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Labo Daniel: Another Side of the Single Story of Nigerian Men

Labo Daniel

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Have you ever tried to Google “Nigerian men”?

I did and the results were alarming. 99% (Ok maybe 98%) of the articles that popped up bordered on infidelity, ego, chauvinism, domestic laziness and domestic violence. Ultimately inferring that they are a selfish, stone hearted breed of human species who have no feelings, never make sacrifices and exist for themselves only.

With stories like this filtered all over the place it has become almost impossible to see them as anything else.

This single story of Nigerian men comes from women with bad experiences who often feel the need to lament (and rightly so too) about the ill treatment meted out to them leading to this sole picture.

I remember a conversation I had with my colleague recently in his fit of anger after a phone call with his wife. He complained about her incessant reminders of the sacrifices she had made in their marriage: the side effects of child birth on her figure 8, career change, domestic chores and child care.

Of course I channeled my sister-hood cause agreeing with the wife  and as expected, this infuriated him more.

“Does she know the sacrifices I have made too? Is it because I don’t talk about them? “

I yimu’d , jokingly asking him if it could come anywhere close to the ones she had made.

His response shocked me!

“She starves me and feeds me with fruits and vegetables 80% of the time because she’s on a diet. I shove down the food like a big boy to encourage her.”

“I fell in love with my wife because she’s very intelligent but since she chose to stop working after our first child who is now 18 months, all we ever talk about is baby food and diapers. I can no longer engage my wife on intelligent issues.”

“She complains about my table manners, itching habits and so many other habits. I’m in my house for pete’s sake, can’t I just be myself?”

“Oh and by the way, did I mention I got her a nanny who also cooks and cleans? And our daughter started crèche at 3 months despite the fact that she’s a stay at home mum?”

“I’ve been saving towards a business idea but I’ve had to put that on hold because I’m now the sole bread winner of the home but I’ve never complained once, never talked about my sacrifices Labo, not once.”

“It’s called growing up, so everyone should take care of their responsibilities, shut up and get with the program.”

Yours truly, was dumb founded because 1) This guy was a very quiet man who took his job seriously and never complained no matter how much workload he had; to see him this way was shocking 2) I’ve never heard a man’s side of the sacrifice divide articulated in his own words and hardly do they complain openly about their wife/partner and as a result one always assumes only women make sacrifices and men just take a walk in the park.

I narrated the story to my egbon who smiled knowingly. He said, “Men are not vocal about or expect anything in return for what we do in a relationship. We just do it! And most times it goes unnoticed because like many things we are taught to hold it inside and be quiet and as a result, our women see our sacrifices as a right and not a sacrifice.”

And in that moment, I understood the danger of a single story.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Kadettmann 

Labo Daniel’s quest for knowledge and adaptability to new and diverse environments has seen her transition from capitalism through everything in between to socialism and most recently, she acts as a gate keeper between both worlds.She has a penchant for discussing social issues as an avenue for finding inclusive lasting solutions.She can be reached at [email protected]

59 Comments

  1. Idomagirl

    August 24, 2015 at 9:07 am

    I shall be back for the comments….

  2. Naked

    August 24, 2015 at 9:07 am

    So grievous! The danger of a single / one-sided story.

  3. Oyinlola

    August 24, 2015 at 9:08 am

    So I’m a single lady but I have learnt this, never complain or try to measure sacrifices in a relationship. Everyone has different responsibilities in a relationship therefore everyone will make different sacrifices. I have realised that most times, it’s the woman’s side we always see and hear so we tend to feel like we are doing most of it.
    A man who loves you will go out of his way to make you happy. This isn’t usually convenient for him but because he’s a man who’s used to internalising things, he’d never talk about it and after a while, you’ll begin to take things for granted and think it’s your right (trust me I’ve been there). My friend’s ex told me that just before they broke up, he was doing things for her just to make her smile at him even if it’s for five minutes. He said he had to sacrifice a lot of things for it to happen but she didn’t see it that way cos she had become used to him doing this for Her so she felt he wasn’t doing anything big.
    We should learn to appreciate things, no matter how small they are so that the other person doesn’t even mind doing more

    • paloma

      August 24, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Oro lo so

  4. Ann

    August 24, 2015 at 9:14 am

    HUH?!

