By Yetunde Arebi
HI! On July 6, 2013, I must have been the happiest girl on planet earth! I finally began to travel on the path I have always dreamed of walking. The dream of being an author of books.
The presentation of my “first” book, Youth, Sex and Wellbeing took place at the Afe Babalola Auditorium, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba.
I was overjoyed. It was a dream come true, for, right from a very young age, I had nursed the dream of writing.
While in Preparatory and Secondary Schools, both at Aunty Ayo, South West, Ikoyi, Lagos, I wrote scripts upon scripts of stories mostly based on romantic fantasies and challenges of growing up, with the intention of sending them for publication in the United Kingdom by the publishers of Mills and Boon.
I was a voracious reader and together with my friends, Toyin Awopeju, Bimbo Banwo, Biola Onagoruwa, Folusho Ajakaiye, we cleaned out the shelves at Glendora Book Store, Falomo Shopping Center on a weekly basis.
Kofo Kuye was not so keen, but we managed to drag her along most of the time. Books were cheap and affordable, same for Magazines and Comics and one also had the advantage of sharing and exchanging books with friends with similar passion.
It was great fun and I still have some of those manuscripts. So, though it has been a long time coming, it felt so good to finally step into my very own dream.
Incidentally, a few close friends have since been asking why I have been calling Youth, Sex and Wellbeing my first book, when indeed, I had authored another book way back 2007.
The truth is, I was commissioned to write that book, a compilation of newspaper stories on the government of His Excellency, Dr. Sam Egwu, former governor of Eboyin State, (1999-2007), titled, Egwu in the Eye of the Media. Perhaps it is for this reason that I do not refer to it as my first book.
Youth, Sex and Wellbeing is a combination of my works as a counselor as well as extracts from my writings in The Human Angle Column, thus, a book close to my heart.
Like all newspaper writers, compiling one’s works into a book form for posterity is of paramount desire. However, after writing
The Human Angle column, twice weekly for almost 20 years, it was a bit difficult for me to decide on which story should make the book or not. Besides, a compilation would not fulfill that nagging need in me to counsel and hopefully make a difference, no matter how little in the life of someone out there. After all, what is the thrill in a story which teaches no lesson?
Thus, the concept adopted in Youth, Sex and Wellbeing was conceived.
Why write about sex? Sex and sexuality remains one of the most complex acts of human existence.
In spite of the extensive studies on the issue, man still finds it difficult to understand the mechanics of the human anatomy and how to conquer its challenges and make it work for him.
Today, though awareness about sex, sexuality and sex education has increased greatly from what it used to be a couple of years ago, young people and indeed, many adults have remained trapped in a void created mostly by man-inflicted or invented clogs such as religion, economy, morality, unfettered information and legislations.
From my interaction with people over the years, I have come to the conclusion that most sexually active Nigerians are least prepared for the huge challenge and responsibility that sex requires.
Of all the various groups of people, the most vulnerable are perhaps those involved in relationships where their partners are unfaithful and those who engage in high risk sexual behaviours, including rape, prostitution, sex for favour and/or casual sex.
Premarital sex remains the most dangerous form of sexual activity for any society and calls for serious concern from all quarters since it usually involves young people.
Worrisome is the fact that while many parents and guardians may be aware of their children’s sexual activities, quite a number of them turn a blind eye, while some others prefer to pay lip service to the issues involved.
Nigerian society and government have done very little to assist young people in achieving and living a healthy sex life.
Despite our high level of religious display and proclamations, same is not reflective of our society. Poor economic situation, low self esteem, moral, religious and societal values, corruption, unemployment, lack of social welfare programmes and infrastructure, all work against the interest of young people in Nigeria.
Nigerian leaders and indeed her people hide under religion and morality to shy away from tackling the challenges of reproductive health issues, especially the reviewing of abortion laws, provision of special youth clinics, provision of social welfare schemes for young people as well as upholding the rights of the girl-child.
It is however disheartening to note that it is the same older people who prey on young people’s vulnerability to their advantage.
This book is an attempt to bring to the fore, the implications of high risk sexual behaviour especially as it affects young people, as well as to appeal to the conscience of all concerned to do what is right for young people in Nigeria.
I must express my profound gratitude to everyone who contributed to making this book and its presentation a reality.
God will grant you the grace and mercy to fulfill your dreams and destiny. I am greatly indebted to our very own dear Uncle Sam who provided me the platform and opportunity to express myself. I thank all my colleagues, friends and family for their love, support and encouragement over the years, many of them always ready and willing to provide props when I cannot stand on my feet. Its been a long time coming and I thank Almighty God for the break! To Him be all the glory and honour.
Youth, sex and Wellbeing will be available at book stores near you soon!