•Says every man has the feminine side
•You can change that philandering husband’
…blames the ills of society on women
BY EBELE ORAKPO
Eeefy Ify Ike is so many things rolled into one – actress, model, motivational speaker, author, film producer and designer. She has modelled Gilette, Burger King, Keglevich Vodka, Sauza, Diablo Tequila, Comcast High Definition, Diesel Jeans, Nokia and many others. La Femme, one of her visual projects, is a Hollywood documentary about women healing the world.. In this interview, Eeefy ,who believes that women hold the ace in nation-building, says that things will continue to go wrong in the society until women understand womanhood and take their rightful place. Excerpts:
Role of women:
Everything we see out there that is wrong with this nation is partly because women have not taken their rightful place. They have failed in their duty as women because they don’t understand womanhood. The woman is the one that takes care of the children and the men. The woman is the one that creates in the house; whatever you create in the house is what society is going to experience because you are the one breeding those human beings in the society. The woman is the state of the universe; she is mother nature; she holds a position of authority.
Women say ‘oh, but what about my husband, what is his job?’ I say well, if you marry a bad husband, it’s still your fault. Some may argue that we are in a society where husbands are imposed on women. Yes, you can argue that but if you find yourself in such situation where a husband has been imposed on you, you must try to find a way to survive. The solution is in your spirit. For instance, if they impose a husband on you, try to know him, you are already there. If you think that it is a bondage that you cannot emancipate yourself from, you can change something. How? Learn to live with him; if he is abusive or a chauvinist, you can learn to change that.
Feminine side of man:
How? A woman’s love, tolerance, patience and understanding can inspire compassion in a man and that compassion is the femininity. Most black men are taught not to cry, that is how you show you are masculine, you must establish your authority by being cold, that is nonsense! You need to be compassionate and that compassionate side of you is your feminine side. When we say a man needs to have a feminine side, we are not saying he should behave like a woman or start talking like a woman, we are only saying, ‘tap into your compassionate side.’ Let compassion be the basis for your interaction.
Most men cannot tap into that compassionate side unless they were raised by a woman who understands her role and instills that quality in them. Such men need a wife or girlfriend that understands her role; that can cultivate the patience, understanding, tolerance and unconditional love to inspire that compassion in a man. So if you have a man that is a philanderer, you can change him by your attitude towards him. It’s not by nagging, fighting or violence, it’s by pure love. When you do that, unless he is a monster, if he is a normal human being that God created, you will break through. I have done it. I talk only from experience.
Women meant to create:
You must understand that whatever you create in your house is what society will suffer. Community is created through family and the state is created through communities. So it starts from family to community, to state, nation and the world. So it starts from a woman and that’s why I say she holds the position of authority; she is the womb that carries the child. The subsistence of the world depends on the potency of her spirit and the height of her strength. That potency is what you experience in her compassion, understanding and patience.
The height of her strength is her tolerance and that’s why I continuously say that women need to understand their role. When you understand womanhood, you understand your role, then you understand that you are responsible for nation-building. Whatever the men do is your fault, whatever the children do is your fault because they started from your house so it’s very important that Nigerian women understand that.
More political posts for women:
The reason I keep saying women should be given more political positions is not for them to go and amass wealth or to suppress their fellow women, or to show off; no, it’s because the nation needs your compassion, your ability to create and build. Women have the patience and tolerance that men don’t have. Those attributes that we possess as women can be explored to build the nation.
Helping one another:
Women must learn to help each other. For womanhood to be very functional and effective, we need sisterhood. There is a correlation: Women need to help each other because when we are in unity, we can create more. You can’t do everything on your own. If you have another woman who is compassionate and tolerant like you supporting you, with that collective effort, you can move mountains for the nation. Women desperately need to begin to support each other for the goodness of humanity because it’s going to translate into good things for our nation. It’s all about our nation.
Yes, they said our foundation was wrong, yeah, it was wrong but now we have to learn to fix it. We have amalgamated already; we have to learn to co-exist. If we fight and divide, we become refugees in other countries, we don’t want that, we should come together. We need synergy; only when we come together that we can fix the problems of Nigeria.
I hate people comparing Nigeria with places like Ghana. Let’s leave the US for a second, I will come to that. Ghana is only 23 million people; Nigeria is over 170 million people. Even in a house where you have three children, you need wisdom to control them all; you need wisdom to cultivate and promote peace among them, let alone 170 million people, it’s not easy. We whine too much, let’s move away from the complaints and try to seek and implement solutions. It’s ridiculous trying to compare Nigeria with the US.
If you want to compare, why don’t you compare human beings because human beings built America and you are a human being so why don’t you take up that challenge? Compare the US and Nigeria from that dimension. Human beings built America, are we not human beings? Have you built Nigeria? Since you want to compare, let’s take it from that angle. We must all contribute, it’s not just government. Every human being in Nigeria is responsible for the healing and building of this nation. I created a programme called Synergy that we are about to launch on July 29. It’s about promoting peace, unity and patriotism.
If we are talking about building the nation, you cannot build the nation without peace, unity and patriotism, nation must come before self and Nigerian children are asking me how they can be patriotic having been disappointed and repressed and I say to them: Build from a place of imagination. If you say you are already hopeless, how are you going to continue living? You need hope. So in order to build Nigeria, you need a certain level of patriotism and if you say the nation has disappointed you to the level where you cannot be patriotic, then be ready for Nigeria to just stay dead but if you want Nigeria to change, then you yourself will have to imagine what you want Nigeria to be and through your imagination, cultivate patriotism.