  5. Oh Labo!!!

    August 24, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Oh bless your heart Labo.
    You unfortunately are a huge part of the problem.

    The truth what the woman sacrifices is what is seen as ‘right’ or ‘duty’

    Your work colleague is dealing with his wife’s sacrifice to have his kids and HE cant deal with what this has crept into his own life.

    That you cant see that he is the selfish inconsiderate average Nigerian man is special.

    ‘I married my wife because she was intelligent but now all we speak about is baby formula and nappies’ WTF WHOSE BABY? The one she brought from outside or the one you made with her?

    The truth is your friend wants life to be the same after his wife just grew a whole other human being inside her and my dear Labo, the fact that he cant see that dynamics will change is where this man has issues.

    The way to stop the single narrative is to show that man who is considerate understanding persevering through a tough time in his wife’s life and marriage altogether.

    This write up proves that maybe there is no “single narrative’ but the sad sad reality.

    • J

      August 24, 2015 at 11:08 am

      They made the baby together so while it was growing inside of her he was working his ass off to provide. And that is no easy feat trust me. Every one has a role to play to make every relationship work so him working his ass off is not less of a ‘sacrifice’ compared to her having their baby. Do you think its every man that likes to work long hours and hold 2 or more jobs just so that the bills are paid on time?
      So what he wants to have conversations that are not necessarily baby food related. Does that make him the devil, i don’t think so. There was a reason he married his wife and come babies or not, he is allowed to consider that ‘reason’ important to him.
      Men, at least when you stumble on a good one, are trying. I know that. I also know some women can be selfish and insatiable. We want to be applauded for every single thing we do and that is understandable but not at the detriment of our support system (partners) that makes it possible for us to do these things in the first place.
      Bottom line is, like the writer said, there is always that danger of a single story.

    • A-b-b-y

      August 24, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      I agree with you! He is human too and he definitely has his own needs in his marriage. His needs doesn’t have to be the exact same as the woman’s needs. I am not married but just being in a relationship has taught me that both parties need to be there for each other and take time out and be with each other. This is why people grow apart to the point where they can’t solve issues and they get a divorce. Not giving an excuse for the man or anything but it will get to the point where he will get bored because some of the things that are important to him are swept under the carpet. I remember when one of the Campbell sisters, Tina’s husband cheated on her. She said she wasn’t making any excuses for her husband’s infidelity but she contributed to a certain way as to how her husband felt in the course of their marriage especially after the kids started coming. She admitted that she wasn’t there emotionally, it all of a sudden became about the kids and every other thing and she basically neglected her husband and his needs. She didn’t listen to him as much. It is very easy for us to fall victims of these but I believe taking a conscious effort and acknowledging these things with our partners especially the ones that are willing to go the extra mile and make things work will go a very long way. Sorry about my long comment but I just had to.

    • Grinae

      August 24, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      I feel Nigerians do not get proper counseling before marriage and even during marriage. People do not tell them the truth. It’s always the ” husbands love & take care of your wives, wives respect, don’t argue with, and cook for your husbands” bullshit talk. No one is talking about the real issues that come along with this new chapter. Babies change the dynamic of a relationship. Nigerians do not plan for that. They just want to release babies without realizing that those human beings are a piece of work.
      Nigerians gets married a lot. There should be actual marriage counsellors in Nigeria. Not pastor this pastor that or your mother in law. Those ones only know it from their limited angles- religious & old school routes. Sometimes you want to speak to someone who doesn’t know you so they give you an unbiased suggestion.

