We are already far into year 2022, which is racing like others before it. (If you believe that 2 weeks is not a significant enough period, you are on your own but be it known unto you that some people have already hammered this year). The hinterlands are depopulated once more and the cities are back (or almost back) to the usual hustle and bustle. Someone said that most of those still in the villages must have squandered everything, including their transport money! The maddening traffic that was experienced on Lagos-Onitsha route in December has now changed lane is on the Onitsha-Lagos route. The Anambra airport saved about 4000 people from the stress and distress of spending 6 hours from Asaba Airport and Onitsha; what should have ordinarily taken 20 minutes. Governor Zulum of Borno State paid transport fares for Christians traveling from Maiduguri to the east; the Emir of Bauch led praise and worship session with Christians in the spirit of the season while some lucky chickens have been partying for surviving the seasonal carnage. There were also local content Christmas trees and hampers all over the place. Yes; the Christmas season and its associated madness is over. Even though I know that in Nigeria whatever goes up stay up, I still pray that prices would come back to the old normal rather than retaining the seasonal new-normal!
I have just finished looking into my mystic-pot and all that I see is that Nigeria and Nigerians will be more troubled and distressed this year. However, this does not preclude some micro successes across the land. PMB, who has borrowed more than all the presidents before him combined is planning to borrow more and at a higher interest rate because of global realities. And the Senate President has just said that those who blame the house for approving PMBs daily-daily loans are either ignorant or mischievous or both: no justification, explanation, no please-understand-with-us; no persuasiveness. The Deficit for 2022 is projected at N6.25trn, which at 3.4% of GDP, more than the 3% allowed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act. As we are borrowing more, debt servicing will swallow a larger chunk of our resources and thus far less is left for developmental purposes. There will be more taxes, levies and fines from known and unknown government agencies pushing higher, the general level of prices but as the prices of everything is increasing, salaries remain stunted and you are lucky if you get paid.
284 Nigerans were killed or kidnapped within the first 7 days of this year and the president is promising to bring the perpetrators to his mystery book, which never gets filled up. He has also assured us that insecurity would soon become history just as bandits are mounting roadblocks in daylight at Zurmi LGA (Zamfara), giving the people 7-day ultimatum to pay N37m levies( Zamfara) and levying miners in Jibia (katsina state) N10,000 apiece. The president and presidency, according to Rev Father Sebastian Sanni continue a shameless display of a new weird disease called arrogance of failure, boasting that that they have done better than Jonathan and that 17 months is a enough period to crush terrorists and allied groups.
Our president has admitted that Nigerians are suffering and blamed old age for his poor performance; he is also happy that Coro has made things easier for him by reducing the number of people he needed to see. The most worrisome reality is that our president, who attends global conferences everyday, does not understand questions posed at him and offers responses that are unrelated or far off the mark; the type we call OP (off-point) in our secondary school days. ‘We have to give our people access to the farms’ was his response when Seun Okinbaloye asked him about the dwindling economic fortunes ( inflation, unemployment, debts, exchange rate)of Nigeria since 2015! That may be one of the reasons why National Intelligence Agency allegedly recently advised him not to sign documents he did not understand. Corruption is so ingrained with high sustainability index that the Secretary of the Government of the Federation has just openly and without qualms declared that Nigeria has exported corruption.
This is also the season of politics, during which, economy and governance takes the back seat. It is also a season during which phantom contracts are awarded in multiples so that cash will flow for the boys. Already Tinubu, Osinbajo and Umahi have gone to kowtow and take permission from the Oga at the very top to run( where are they running to?). By next week, I will be the 4th to take the presidential permission even though I don’t know whether this kotowing kabyesi practice is needed in a democracy. Things are however looking up in Anambra state where Professor Soludo has just appointed a star-studded transition team, which membership goes beyond Anambra state and headed by Madam Due Process, Oby Ezekwesili. Because this year will continue to be a tough one for us, I decided to take things easy by starting it on a lighter mood, to divert our attention , even if only temporarily, from the common and uncommon challenges of 2020 like rent, school fees and pending fuel-price hike.. Incidentally Tinubu has promised to continue from where PMB stops or stopped and given the records of PMB, methinks this is a threat!
However, Nigerians are still lucky; at least they can suffer and smile, unlike their North-Korean counterparts who were recently ordered not to smile, drink or rejoice for 11 days in honour of late Kin Jong-ill, whose 10 anniversary was bening celebrated. How can you CELEBRATE an anniversary without celebrations?
