Man in the 21st Century by Ogechi

Ogechi.jpg

So Much Noise!

There is a silent murmur and grumble along the aisle of manhood; people complaining about all the noise generated by certain “feminists”, many of whom do not even understand the feminism concept itself. Many of the menfolk who grew up in a culture of “the females are for the kitchen and the other room” are quietly getting worried about the feminist revolution and what might result.

On the other side of the divide are those who identify with the Revolutionists, many of them not having all the details of the course. Women, men, teenagers, old and young. A few of whom see this as a way of rebelling against religion. Yes, RELIGION, which all seem to share same views about woman / females and the need to keep them in submission / subjection. There is so much noise and no one is calm enough to seek better understanding of who the woman / female is.

Strangely, we will be looking at this totally from pictures painted by events in the scriptures. Stay with me to at least halfway. That’s all I ask.

Who is the Man?

First of all, God never named man “Man”. Adam did. The word Man (Ish) first appeared in the scriptures after the woman was created.

                “This is the bone of my bones and the flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman (ishah) for she came out of Man(ish)”

Before then, every mention of Man is actually “Adam”. And in Adam, God actually created male and female. Equal beings. No separation. Same roles.

So then, who is the Man? Let us first know the Woman.

The Woman here is the one that already has her “ish”. The issue of headship in a marriage was instituted for order. That does not define the female.

You can almost understand where I am going.

We have a being here who has dual role. In her relationship, she has a partner who by design and order is the head/face of that relationship.

To the world / society, she is a female, having same limelight, roles and capabilities as the male. Same strengths and weaknesses. Because, she and he are in “Adam”.

A lack of understanding of this drove the world into having the same roles assigned to the woman and the female. This is a grave error, and the crux of the matter. If there is an identity crisis, it should do with our perception of the woman / female.

Who is the Man in the 21st Century?

The man should first understand who the woman / female is. That makes his job easy.

Therefore, the physiologically balanced and happy 21st century man must understand that:

  • The male and female are same and equal in the society, sharing similar roles and capabilities and have nothing to do with gender;
  • The woman in the relationship is one who has chosen who is held responsible in her relationship This is purely for the sake of instituting order. If it does not suit her, she can just decide to remain only a female. A strong one at that;
  • The man in the society is not merely in competition with his kind, but with females too;
  • The man in the home / relationship will always be held responsible for outcomes in the home only, and not the society;
  • Society deals with male/female (simply called Adam) while the relationship / home deals with man and woman.

A man or woman that properly understands and embraces this knowledge will be better prepared for life in the 21st century.

***End***

Ogechi is my virtual friend but it feels like I’ve met him before. His family reminds me a lot of mine while i was growing up. He has three amazing Princesses and one Prince with a doting wife he adores. So when he talks about the Man, I listen cos’ he fully understands who he is and he is African too. He hasn’t let cultural, religious or social bias influence his thought pattern. Thank you Ogechi for showing the world we still have Men like you existing.

Posted in Reflections | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Man in the 21st Century and the women who love them

It was one of those Sunday rides after Church Service with a friend. From discussing the sermon to a female friend of his. This shouldn’t make headlines but something he said struck a chord with me. This lady friend of his visited him in a “big” car and he found it threatening to men (Not him though, cos’ he wasn’t interested in her). He’s not alone in this line of thought, a colleague reiterated this claim when I mentioned the kind of cars I like. In his words “it will drive men away”.

Ursula von der Leyen, Nikki Haley, Chioma Ukonu. These names may just be other  names but look closely, Ursula is the German Minister of Defense, wife and mother to seven (7) children, Nikki is the US Ambassador to the UN, wife and mother of two while Chioma is running a foremost Nigerian Recycling Company with her husband and has three children. If you’re still wondering what my point is with all these information just stay with me a little longer.

I grew up in a home with just my two sisters, there was never a time the place of our gender affected what we could or could not do. We practically lived lives to the fullest, if we had to race the boys in our streets on our bikes we did, if we had to slide down on the corridor, we did just that. When it was time for undergraduate studies our gender wasn’t a determining factor ; we studied Metallurgical Engineering, Geophysics and Electrical Engineering respectively. All thanks to my Father and Mother who were the wind behind our wings and haven’t changed.

But I’ve often heard some comments from people when I run my ideas with them, you’re too ambitious, you’re a woman, you need to take it easy, and you’ll chase men away. I remember a guy asking me why I wasn’t a primary school teacher (this isn’t to undermine the teaching profession) to enable me come back from work around 2 p.m. to take care of my children. at that time he was a prospect and I asked him what of the father, his response “You’re an African woman, when you people travel abroad you forget this”.

