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LINDA, AYODEJI AND THE REST OF US

April 30, 2016

By CHINEDU EZIGBO

It easily has become common place occurrence in Nigeria for far reaching issues to be undermined, or trivialized; or taken as opportunities to seek and find parasitic loyalty and popularity in a way that leaves a depth of division amongst Nigerians. It is in the midst of malignant brouhahas that attendant ills are unrecognised and a despicable culture often forms.

From time immemorial, while men are recruited to go to war women and children stay back at home. While the reason for this may be lost to my generation, a little thought at it makes it obvious still. The common understanding will simply be that if the womenfolk went to war and got killed in their numbers, a tribe, kindred, people, race or nation dies with them. It is for this reason therefore that it becomes a war crime to fire ammunitions into civilian domiciled area (since it is supposed that these civilians are predominantly women and children).

Today, there are different projects and indomitable efforts towards empowering women both at home and abroad. Efforts in line with works on domestic violence against women, equal pay, equal representation, equal former and informer education, etc. Even if one were cursory, the reasons are still not far fetched. The male ego (or testosterone if you want to call it that) has always dominated, continues to dominate, and even desires to go on dominating in the way it does the women of our world.

How low can a people get when they grow a business and thrive on its income by putting little teenage girls away in a supposed ‘home’ and get them pregnant, and then sell their babies? Just how inhumane is it when people take to trending with other trends like fashion and music but pay no mind to something as heinous and embarrassing as the ‘baby factory’ situation in our country? Is it not even worse that we hear some people from certain parts of the country throwing jabs at people from the parts of the country where ‘baby factory’ is prevalent, thereby taking lightly or making a joke of the situation?

The reason why this is so and why Nigerians are complacent in the face of terrible evils as this is the same reason why any Nigerian – man or woman, will make memes, joke with, repost, regram or take sides with Mr. Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun a.k.a Wizkid who went all out to disrespect Linda Ikeji.

Just before anyone comes at me with senseless rebuttal or insults, the name Linda Ikeji here does not have anything to do with blogging, Banana Island mansion and her achievements. No, Linda Ikeji here is a woman, albeit one who represents many other women who are subjected to various levels of disrespect ranging from domestic violence to coerced impregnation, all occurring in the faces of both good and not so good men and women who would rather be loudly oblivious of the crux of the situation.

Nonetheless, Linda like most young men and women of our age (including Wizkid) have earned who she is and without any ounce of doubt become a role model to other women. It is therefore imperative that if we must talk about empowering women then we must first of believe in and talk of respecting them; for it is foolhardy to think of empowering an idea we do not really respect or believe in. And so, as subtle a feud as it may seem (since it may be said to arguably go with the industry) it sinks into the subconscious that it is okay to disparage a woman, any woman for any reason at all. So much so that our women become nothing but characters in stories of men’s sexual prowess, or baby vending machines, or organised ‘baby factories as the case may be.

This also is not about saints and sinners. We all do right just like we all make mistakes, the hallmark of our greatness becomes how we deal with situations especially of wrong doing.

The structures of a nation must first be built in our minds. If we must go on to accuse the government of failure, we must avail ourselves of the moral standing to do so by not failing in being as human as we can be. Resolving to enhance the possibilities given to us in the use of the social media for everything noble becomes a duty at this point. Our collective fight should be seen to win against trends like ‘baby factory’ and as a matter of urgency we must truly enthrone the empowerment of women. Only then can it really be said that we are contributing to nation building.

CHINEDU EZIGBO writes from Canada.

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