Nigerian Economist

“I’d like to be an Economist” She said.

“Really, after who?”

“Like the Finance Minister.” She replied

“That’s ambitious”

Then changed her tone, “Or like a manager”

Okay, I wasn’t trying to discourage, I just didn’t realise she pays attention to the news, that’s all. To have a dream, any dream that means leading a happy and independent life is incredible.

I knew we must get to work making sure she has the right subject combinations for the final year exams.

Then my niece whom I knew is aware of so many things around her but say little asked about the extent of gender inequality especially in work place, she wanted to know what her chances of having her dream job were.

I can only say she could achieve whatever she sets her mind to. Given Nigeria situation, gender inequality is very common both at home and in society, she will need to make hard choice of either being a happy person or the good girl.

In the south of Nigeria, most children have equal access to education regardless of gender but that does not equate to equal job opportunity for both sexes.

A simple but clear example I gave was that of her church.

My parents attend Pentecostal church – the traditional type that has Code of Conduct behind the hymn book, instructing members on things about church that are or are not acceptable to discuss at home (always laugh at that one).

Drum sets, keyboard and guitar are the main instruments and for most boys it is like rite of passage to learn how to play. As a teenager, I asked if I could learn – that was for boys I was told, shrugged my shoulders and walked off.

Over a decade later, my niece, who was good enough to be in the church choir, smart enough to memorise bible verses but when asked if she could join the boys to learn any of the musical instruments, she was told – that’s for the boys.

I knew that would be the response so she joined a group doing private tuition on keyboard.

My sister attends a church under the same umbrella but in a different town where all youths were encouraged to learn musical instrument available at the church –  before long they were proud of their achievements and fill in appropriately to play during church services.

As it is common with many of these churches, the forward thinking pastor was transferred so now they have a new senior pastor – An Apostle.

The Apostle arrived with his own very idea of how the church should be run – banned female youths from playing instruments except tambourine. Uproar in the church but Apostle has the last word.

So to my niece I say – at home she’ll be encouraged to aim higher and that nothing is too much to aim for as long as she keeps working towards it because even if one didn’t have it all – with contentment, one is one step closer.

As a Christian, many decisions will have to be made. The likes of the Apostle is way too many in our society, they’d undermine not for any other reason but your gender – one needs to find a way to switch off when the likes of Apostle are on because they will never change.

There is a reason for International Women’s Day.

Ex lover’s nude photos on internet: revenge or crying baby?

So where do we draw the line? Why going into any form of relationship with anyone if one can not act responsibly if things didn’t work out as envisaged? And why do women always have to be the one being told to be super careful about just anything imaginable?

Few days ago in Uganda, a Nigerian guy who could not accept defeat with grace over his cheating Ugandan girlfriend decided to post the lady’s nude photos on the web. The Ugandan lady, Desire Luzinda is a local celebrity so the news went viral and everyone (well, many guys like Franklin) tripped over the internet to get a glimpse of the star’s nude pictures.

Here is what was left unsaid, the Naija guy who did this is incredibly insecure hence he was carrying naked pictures/video clips of a lover around to begin with. Maybe he knew this would happen anyways since Desire is a celebrity, so busy stocking up on ‘weapons’ to taint his girl rather than enjoying the moment.

There were lots of interwoven stories that lead to the leaked pictures that I am not in the least interested in however, none of the excuses in my opinion justifies Franklin’s actions as it only furthers shows his insecure he is  and he is not presenting Nigerian men in positive lights. Sometimes relationship breaks down, it’s called life.

The only person who needed pity is the crying baby Franklin whose ego is tied to his ability to ‘own’ his lady. The joke is on him as what one does behind the closed door is meant to remain there – it’s called intimacy for a reason.

This episode reminds me of demeaning language that our men used in public when talking about their ladies. They will proudly say “I slept with her” as if the coitus (to borrow Sheldon Cooper’s word) involves only one person. Yoruba is especially cruel, they’d say “Mo do” I am sure Franklin would have equivalent in his local language that further assures him that he is the only priority in the relationship.

Not long ago, a friend proudly told me when talking about another friend that “I slept with her” so I politely asked to describe what he meant as I have never really understood the phrase. Now, if you ‘slept’ with someone without acknowledging their involvement in the ‘act’ then, that is called rape. So if both adults mutually wanted it, then maybe the best phrase to use should be more like “We had sex.”

Anyways, by the time my friend finished narrating all the gory details of him sleeping with his friend, many of the specifics too raw for my innocent ears, I endured them all as I was keen. It was very easy to see who had sex between my friend and the lady, but the lady being an African woman was smart to lead him on and my friend blindly bought it as that was all that he needed for his super ego to survive. Needless to say, he wasn’t too impressed with my verdict.

Shame Franklin thought all that an African lady needed is a man who showers them with fancy gifts and busy taking nude photos in the bedroom – better luck next time Mr Ebenhron.

