Let's Recap Nigeria For Me This Week Shall We: Intense Heat, The Film DRY & The Failure Of The Gender And Equal Opportunities 2010 Bill At the National Assembly
Let me start by saying we are human beings first, before we are male and female. It should only make sense therefore that the protection of my human rights be considered before the ability of my temporal body to birth children and suckle them is scrutinised.
Also, I think the devil is on holiday in Lagos because the heat out here is for sinners.
Also, It's been really hot in Lagos recently.
Last week I took time out to explore GDC's cinema's #NollyThursday event where they screen selected Nigerian films, and last week they were screening the movie DRY by Stephanie Linus-Okereke.
The movie won an award at the AMVCA 2016 for best overall african film. I watched it and I could see why. Other than the excellent production value of the film (my ears were not assaulted with poor sound, nor were my eyes offended by the sight of a stray sound pack or gaping continuity errors). I daresay that the film picked up the award for compelling story telling, and the incredible importance of the subject matter: it focused on numerous issues(including fistula, underage marriage and gender-based discrimination) surrounding the African Woman(read to mean Adult female and the girl child).
I genuinely find it difficult to express the level of disappointment I feel, not just in the decision of the Nigerian senate (because to be honest I may be disappointed, but I am not surprised) but really in the response of a number of Nigerians to this.
During the #LagosTalks segment on the Smooth Breakfast show(Weekday Mornings from 6:00- 10:00am) which I host with Sope Martins, we opened up the phone lines to discuss the bill being defeated, wanting to know what Lagos felt about this issue, and if people believed that there were gender Inequality issues in the country.
When we did this 2 things happened: 1. Only one Woman successfully called in and she was understandably( yet disappointingly) so filled with rage that she couldn't speak and 2. Most of the Men who called in said that they did not believe there were gender inequality issues in the country.
I must confess I consider any person who claims to not be aware of de facto inequality(even when not enshrined in customary laws which are ruling laws in Nigeria alongside the common law and sharia law) is an absolute joker.
The fact of the matter is, inequality is present in the upholding and execution of Laws, and it is present in the mindset of the people of Nigeria both male and female. From birth the Woman(as this problem is not limited to Nigeria or Africa, this is most females in the world) is told and taught to believe that her wishes and needs come second to that of the man, because this is how God apparently intended it.
You are welcome to refute or ridicule my claim but this is my experience of the world. This is my experience of Nigeria. I am not disappointed in our Men however, they do what they can once they understand, so the difficulty lies in making them understand.
I am most disappointed in the Womb-bearers of our species. We do not fight for want we want and what we need to protect our humanity. I cannot blame us sometimes: we are busy nurturing, we are busy filling the roles which come to us easily. We are the peacemakers, the nurturers...the matriarchs tell us we are the glue.
I am not writing to cast judgment but hopefully to agitate an awakening of the female consciousness in all humans. As the world evolves, we that live within the world must evolve with it or perish. In a time where Women are targets to be aimed at, bargaining chips to be traded, and property to be acquired, Women must learn to stand for each other, to speak up and to speak out.
Can Women afford to continue to entrust their protection solely to Men who "traditionally" are only moved to protect what they consider theirs?
By that logic, you are not truly protected unless your brother, your father, your uncle or your husband is standing guard over you...and even then...what happens when they turn they aggressor? The abuser?
Other men find it difficult and almost impossible to believe that you could be hurt by your own, so where does that leave the Woman? Usually In shame, in silence and in solitude. This bill is not the answer to all the Woman's problems, but it is an important step in helping the men understand. So women I ask once more, are you prepared to sit quiet?
Yes they will brand you trouble maker. Yes they will mock you as being Manly, quite possibly you will not settle for the weak minds which are prolific in the Nigerian society today, but in the words of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich - " Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History".
I have no conclusions for you today, just echoes of discontent and hopes for a brighter tomorrow. Also dear God please help with this heat. Atmosphere altering body odours abound in the sweatbox that Lagos has become.