Our meeting in November 2016, held on Friday, 11th was thoroughly exciting and interactive. It couldn’t not have been any better as we discussed on the hot topic of- Early Child Marriage. In fact, it was a debate, with two teams, one supporting the motion and the other opposing it.
Those in support of the motion were represented by Uche Calister and Achinnowu Olivia, while the opponents were represented by Ezeigbo Chiamaka and Ola Christiana.
Uche Calsiter defined and explained what is meant by early child marriage and gave reasons why she believes it is a step in the right direction.
Early child marriage helps to protect the girl-child from acts that can make her lose her virginity.
· It also reduces promiscuity and chances of prostitution
While Achinnoni Olivia added that
· It enables parents to enjoy the pleasure of having their grandchildren early in life.
On the other hand, the chief speaker of the opponent team, Ezeigbo Chiamaka argued that early child marriage is detrimental to a girl’s overall success in life. Her arguments are hinged on the facts that-
· She is still young and not matured enough to bear the burden of pregnancy
· Early child marriage will also hinder her from continuing her education
· She would not be matured enough to face the challenges inherent in marriage
· She will become a liability to her husband and the society
Other points raised by the second speaker are that a girl given out early in marriage:
· Will not be able to achieve her goal in life
· Will be exposed to lots of health hazards as her reproductive organs are not well developed to carry pregnancy
This led to a heated debate as to when is the ideal age for girls to get married. Of course there were divergent views. Respondents suggested the ideal age as between 18 to 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 27 and 28.
Expectedly, there were varied reasons and divergent views on the matter but the chief host and anchor of the debate, Mrs. Aramide Oikelome urged the girls to first acquire some level of education or life skill and be able to earn income before getting married so as not to be a liability to the family. “A girl that is married off at 13 years will be keep at home by the husband and she won’t be able to do any other thing other than being a full time housewife.” That means she will not have a voice or power over her life.
Oikelome stressed that “no man wants a wife that is a liability but every man desires a wife that is intelligent, productive and able to contribute meaningfully to the progress of the family; a woman that is psychologically and emotionally balanced”.
She further urged the girls to live a purpose-driven life and not to yield to the pressure from parents or anyone that wants to pressure them into forced marriage.