      Nigerians like to blast of not having a high divorce rate but there are too many people still managing their failed marriages. There are too many failed marriages and I feel some marriages can survive if couples are guided towards the right path. Respect & love should not mean one should shut up and suffer in silence. Each persons in a relationship should benefit and be happy (from that relationship)

    • Lamz

      August 25, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      Most times they never really want to go for counselling, they see it as a joke or why they should be telling a random person about their problems.. Especially men , according to survey, they see it as a let down, or not manly to handle their issues on their own.. but will rather tell their folks that have sentiments towards them and obviously do not have psychology or couselling skills or a spiritual background, they probably would advise them from their own experience rather than the right approach… “This mind of ours that God created in us, is a fragile thing/place.”… that if the right knowledge about life , ie marriage is applied, it would make life easier,to adjust and to understand that people change with age and environment around them but when the wrong knowledge about marriage. is applied .. frustrations .com
      which is still a sad reality , as said by Oyinlola …

  6. FasholasLover

    August 24, 2015 at 9:29 am

    She fed u fruits and veg’ and ur sacrifice is shoving it down like a big boy. Now, dat is your sacrifice? It sha helped your waist line.

    I beg, l can’t do any serious thinking this morning. You dis man, wey nehn problem.

    Bia Bella, where is the gist on Fashola’s latest shenanigans? BN be posting gist 24hrs late and swallowing comments. Mtcheeeew.

    • paloma

      August 24, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Lmao… Loving the comments

  7. Gold digger

    August 24, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Really? !!!!!!!!!

  8. Mystique

    August 24, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Please………this guy falls into the 2% range; 98% of Nigerian men dont take marriage seriously jor. are men becoming increasingly lazy? yes. women slave away at work, only to return and continue the slavery at home – cook, clean, take care of kids and be available for sex at short notice. pls give nigerian women a break. shout out to all the lovely Nigerian women who are married and are faced with this challenge everyday; God bless and sustain you. #Icelebrateyouall #strongandbeautiful

    • molarah

      August 24, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      You bet you were going to have someone come after you for putting up those numbers right? That’s my official pet peeve: people just coming up with statistics in their heads without any basis. Have you met ALL the men in Nigeria – how are YOU able to know only 2% take marriage seriously. Take time this morning o.

  9. mx

    August 24, 2015 at 9:56 am

    So true as a man i agree,women are quick to talk about all they do but men keep quiet because we know its our duty.Nigeria women have called us all kind of names but we take it like a man smile.If husbands tell you what they go through at home you will cry.But fact is there some men out there giving us bad labels.I know many good husbands but nobody cares.

  10. oj

    August 24, 2015 at 10:09 am

    poor man! she sounds like a lazy house-wife. but then, we just heard one-side of the story.

    • Nahum

      August 24, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      Gbam!! We can’t call her a lazy brain dead housewife cause we just heard one side of the story

  11. Natu

    August 24, 2015 at 10:09 am

    There is some truth to stereotypes. A lot of African men fit the stereotypes mentioned in the article.

  12. Sitting down jejely

    August 24, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Patiently waiting for bellanaija trolls!!! Who wants some tea

    • hehehe

      August 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      Pour me a cup darling

  13. mama ovie

    August 24, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Honestly I do feel for our Nigerian Men , my brother ,my son, my father inclusive am somewhat ,if these men tell you what they go through from their wives , fear go catch you, Majority of Nigerian women are violent , with all my gra gra there are some thing I can and would never do , some of these women are not just sensitive.

    (1)A friend was telling me how he got into a fight with his wife and she called him Abaya simply because she needed money for her cosmetics upfront as in 6 months ahead oh , and of course pestle and knife was the tool for that day, and he showed me the knife stabs

    (2) the other on gave his wife 100K for Hospital delivery kit and the wife say e no go then called his mom to say 100 Thousand nor do , mean while everything down to baby food has been sent by his sister who lives in NJSY .
    and that why when they meet another woman who treat them like king (who does not want that anyway) when they leave its difficult for them to come Back.
    These are just two scenarios

  14. Dele

    August 24, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Short and simple as is most often the case with a mans perspective. I agree wholly except the diet part, I can eat vegetables but my husband will eat “proper food”. Therein lies the difference between a woman who recognises what has been narrated in the article and is wise and a woman who nags, and is foolish..

