Our land is a land of a thousand men who live that women may die.
My country is a wonderful widower whose children are all men. No single woman. I am not kidding. Just take a look around you. Look out for the important citizens. Are they not all men of honourable reputation and worthy character? That is why you can only find monuments and landmarks carrying the names of men.
Tafawa Balewa Square. Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Teslim Balogun stadium. Ahmadu Bello University. Obafemi Awolowo University. Nmamdi Azikiwe University. See?
There’s nothing in our schools but men. University of Lagos would have become a man in 2012 if not for the vociferous agitations of students and alumni that preserved her gender and name. There is nothing bad in becoming or being a man. Isn’t that what the society teaches us to be in times of war, sorrow or challenges?
So successful have we become at being a man, that we no longer understand the science of procreation. We give our boys’ hands in marriage to boys from our neighborhood. We devised scientific wombs, that our men may carry the future without a hitch. There is no need for apprehension; our boys are capable at ‘wombing.’ Even you, as old as you are, they would ‘womb’ you.
If in your dreams, you come across Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti, Margaret Ekpo, Dora Akunyili, and Flora Nwakpa, tell them termites have eaten away their names. Tell them the termites are our Wizards who specialise in eating the memories of our women, leaving us with leftovers of their deeds in falling halls and nameless things.
There is no national house of prose for Nwakpa; there is no statue for Ekpo (sorry, she has a lonely Airport somewhere there); there are no songs for Olufunmilayo. They were not great enough to stand tall in the gardens of our memories. Agbani Darego has gone into a deathly silence, Chioma Ajunwa and Mary Onyali are still not women enough because there can only be heroes in our country, not heroines. Our land is a land of a thousand men who live that women may die.
You don’t know Queen Moremi because she is not the queen of … Never mind. You won’t remember queen Amina because she was only a woman. Let me remind you of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Chimamanda Adichie, Stella Obasanjo, Onyeka Onwenu, Grace Alele Williams, Bolanle Awe, Kudirat Abiola, Hajia Gambo Sawaba, Obi Ezekwezili, Buchi Emecheta, Madam Tinubu and many more anonymous women – dead and living – the ones who tended our ‘greats’ in their welcoming wombs, the ones who sell pepper and tomatoes to feed and school the men of tomorrow. I cannot remember many more because our land has great ways of pushing women off the cliff of remembrance.
Here, in the country of wizards, women are mere things. A television. A mannequin. A table. Sometimes, a huge bunch of gastrulas. Where were women when our men were building cars, crying out loud for our independence, writing codes for jets that bestride our terrestrial space, and erecting intimidating sky scrapers?
Yet, somewhere in Calabar, a statue stands tall bearing twins in her bosom. Somewhere in Imo, sir Leaf towers over our land. No. Not our women. Our women are not heroic enough to stand that tall and domineering. They are the littlest of beings.
Take it or leave it, there are only men in my country. The men are great, and angelic. They have never touched a woman; they have never stolen a kobo; they have never killed for wealth and fame; they have never maimed for power.
They were and are greater than the gods of Greece, the Pharaohs of Egypt. In fact, they are greater than greatness itself. Our nonexistent women were/are witches, they drink blood like Sambisa; they betray like Morgana; they hate like hell.
Written by Omidire Idowu.
Omidire, Idowu Joshua is a social commentator, professional writer, editor and proofreader. Reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org