*This is not a true account. This is a writer trying to tell the story of what is possibly going on in the head of Maje Ayida, husband to on-air star, Toke Makinwa and subject of her new book, On Becoming
by Okon Ekpo
Why have I kept a studious quiet since my wife (she is still my wife, until the courts grant divorce) decided to hit the media and completely and utterly destroy my reputation, calling me everything – serial philanderer, sexual abuser, physical abuser, STD carrier, lazy f__ker. Essentially everything any mother warns her daughter about finding in a man.
I am supposed to be the devil. But I am not just any devil, I am the devil that the entire world must hear and read about – on the cover of magazines, in YouTube videos, in TV and radio conversation and interviews, in speeches by respected female leaders Abike Dabiri and Mo Abudu; all over the place on Twitter, even on my Instagram page with my measly 8,500 followers (that I have refused to close or even restrict viewing because this is my life, not yours).
Toke says this is about personal release, that this is a personal journey for her, that this is about herself. But how can it be about her, when every single thing is about me? My estranged wife wrote an entire book simply to paint me as the worst man in the entire world – how can she claim with a straight face that this is not about me, that this is not about vengeance?
Why have I kept quiet through all of this, focusing on my work as a fitness expert, including that cover of ThisDay Style last week? Well, it’s because truly hell hath no fury like a woman who thinks she’s been scorned. How does one fight against a woman who apparently has nothing to lose – who would expose so flagrantly the very intimate details of our personal lives, including our bedrooms? Who has chosen to fight me in the ugliest, bitterest way possible? Who has chosen to malign my character, throw dirt on my name and on my soul, ensured that when you Google my name all you see are these dirty, terribly accusations?
How do I speak to people who have already pre-judged and condemned me based on what Toke said, when they have never met me, do not know me, have no experience of me personally?
How can I begin to attack in public a woman whom through all our challenges and our battles and our fights, I have not said one negative word against anywhere in public? Why would I add gasoline to this fire? Of what use will this be to me than gather more enemies of people who don’t even know me, and don’t really care?
Toke says this is not vengeance? How can anyone believe that? This is not vengeance. Then, tell me how more terrible would vengeance be than this?
None of this is to protect my purity. There is no need to. I do not need to be infallible to know a great public injustice. I am an imperfect man. Perhaps too imperfect. There is cheating, there are lies, there is the breaking of marriage vows.
But Toke knew about all of this when she married me. She knew I was fighting my demons. She writes about my cancelling the marriage several times. But that was the reason! Put under serial pressure, I thought to myself ‘Maje, you have not sorted your issues. Yes you know she wants to get married, but are you ready for such long-term commitment? ‘
Still, against my judgement I did that. I did it for her. She wanted it. I loved her. We could fight these demons together. I shouldn’t have done that. I really shouldn’t have. I regret, now, every minute I decided that giving in was the wise thing to do.
But then, just look at this unfairness. She writes all these things that I did. Did she tell you one thing that she did to me or in the marriage or relationship that was wrong? Shouldn’t that worry you? Is any human being in such a volatile relationship that blameless? How can Toke sit and write as if she is not an adult and has no agency? Did I force her to marry me? Did I force her to stay with me? Did I raise my hand on her and hit her once? Did I tell her I would harm her if she left? Why is everything suddenly my fault in a troubled marriage where both of us had issues and we were unable to work through?
How can one person then take that complexity and reduce it to: Maje is a monster?
Is Toke no longer an adult? Is she no longer responsible for her own actions?
And then what is all this talk about it being her personal story? This is not just her story. This is MY story too. It is my life, my character, my reputation, my family that is being dragged in the mud so terribly and how is that fair? Private mistakes, private faults, challenges that are exaggerated, splashed across the newspapers and magazines, offline and online.
Can you imagine how terrible it would be for you if your ex-lovers took every bad thing, every mistake you have made in the past and, without context, without care for how you feel or your future, dimed it in the public. MI says he stand with her because he too has cheated. Really, MI? So you would be perfectly fine if any of those ex-lovers of yours go across the press and share the intimidate details of those mistakes you made? You would be fine with that? I don’t think so, dude.
And my child? Why must she pull that poor boy into this? He had no part in my issues with her. He is not a pawn to be played in a climb towards more popularity. He is not a pawn to be played in a bid to get back at me for hurt and pain that resulted from marriage.
What kind of unfairness leads you, Toke, to destroy him so? To splatter his story across the Internet. Does your conscience tell you that this is a proper, dignified, honourable thing to do?
Tee-Billz had a fight with his wife, Tiwa Savage. Almost everything Toke has accused me of – fairly and unfairly – was present in that story as well. Everyone said he was at fault, yet he went on the offensive and completely maligned her character and her reputation. And because of that, he got defenders. It became: two fighting.
Some people expect me to do that. I will not do that. I will not do anything now. I have too much respect for myself to do that. I will not drag myself, my family and my child into this mess.
I do not want a part of any of this.
All I want is the peace to work through my issues and to become a better man, every day.
I am not a perfect man. But I don’t deserve this.
To you it might all be harmless fun. To Toke, this might be an extension of her confessional personal brand. She finally goes over 1million followers on Instagram and becomes a feminist icon.
To me, this is my life, my reputation, my very being torn apart from strangers and from a woman I once called my wife.
This is a nightmare.
I don’t want to respond. I don’t want to say anything about this. I just want it all to end.
I just want all of this to go away.