Monday, November 15, 2010

I was pleasantly surprised, and a bit flattered, when a distant relative sent me an SMS appointing me into his Committee of Friends for his forthcoming wedding.

Now, I haven’t seen, or spoken with, this guy for three years, so I didn’t really think I qualified as a friend. But I guess he was counting on our, not so clear, blood ties. The story goes that his grandmother and mine were cousins, so I guess that makes him family.

So, being an ardent believer in sustaining family ties, I made the trip to his Sango-Ota residence for the first meeting of the committee. I was very pleased that my (is it half?) cousin considered me important enough to help plan his wedding, considering that he is four years older than me, and about ten times wealthier.

On getting to his flat, my bloated ego suffered a slight puncture when I discovered that there were 37 of us in the committee. I was further shocked, and bewildered, to discover that we were in Committee Three. Yes, my dear cousin had inaugurated three different committees of friends for his upcoming wedding.

A bemused fellow committee member explained the set up to me; Committee One comprised of about 15 close friends of the celebrant who were expected to ‘donate’ N25, 000 each, Committee Two was made up of 30 business associates who were expected to ‘chip in’ N10, 000 each, while Committee Three included 37 not so close friends and relatives who were expected to ‘contribute’ N5, 000 each.

As the meeting progressed, I discovered that we were not really there to plan a wedding. We were there to ‘assist.’ We were simply part of a massive revenue drive. Someone whispered that the target was N1.2million. Our host spared no efforts to achieve this target, as he ensured that we were well lubricated with sufficient booze to loosen up some tight wallets.

In retrospect, my initial feelings of shock and disappointment at the commercialization of the process wore off. In fact, I began to marvel at the ingenuity of the scheme. It beats having to take a bank loan for your wedding in an era where bankruptcy occurs as the aftermath of some weddings.

So, if you are contemplating a wedding, and you are interested in adopting this method, you had better start getting those contacts of long forgotten relatives. Look harder at that family tree; there are branches you might have missed before.