We had been given forms to fill as part of the requirements for opening an account in one of the new generation banks. We had only started observing the mandatory one year of national service as fresh graduates and were due to begin receiving the monthly stipends to be paid by the government. I was in the process of filling my form when she walked up to me. Dressed in the traditional light green khaki attire of the NYSC, she was draped in the hijab, and had the unmistakable accent of one from northern Nigeria.
A final year student of a private university was expelled on account of a Facebook post that was deemed to be a campaign of calumny of sorts against the authorities of the school. The post which took a swipe at the management and officials of the higher institution was scathing enough to earn Debo Adedayo, the writer, an expulsion from Redeemers University. Mr Adedayo had concluded his exams and wrapped up his final year project when he was handed what has been widely adjudged to be a harsh punishment by the school.
I was having a conversation with some friends when the topic drifted to the issue of cheating. It was no surprise; just recently the news got out that another celebrity marriage had hit the rocks. Before this revelation, cheating had been a hot topic. Famous comedian, Kevin Hart had been enmeshed in a cheating scandal, and social media had gone wild with the news and how men, (in particular), could hardly be faithful in relationships. One of my friends had expressed her concern about the spate of cheating, especially among married couples and had asked me what my thoughts were on the disturbing trend.
The tropical storm Harvey that hit the Gulf Coast of the United States has wreaked plenty of havoc and displaced thousands from their home. In Houston, Texas many have lost property, been cut off from power supply and worst still, left stranded as flood waters continue to rise. It’s the typical time when people come together to seek ways to make life easier for those directly affected by a disaster. Apart from rescue operatives, law enforcement agents and non-governmental organisations who by the demands of their jobs unarguably have a responsibility to alleviate the effects of such unfortunate occurrences, it’s a time where religious bodies and ordinary citizens have the chance to demonstrate love for their neighbour.
Mr President has returned home after being away on medical vacation for 104 days. His arrival and subsequent nationwide address have been a controversial subject of discourse between his staunch supporters and those who feel his extended stay away and state of health should have been handled a lot better; and possibly prodded him to resign on account of ill-health. It’s a debate that has been ongoing since the first time he was away for medical treatment. The whole controversy stems from a loss of faith by a section of the populace that the current administration has the capacity to lead Nigeria to the promise land.
Scenario 1: The president of the most populous black nation in the world jets off to the United Kingdom to receive treatment for an unknown ailment. His second absent spell. It’s been 100 days now, and his people have no clue when their president will return. To add insult to injury, his party and cabinet members have been jetting off on tax payers’ funds to see him one after the other, yet no one has deemed it fit to address the people on what exactly is the nature of the first citizen’s illness. Protesters were tear-gassed for daring to demand answers. Shameless is the new cool.
The average single woman in her late twenties and above is tagged “Strong and Independent,” while the man whose wife is doing well in her career or as an entrepreneur is always “Loving and Supportive.” “High Flying,” “Strong Black Women” “Big, Bold and Beautiful.” These are all labels that have become permanent features in our daily narratives. They are clichés I often find myself rolling my eyes at whenever I come across them in essays, interviews, discussions or commentaries of any kind. And most times it’s not even a question of whether these assertions are true or false; they have become tiresome simply because they have been regurgitated again and again by society to the extent that semantic satiation has set in.
Just in case you have been oblivious of the development before now, you can now view your street and even your exact place of residence on the internet, thanks to Google Instant Street View, a feature introduced by Google. While it has been in existence in some other parts of the world as far back as 2007, it’s new here and has generated plenty of interest upon its availability in Nigeria. I got to know about the feature through my colleague and instantly tried to find out if it was as accurate as touted by typing in my address in the space bar. It was. The panoramic view of my area appeared before me in few seconds, and the song we used to sing as kids, “Come and see American wonder” immediately started playing in my mind.
You finally secure a job after years of job hunting. Prior to that time, you had to spend a gruelling year doing the compulsory NYSC (a mandatory year of service imposed on all Nigerian fresh graduates). You were posted to a remote village with almost non existent supply of water and electricity. And just before then, you spent six years studying a four-year course. It wasn’t because you weren’t brilliant enough and kept having to retake courses, far from it. You had simply been a victim of perennial lecturers strike – something you had no control over. At the end of the day, you got through all of that. The strikes, the energy-sapping service year and the seemingly endless years of job search. You survived it all.
“Yoruba men are demons”
“Short people have an inferiority complex”
“Feminists don’t make good wives”
“Ijebu people are stingy”
“Northerners are dirty”
“Whites hate Blacks”
…and now “Men are scum/trash”
All of the above statements are only a few of the popular generalizations many of us are familiar with. They probably started as a product of one person’s personal experience(s), but have somehow gained traction and have now sadly become a fundamental part of our thinking. They are stereotypes which like many other fixed notions discourage an independent assessment of a situation.
Over the last couple of months, the #MenAreScum has become a regular hashtag on the streets of Twitter. It started as some sort of curious joke – A typical social media reaction to the endless tales of how men continue to “play” and mistreat women especially in romantic relationships. However, things escalated quickly, and what started as a joke has morphed into a man hating campaign.