*‘Being truthful to my spouse is what has sustained our marriage’
By Benjamin Njoku
How would you feel if your man is taking you on a date, and you eventually end up with him at an Amala joint? Or on your wedding day, when you are supposed to ride in the best of cars and your man prefers to drive you to church in his rickety car? Perhaps, laugh or cry? Whichever way, this is the captivating story of Nneka and Isaac Moses.
The presenters of Goge Africa, a popular tourism programme on TV, indeed, have a love story that is like a movie thriller. Perhaps, their fans are not aware that the couple, who welcomed their first child, Kamara, after 13 years of marriage, at a point in their lives, had nothing to fall back on.
While Moses was squatting with friends and sleeping in hotels at a time, Nneka was busy saving money for him to get himself an apartment and start a new life even before he ever proposed to her. Their love is so strong that Nneka confesses that not even death can separate them, just as Moses said “I can’t live without her”. Theirs is a story of marriage made in heaven. The celebrity couple in this encounter inspires with their amazing love story…
Moses: I like putting my card face up so as to make it visible. Why most marriages have challenges today is because the man does not want his wife to know everything about him with particular reference to his earnings.
For me, if your wife knows everything about your earnings, you will rarely make demands that are not within your scope.
But if she feels that some information regarding your finances are withheld from her, she begins to imagine that, perhaps, there’s somebody outside of her that is making you not declare all sources of income to her.
I operate the same bank account with my wife. Any one of us can sign and withdraw money from the account. There’s a kind of trust you repose in somebody and she will feel uncomfortable to betray that trust.
For me, it’s about doing unto another as you would want them to do unto you. That’s what has sustained our marriage. She knows everything about me.
Being truthful to yourself and spouse is what has kept us together. If trust is not there, it’s very difficult to build trust and if it’s broken, nothing can be done to restore the relationship. I have been as clear as cystone in my relationships.
Nneka: I realized right from when we started courting that he was very open to me. I can trust him and it was easy for me to open up to him too.
I can do anything for him because I know that he’s always got my back. He means well for me and trusts me. He has also given me reason to trust him and because of that trust, I don’t think there’s anything I can’t do for him.
Marrying your friend
Nneka: We were friends before we became husband and wife. And we are still friends. He’s still my best friend. When I want to gossip, I know that my gossip is safe with him. I am happier with him than anybody else in the world.
It borders on simplicity, truthfulness and trust. Marriage is a package even when you marry your friend. But the good thing is that as it unfolds you get to understand each other better.
When you call someone your friend, he looks out for you as well as you look out for him. Most of the time, you like the same kind of things.
That’s why they say birds of a feather flock together. Because we like the same kind of things, when we started we liked nightlife a lot; we would go to the nightclubs and breach. Those things he liked I seemed to like too.
And as we grew overtime, our interests continued to shift together. We continued to evolve, if I saw something I liked, I will show him. Sometimes, there are things he likes that I don’t like. But to make him happy, I will find a way to be part of it.
I don’t like watching football, but when he’s watching it alone in the house, he will invite me to join him. And because I know it will make him happy, I always oblige him.
I know that if I don’t join him he might decide to go to a viewing centre and watch the match there. Sometimes, you sacrifice something to gain something. We read together, he likes to read novels more than I do.
It’s either we are reading a novel together or we are watching movies together. We look for the best out of every situation. Even when we were looking for a child, each month I saw my period, I always got depressed but he would keep encouraging me.
So, we find a way to see the bright side of everything. Our mindset is right and I think we have the right attitude to life as well.
Moses: She just spoke my mind. Before I met her, I had girl friends who always believed I went to club with another girl and when I returned home, they would tear my clothes and pick quarrel with me.
But when I met her, she wasn’t that nagging type. I feel comfortable with her. It’s important that in a relationship, you are able to be yourself with your spouse and feel comfortable in her company.
She’s my friend, I feel she should be the first person I should share any good news or bad news with before any other person. If you have a choice it’s best to marry your friend. Even though there are some people that their families force them to marry someone else.
Building Goge Africa brand
Moses: Working together makes it a lot easier. I don’t have to remember everything. I know that any lacuna I create, she fills it and the lacuna she creates I equally fill it.
Sometimes, a client will invite us for a negotiation and I know she negotiates better than I do, I will send her to represent the brand. Whatever she tells me is the agreement reached, I don’t doubt her.
A man has to decide whether he should be open to his spouse or not. There’s this friend of mine that once told me his dad said a woman should not know all your secrets. If that works for you, it is all well and good.