  15. lotusflower

    August 24, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I am not sure which is more confusing: the article or the bio.

    • anothermimi

      August 24, 2015 at 11:31 am

      I totally agree with your comment on the bio

    • lani

      August 24, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Poor you. We need to send you back to first grade for basic comprehension.

      Back to the article. The couple need to communicate their grievances before kata kata burst. Major pent up anger building up in that marriage

    • Zeeebby

      August 24, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      That bio is a ga ju…why so confusing?

    • Babapleasefixourschools

      August 31, 2015 at 5:12 am

      No further proof is needed that the Nigerian educational system is in a state of emergency. This lady wrote a creative bio but because it’s not spelt out to you guys black and white in an elementary form you can’t comprehend? Sai baba please fix our schools so that our graduates will be able to compete globally and understand simple write-ups and bio’s like this lady’s.

  16. larz

    August 24, 2015 at 10:48 am

    This is what happens when people stop being partners towards each other. when people stop thinking about how things affect them as a unit instead of just themselves. Dont get me wrong, we all default to a place of making sure we are personally ok. It takes a complete change in mindset to not put yourself interest first before you and your partners but it can be done.

  17. AS A WIFE AND A MOTHER

    August 24, 2015 at 10:50 am

    OH MY GOODNESS!!!! LABO! You started this article so well only to ruin it. No one says there are no good Nigerian men out there but they are so few. I actually took time to Google “Nigerian Men” and I agree with most of the things the articles said about them of which you summarized in your article as well. I am a Nigerian girl married to a fellow Nigerian brother and trust me he has most of the above qualities: ego, chauvinism, domestic laziness, selfish, stone hearted breed, no feelings, never make sacrifices and exist for themselves only. I haven’t caught him yet on the infidelity part and I hope not anytime soon. But then he’s “the man of the house” … OH PLEASE!!! I love him regardless though (funny how love works). We have a son and I am so happy he is being raised out of Nigeria, I want him to grow up knowing his culture of course but I want him to think differently. Most of the time it feels like I have two sons in the house.

    **HONESTLY, AS A WIFE AND A MOTHER, I BELIEVE WE NEED TO START RAISING OUR SONS RIGHT WHETHER IN OR OUTSIDE NIGERIA. OF COURSE A WOMAN HAS TO RESPECT HER MAN, BUT FRANKLY OUR MEN LACKS ALOT OF MORALS, WE NEED TO CHANGE THAT FOR OUR DAUGHTERS SAKE!!!**

    • Teris

      August 24, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      i could just kiss you!
      that’s what i keep saying!!!

    • femfem

      August 24, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Omg you just described my hubby. Stone hearted and selfish to the core. Always plans things the way that benefits him the most

    • Dolapo

      August 24, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Gbammest. The mothers who raised some of these men should be flogged

  18. sheedah

    August 24, 2015 at 11:06 am

    this post is so about me. i am actually not pretending to be busy i am actually busy, i work 8 to 5 and even on saturdays. i think mine is more of a case of procrastination and lack of appropriate planning. it is never too late,i definitely work on it and turn a new leaf. thank you fola

    sheedahventures.blogspot.com/

  19. Dr. N

    August 24, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Give and thou shall receive. I choose to give consideration, appreciation, space and understanding and that is what I receive from my husband. Not interested in stereotypes.
    I have a friend who kept telling her hubby while dating “I know one day u will cheat on me and leave me” I would laugh and tell her it was impossible because he was crazy about her.
    Today, we are trying to end their separation. Her expectation came to pass and she said to me “I told u so” Can u imagine?
    So here’s to Nigerian men – You are hardworking, godly, generous and caring. God bless you all

    • DotheMaths

      August 24, 2015 at 11:52 am

      May God Bless you too Dr. N. We(Myself included) live so much in fear that what we fearthe most eventually happens to us. The solution is to live life expecting the best(Faith) and see it happen.

