By Patrick Dele Cole
This piece continues from last week on the concept of cheating in marriage
YOU cannot truly translate cheating to meet any of the things the West now imposes on us, but there is a wind of change in Africa. This is inarguable: It is still, however, far from universal acceptance as a value – regardless of the dramatic license used by Nollywood and Africahood.
Is the extremity with which Western women pursue women’s rights a reaction to the long brutal tradition of the suppression of such rights? It would seem that when Nigerian women talk about #ME TOO, women’s rights, etc., there is not as much fire as when Western women do so; a fire that burns with hatred.
Prostitution, virgins, marriage: For ages men insisted on marrying virgins and made a show of carrying the blood- stained bed sheet of the newly-wed couple throughout the town, singing and dancing that a virgin had been married.
There are no similar stories that the man was equally expected to be a virgin. If anything, he was supposed to have, as the saying goes, sown or scattered his wild oats before marriage.
Obviously, he had to have this experience with a woman who either was already married, or a sex worker. So having a sex working industry is the only way to keep the traditional virgin custom. I do not know that in Nigeria there are still virgins on their day of marriage.
Sex education: Women – In Nigeria, we prostrate before older people; the women kneel or courtesy. My school mates who were women became permanent secretaries, professors, head of WAEC, judges before the men in my class.
Most of the women were cleverer than the men. This would suggest that their sexuality was not an impediment. Countries where male dominance is generally accepted have nearly all first produced women presidents and prime ministers – Mrs Baradana Ike, Mrs Gandhi, Mrs Bhutto, Mrs Sirleaf, Mrs Peron, Mrs Merkel, even Mrs Thatcher. (Nigeria had had two presidents who were dominated by their wives. Guess who?) Robert Mugabe was subject to his wife.
Winnie Mandela – a strong woman – Mandiba could not cope and moved to Samora Michel’s widow. Social media would not allow the sensible rule – keeping sex as something private between two consenting adults. Social media would now want to tell all. What for? Homosexuality, lesbianism – old habits of ancient Greece and Rome promoted in monasteries, convents, boarding schools etc.
It would seem to be more prevalent in Nigeria than we care to admit. The West is fixated rightly by issues of a male dominance. But Nigeria had made progress in structured government and private institutions; our Nigerian women have done very well. The reason why the #ME TOO Movement is relevant is because some women benefited or lost from a social structure that was deeply enmeshed in sex.
Many women wanted to be celebrity, a star and were willing to do anything for that. Such celebrity would have been theirs if they did not succumb to seeking the short routes to fame. In Nigeria the scene is as follows: It is an extremely young country.
Those in universities and the Personal Assistants, PAs, of powerful politicians are nearly of the same age. Every week – at least twice – these PAs invite a bevy of girls to the Governors’ lodge, or other guest lodges of Governors, wealthy politicians, managing directors to do what they call “runs”. Apart from that, women have been the aggressor in some of these issues they then complain about – viz – men have and take sexual favours often without their consent.
It may be defined as seduction. Each university would have a “mama san” or controller who organises when girls can go to these parties. They go at the call of PAs. The businessmen, governors, senators, etc., will be relaxing with his other invited male guests who are encouraged to make their choice among the women.
The rest, as they say, is history. These aggressive female excursions are called runs. Why do the girls do it? Why the runs? Is it as a break down of moral order within the girls’ families?
In some cases the girls pay for their own universities, feed their parents, clothe them and other siblings, while trying to maintain the pressure of being at school, looking good every weekend, etc. The professors try this type of nonsense at the university with their students – which they regard as a no, no.
In Africa, men get circumcised and so also do some women. Western women had started a campaign against female genital mutilation which they want declared as a crime against humanity. I think calling female circumcision a mutilation while male circumcision is not displays some lack of consistency. I did not condone women circumcision – but the stridency of its condemnation.
I state these issues here because I am sure that as night follows day, soon Nigerians would have a #ME TOO and would want to have LGBT movement. Would this be progress? I do not agree that the laws as presently enacted against homosexuals are good. You cannot jail someone for 14 years because he is homosexual. We must take the criminality out of it.
We must also remember that both Islam and Christianity were against the practice as unnatural. I am told by my scientist friends that the practice is in fact natural!! Even so, it ought to be confined to consenting adults in private (compare the practice in India and Pakistan). Most marriages in the world are actually, even in 2020, arranged. We must never forget that.