Toke Makinwa's On Becoming Book: The Falsehood and the 'Unbecoming' Fiction

On-Air-Personality Toke Makinwa's book - 'On Becoming' has enjoyed massive readership and success since its release in November, 2016 all thanks to a well crafted publicity strategy judiciously exploited by her.
Some salient factors have immensely contributed to the popularity of the autobiography. Firstly, there was a good story to tell and this placed the book at a vantage point. Commercializing one's pains and sorrow as a public figure has over time proven to be an instant boom. American white rapper, Marshall Bruce Mathers III popularly known as Eminem is a vivid example as he even went as far as verbally 'lynching' his own mother to sell his music albums. Nigerian indigenous singer Alexander Abolore Adigun professionally regarded as 9ice in 2010 purposely plied that route by using his estranged wife, Toni Payne and former principal, Ruggedman to sell his album through his controversial 'Once Bitten Twice Shy' song. Controversies sell and often times beat the imaginations of the propagators/initiators.
To a journalist, good news is bad news and bad news is good news. The world is hypocritically attached to bizarre news.
Toke Makinwa rode on the backs of the prominence of major blogs in Nigeria to achieve her aim by providing convenient answers to the age-long public questions about her whirlpool of a marriage to Maje Ayida. Toke egoistically slandered, defamed and sacrificed Maje's head on the altar of hustle to rake in cash.
The synopsis of the book alone as undertaken by Bella Naija blog aroused the curiosity of Nigerians who have strong passions for taking an overdose of Panadol for the migraine suffered by other people who don't even know they exist.
Utmost engrossment was given to Toke's book like it could improve the naira and stem the tide of hyper-inflation in the country.
The book is very astounding and peachy from the perspective of literary appreciation. It’s worth more than the rumoured N8,500 set as its price tag. Kudos to Toke if she indeed wrote the book in this age of ghost writers. I was entertained and engulfed with the book till the end. I applauded her and I advised people around me to get copies of the book.
Without being economical with the truth, Toke will woefully fail a polygraph test concerning some questionable details provided in the book if the main focus is placed on her relationship with 'Mr Michael Power' - Maje Ayida and not her tragic family history as well as her childhood. In fact, there are viable loopholes that suggest Toke wrote from a prejudiced view each time the pages concerned Maje.
In journalism, a reporter should note that there are three sides to a story like this which are: Maje's side, Toke's side and the ultimate truth which the public may never know.
In the first chapter of the book - 'Confession' that sounded like an extension of the book of Lamentations in the Holy Bible, Maje was portrayed perfectly as a cold-hearted husband who when asked to leave their matrimonial home due to the furore of Anita Solomon (his side-chick)'s nine months pregnancy demanded to eat dinner while his wife rolled on the floor in agony and sorrow. This passage reeks of a desperate quest for public sympathy and credence with Maje as the prostrated sacrificial lamb.
Toke's book is a total aberration to the messages she preached on her Vlog. Toke advocated for strength amongst women in her regular videos. She went as far as advising female folks to opt out of relationships ridden with infidelity while she stayed put in her purported tortuous relationship. Toke approximately romanced Maje for 12 good years during which they fought incessantly and kept reconciling in a dilly-dally manner. Maje according to the book was a serial womanizer empowered by the influence of money but the posing 'voice of the women' named Toke was overwhelmed by love which prompted her to suffer endlessly in expectance of change.
Read an excerpt from the book that pictures Toke at the crossroads:
"Maje and I had been together for nine years, on and off, at this point, and it had been an unending circle of hurt and betrayal. Every time we took ten steps forward in our relationship, we took fifty back. Each time I gave up and let go, Maje would come after me and hold on so tightly till I gave in.
He would play the part of a changed man for a while, but just when things seemed to be getting better he would break my heart again, each time worse than the last.
I was emotionally exhausted; tears, at this point, had become a constant companion. I was unhappy with him - afraid, suspicious, unsettled - utterly miserable without him. I was in a bad place, and it even got worse."
