Tiwa and Tee Billz Marriage Saga, Suicide, and the Role of Social Media


By Smart Emuoborsan

The institution of marriage in Nigeria was once known to be a sacred one; getting married was only for people who were ready to work it out, at that time (before the rise of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and SnapChat etc.) there at least seemed to be no exit plans rather it was “for better or for worse”.

Marriages are supposed to be between two people, i.e., the bride and the groom and not between the bride, groom and social media/the world. Westernization perhaps has taken over Africa’s once revered culture, our heritage is being replaced by the culture of the west; wives want to become the man of the house and husbands are becoming complacent by abandoning their God ordained roles/responsibilities to the wife; this role reversal has not even helped the west and therefore cannot help us as Africans. The irony of it is that we constantly imbibe that which is bad from the west, while they struggle to want to be like us (AFRICANS), especially morally.

Back to the crux of the matter, what Tiwa Savage and her estranged husband, Tee Billz, are currently facing in their marriage is a situation that an average couple may face every day in their marital life. Theirs’ was only over-bloated by social media and the so called “celebrity status,” social media has become celebrity parent and counselor. Celebrities like this couple on hard times are quick to make personal issues public without taking a look at the likely chain reactions that will follow; social media doesn’t resolve issues, it aggravates them, users or followers go there to have fun and not to solve problems, unfortunately, people don’t get it!

My parents, for example, were married for about 47 years before my mother’s passing and I can testify that there were times they would quarrel to the point of not speaking to one another but they were able to resolve their marital issues without making it public. The longer they went on “conflict road” they knew they needed to call in trusted family members to help resolve whatever differences they had and it was almost always a happy ending or at least a compromise.

If you give a permanent solution to a temporary problem, it will always result in more disaster and that is how marriages are being handled by Nigerian celebrities these days. A frustrated Tee Billz should not have any reason to go on a social media rant, hurling insults at his wife, no matter the level of provocation; calling her a slut, cheat, her mother a witch and other derogatory names is very unnecessary because this is a family affair and it should remain within the family.

More so, in these internet days, people should realize that whatever that is put on the internet remains forever, no matter how you try to take it down. It becomes much more complicated when the fighting couple have children, who may be taunted or bullied by what their once love-bird parents do in the future.

Funke Akindele, Princess, Toyin Aimakhu, Doris Simon, Fred Amata etc. are some of the celebrities whose marriages went the route of Tiwa and Tee Billz, exploding on the altar of gossip aggravated by social media.

There are successful celebrities who have been married for years; Omotola Jalade despite the on and off controversies surrounding her marriage, she and her hubby have been able to manage it by not responding to everything on social media. Other classic examples include Olu Jacob and Joke Silva, Tunde and Wunmi Obe who have been able to keep their marriages out of the social space, not that they don’t have their differences.

Until we start to demystify the idea that the wedding day is more important than the marriage itself, Tiwa and Tee Billz situation will continue to be replicated in celebrity marriages. Princess, the comedienne’s marriage lasted for only three months while Funke Akindele’s marriage only lasted for about seven months.

Marriage is between two people and for it to stand the test of time, it should remain so. Celebrities must stop publicizing their marital issues on social media; “celebrity” is just a status and therefore must be separated from their home just like work-life is different from family life. Marriages must not only be seen from the angle of necessity, it must be entered into with total commitment by the parties involved and it must be crowned by love.

Suicide is not a joke nor social media fodder

As Ventures Africa contributor Felicia Omari Ochelle wrote: “suicide is perceived differently among cultures, religions, legal and social systems of the world. While it is considered as a sin in many religions or a criminal offense in certain countries, others consider it a mark of honor–the Yoruba community in Nigeria may be one of them. According to Aborisade Olasunkanmi in his research about suicide in Yoruba Ontology, taking your own life is reflected in Yoruba thought as iku ya j’esin (death is preferable to shame, dishonor and indignity). It was seen as a better option than facing a life of pain, suffering or humiliation”.

This is what Tee Billz may have been feeling in his suicide attempt. A sense of shame, dishonor if you will. Whatever the reason, the graveness of his decision should never be taken as social media fodder, despite his public persona, suicide should not serve to galvanize Nigerians into making something so serious into something humorous.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year and there are many more who attempt suicide.

If you are experiencing issues with suicide or suicidal ideation please contact suicide prevention associations here and here. They are always ready to listen.