By Tobee Awosika
Read till the end…
It’s bad enough my car was out of service last week, forcing me to use public transport- another one of those annoying Lagos mornings.
A slug had to drive the bus in the dreadful traffic, and even through the biting heat and panic of getting to work late, I still had to keep my cool. Our driver seemed like he was going to have a stroke at any given moment and I was not ready to give anybody a heart attack. He was probably drunk- definitely drunk, dense, dying or all of the above!! Honestly, I was terrified.
I was keeping my cool but there was this guy beside me that would not just have it! He kept shouting, “You this man move now!” along with every curse his native tongue would allow. I wanted to shout, “Hey, can’t you see this guy is a learner or has a heart condition? Any distraction would send us off 3rd Mainland Bridge and plunge us straight into the lagoon!” Something the rest of us were not seeing in the water must have enthralled him.
The other passengers besides Mr No Chill must have shared my fears because they did not voice out their grumbles either, but this guy paid us no mind at all. All he did was complain and throw insults each time a car cut in front of us- all this in the middle of a traffic jam that was going nowhere. Mtchewww! Rubbish!
Now, if you are wondering why I did not jump out of the bus and ask the conductor for my change as soon as we got off Third Mainland Bridge, then you my friend are a JJC or very privileged; you are lucky enough not to know the war that is called the Lagos morning rush.
When I finally accepted my fate- that I was going to spend the amount of time it would take to travel to Benin to get to work- my ears caught something on the radio.
The news was that FGN was making plans to reduce the number of children per mother as they came to the realization that our population is stifling our economic growth- duh!
Birth control is a topic I am usually never against, but this time I found this news sexist. For the people that think birth control should be the first thing on our address list, I believe implementing and investing in a birth control policy won’t be of much help if the goal is to have enough resources go around. We still suffer from the malignant growth of a government that is ready to ensure its family and friends have their national cake and eat it, alone. Curbing corruption and finding ways to utilise our rich supply of human and natural resources should be placed on ‘Priority Level Alpha’.
You may be wondering, hold on there! Don’t worry, I am aware that our spiraling population is a setback that must be addressed for us to move further on a global scale, but I was disappointed and enraged at the approach the news took (and wrong timing too!).
In an already sexist nation, statements like this, should never leave the office. This is Africa not the Western World, where monogamy is a major practice. A man can have as many as ten, twenty kids here with a hundred women and our society will call him a “strong man.”
So should the focus be on women or men? I laughed when the radio blared out that traditional rulers were going to help in enforcing this- man’s got jokes. It just sounded like another way to clip our women’s wings – and yes, I’m very aware that the minister of finance is a woman, thank you.
I will tell you about my views on Nigeria’s sexist nature and why we ought to be careful on topics concerning women- so as not to add fuel to the ever burning flame of insecure men and cultural bias. We will talk more about this, but not today.
It wasn’t long before I got a relieving message that it was fake news, and that every member of the Nigerian press had gone bonkers. The Minister of Finance never stated anything about the birth rate, but trust our press to find loopholes to sell a good story, right? Is this where we’re at now?
Have we stooped so low that we can’t rely on our own news for accurate and factual information? It is like the press and politicians are just playing ‘Chinese Whisper’ with the Nigerian people. I don’t know where we are, but one thing I do know for sure, is that there needs to be a change- and soon.
My neighbours would probably read this, and the first thing they will notice is how I just laid ownership to their car (in the first paragraph). If you did not laugh at the very first sentence, then you should know, I do not have a car. My neighbours are gracious enough to have me ride with them every morning, thanks guys. Had to clear that out, I wouldn’t want to keep complaining about public transport (after my neighbours tell me to stop going with them. You never know, they could be reading>>winks<<).
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