I feel that’s why we have some of the challenges in marriage today because the woman does not entirely trust her husband. It’s still an issue. What I told you last year is still the same thing I am telling you today.
Nneka: When you have business partners, Mr Olu and Mr. Emeka, for instance, Mr Emeka will be pondering on how I am sure Mr. Olu is not cheating me.
That same way Mr Olu will be wondering if Mr Emeka is not planning to kill me and take over the business. But for us, I don’t have to watch my back. If I tell him “this is this”, he knows this is it.
Whatever naira or dollar we make in the course of our business is put into our account. He can withdraw as well as I. We are not in competition with each other. We discuss everything together, including the water in the house.
After 20 years of marriage, I know where his strength lies just as he knows my strength.
What I know is that when it comes to those things he can handle perfectly well, I draw his attention to them, just as he will draw my attention to those things I can do better than him. We are not competing for popularity.
Nneka: 20 years after we got married, he hasn’t changed. From the very first time he asked me out, he took me to where he could afford. He didn’t borrow money to take me to a classy restaurant.
That day, I was excited as I told my friends that my man was taking me on a date. Who knows where he was taking me to? I dressed up and was ready to go to a nice restaurant. But lo and behold, we ended up at an Amala joint around Shitta area of Surulere.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, but it was real. That was the first shocker. The second major shocker was on our wedding day.
He made me cry because we had a Mercedes Benz from my relative and Volvo 740, all decorated for our wedding. Climbing the staircase, I was fantasizing whether to be in the Mercedes Benz or Volvo 740 and join him later in any of the two cars after our wedding.
But to my greatest surprise, he pointed to his rickety car and asked me to enter there. I objected seriously, reminding him that we had a Mercedes Benz and Volvo 740 already on ground.
He turned to the people that brought the Volvo 740 and asked them if we were going to retain the car after the wedding or if they were going to take it back to the owner. They said “of course, we would take it back to the owner”.
Again, he turned and asked my in-laws after the wedding: “are you going to leave the Mercedes Benz behind?” And they told him “we brought the car to support your wedding”.
He tapped me on the shoulder and said: “this Mazda 626, as rickety as it looks, is our own. We are going to enter this car and ride it to church. I would be the driver”.
He asked the bride and groom’s men to ride in the posh cars. Tears started rolling down my cheek coupled with the fact that I was heavily pregnant.
A lot of thoughts started passing through my mind; I started wondering if I would survive in this marriage. He doesn’t want me to enjoy anything. His car had no air conditioner.
All my friends, including Kate Henshaw, who was my chief bridesmaid, with his groom’s men, Chidi Mokeme, Sammie Okposo, JT Tom-West, were all laughing at me.
I was praying to God that the car would not break down on the way. Surprisingly, he managed it until we got to the church and, after the wedding, he asked me to get into the car again and I obeyed him. Since then, he has been open to me.
Before we got married, he was always saving his earnings with me. In fact, I was keeping his money until he was able to save enough to rent an apartment.
Then he was living in a hotel and, sometimes, he would squat with friends. At one point, I told him I wouldn’t be coming to see him in a hotel until he was able to rent an apartment.
He told me how he tried to save money with Commerce Bank before it collapsed with his money and he vowed never to save his money with any bank again.
He said to me “if you insist that I should secure an apartment, let’s save towards it”.
Then he had not proposed to me. At the end of the day, when he finally found an apartment he came to me and I told him he had more than enough to pay for the accommodation. We do a lot of things together. For some reason, we just enjoy each other’s company.
Moses: One good thing she started, she printed an invoice and issued it to my clients. If I work for anybody she would write an invoice and give it to the person.
At the end of the year, when I look at how much I have amassed from the book I realized there’s money in the voice-over business.
That was why people called me the voice merchant. I was making a lot of money from the voice business. It’s good to end up with a woman that has your interest at heart.
Sometimes, if we plan to go to the nightclub and somehow she couldn’t make it, I would walk up to her and tell her that we would not be going to the nightclub again because I couldn’t get the money I was expecting.
But if it were to be other girls, I wouldn’t show up at all.
Sacrifices paid projecting African culture
Moses: Part of the sacrifices we paid was not playing foreign music on the show. We were only playing indigenous African music as a way of supporting our indigenous art.
There were some clients who said to us, “what’s this about culture?; who has time to put their money on culture? Why don’t you play some hip-hop music and we will give you our maximum support”.
So, we sacrificed that, but the real sacrifice is when nobody understood our vision at a time, leading to our investing our little earnings into the project to the point that we couldn’t pay our house rent.
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