We must all get involved:
We should not leave everything for government to do. If I clean my house and my front yard and everyone on the street does the same, the whole street will be clean. You don’t need government to do that, we need people with discipline to do that as they clean their homes. So instead of pointing fingers continuously at the leaders, how about we all come together to fix the problems that we are complaining about? Complaints are not going to do it.
What makes a great leader is not that he is the most intelligent or the one with the most extensive vision but that he has the willingness and ability to harness talents around him but you must have the talents to harness so I am sure there are members of the president’s cabinet that do not implement his vision because the president can have the greatest of vision but if you are surrounded by the wrong people, they would not implement your vision. The president cannot physically go to every state to do the work; the government of that state has to do that work, that is why they are there. What are the state and local governments doing?
The president is not going to come to your state to tell you what to do. Why are you a leader? You should have your own vision to build your state, that will take care of the problems of the state. If I was the president, governors won’t even get allocations,. The allocation is what inspires the thievery. You are a leader and you are supposed to be a visionary – think, harness, discover the wealth in your state, harness it, build industries, provide employment and make the money that you want from your state, not from government allocation.
Let government come to your rescue when you have a real problem and not that government should continuously fund you and yet, no industries, the unemployment and crime rates are rising. I have heard that when the president minutes on a project and sends it across, those people change it. Instead of employing the same company that sent that proposal and is capable of doing the job, they give it to their own connections that don’t even know how to do the job and that is why most things are done in such lackadaisical manner. That is why we have cheap projects all over the place; the roads are always bad, how come? Or they will take a project and is not implemented but the money is gone.
That was how I did it. I was a victim of the ignorance of this tradition, I am not supposed to waste my time in Nigeria but I said to myself: ‘’If everyone keeps condemning the country, who is then going to heal and build the nation? If you keep whining and complaining that they treated you badly and called you a mermaid and set you on fire, who is going to do it? That story is not peculiar to me. So many people had disappointments, so many are victims but we must learn to strip the garment of victimhood and adorn the garment of victor.
I say that to every victim, I did it and I am speaking from experience, you can do it. If Eeefy can do it, anybody can do it because I emanated from the world-spring of fire. I came from nothing; from pain, struggle and trying to commit suicide at the age of eight, to being a role model today because I have to fight so I can fulfill my purpose; the will of God for my life and I think that every victim out there need to rise. Every youth, every woman out there need to rise and through your healing, heal other people. It’s our responsibility. If you look at yourself and begin to say that you are your responsibility, that is enough to start to change your life because you change your attitude and all of those destructive activities that you indulge.
We are talking about the structure in the US, human beings structured the system so we can do the same. If you drink, put the bottle in the garbage can, don’t throw it in the street, that is unpatriotic and injustice. That bottle could cause accident and death. It can make the place look dirty and that same bottle could cause flooding as it will contribute in blocking your drainage.
Success can be attained through appreciation. The western world has that virtue while it is lacking here. If we can learn to appreciate each other, our environment and the nation, then we will be able to take care of, nurture and be more creative instead of being so destructive. When you don’t appreciate, you destroy. Once you start to appreciate, you are open to all the resources around you. All the resources around you will come to the forefront and you will begin to perceive life differently. Things that were obscure just begin to flourish before you because that is how you are going to flourish. We must purge all the poison from our system so we can flourish. Every day I wake up, I think of something new to do; how to develop myself, how I can impact others.
If I can’t impact their lives and they can’t impact my life, I am a nuisance to them and they are a nuisance to me. It’s either you add or you detract. When I come around you, I want to make you happy not sad by insulting or criticizing you which is what we are eager to do in Nigeria. We pull each other down; we criticize so harshly and maliciously. There is no love or compassion in our interaction. We are very competitive in such negative ways, we want to pull down, we don’t want the next person to succeed. Instead of pulling each other up and helping and supporting each other, we want to pull down, trample over and crush with our tongue. But when you do that, you reveal your weakness. An outstanding personality does not destroy, it builds.
If you even offer any criticism, it has to be constructive. When you open your mouth, your utterances will be to heal, to create, to help and support and not to destroy and hamper somebody’s happiness. You are not an outstanding personality if that is what you do. So I say to people, if this person does not appeal to you and you know you cannot help them, shut up. Unless you can offer help, shut up. Do not cast aspersions or pass strictures, it’s not in your position, you are not God, you can never be their God and you can never dictate their destiny.
Help them to grow if you have to do something, not to fragment healing that may even be in process. You meet people and you don’t know what is going on in their lives, may be they are already floored and need help, may be they were so down and someone had tried to help them and they are in the process of healing and your big mouth fragments that healing. That is not human. People do that in this environment and it hurts me because I suffered that same thing as a child. Everybody criticized me, they did not see anything good so now that I have developed myself and made something good out of myself, everybody is coming and embracing me.
May be I would have been much better than what I am now if they had complimented and appreciated little things or acknowledged little things and helped and supported me and not pull me down. So many kids are down because their parents, siblings and friends are pulling them down. If only we can offer little love, if we can treat each other with just a little compassion, it is amazing what you can unravel, what you can inspire and motivate.
Appeal to youths:
Nigerian youths, Nigeria beckons your energy; Nigeria beckons your creativity; Nigeria beckons your soul, Nigeria beckons your patriotism, Nigeria beckons.