iN 2008, Mohammed Masaba Bello made headlines as the man with 86 wives. ABU NMODU in this piece, reports that he has married five more women since then and that he is not stopping yet
The story of Mohammed Masaba Bello is the stuff you read in story books, but this is as a real as it can get. Masaba, as he is simply called by haters and admirers alike, came into limelight in 2008 when he hit the airwaves and the cover pages of most newspapers as the man with 86 wives! Now he has taken the number to 91! and still counting.
It was exactly during the Ramadan period that he was arraigned at an upper area court, Minna, Niger State, for contravening some aspect of the Shariah which stipulated that a Muslim should not marry more than four wives.
His arraignment at the upper area court whose jurisprudence is built on Sharia legal system came after the emirate council in Bida tried to convince the octogenarian to drop some of his views on Islam and to divorce his wives and retain only four, but the man would not budge.
But if anyone believed that his travails then would stop the man from accumulating more women, then that person is grossly mistaken. Masaba married his 91st wife last Friday, keeping up to his promise to marry 100 wives before the end of the year, even as he divorced 21 of his wives for failing to comply with his standing principles.
Masaba took residents of Bida by surprise as he married Fatima Mohammed, 31, in spite of alleged hostility to his way of practising Islam by leaders of the area.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY observed that the marriage coincided with the naming ceremony of nine children recently born into his household by his other wives, putting the 5,000 strong household in a festive mood.
The octogenarian, according to our investigation, had married four more wives since the hullabaloo about his serial marriage broke out but they were not given prominence like the one of last Friday. This one enjoyed publicity it coincided with the naming ceremony and, unlike others, the bride was from Bida, maybe to prove that he has supporters in Bida
The wedding, LEADERSHIP SUNDAY observed, was well attended by people from all over the country and outside who, it was gathered, were beneficiaries of Masaba’s ‘treatment’ - those who prefered ‘local’ solution to othordox medical practice.
The mega polygamists who did not come out of his inner chamber after the wedding he presided over himself, it was observed, had friends from outside Niger State, especially from the south western part of the state where he stayed for a while before relocating back to Bida.
A spokesman to the octogenarian, Salihu Ganiyu, told reporters that the Masaba would not only marry up to 100 wives before the end of the year, but would continue to marry more wives until God tells him to stop.
He also confirmed that his boss had divorced 21 of his wives because they were not able to keep to his principles, some of which included not going to hospital when they were sick; taking anything other than the one used by the household, among others.
Clarifing that the 21 were not sacked because the man could not fulfill his marital responsibilities, he noted that all the wives were well fed and that Masaba fulfilled all the responsibilities expected of an husband, which was why he was marrying more. He pointed at the new chidren being named at the occasion to support his argument.
Masaba has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Estu Saba ruling family of Bida, which he reportedly claimed kin with, but the royal family denied him, maintaining he was actually Nmodu Chikangi from Chikangi village of Lavun local government area.
In March this year, a Minna high court presided over by Justice Aliyu Maiyaki, however, declined jurisdiction over the matter and refered it to Bida High court, which is now hearing the case.
The case came up after Masaba cried out during the last voter registration exercise that members of his family were denied registration.
The then commissioner of police, Mr Michael Zuokumor, noted the large size of his familu could have frightened some politicians..
The super polygamist had alleged that there were prominent members of the royal families behind his ordeal since 2008, and maintained that the attack on his family was a carry-over of a grand plan that started in 2008 to make his family a target for attacks at the slightest provocation.
But a new twist soon attended the matter when the Etsu Saba ruling house in Bida declared that Masaba was not their kin, and that he actually had origins in Lavum LGA.
The family head of Etsu Saba ruling house, Alhaji Abdulmalik Ndazhiko, approached the court to prevail on the mega polygamist to drop the name of the family.
At the time, he had said: “First, Nmadu Chikangi, alias Bello Masaba, is not, and has never been, a member of the Masaba royal family of Bida. In fact, he is not even from Bida; he is from Chikangi village near Kutigi in Lavun local government area of Niger State. We, members of the family, know ourselves and hereby disclaim him. Legal action to protect the name and integrity of the family is being considered.”
The lawyer to the octogenarian, Barrister Shehu Mohammed Jubril, had said at the time that Masaba’s family was inundated with calls of attempts to kidnap their patron.
According to him, “Baba received unanimous phone calls intimating him that the powers that be in the state were involved in a plot on his life. The person who refused to say his name or allow his number to be seen said that they wanted to kidnap Baba for his outrageous attitude. We are afraid and we need protection.”
The octogenarian super polygamists insisted then that despite the fact the royal family had disowned him, he still had royal blood in him.
He contended that when his father was in Bida, he married three wives and all of them died, and he then moved to Kutigi where he married his mother who gave birth to seven.
He added that after his father’s death, he moved to Lagos where he spent about 36 years before coming back to Bida, his roots, to settle. He may have given a lucid picture of his origins but that has not helped his cause one bit.
With the recent addition of wives, and the prospect of making it 100 before the end of the year, and to continue until God tell him to stop, there is no doubt that Mohammed Masaba on a course to make history as, maybe, the man with the largest number wives in Nigeria, nay the world over. Whether he achieves that or not, only time will tell.