My father and brother are Nigerian. My husband most likely will be Nigerian too. I really love Nigerian men, but I think they are sort of a ‘special breed’. Why? There are so many negative traits and behaviours that seem unique to our countrymen.
I’ve reflected on them and I think a lot of it has to do with how we raise our men. Because many Nigerians are ‘religious’, we raise our sons in a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ type of way. You might be telling your son one thing, but what he observes is another. The sins of the father (and mother) then become the sins of the son.
From impatience to infidelity, here are some of the ways I’ve noticed men are raised differently, and how they manifest in later life.
Domestic violence can be found in most cultures in the world. But that’s not the only kind of violence that can happen at home. There’s what I call ‘depraved’ violence.
I know of a very wealthy man. One day my friend was in his house, hanging out with his son and other friends. Next thing, they heard a gunshot from downstairs and got scared. When their friend, his son came back upstairs, he told them his father had shot one of the ‘MoPol’s (mobile policemen) in the leg, because the man annoyed him. After arguing with the MoPol for a trivial reason, the chief grabbed a gun from another armed employee and just went ‘Bam’! The son shrugged and added, “this is like the fourth time”. They were shaken, but after a few ‘wow’s and ‘mmm’s , went back to enjoying their hang out.
In Nigeria, we all know money talks. I’m sure this man wasn’t questioned, arrested, or cautioned in any way. How then will his children, especially that son, ever learn this is unacceptable behaviour?
Now back to Domestic Violence
I’ve heard of soo many mothers who pushed their daughters into rushed marriages. When a man starts hitting her daughter, the mum feels guilty, and she can’t advice her child to withdraw from the marriage. The mother, depending on her experience, can also rationalize it, “You sef don’t annoy him all the time” or “Your daddy used to beat me when we were younger. He will grow out of it.”
One of my friends, when she was about 11 years old, witnessed all the women in her family counsel her cousin whose husband had beat her several times, to kneel down before him to apologize for ‘upsetting him’. She did … and they reconciled.
My friend, who had been peeping at her aunties and mother, because their voices were so loud, was traumatized, and vowed that day never to marry a Nigerian man … today she is married to a non-Nigerian.
Now, imagine if my friend was a boy. What impact would this have had on him? Would he have been disgusted? Or encouraged to think women are always in the wrong and ‘deserve’ to be physically hurt for their mistakes or even just because he feels like letting out his anger on her?
There’s a common mentality amongst some, if not most Nigerians, that in marriage, we must ‘die there’. If you ask your mother, why doesn’t she (the abused relative/friend) leave, many would say, ‘leave to where?’
The stories I could tell you about Nigerian men’s sexcapades are too many and it seems they get more twisted every day. Pastors have even told young men in my generation, “guy, this your own dey too much o”.
I’ll just share one today. A woman in a long-distance marriage, her husband flew from Abuja (where he worked) to Port Harcourt every weekend. The man then got the house girl in Port Harcourt pregnant. If a man can impregnate the domestic help under his wife’s roof, then he most likely had numerous mistresses in his work base! But even that wasn’t enough for him. The woman then ‘threw’ her husband out of the house and counseled the lady to get rid of the child – ‘he wants to spoil your future! we will not let him!’ she said. The girl cried and went ahead with an abortion … a few days after, after the last drug had been swallowed, the lady threw her out of the house, and said ‘daddy said you forced him’, and welcomed her husband back with open arms.
There are so many men that take their sons to see their girlfriends, discuss their girlfriends, even make their sons (and daughters) pay for their girlfriends’ rent, tickets and bills!
A son who sees his father do all this (and see his mother take him back), how will the son do any better?
If he cheats, society won’t frown on it, his family would understand, maybe only his religious place of worship will give him any grief, if at all.
Domestic Skills (or lack thereof)
It’s one thing not to teach your children how to cook, or clean up for themselves. It’s another thing to make your son believe it is only a woman’s role to cook or clean up after him.
I’m talking about men who will come back from a trip a week before their wives, and leave their suitcases unopened – with the melange of dirty clothes, underwear and the like, and wait for their wife to return to sort it out.