In my own opinion, I believe that is not love but stark madness. Even the fiercest warrior on the battlefield reserves the right to retreat when there is no glimpse of hope so that he could live to fight another day. In saner climes, Toke would be strongly recommended for the professional services of a therapist or a psychiatrist to analyse one or two things pertaining to her mental fitness. Toke's decision to stay with Maje all those years could be likened to racing with a vehicle that has a history of brake failure and hoping to avoid road accidents; that's an expensive gamble.  In street terms, it’s simply called 'O.Y.O' meaning On your Own.
An average normal woman who is beautiful, confident, knows her onions, educated, exposed and well-travelled like Toke should know that being in a directionless relationship for just 1 year alone is a recipe for disaster not to talk of over 9 years of dating. This also corresponds with a common Nigerian saying that “the major indication of a beautiful week is its Monday”.
Half of that lengthy time-frame afforded ex President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan the opportunity of taking over from the late Umar Musa Yar'dua as President in 2010 and also contesting as one in 2011 to emerge victorious. Those years afforded ex Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola the glorious chance of being the first man of the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria - Lagos State for two terms of 8 years and also becoming a federal minister. I can bet my life that the Nigerian masses are not even prepared to be that patient with President Muhammadu Buhari due to the enormity of economic quagmire on ground.
Every reader is looking at those 12 years of the Toke-Maje romance like 12 days or 12 months. Maje kept on using the same monotonous and old strategy of cheating honourably and returning on his knees for over a decade. I believe this is unbecoming of a 'Love Doctor' like Toke as portrayed by her Vlog.
Relationship adviser, Toke knew this trick and kept falling for it like she had gotten so accustomed to the affliction to the extent of the discomfort turning to pleasure.
If this is what she wants us to believe, then something is missing somewhere and its more hurting that Maje has decided to enjoy and focus on his fitness business while Toke basks in the proceeds of her 'work of fiction'.
One wonders how Toke refused to practice what she preached on her Vlog. One ponders on how Toke conveniently hid her tears with her heavy make-ups to fake boldness and offer relationship advices to vulnerable ladies/women based on mere general knowledge and impulse rather than experience or professional training. This is a clear-cut case of a farmer offering professional advice to a legal practitioner on lawyering.
Toke was never interested in the women she claimed to be orientating but she was only building a brand and keeping her career afloat. She is just like the popular Lagos socialite, self acclaimed relationship adviser and psychologist - Adejoro Olumofin who once stupefied his Instagram followers by showcasing his erect manhood on social media presumably to covertly lure some obsessed ladies to him for possible sexual exploitation.
Toke admitted that her friends and family members warned her about Maje. In fact, there was a bitter fight between herself and her cousin concerning the issue which led to her ejection from her house. Maje's blood sister was magnanimous enough to tell her the gospel truth about the die-hard promiscuity of her brother who almost had a girlfriend at every available location in the world. Even Maje's mother in an encounter with Toke according to the book apparently admonished Toke to leave her son. This served as a beacon to Toke but she went ahead because of her typical Nigerian mentality which I will expatiate on.
Nigerian ladies believe in weeping profusely in a 2016 Range Rover Autobiography with bruises all over their faces rather than treading the path of happiness on a brand new Bajaj motorcycle. It’s always the mindset of 'for-better-for-worse' with a rare fighting spirit when there is oil in the region like the Niger Delta area, but the same woman will stand her ground and boldly walk away like a boss when the ground is as indebted as Osun State.
I used to have an affluent friend during my University days who saw more female private parts than a mid-wife. His girlfriend was aware of his randy nature and she stayed with him because his financial role in her life was tremendous. This very beautiful girl took the responsibility of sourcing for the numerous phone contacts of his bed mates to harass and threaten them without any due focus on the young man who is the 'causative agent' in this case.
