Anyone who is still in doubt about the culinary aphorism that the fastest route to a man’s heart is through his tummy will have a rethink after digesting this piece.
A happily married football coach based in Jos was offered a juicy appointment with one of the clubs in a location in the South-south geo-political zone famous for its mouth-watering gumbo known in their local dialect as edikaikong. Besides the palatable bouillabaisse, the girls in the environment are well-schooled in the art of caring for men, single or married, who come across them. Somehow, the spouse of the coach was ignorant of the she-sharks that could tempt even a saint. Instances abound of many youth corpers that went to serve in the location but did not return as they went, single. They were overwhelmed by the legendary caring and gastronomic skills exhibited by the girls that they ended up in a waltz down the aisle.
The coach was driven to the airport where he caught a Calabar-bound flight by his wife. Their reasoning was that since the couple had erected a house in Jos and the wife was doing well in her business, there would be no need for a relocation of the family to the new station for a contract job that might not last for more than three or so football seasons.
A couple of months after taking up the coaching job, communication was regular between Jos and Calabar. This was followed by occasional visits to the family whenever there was an engagement up north. This arrangement continued until the coach fell into a snare laced with edikaikong. At first, he resisted the temptation. But the noose became very irresistible because the girl provided the alternative in an aspect where his wife, a slave of Mr. Biggs, was found wanting. She was such a lousy cook back in Jos and oftentimes, she would persuade her man to settle for Mr. Biggs stuffs that normally come handy.
And so, when the coach began to wind down the gumbo in faraway Calabar, his heart began to pull in the direction of his culinary heroine. I hasten to state that the gumbo did not have to undergo the process of philtering in order to capture the coach’s heart. To do so would be an over-kill. The consommé itself is magical!
As time wound down in the first season, the coach began to develop cold feet towards his wife and their four boys. He forbade the woman from travelling down to Calabar when it became apparent that a gulf was beginning to emerge in their relationship. The matter got to the point that the coach cut off from his family. He was no longer visiting or communicating with them.
The wife became very worried and decided to contact those friends of her husband she believed he would listen to, in order to save their marriage and escape the burden of raising their four boys alone.
Eventually, the marriage, contracted in a Catholic church broke irretrievably. In other words, edikaikong succeeded in rendering asunder what God has joined together. The coach then went into extra time. He attempted to sell the family house to which the abandoned spouse was a contributing partner. He had shopped for a buyer and fingered the property from a safe distance. However, some neighbours sighted him and suspected his mission. They alerted the abandoned wife who swiftly swung into action by alerting the Department of Lands and Survey of the move. Being an indigene of Jos, and the coach, a non-native, she had the sympathy of the officials of the department who blocked any such move to sell the property, more so that the piece of land on which the house was built was her father’s wedding gift to them.
By the time the coach ended his contract job, he was well empowered to jet out of the country in search of the proverbial Golden Fleece, accompanied by the new family he raised. It was at that point that the first wife succumbed to defeat in a decisive match played on the edikaikong turf. Some friends and neighbours of the couple saw the coach’s action as an irony in a society where male children are highly cherished by men, wondering how he could just walk away from his four boys, propelled by edikaikong.