I’m talking to men who want their wives to be their mothers!
A lot of guys make their girlfriends their maids. They believe women belong in the kitchen. Some men cannot eat re-heated food from the freezer, they only want ‘fresh food’, even sometimes with wives with very demanding jobs like those at the bank. Imagine living on the mainland, waking up at 4am everyday, and coming back at 9pm, and your husband demands a freshly cooked meal … only in Nigeria.
Correcting/Shaming Women (in public)
My friend shared on Instagram how a man was using his phone on a domestic flight – taking calls and texts thousands of feet above ground! A woman asked him to put it off. He did so. Then another man came to “correct” her that he’s her elder, so she had no place to do so. His wife stayed there silently while he berated her. The woman held her own, but no-one came to her defense. This is a woman who was looking out for all their safety, and no one said a thing.
Also, what is about Nigerian men and YELLING? MUST YOU SHOUT?! IS YOUR WIFE/CHILD/DRIVER DEAF?
Impatience and Entitlement
One day I was at Mr Biggs. Yes, I love their meat pie and doughnut (when there’s a generous dollop of jam) *covers face*. Anyway, if you’re familiar with the eatery, you will know there are usually two lines. One for the hot ticket items and another – sometimes for cake, ice cream etc. A woman walked in with her son. “I’m waiting here o” she shouted at the attendants, who were hurriedly packing and serving us. “I’m coming ma,” one of the two cashiers replied. After waiting less than two minutes, the woman huffed, puffed and hissed away, as she called them ‘useless’ and other names. Right next to her, watching all this was her little son. If that isn’t an imprint, I don’t know what is.
Nigerians! We don’t queue properly for anything. From bank lines, to NYSC, orderliness doesn’t seem to be in our DNA.
I’ve been in the front of a long line at a supermarket where a man emerged behind me, flashed his Durex condoms, and threw a 500 Naira note at the attendant, as he stuffed the condoms in his pocket. The irritated woman pointed out I was first in line, as I said it was ‘OK’ if he went in front of me. As he was waiting for his receipt, she pointed out again that she had to scan the item first. So with a grumble, he brought it out and she scanned it. I shook my head as his wedding ring flashed before me. I can bet you those weren’t for his wife…
Impatience/entitlement & Ego/pride/control
There are too many examples to mention, but I have to give a special shout out to my Igbo brothers on this one. I’ve never met so many people who feel the ground they walk on should be worshiped, and their decisions and ideas shouldn’t be questioned as much as my clansmen.
I know a man who slapped his son – on his wedding day!
What could a groom possibly do to anger his father so much? Why is the need for control so great? Wonders shall never end…
Their Way or the Highway!
This is a road pun because a lot of men ‘take the piss’ on the road, and don’t admit they are wrong.
My friend was in the “7-Up” area late at night. She was emerging from a narrow street on to a T junction. As she wanted to leave, a man blocked her (he wanted to enter the narrow street) from the main road. She had two options. Either stay and wait for him to give way, or reverse to the end of the dark, pot-holed filled street.
So she decided to wait. The man was clearly enjoying her frustration. He was dancing ‘shoki’ with his hands, covering his eyes and all, showing he wasn’t ready to place them on that wheel to move his car, any time soon.
She was waiting so long that three cars, also people who wanted to leave the street, came to park behind her. The man behind her, then left his car to talk to the man blocking them all. It was evident they were friends, as they started ‘gisting’ and laughing. A few minutes went by, and the man left the ‘blocker’ to knock on her window and ask her to ‘wind down’. It seemed he was going to tell her to reverse. My friend said she didn’t know when she started raining reasoning and insults at the man. He was so shocked, that he ended up not saying a word, and calmly walked back to his car.
The ‘blocker’ saw all this go down, chuckled, stopped ‘shoki’ing and reversed for them all to pass.
She had been waiting for 30 minutes.
Now imagine if his child was in his car and had witnessed all this. What a legacy to leave!
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and as I said it’s very subjective, but in general I do think Nigerian women and men can raise their sons better.
What do you think?