One day, he landed her a 'military slap' outside an eatery in the presence of a sizeable crowd. Even those that never knew her covered their faces in shame on that fateful day. The scene was 'graphic' but guess what, the lady shook it off and was back with for more torture in less than 24 hours. That's the power of the greenback; so stop lying to yourself that the naira has totally lost its value.
Toke loved Maje's lifestyle and his privileged family that owned a bank from day one. Her account of how she met Maje gave her away and also exposes the plausibility of Maje's return to possess his possession later in the future in spite of her current bitter disposition. It was enviable and pleasurable visiting exotic places in Lagos and Abuja at no cost like they were established for charity purposes because Maje was paying!
Replacing a free-spending socialite could be bothersome and intricate especially in a Nigerian society where some rich people have stronger grips over money than the poor; they will not just let the cash go.
There was certainly more to her motivation than mere true love which is like a ghost we all talk about but no one has ever seen.
In the course of reading the book, I also noticed that Toke conveniently painted herself as perfect as our Lord Jesus Christ. Prior to her relationship with Maje, she had flaws aggravated by the tragic demise of her parents. She was lonely, cold, erratic and delinquent during her early days at the University of Lagos. But dramatically, Toke became an angel when she met Maje. Maje was always wrong while she was always at the receiving end except for the part where she slapped Maje during an altercation or towards the end of the book where she admitted not being wife enough to Maje due to their frequent squabbles.
Is it not incogitable that Toke in the book never made mention of she demanding for money from the top-class Maje or him stunning her with tangible gifts aside flowers, cards and the peppered snail that was delivered to her house in the build up of their romance? This same Toke was quick to mention how Maje demanded for a paltry sum of N2,000 from her which she suspected was for Anita before their marriage. She pointed out that she supported Maje financially at the budding stage of his fitness business.
Even when a separation was rocking the union, Maje once again demanded for funds for the upkeep of Anita's baby which she declined smartly. So the conclusion here is that even during her state of financial vulnerability as a student, Maje's ATM card never came in handy at any point or let's assume the editor of the book found that part inconsequential. With this explanation, we could safely watch out for Maje as the new Anti-Christ born to preside over the dreaded Armageddon.
Furthermore, there are glaring indications that Toke must have coerced Maje into getting married to her and I will spell out my observations. Their marriage was clearly cosmetic. Toke erroneously believed marriage as an institution would change Maje. While Toke tested her star in the United Kingdom, she claimed she once asked Maje why his family members were yet to meet hers but Maje boldly cited the financial gap or class difference as an excuse and this caused her to lose confidence in herself. It would be recalled that Toke's Big Mummy wasn't even poor; she resided at the highbrow Victoria Island area of Lagos. Maje's reluctance made it seem as if her family was from the heart of Ajegunle, Oshodi or Okokomaiko in Lagos. The will wasn't vigorous from the start. This is a scenario of an option feeling like a priority.
Another point is Maje's frequent patronage of Anita. The fact that Maje kept returning to her at the expense of his relationship with Toke indicated where his heart truly belonged and to confirm this, Maje confessed his love for Anita when Toke was lodging at a topnotch hotel with him for her United Nations event-anchoring job.
Another strong attestation of the forced marriage is the fact that Maje who has no history of mental disorder kept cancelling the wedding registry appointments at the eleventh hour which he did three times. Even when he showed up, he only came with two of his aunts. Who does that? This is Nigeria where such occasions are celebrated to the fullest even to the extreme point of incurring heavy debts that the couple may later repay in tears and regrets.
Under this circumstance, one could assume Toke proposed marriage to Maje who reluctantly said YES out of pity.
And also, the fact that Toke never got pregnant for him at any point in 12 years or significantly during the short-lived marriage is another point of concern. Probably Toke edited that part out on the grounds of confidentiality but what happened when they got married? Toke initially assumed the wealthy and classy Maje never wanted a child yet due to the extra expenses of raising one in the face of his new business challenge.
She claimed Maje channelled his entire energy and finances into establishing his fitness facility and having a child would have been an extra expense on him. Is it not ridiculous that such cheap issue is bothering a celebrity couple of the upper class?
So fathering a child now equates the cost of managing a private jet following the mindset of Toke? That doesn't add up sister Toke! Not at all!!
Maje never just wanted a permanent bond between both of them and in the book he later told her to her face to spite her. One wonders how Maje kept 'pulling out' for 12 good years without any mishap. The dude must be the author and finisher of withdrawal method also known as Coitus Interruptus.
At a point, Maje was actually struggling to have sex with her even on vacation to show how lost he felt with Toke. This same man was also reported to have constantly turned down taking pictures with Toke e.g. the Chinatown saga or flaunting her on social media as women folks would desire.
Another fallacious part of the book is how Toke painted a 'born again' picture of herself. This was prominent while she was in her hotel room in France on a working visit. She talked about how she fasted and prayed out her marriage and how the 'Holy Spirit' communicated directly with her by leaving revelations in her mouth while she passed through what looked like a trance. She also talked about a pastor of the House on the Rock Church named Goke Coker telling her about her calling in Christendom. In as much as I find these revelations fascinating about Toke whose lifestyle suggested the exact opposite, one is forced to conclude that Toke has a split personality.
She is like the modern day hypocritical Christians who are very lukewarm in their service to God. We are talking about the class of people who are neither here nor there. The set of people that engage in all manners of immoralities at nightclubs on Fridays and head out for evangelism on Saturdays as well as the Church on Sundays. They are simply actors and life is their movie set.
Toke reminds me of the President-elect of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump who chipped in Christianity issues during the political race to the White House simply to secure the support of the evangelicals. The same Trump freely insulted his opponents and other public figures in unspeakable manners. The same Christian Trump grabbed p**sies of some women he encountered prior to his presidency. So Toke's reference to Christianity to score cheap points and attract sympathy is an expected and welcome development.
I hate being judgmental but I must admit that the only thing Christian about Toke may be that she is a Church goer. She is far from a born again Christian. Toke's lifestyle abused virtually all the Christian practices. Toke engaged in pre-marital sex with Maje. She admitted attending club houses and we all know what goes down there. Toke never used her Vlog to preach the word of God. She never used her radio and TV programmes to do the same. Her guests were not even gospel artistes but the trending and hot secular ones who sang about weed, alcohol, sex, violence and all manners of frivolities pertaining to youth exuberance.
Toke has been caught in the web of scandalous outfits worn to high-profile events to steal headlines forgetting the fact that her body is God's temple as the bible teaches us. Her outfit to her book signing that almost left her panties to the full glare of the public backs up my point. That action was premeditated. Toke wanted to be talked about to boost the publicity of her book. She chose the economic benefits over morality and she is born again.
Ultimately, Toke's one of a kind bleaching is legendary. She actually went from being dark to being white. The Bible says we are all perfectly made by God. Doesn't her action negate that biblical provision? Toke even consented to making a sex tape with Maje before their marriage just to please him. What happened to her personal values and dignity as a woman?
Words are cheap and actions speak louder than the voice. The truth is that Toke doesn't even know who she is. I am pretty sure she is only sure of her name while the understanding of her own behavioural tendencies is in doubts.
Toke has perfectly played the victim with Maje representing the male folks being the villain who derived joy from the pains of others. Toke is now the voice of the women forgetting that in life we are the architects of our own misfortunes. The kind of choices you make will determine the results you get. These are foundation principles of life.
Toke sold her heart to her tormentor when there were several opportunities to walk away and now she is seeking public sympathy and demonizing Maje. I pray Maje shares his own side of the story one day but it seems he is purposely maintaining a loud silence to allow Toke enjoy the floodgates of financial returns from her highly entertaining piece that has swiftly pushed her Instagram followership to over one million since the book launch.
Forget about the intended message in the book, the quest for money is rife.
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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on Phone number: +2347053302356.
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