Dear woman.jpg

In a conversation with an acquaintance the issue of the equality between male and female came up. He went straight to remind me he’s a Bible believing Christian by quoting “The woman should be submissive to the man” (he didn’t know where it was written in the Bible). On the premise of his sermon to him, he went further to say the woman is inferior to the man using the most appropriate illustration – Star Radler and 33 Star Lager Beer. The alcohol content is 2.00 and 5.10 percent respectively. Radler representing the women while 33 was for the men, I went on to ask him what content was more in the men. At the time of this writing he hasn’t given me an answer yet.

What does it mean to be an African woman? Are women truly inferior to men? What does the Bible mean in Genesis 2:18 “Then the Lord God said it is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper fit for him” Genesis 5:1b – 2 “When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Male and Female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man…”. Can women break glass ceilings and still be wives and mothers for those who choose to? If these women are breaking glass ceilings do we have a generation of men who are threatened by them?

A man I respect said something profound. In the past, men were the hunters but now we have women who are going out to hunt too. The career path chosen by many women is giving them a platform they never had before. I know I was created for so much more, I’m trying to make sense of all of that and at the same time coming to terms with the reality that there’s really no limitation except the one I choose to place on myself as a result of Cultural or Social bias. In the next couple of days I’ll be putting up articles written by Men and Women on these issues. I hope this challenges what you have thought and believed both as a Man and Woman.

Loads of Love

JMAD

Photo Credit : Google

Posted in Reflections, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is God dead?

Is God dead

Time Magazine 1966 cover page had the inscription ‘Is God dead’? A few years ago my local Church had a response for Time Magazine. It was our annual youth week; part of the activities lined up was to see a movie. God’s not dead was chosen, I hadn’t seen nor heard of it and a few adults were supposed to accompany them to the Cinema. A quick review on the movie left me disappointed, which influenced my decision not to go. Fast forward two weeks after the movie, I was told the same movie the youths saw will be the basis for our teaching in Church. Here I was without a clue of what happened in the movie and expected to start up a conversation/teach my students.

Thankfully someone had the movie and gave it to me, I reluctantly sat down to quickly run through the movie. Thirty minutes into the movie I gradually started to relax to watch it. Somehow my eyes gets a little moist when the debate between the Professor and his Student starts on the existence of God. The tears would eventually stream down during the rest of the movie. Deep issues on Christianity were asked, it was so appropriate for the youths as they try to make sense of their faith daily. I equally had to ask myself certain questions.

You’re probably wondering if we are about to have a religious/philosophical debate on the existence of God. Not really but stay with me a little longer. We have seen different names for various generations from Generation X, Y, Z and recently Alpha. While these names are separated by the years they occur, the 21st century introduced a phenomenon that transcends years. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) the United Nations (UN) specialized agency for Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) at the end of 2016 seven billion people (95% of the global population) live in an area that is covered by a mobile-cellular network. Almost everyone has access to tons of information through the internet. While this should be a good trend it has a flip side.

Half truth

There’s an urgency to soak up a lot of information, hence we don’t have “time” to really understand one before moving to the next big news/headline. A new name has been coined, “The headline generation”, we are plagued with just reading the headlines or just a few lines of an article and we think it’s sufficient enough to draw conclusions or even make us experts in the subject matter. This has led to people using 140 characters to give misinformed information, and presidents of countries are not left out. This urgency has left us at the mercy of reviewers like in the case with my movie. Behind such reviews we forget one fundamental thing which is the criteria for reviewing. We definitely do not have a universal set of indicators for review, the reviewers have different influencing factors. Do we have a benchmark for reviewing information gotten from the internet?

Truth be told many of us have shared information we had not read entirely, we just see a catching headline and we share. Proverbs 18:13 MSG “Answering before listening is both stupid and rude” while AMP says he who answers before he hears the facts it is folly and shame to him”. Permit me to add he/she who reads a headline, a few lines and shares the information without having the facts is shameful.

Can we start to look beyond the headlines, whatever your headline is? Can we learn to dig beyond the surface? Can we be more patient to spend more time to understand why people act in a particular way? Can we wait a little longer before making a conclusion over what we heard a friend said about us? Can we truly be an enlightened generation not an illiterate-halftruth-misinformed-enlightened one? To respond to Time Magazine God is not dead, He’s living sitting in Heaven with Jesus Christ.

God is not dead.jpg

Loads of Love

JMAD

 N/B A series on the Man in the 21st century and his role as we continue to see a shift in gender roles will be coming up next week. How do Men live with Women breaking glass ceilings? Both men and women will be writing in. I’m excited at the conversation it’ll generate.

Photo Courtesy: Google

Posted in Reflections, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ndi ifemelu

Ndi ifemelu (pronounced n-de-e-ph-me-lu) is a composition of two Igbo words that loosely translates as “ndi – a group of people, ifemelu – something happened to”. Look around you and you’ll find a type of ndi ifemelu within us in varied degrees. Just because you don’t experience my own form of ifemelu doesn’t mean you should downplay what happened to me. In the past three days I have been in the midst of two types of Ndi Ifemelu. On one hand I was with people who had directly suffered from the ravages of Boko Haram (BH) and on the other hand people who had suffered the dark years of the Nigerian Civil War aka The Biafra War.