Glad to say that I got to know about Desire story through a Nigerian guy friend who felt utterly disgusted by Franklin Ebenhron’s attitude – Not all Nigerian guys are insecure after all.




Nigeria rape case and incest – worse tribe is?

Rape and incest case make headlines in Nigeria daily – it is just another news to read. If the victim is a minor such as recent case of a school teacher Adeniran Adebayo who raped his ten year old primary four pupil inside the school toilet – because of his name, Nigerians are able to tell which tribe he belongs so after we pitied and prayed for the victim whose innocent childhood has just been taken away, tribal abuse-trading starts. And in no time we all lose the focus of what is very important social problem we needed to collectively find solution to.  Adeniran, like many pedophiles on our streets today in no time joins the crowd on our streets.

As we have learnt from the case of Jimmy Savile  in the UK. Pedophiles and rapists are charming and sometimes well liked people because they are chameleon, usually work where they envisage lots of victims, young children are most targeted especially in schools and religious gatherings and of course the hardcore rapists can not be contained, they strike anywhere.

Adeniran’s victim – the poor little girl was only asked about her ordeal by the police officer. Adeniran who is older and more experienced in the business of taking advantage of young girls has time to make up stories. No physical assessment by the medical doctor to disproof the girls claim so the court based their judgement on Adeniran’s tale, and that was enough for court to grant a quick bail in the sum of  ₦300k (about $1,800) leaving his pupil and her family behind to pick the pieces of the childhood.

As barbaric as rape case in Nigeria is, what I find most damaging at the moment is we are not doing much to prevent reoccurrences as the rapists get off lightly. In most cases, rapist wouldn’t even make it to the police station.

Traditionally in Nigeria, across all tribes we have large families – very common for a  family of six to use one bedroom this is regardless of age or gender differences. In Nigeria, children stay at home well into their adult years. Given the huge economic disparity between the few rich and majority poor in the country, this family setting is inevitable. Most incest case that I hear when I was growing up were swept under the carpet because talking about it will bring shame to the family’s name – no consideration for the victims.

Social media is playing significant role exposing rape cases and pedophile in our society. They have always being there but most victims are too scared of societal rejection to report. Today despite the fact that we hear and read about it all the time, it is not to say that perpetrators were served justice accordingly. In fact in Nigeria – it is another money making venture for the courts, the courts charge exorbitant amount of money for bail and the victim is left to deal with the aftermaths psychological side effects and peer group rejection.

How do we best protect the most vulnerable ones from getting caught in the trap of pedophilia ring such as Adeniran in our society? I guess we need to face the reality that pedophile existed in our midst and have been getting away with their evil deeds for long time. Getting these perpetrators in the open is a good start, however releasing them back in the community is not the best because they will do it again unless they are locked up or made to pay severely for their offences.

Growing up in a small town, and being one of five girls, I thought my father was overly protective. Sometimes it felt a bit too much. My parents did a great job. However, they were not always with me. Now looking back I realise that many Nigerian parents were so protective of their girls because they are determined to prevent them from the preying monsters in our society.

Wouldn’t be a lot easier to educate children appropriate to the age on the limit in which they could trust any adults around them be it family or people in authority such as teacher and religious leaders?

I remember a commotion in my neighbourhood long ago of an Igbo man who molested his daughter for years, the girl’s mother had passed away at the time. It was a big deal, the neighbours dragged him to the police station. Baba Dele as he was called showed no hint of remorse, his excuse? He was the father and could do whatever he liked to his daughter. I remember him coming back to the community shortly after his arrest. Dele went away somewhere to give birth and I never returned. We gave Baba Dele a nickname but he did not care.

In my village, I remember a case of a teenager – Beatriz. She and I were age mate at the time. She was gang-raped by four boys in the village. I love my village but some realities are a bit too sour to swallow sometimes. No one knew about what happened because the village is quite small and the fact that the embarrassment and rejection fall on the victim made the case go under the carpet. It was only when Beatriz was pregnant and people were curious about who the father was that she narrated her ordeal to the elders – nothing like DNA testing so poor little girl has no one to claim her –  all of the boys were quite young and none of their parents was ready to take on the responsibility of a grandchild they weren’t sure was theirs. Esther the little girl was named still lives knowing no father.

– Rapists and child molesters come in all tribes within Nigeria, let’s be honest and have one voice on this so the perpetrators have no hiding place.

– Incest is real, happens in all tribes in Nigeria due to large family members squeezing in a tiny bedroom especially when teenagers were involved. Money may be tight but we can find creative ways to prevent incest happening rather than making unfounded assumptions.

– Parents educate your little girls about adult strange inappropriate behaviour and encourage them to be bold and speak out loud against such perpetrators. Girls especially from young age would love to talk to their mothers about their days – mothers give your girl a chance to open up to you before it’s too late.

– Men need to take active role in this as well. Make it uncool for your mates to make inappropriate remarks about young girls. Remember if you are neutral and don’t speak up it translates that you are in agreement with the digesting habits.