Elder Dikam Garba Dabo’ok and MrsKa’a Nafung had lived together as husband and wife for 70 years. But the couple, now 107 and 95 years respectively, have found a new sparkle to rekindle their marital love in the church.
The church ceremony in Plateau State, has remained the talk of the town in the social diary of the state and may remain so for a long time. This is particularly so because the celebrants are the first couple in the history of the state to be administered marital vow at such unusual ages.
At 95, the bride is well past her menopause. Her surviving first child is 65 years old. The groom, popularly known to many in his neighbourhood as Baba Dikam, is 107 years old and may no longer be sexually active. But all that is not enough to discourage the couple from walking down the aisle arm-in-arm for a new marital oath.
The ceremony, which was held at the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Chizu village in Bwai, Mangu Local Government Area of the state, was a delight to watch as it was packaged in the manner that young grooms and brides would walk down the aisle. The groom was dressed in black suite and a red neck tie to match, while the bride stepped out dressed in a pure white wedding gown with a neatly made hair to match. They drove to the church in separate vehicles, as if they never met before. The groom was accompanied by cutely dressed men and the bride by a long bridal train.
They had a procession and matched into the church separately as if they never met before. They only came together after they were wedded by the officiating pastor. The officiating pastor of the church, Rev. Tongwe Sale, congratulated the couple and admonished them as if they were young couples. He said: “Marriage is ordained by God and it should be kept sacred.” He charged them to keep faith in God since they are still alive, noting that although they are old, they can still be important in the lives of their children and grand children.”
They happily took the oath that they would love themselves until death do them apart. They also vowed not to allow a third party in their marital life. They signed the marriage certificate after the service and marched out of the church dancing to the admiration of their guests.
When they got outside the church auditorium, the newly wedded couple posed for photograph in various styles and angles. After the photograph session, they moved in a car and zoomed off to the reception ground accompanied by their guests, children, friends and family members.
When it was time to cut the wedding cake, the couple walked hand in hand to where the colourful cake was placed. The groom continuously gazed at his wedding ring in a manner that suggests that the occasion was a dream come true for him. Like marksmen, they held the knife firmly and on completion of the spelling of Jesus, they cut the cake and feebly smiled at the guests. They trilled their guests with the ceremonial culture of couple feeding one another with the cake and non-alcoholic wine. After feeding themselves, the newly wedded couple danced to the music blasting from the loud speakers in “old school” style to the admiration of their guests.
It was celebration galore at the reception for the family and friends of the couple. The couples told their excited guests at the reception their true life stories. They said it was the grace of God that allowed them to solemnise their marriage in the church.
The groom narrated his life story thus: “I had seven wives and 32 children during my younger days, but I did so because I did not know Christ. But that made me great among my contemporaries as only those who were wealthy could do that. But in spite of that, God remained faithful and merciful for me. I have a lot of testimonies to show that God was so faithful to me. I am now in a better position to advise my children and my well wishers to live the life of Christ. I don’t want any of my children to emulate my past life style, because you may fall out of the grace and mercies of God. But I’m so pleased because my children are committed to Christ; they lived the life of Christ, they were the ones that insisted I must come to Christ and take their mother to the altar.
“Before now we lived our lives outside Christ, but from today, we are now confirmed children of Christ. It would have been worse for us if we had died without Christ. But God has protected our lives up till this moment to come to Him.”
One of the children of the couple, Barr. Zephaniah Garba was full of appreciation and praises to God when he spoke with our reporter. He said: “I am full of joy today because my father has come to profess Christ at his old age. I have been looking forward to this day and I thank God they were able to make it. I want to encourage those who did not conduct their marriage in Christian way to try and do so; it is never late. My father’s own should be an example to others, you can still do it”.
There were goodwill messages from the Chairmen of PCC Kabwir, Rev. David Musa, and Langtang North LG Chairman elect, Hon. Daniel Dandul, while various dance groups added colour to the event as the couples cut their wedding cake.