Club de Madrid an association of former democratically elected Heads of State and Presidents organized a two day workshop on “Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) : Effective Narratives and Messaging”. Part of the agenda of the association is to deliver democracy that works and delivers, Violent Extremism has been identified as one of the hindrances to the agenda of democracy. We had a combination of Civil Society Organizations, Religious and Faith-Based Organizations, Academia, Government Officials, Activists etc. A religious leader said there’s a basic sense of mistrust in Nigeria which wasn’t the case in the past and there’s a need to re-understand what religious leaders have believed in the past.

If part of the narratives of BH was on disenchantment hence strategic communication needs to be employed. Research from the field revealed an absence of role models created a space for negative narratives to fill in. If recruitment is strictly based on Islamic religion then part of the solution should come through Islam. Having said that, there’s a need for Islamicness – built on a consensus based on the Koran and the Sunna. Riding on that it’s of utmost importance to profile actors of influence/Clergy and Preacher’s messages. Muslim clerics are needed to develop a counter narrative. I heard of mothers sitting together as both victims and perpetrators where they both have lost their sons, one to killing by BH while another radicalized by BH and killing the other woman’s son. They both had to console one another cos’ they both have a form of ifemelu.

I heard of mothers sitting together as both victims and perpetrators where they both have lost their sons, one to killing by BH while another radicalized by BH and killing the other woman’s son. They both had to console one another cos’ they both have a form of ifemelu.

On the first day of the workshop, a friend I met there told me of an elderly man in our midst who had been very passionate about Biafra with those sitting around him and my friend was hoping the mam wouldn’t ask a question during the question session (part of Nigeria’s fear of discussing Biafra). But on the second day he got up to ask a question and we were scared on what he was going say. Once he started talking everywhere went silent and you could see emotion well up on the faces of people. As a nine year old boy living in the Eastern part of Nigeria in the 60’s he was told whenever you see an airplane, look for the nearest tree to dock. He had seen one on his way back from school and ran into a bush, the helicopter hovered over him for a while and sprayed some bullets, and he was saved that day by his slate. He asked why the issue of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) wasn’t discussed in the workshop. He went on to say people are expressing their disenfranchisement and no one is listening, if nothing is done now, in 20 years’ time a similar workshop will be convened on account of the havoc they would have caused as a result of VE.

history 3

Thankfully a few people had the foresight of his concerns and put together a conference on “Memory and Nation Building Biafra : 50 years after… a sober reflection”. I attended the conference a day after the workshop. It was indeed a sober reflection, what made it rather interesting was the presence of the Acting President of Nigeria Prof Yemi Osinbajo who titled his speech greater together than apart. For a long time the government of Nigeria had shied away from the discussion of Biafra, people are generally skeptical of talking about it, we have done the younger generation a disservice by giving weak narratives. From removing history from our curriculum (Thank God it’s back) to sweeping it under the carpet as one of those wars that happened out of greed but like Prof Odinkalu said “the vacuum that has been created by the absence of discussing the Civil war has created the likes of Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB and MASSOB”. Prof Osinbajo said introspection is what separates us from beasts, while experience is the best teacher for a fool, history is a much gentle teacher.

history 2

Former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo who witnessed the war asked us what right lessons we wanted to learn. Cos’ truth be told there were lots of lessons, he went further to say Civil war is more difficult to fight than foreign intervention battles cos’ it’s a fight to unite brothers and sisters. The issue of narratives was reoccurring both in the workshop and conference but the question is whose narrative should we listen to? Even in the hall it was obvious from the counter-corrections made by speakers that the narrative one told was usually from their own perspective which is often different. Chimamanda Adichie in her TedX Talk The danger of a single story said “The single story creates stereotype and the problem with stereotype is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story”. How can we as a nation harmonize the incomplete stories of the civil war to start the conversation of healing, reconstruction and moving forward? Like Prof. Nwala said Biafra is our collective guilt.

The single story creates stereotype and the problem with stereotype is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story

Biafra is a metaphor for discontent, every Nigerian is a Biafra in one way or the other. In the absence of a platform to voice out discontentment, people rise up in leadership position to give the voiceless people a voice. In the case of Nigeria, it could be in the form of militancy in the Niger Delta, terrorism in the North East or Secession in the South East. But what should we know about such leaders who invite us to war? Have they secured the future of their families in another country, do they possess dual citizenship, do they really have the interest of the people at heart or it’s just a means to a political end? Nigeria is extremely diverse, the question isn’t about living together rather how can we live together in peace? My mum’s grand aunt was called Odinchezo (Can it be forgotten), the issue of Biafra can never be forgotten but Ozoemena (Another one shouldn’t happen).

Loads of Love

JMAD

N/B : Photo Credit : Google

Posted in Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments