When Avbero in Professor Hope Eghagha’s play, “Death, Not A Redeemer, proverbially told Chief Karia (her renegade husband, that “When a masquerade is disrobed, and his nakedness becomes communal embarrassment, then it is time for handlers to drag the masquerade from the arena”, she unarguably never had Senator Dino Melaye in mind as the play which was first published in 1988, and premiered within the same decade is a paradox of the historical anecdote of the King’s horseman who reneged on his long contract with sacrificial death back in the days of our ancestors.
However, with the spate of protests that is expectedly trailing the unbecoming misogynistic outburst reportedly exhihited by Senator Melaye, who represents Kogi West Senatorial district, against Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who represents Lagos Central Senatorial district, demanding that Senator Melaye be recalled from the upper house of the National Assembly, Avbero’s insightful proverb as quoted in the foregoing clearly describes the kind of punishment the protesters wished him to be punished with ostensibly to serve as a detterent to other honourable members of the house that may be of the same ilk.
Since the seeming taboo and ignominous act that was committed by the Senator became a public issue, many Nigerians are questioning the propriety of the protests that were elaborately ochestrated in both Lagos and Abuja majorly by women that could be reckoned with in the society. In as much as this piece is not set to literarily increase the decibel of sound that is calling for the recall of the senator, it suffice to say that the act of misogynism which was exhibited by him against the wife of the man that is highly and widely reputed to be the prime mover of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which gave him the platform to be enjoying the privileges he is no doubt entitled to as a senator makes anyone to shudder on how short-sighted some politicians could be. Still in the same nexus, an African proverb says “If pounded yam appears not be well pounded for swallowing, it should be eaten for the sake of the well prepared soup that smells delicious.”
Interpretatively put, Melaye ought to have accorded Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu aka Jagaban, his due respect by handling the issue that concerns his well-liked wife with diplomacy rather than flying off the handle to the consternation of the people he represents. If I may ask, what is the mission of a man who has been enjoying the perquisite of office facilitated through the platform of the political party that was almost singe-handedly conceptualised and formed by the man he vicariously refused to respect? As a writer that is wont to comment and make analysis on issues of national concern, I find it difficult to ignore the one that is being analysed in this context, particularly as it relates to misogynism. Leaving misogynism to thrive together with lawmaking would no doubt be very dangerous to the democratic process that has unarguably gone beyond its nascent stage. To be precise in my analysis, it is dangerous to sweep the issue that revolves around misogynism under the carpet.
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English succinctly defines misogynist as “hater of women”. There is no denying the fact that many misogynists have been waging several wars and equally campaigning against women’s freedom, emancipation and empowerment. A misogynist does not believe that women should be given formal education beyond the secondary school level. He does not believe that a woman should inherit the property of her late husband. He equally does not believe that women should work in offices or engage in other businesses. Rather, he is often driving his point home on why women should remain in the kitchen and be absolutely domesticated. He does not even think of anything good on women sexual life.
It is therefore not surprising that he has remained an ardent crusader of women circumcision. On the traffic, a misogynist is naturally disgusted seeing women driving cars. To him, all women on steering wheel are bad drivers. When he sees any woman arguing with a man he would sigh and instantly mutter in pidgin English, “ I know say na woman, e no go gree” without having any understanding of the issue been argued upon. A misogynist, for instance, shares the notion that women police are unforgiving and that they do not accept bribe.
By extension, all women security agents are seen as wicked, unforgiving and uncompromising. In most offices, a misogynist sees her female colleagues who are regularly promoted as those who are wont to sleep around with top male managers. This, to me, is apparently discouraging most career women from being hardworking since they are always seen suspiciously whenever they are promoted through hard work. Even in some homes, the husbands find it difficult to trust their wives when their promotions become rapid.
Many a husband may become paranoid to managers that are close associates to his wife. In the Nollywood sector of our entertainment industry, actresses who are naturally and divinely gifted in their make-believe profession are seen by the society as those that are sleeping around with film producers. In the same vein, producers among the actresses are seen as sleeping around with marketers who may bankroll the production and marketing of their films. Without any iota of equivocation, the society in general is misunderstanding womankind, and this has become a collective stumbling block on women’s path to progress. This writer is a man.
I know you may have asked, “What is this writer’s stress?” The plight of women is the plight of all of us since we all have wives, sisters, aunts and mothers. Somebody has to speak for them or add voice to the already sounding voices of various women-focused non-governmental organizations that are at the moment working round the clock to address the gender-issue of women. The discrimination against the woman by the misogynist is so pervasive that it is at the moment negatively reflecting on the proportion of women holding political offices across various tiers of government in our country. The majority of the women that are today holding various political offices were appointed, and not elected.
The reason why women hold positions of appointment more than elective positions cannot be far-fetched. Most women are seemingly afraid to vie for elective positions because as it were, they would not be voted for by all the misogynists among the electorate. Most women that are today in active politics literarily rode on the wings of their husbands, who are no doubt politically powerful, or rode on the goodwill which their profession bestowed on them. If a woman is married to a man from a different state of origin, she would automatically find herself in a dilemma. She cannot easily declare her intention to run for any elective political position within the political constituencies of her husband as she would be rejected by her in-laws who are invariably misogynists on the ground that she is not a direct indigene or “daughter of the soil”.
On the other hand, her relations would also reject her from vying for any political office in her own fatherland for the mere fact that she is married to a non-indigene. The foregoing summarises one of the biggest political problems women are today facing. I suggest this issue should be constitutionally addressed to protect women from being marginalised in this democractic dispensation. The activities of the misogynist laughably extend to the pulpit of most churches as women are seen and not heard. The doctrines of most denominations clearly forbid women from becoming pastors. Misogynists in these anti-women churches are always quick to defend their actions by alluding to the scriptural injunctions in the book of 1 Timothy chapter 2 verse 11-13 which says “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed then Eve.”
With these scriptural verse, it is little wonder that women are mostly seen to be heading children departments in churches. One may not be wrong to say that a misogynist regards women as “pseudo-human”. If he does not regard them as such, one would then ask; why is it that anything that has to do with women often become storm in his tea cup? It is common to see fathers who are supposed to be in a happy mood looking very sad at maternity wards because their wives had given birth to baby girls. Some years back, a man was reported in the news to have killed his wife in the northern part of the country for giving birth to a baby girl. Also, when a couple could not bear children of their own, the infertility problem is unjustly and unfairly attributed to the wife.
The reason for writing this piece is to let a spectrum of the Nigerian population that saw the protests against that trailed Senator Melaye’s unruly, uncivilised and undemocratic behaviour as a storm in a tea cup to have a rethink, and also to appeal to misogynists to renew their minds towards women by giving them a chance to succeed in every ramifications of life. They should not be always seen as inferior.
Also, misogynists should try as much as possible to begin to bequeath the best education they can afford to their girl-child. They should eschew discriminating against the female gender. There is no difference between a man and a woman. God created them to complement each other while on earth.
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