    • Californiabawlar

      August 24, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Yes ma’am!!

  20. Yekparipa

    August 24, 2015 at 11:27 am

    “… they are a selfish, stone hearted breed of human species who have no feelings, never make sacrifices and exist for themselves only.”

    This quotation is GOLD.

    • DotheMaths

      August 24, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Wow, that is a generalisation as both parties male and female are capable of these things.

    • Dolapo

      August 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      Gbam. They can’t sacrifice yet want you to relocate for them . Compromise for them. Bunch of entitled brats. While I was married to my ex husband, it was always mommy this, mommy that. When his mom died, he took all the frustrations out on me and my child as tho I was one of the doctors that killed his mom when they gave her too much anesthesia and they couldn’t revive her from surgery. Foolish boy. It’s been 15 months he hasn’t asked of me and my child because he is still distressed about mommy’s death. Yet abandons his own family. But he has been spotted in Dublin a few times vacationing.

  21. Girlbeingreal

    August 24, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Thing is.. There will always be folks who are just walking validation of every stereotype. It’s only foolish to pipe into a stereotype and judge people based on stereotypes. I hear ladies make comments like “every man cheats “, “no man can be faithful “. Well be careful what you profess cos you might have just that. I personally know men that are above these stereotypes. You don’t need to be a saint to be above them, you just don’t wanna fit into negative stereotypes. Sure there are great men and fathers out there but still the average mentality of a typical African (Nigerian) man can be sexist, selfish and misogynistic.

  22. Rose

    August 24, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Nt sure if my post relates to the authors post…but I believe the word of d mouth is powerful…. To all you chastising our Naija men…well don’t be shocked when ur husband or bf acts exactly like the men you’ve described….for me generally regardless of your race, color or whatever… I believe their are good men out there…. Lots of good men which includes my Nigerian brothers…. And I believe my husband will fall under the category of what I consider a good man….who despite his flaws will be perfection for me. His qualities will be encompassing… Including qualities of a prayerful, Godloving, humble, caring, gentle, considerate man. Yes I speak words of fruitfulness and positivity in to my future. Begin your Monday right…. Have a great week y’all

    • Nahum

      August 24, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Marry one of your beloved Naija men first, then let’s talk.

    • Rose

      August 24, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Lmaooo Nahum Yes I will marry a GOOD Nigerian man….speak positivity into your life in all you do and see how ur story changes….begin your week right….

    • Ab

      August 27, 2015 at 7:49 am

      I love your comment…. Wish i could get to know you!!!

  23. Ann

    August 24, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Your article dey talk about the dangers of a single story but yet you come and tell us a one sided story of a couple. Did you get her side of this gist you have told us? Aren’t you then doing the same thing? Giving us a single story?

    • Ahmed

      August 24, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Madam, the author is a woman who mentioned that she was even defending his wife because she only ever hears women’s side of the story. Ever heard of hypothesis? In other words, it’s not about this particular man but sevreal men who make sacrifices everyday.
      Women sha. once an article is objective looking at a man’s side, you always want to swing it in your favour.

  24. mx

    August 24, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    our women complain but if you look at the kind of girls we have today you will see so many trouble marriages.Many girls live lives that are not realistic when single,when they marry they realize boyfriend no be husband,next thing complaining starts.Marriage is complicated and requires understanding and sharing.We need to educated people on marriage there is no Cinderella story in marriage

