selfish and not obey your husband’s only desire to be a stay home wife. What man didn’t beat his wife, your uncle asked? Afterall, even Mama Obianuju, his wife, occasionally received some slaps when the ogbono was too cold. It made their love stronger because he said even his wife knew that only a man who loved you will correct you by beating you senseless even to the point your eyes took on colours that even the rainbow will be jealous of. Can’t you say something, your uncle shouted. Why are you just standing there like a zombie? Don’t you want your brothers to go on to do their Masters? Your mother shouted.

They both ordered you to go on your knees and beg. You stood. They both said you were a disgrace. You stood.

Godson said the only way you will ever be welcome back was by throwing away your electric oven. 

That statement was like a key that unlocked you from the prison of your marriage. You had over fifteen orders from the estate women asking for small chops, cupcakes and birthday cakes. You were planning to make chin chin in small batches and sending them to some of the supermarkets around. You wanted to open an Instagram account just for your business. You planned on advertising yourself to the parents’ in your children’s school at the next Open Day.

How was any of that to happen when your husband was so in love with the idea of you always asking him before he gave money? When your husband could not stand you having money separate from him? When he wanted the clothes on your back to always be the ones gotten from his money?

You stepped out of the house and called Ibiwari.