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Boys will be boys

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Following the murder of Chief Executive Officer of Super TV Michael Usifo Ataga and the arrest of 21-year-old University of Lagos student Chidinma, who was allegedly his girlfriend and killed him after he got violent, social media has been awash with rumours and conspiracy theories.

According to police reports, Chidinma stabbed Ataga who would have been 50 years old this month, in several places at a rented Airbnb in Lekki area of Lagos.

The divide was clear: while some blamed the girlfriend for going after a married man, others blamed the deceased for going after a girl less than half his age.

A commentator on Linda Ikeji wrote:
“Women stop cheating on married men, if they come to you rebuke them… God strongly dislike adulter (sic), with passion. No be say him get wife wey we won snatch from am. but his warning is for our own good… this is warning to those girls out there seeking for sugar daddies.”
Another wrote:

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“Foolish foolish very foolish man 50 year old married man doing well in his chosen career, then wants to flex stupidly and goes after a 21 year old girl… is the wife not good enough anymore? Mr CEO you got served hot pepper.”

As for me, I am baffled. Reading up on his widow, I am confused as to why a 50-year-old man would leave home a full-course meal to go chasing after small snack. Of course, there is no knowing what goes on behind closed doors and the internal workings of any marriage. However, no matter what goes on in a marriage, I’d like to think that people well into their fifties would be wise enough to resolve the issues discretely. Even if this were not the case, why chase after a girl young enough to be your daughter?

Of course, I am not naïve enough to think similar stories of adultery are not taking place all over the world from Lagos to Las Vegas. Mostly we live in patriarchal societies where a man leaving the straight and the narrow to chase skirt is often encouraged instead of admonished. In my native Turkey, adultery is often referred to as “the dirt on a man’s hand” – as it is only natural, almost acceptable, for a man to get his hands dirty.

Again, in most patriarchal societies, men play egg each other on, rather than talk some sense into each other; we’ve seen it, we know it, most men would urge their friend to take on a side chick or have a one-night-stand rather than being the voice of reason to discourage him. On the other hand, the same society accepts a woman to accept her husband’s wandering eyes and roving hands.

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I have heard of men who have, on the day of their wedding, woken up in their mistress’s bed…
I’ve heard of married men whose whole families were in on his cover as they lied bare-faced to unsuspecting girlfriends dreaming of marriage until they discover the truth and their world fall apart?

I have heard of women going to church to pray for marriage on Christmas Eve and then head straight to the club to chase married men to support their lifestyle until they find the one.

From an early age, we give our boys preferential treatment. “Boys will be boys” is all too often the excuse to wash away any ill behaviour whether it’s lifting up girls’ skirts on the playground or fondling the house help. The behaviour that is unacceptable for our girls – flirting, having a boyfriend, going out at night – we encourage our boys to do so. Then we wonder, how a man of high standing ends up in a pool of his own blood in a decrepit room.

I am not putting the blame on Mr Ataga; neither is the girlfriend to blame. After all, it takes two to tango. Some blame Chidinma for going after a married man. Of course, there is no excuse, but the married man could have thwarted her advances. Others blame Mr Ataga for following his sexual urges; but then who are to blame him when we almost expect our men to do just that and then explain it away as “boys will be boys” after all? I bet you, there is at least one person in his circle of friends who knew of his dalliance and didn’t say a word.
Boys don’t have to be boys; some day they should grow up to be men who know better.

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