11 Jun 2013

TO MY NIGERIAN WOMEN

                                                                                        
                                               Act like a woman, think like a man
                                                                        -Think Like A Man

Before we properly begin this article, let me state that I am in no way a feminist. In fact, I do not support beliefs that cause differences between things which one has no control over. And also, for the purpose of this article, the word ‘girl’ generally means any person of the female gender between ages 15 and 23 and thereabouts.
 
I was inspired to write this article by a lot of happenings around me of recent. I see so many girls and young ladies doing and saying things too bizarre for a mind like mine and so I decided to express my thoughts on the state of things in our Nigerian girls today.

I came across quite a number of girls with twisted thought and belief systems that if I didn’t know any better, I would have said all girls think that way.
I met girls who so much believe that a guy would be their source of daily bread, clothing, transportation, communication, entertainment, luxury and the downright revolting- school fees. I mean, we aren’t in the 19th century when the man was solely the breadwinner of the family and the wife just had to sit around all day, cooking and mending dresses. We are in the 21st century and as a lot of girls are quick to point out, the era of the gentleman is gone. If you are in a relationship with a person you hope to marry some day, would it not be reasonable to test some things with regards to how they affect marriage? If your partner buys you soap, toothpaste, hair brushes, make up, gives you cash to make your hair, gives you cash to go shopping, buys you phones and laptops, even buys you underwear, and then later in life when you are married, you scream about wanting ‘independence’, you would sound a wee bit stupid in my opinion. If a girl wants to be independent, you show a guy that you do not NEED his money. What you need is his care, affection and attention and then the safety of a good future for your marriage and your kids. A girl may argue that “What if we are just dating and I don’t want to marry him?” and I would answer with a question I copped from Asiwaju Oseni which says “What is the point of dating without marriage? It is like going from JSS1 to SS3 and not writing WAEC”. That said, ladies be smart about your relationships and don’t be fooled by flattery and sweet words, as they say, the devil is a smooth talker. While you may also want to flaunt with your partner among your friends, give him something to flaunt among his friends too. Don’t just get him vests and boxers when next it’s his birthday, give him a real gift no matter how expensive it is and he’s going to appreciate it and think of you every time he sees it. It may be a watch, a trendy laptop bag, a suit or tux or just anything you see that he actually likes.

I noticed as well that in some girls nowadays, there is this tendency to say words like “After all, you’re a guy” or “It’s a man’s job”. The statement irritates me so much that I grate my teeth at times; how can girls say something like that after screaming about gender equality morning, noon and night? I believe in gender equality totally and impartially and in my opinion, there should be nothing as ‘Women Rights’ because women are humans and they fall under ‘Human Rights’ don’t they? If women segregate themselves, it just makes things harder because men overcome challenges in their will to dominate. But, when women silently integrate themselves in the fabric of society and climb up rungs of ladders they were previously too timid to climb, some men notice and applaud them while some try to hold them back and to this latter, women have a deadly weapon which is called “The feminine charm”. You should not scream about gender equality if you are not ready to be equal, and when you all are ready, do come out with a bang. The world has started and Nigeria is still picking up steam but I trust my Nigerian girls, no time to check time. 

Similarly, I came across girls who in my opinion were too educated to be small-minded. I talked to several girls, undergraduates mostly; I asked them what they wanted to do when they finished from school, out of the eight girls I talked to, two wanted to further their education, and work for a few years before settling down to a family while the remaining six just wanted to “Go for my youth service and find a good husband and a good job”, the thought that kept running through my mind was ‘Why did you even come to school in the first place if you are just going to get married immediately after? And who gets a job with a Bsc?’. There may be some very wise motives behind those answers, but I honestly failed to see them.

The woman is referred to as the fairer sex and if God gave me the opportunity to pick my sex, I would be a woman six times out of ten. The elegance and confidence some women exhibit is so profound that you can but marvel at such objects of quintessential magnificence. The number of women who have paved their way in this world of ours is increasingly daily and as Virus in Three Idiots is quick to point out, no one remembers the second person. Nobody remembers the second woman to drive a car in Nigeria, nobody remembers the second female president in the world, nobody remembers the second female DG of NAFDAC, nobody remembers people in second place and if you want to stand out as a lady, you have to be exceptional. We have seen female presidents in Venezuela, Liberia and even an aspirant in the United states! In the Students’ Union elections concluded some months back in the University of Ibadan, a female aspirant lost the presidential elections by about three hundred votes although she beat one male aspirant with the same margin. We have seen female media tycoons, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is there to help ginger us, there’s Buchi Emecheta as well; we have seen wonderful singers as Asa and Niyola and Nneka, not to talk of Sade Adu. We have seen female computer wizards (I recently read of an 18-year old girl who invented a 20-second mobile phone charger), popular blogger Linda Ikeji, Princess Adeola Ayoola, and coincidentally the person who invited me to write all these articles, Ope Ewumi. 

Women are making waves everywhere you turn and it is up to you whether or not to be inspired and act. There’s the stuff of greatness in every man and woman and child and if you are a woman and you have the mentality that ‘It’s a man’s world’, you must have missed the signs that said “Levels don change”. A man can give you security and little comforts if that is what you desire, but for the sake of our unborn children, do not pass on beliefs best left dead to the next generation. Let them experience the world with their bodies, see it with their eyes, taste it with their tongues and hold it with their hands. The only limits we have in this life are those which we place on ourselves. There always is a choice, death for the girl or glory for the lady.
The time is now, my dearest Nigerian women. The time has come to remove yourselves from under the shadow of men and in that do what we men have failed to do: Rid this nation of the corruption and division that so eats at us and heal us with what mothers do best. Teach us how to love again, even a nation as broken as ours, teach us to see the beauty through broken glass and teach us how to hope for the future.
With warmest regards, this article is dedicated to Preye Oyinsede, for never letting circumstances or gender stop her from doing what she loves and does best.

Until next time,
Hello.
Ezim Osai

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