Mrs Comfort Morenike Sowale is the wife of Right Reverend Olubayo Sowale, Bishop of Ilesha Anglican Diocese and the president, Ilesa Diocesan Women’s Organisation. In this interview by OLAIDE SOKOYA, she speaks on her background and marriage.
Can you please tell us about yourself?
I was born into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Olatunji Woborode in Ijebu-Ijesa, in Oriade Local Government, Osun State. My parents, during their lifetime, were popularly known as Osomaalo; my father was a fabric seller while my mother was a businesswoman, going from one town to another. I come from a polygamous family and I am the second child of my mother and the seventh child of my father. I went to St. Mulumba Catholic School, Ile-Ife, where I later followed my brother who was working at Kanji Dam, Niger State. I later came back to Commercial Grammar School, Ikirun, Osun State. After my secondary school education, I proceeded to Methodist Teachers Training College, Sagamu, Ogun State. After some years, I got wedded to my husband, Right Reverend Olubayo Sowale.
What lessons did you learn as a child raised in a polygamous home?
My father showed all his children equal love, he didn’t discriminate while all the children loved one another. My elder brother who I went to live with in Niger is my stepbrother and even till date, he still relates to me as my full brother and father and that applies to my other siblings. Though, there were some challenges within the family, that didn’t affect our relationship.
What are those lessons you learnt from your parents which you have inculcated in your children?
I learnt a lot from my parents, especially my mother. My mother was very hardworking, holy and trustworthy. She wouldn’t condone any unlawful act and would call a spade a spade. When we were young, each mother would take her children to various places for prayers for spiritual security against evil. My father was an Anglican to the core but our mothers would go to all these white garment churches and different mountains for prayers and fasting just because they wanted to secure the lives of their children. My mother taught me the efficacy of prayers. Though, my mother didn’t know how to read and write, she was nevertheless knowledgeable.
How did you meet your husband?
I met my husband at Iragbiji,[now in] Osun State in 1977. He was posted to my church as a priest while I was the church’s Sunday School teacher and a choir member. One thing led to another, he saw me and here we are today.
What was the attraction?
Then, I had many suitors but I could see Christ in him. He was very handsome and I cherished him so much. In fact, I didn’t want anyone to move close to him then so I kept a close eye on him.
Can you tell us how he proposed to you?
He came out straight that he wanted to marry me. But in order not to look cheap, I told him I would go and think about it. Then no Ijesa parents would allow their children to marry from Ogun State so I knew it was going to be a big task convincing my mother about our relationship. But after much pressure my parents agreed that I marry him. This I believe was as a result of our fervent prayers. We got married and today we are blessed with beautiful and Godfearing children.
There is no marriage without its challenges, how do you resolve your disputes?
My husband is a man of his words, very conservative and gentle, while I love to move with people and have them around me due to the polygamous background I had. My husband always admonishes me to be careful due to the position he holds as a bishop. But nevertheless, whenever we have disagreement like that, we end it in our bed. Our bedroom is our courtroom; we end everything there. I always counsel couple not to have a separate room; couples must sleep together on the same bed.
Do you agree that couples should run joint account?
It’s not a bad idea for couples to run joint account but I don’t buy into it. What if the woman wants to carry out something personal, does it mean she would have to wait for the husband to give her a go ahead? When a family runs a common purse or joint account, one will be a slave to the other when there is no free access to the account and if care is not taken, this can lead to disagreement between both which can tear the family apart. I think a couple can have a common purse where they can put a percentage of their income, either monthly or yearly and can easily take out of it based on agreement or mutual understanding of both parties.
Do you still cook as a bishop’s wife?
I don’t allow anyone to prepare my husband’s food. I love cooking and I make sure he eats good food all the time.
You have a good sense of fashion, what does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is anything simple, classy and comfortable. A woman must be fashionable but this must be in moderation. Your style or outlook tells people who you are.
Do you have any favourite colour?
The colour I can’t do without is purple since my husband is a bishop. In the Anglican set up, purple is the colour for the bishop and his wife. A priest’s wife can use other colours except purple.
What advice can you give to women?
Women should respect and love their husbands. Women who are looking for libration are deceiving themselves because women are not under bondage. It is now common having some women say they want libration. Libration from what? Since we are not caged, why are we looking for libration? The only thing we need as women is to respect our husband. In the olden days, whenever our mothers wanted to set the table for their husbands, they would kneel down to set the table whether their husbands were there or not. But no woman would do that now. Let us come back to the drawing board, men are the heads of the home and they are the heads of their wives, whether we like it or not and we must honour them.