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Professor da Sylva’s “2 Kobo thoughts” on women and widowhood

By Tony Afejuku
08 July 2022   |   2:45 am
It was the aim of the columnist to embark on something else today after the sum-up of the debate began three Fridays ago. It was thrilling and stimulating

{files] Widow. Photo: ABOVEWHISPERS

It was the aim of the columnist to embark on something else today after the sum-up of the debate begun three Fridays ago. It was a thrilling and stimulating debate going by the delightful responses of readers who contacted me; and who requested that I should conjure up the spirit to continue it. Their calls and chats stretched from our country to across the Atlantic.

In deference to their pleasurable requests, I submit here-in Professor Ademola da Sylva’s gripping essay on the subject of women and widowhood in this country – your country my country our country. By the way, Professor Ademola da Sylva is a masterly composer of words, of something and something beyond the freshness of our air, beyond the enchanting morning light, that the composer always delights in its conjuration. Professor da Sylva is of the University of Ibadan. His keen essay which he wittily calls “my 2 Kobo thoughts” yields itself to us.

Fabulous TA, it is a great discourse you have there. I do not see the debate ending until I have added this bit. It is an embarrassment that the country failed to acknowledge “World’s Widows’ Day.” For all you know, it probably was deliberate given the chauvinistic-cum-phallocentric self-entitlement of the men that run our government and their appalling attitude to women in general.

After all, PMB once said that the only thing the women (I guess, Nigerian women) were relevant for was “the other room.” But on a more serious note, I am not surprised that Nigeria skipped the usual in Nigeria, not doing their job! Now to the main issue: Just wondering why folks are always quick to put the blame of women’s woes in general, and in particular, widowhood, on men? You have clearly shown how in Germany a woman turned the country’s fiscal fortune around positively to the degree that the country became the strongest economy in the whole of Europe while her tenure lasted.

It showed great potential, that women folks are endowed with when and where the environment is unpolluted and healthy enough to permit them. Unfortunately, Nigeria doesn’t have that kind of environment, the damaged and warped national, cultural, ethnic and religious psyche will not permit them to actualize such a potential, hardly if at all! Have you considered the fact that back in Africa and especially Nigeria hardly would what Britain’s Maggy Thatcher, the “Iron Lady,” or Germany’s Angela Merkel happen?

A few women technocrats who excelled in their respective offices, Ezekwesili (former Education Minister), the NAFDAC Professor – Dora Akunyuli – who died of cancer, and Okonjo-Iweala, current WTO boss, were all political appointees under OBJ. If they had had to run through the election process for the offices they occupied and did excellent jobs, they hardly would.

Their women folks wouldn’t have voted for them, regardless of the women population. Quite naturally, but surprisingly so, our Nigerian women, are true, a bunch of self-contradictions, and to borrow our friend, Professor IBK’s (Ibrahim Bello-Kano’s) expression, they are factorial of misnomers. Now, on the issue of widowhood, granted that patriarchy has its bucket of evils, no doubt, have you considered the fact that the women folks are always eager to be more Catholic than the Pope when it comes to implementing those cruel and dehumanising rituals that subject many widows to unspeakable trauma, deprivation of womanhood and human dignity that have sent many widows to an untimely death?

More than often, I agree with those that say, women are their own problems and enemies: the mother-in-law palaver; the desperate side-chick who manipulates and takes advantage of the vulnerable male predicator, at times, deploying diabolical means; the woman who pulls out of a marriage and ends up being a side-chick to some other married woman’s torment; or a single lady who seduces or “snatches” another woman’s husband; the list is endless. My brother TA, in the contest of the plight of widows in our country, my country, your country, their country, I submit that both men and women are two damaged sides of an otherwise good coin. My 2 Kobo thoughts.

In Professor Ademola da Sylva’s “2 kobo thoughts” there is a challenge to the whole of our civilization to do our duty rightly and correctly for women and widows. The passions aroused by his “2 kobo thoughts” cannot but set much of the moral and mental climate of our generation and times. We can liken aspects of his thoughts to Professor Ibrahim Bello-Kano’s but they differ a great deal from the latter’s ideological battle-cry – against the women folks. A reader from Canada, Mustafa shares the sentiments of these two debaters and of the others – although from an astonishingly different angle. I shall dwell on this again when I attempt to examine aspects of Professor da Sylva’s vis-à-vis other readers’ perspectives. Some surprise must await us – and it surely, surely awaits us with pleasurable pleasure that is pleasurably pleasurable.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.