  25. Thewife

    August 24, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    When I got married I thought I was the luckiest girl. I married quite late (mid 30s) so I felt God has compensated me. My husband is caring, devout, responsible, helps with the children and around the house, VERY romantic and we have a great sex life. I make my own money but he can spend his last cent on I and the kids plus he is very easy on the eyes. I have never caught him cheating on me too….BUT… His possessivenss and Jealousy do not have part 2. He simply can not stand me talk to an opposite sex beyond 5 mins, not even in church.
    I work more with men but it is SIN to be friends with any. I dare not even receive a call from a male colleague after work even my Boss knows this. He constantly monitores me, he checks my phone, my mails, my Facebook. If I am on Facebook beyond 10mins, he is on my case. He says he trust me but He does not trust men. So as a man if he sees you are getting close to me, he tells you personally without mincing his words, “back off”. This has happened a number of times.
    But in all of this, I have learned over the years to accept and enjoy his good part which in all fairness is like a dream and have chosen to manage the bad. A man can only get my office line and email. My life became a lot easier when I stayed off whatapp and BBM. I don’t have them on my phone.
    My point: You cannot find a perfect man out there. It’s a myth. As long as you are not being abuse grow up and stop expecting your frog to turn to Prince Charming.

    • DeAyo

      August 24, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      GBAM!!! Your head is purrfeekttly there!!

      Just as there is no perfect Woman, there is no perfect Man!!! Two imperfect broken pieces come together and sail the ship together forever… that is Marriage!!! Ask your parents!!!

      What I can never stand or had to grow to manage with my colleagues or brothers sef (eating habits)…i have no choice but to enjoy it with my husband. becos I will also have something habitual that is not nice to him but he will also have no choice but to enjoy it. So ladies, there must have something the guy did or was doing that kicked your button.

    • *Real* Nice Anon

      August 24, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Reading this just makes me think that he cheats that’s why he’s so paranoid of other men. I mean why obsess over something if that isn’t what you’re doing as well? What a stressful way to live one’s life.

  26. Dolapo

    August 24, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Nigerian man, for the most part are entitled useless brats whose mothers gave done a lousy job raising. Every once in a while, I meet a few exceptions but on a given day the level of idiocy displayed by some of these gnats is rather shocking. On countless ocassions, I have had to remind naija boys I am not their mother. The fact that your mother spoiled you till you are 40 something and can’t figure out your miserable life is not excuse for me to continue spoiling you. If your mom is that great then marry her and leave me alone

  27. jide

    August 24, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    The doublle standards in Nigerian men is what kills me though. they marry non-nigerian men and they view that union as equal partnership. The same mofo divorces, a few years later marries a Nigerian woman and all of. Sudden views/treats hiss nigerian wife as a subordinate.

    This dude I know maRied an Indian chic (don’t get me started on Indian girls and their penchant to sleep around) and is always changing diapers and sharing chores with his wife. Indian girl left his arse.m he married a yoruba girl but won’t do dishes or help with the baby. I mean kilode? Who mothered these asswipes called Nigerian men? .

    • Californiabawlar

      August 24, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      Lmao!! So, my ex’s name is saved as Asswipe on my phone ??? , the name is so synonymous to him now, so when I read your comment, for the split of a second I’m like: “someone knows this niggur on BN?!” Lmao, I’m just a goat?

    • Natu

      August 24, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      The Indian woman did not enable him. Sometimes you have to show people what you can and cannot tolerate. A lot of y’all don’t get it because you are desperate for marriage.

    • A-b-b-y

      August 25, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      @Natu Very correct!

  28. Tosin

    August 25, 2015 at 6:39 am

    thank God.

  29. nwanyi na aga aga

    August 25, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    You re very right

  30. Nne

    August 28, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    A man who makes genuine sacrifices should be appreciated, baby, baby, baby….did she marry the baby? Her first responsibility is her husband. What’s wrong with the man airing his views. African women want their husbands to treat them like men from the western world, why not start treating your husbands like the women from the western world first? It is not our culture abeg. Men are this, men are that…agreed that they can be a pain but take a walk in a widows shoes or even a wife who’s husband is terminally ill’s shoes and your views will change. Marriage is between the man and his wife, they both should know how best to manage situations especially when inevitable changes like having a baby happen. We manage work but we cannot manage our homes, wife leaves work to stay at home but has a maid, baby is at crèche….. Go abroad and have all that na. By the time child care cost stares at you, you will think straight. Let’s respect the men who are real men please.

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