So here we are. In September 2021, I told the story of my friend before-before in Kaduna, Nwokediuko( men are scarce), who incidentally ‘manufactured’ 3 boys. We discussed some of the strategies taken by women to manage this real or imagined scarcity of men. Across the globe, there is almost a balance between men and women( 101 to 100), while in Nigeria, it is 50.4% and women at 49.6% as at 2021. However, people who are bent on selling the too-many-men narrative quote an imaginary ‘2019 UN first quarter report’ that there are 5.6bn men as against 2.2bn women in the world and that out of that 5.6bn men, 1 bn are married, 120m are in prison while 70m are mentally ill and that of those who are free, 50% are jobless, 22% are above 66, 10% are relatives and 3% are gay!
It appears that many women are sold on to this narrative as they continue to bemoan their fate in a husband-scarce world. A lady lamented how she visited a hospital where 250 women had girls and only 5 had boys. This according to her will lead to wider man-woman imbalance and she thus asked the government to make polygamy compulsory, asked mothers to advise their male children to go polygamous, asked men who are already married to top it up and women who are sole wives to go for thanksgiving. Another lady complained how difficult it is to find a suitable husband because those that are responsible are not romantic; those that are educated cannot take corrections because they know it all while those who are not educated feel insulted when corrected; the smart ones lie too much, the handsome ones have no brains, the hardworking ones have no time for the wives the brilliant one is always serious while the rich one have no regard for women. Worst of all, the ones that are responsible, will always be distracted by their EXs. Sam Udegbunam, my colleague at the defunct CCB holds that men have become endangered because they are the victims of herdsmen, kidnappers, UGMs , accidental discharges and politically-induced killings like what is happening in Imo state. Under this scenario he argues, it becomes inequitable for a man to pour all his love on just one woman while several other women are left stranded.
Hadiza Garba declared that a man who is capable of marrying 4 wives but married just one is guilty of corruption while a Muslim cleric describes a man who married only 1 wife as a miskin( impoverished, unfortunate) and that one with 4 wives deserves standing ovation. Another quotes some unverified statistics of the man-woman disequilibrium across the world( US: 7.8m more men than women, Germany,5m, UK4m and Rusia, 9mand New York, 1m) and argues that it is better for a woman to become a second wife, which is more honourable than become a mere mistress, a public property. He also advised women who are already married to accept more wives because it is better to suffer a small loss (sharing a husband) than suffer a bigger one (fellow woman being husband-less). He holds that men keep on ‘testing’ ( like the bats bite take a bite of all the mango fruits)and eventually pick only one, thereby leaving several ladies stranded.
Some have gone to other extremes to manage this gender imbalance like a lady who proudly announced her marriage to her mother while another married her father saying he is my everything.( tufiakwa; alu!) Tami Roman on the other hand offered her husband, Reggie Youngblood the permission to father a baby with another woman ; she wants to focus on her career because a baby for me now is not the right thing to do. In Nassarawa state, Mrs Justina Agbumi fathered a child for her husband’s 17 year old son!
The matter became more complicated when pastors got involved, prophesying, decreeing, designing marriage-friendly mantles and at times, husbanding several women simultaneously, including married ones! One of them opendentially gave holy-bath for mostlywomen for 2022 blessing, including life-partner(the man was FULLY suited) and thereby raising the bar because Christ just washed the feet of 12 men only( John 13). He rubbed their naked bodies with olive oil, assuring them that it was order from above. Another designed marriage-partner pants and Timothy Ugwu , GO of Vinyard Ministry of the Holy Spirit, Enugu impregnated 20 female congregants as directed by the Holy Spirit and in line with the divine increase and multiply mandate(Genesis,9.7) while Pastor Udofia married his 18 year old Chorister as his second wife. That was why on the night of 31/12/21,some single ladies ‘stoned’ their pastor who had decreed that they must be married in 2021,
Some are so desperate to get hooked that they go gaga when disappointed like the Ghanaian lady who was so aggrieved that she pulled off her underwear ( live) to place a curse on his ex and his manhood. Some also fight it out as a 31 year old married woman threw caution to the wind and fought with a 28 year lady over a 19year old. Others are so desperate that they let down their guards and are at times swindled by intending or pretending husbands just like Abdulkareem Isah of Lokoja who defrauded Hussain Sule of N1.3m with a fake marriage proposal( from fake alerts to fake marriage proposals!) and just the other day, Auxilia Banda, a mathematics teacher in Madziwa, Zimbabwe committed suicide when her husband, Norman not only stole her money but used it to marry a second wife. However for some, it is the other way round as a lady was so hot that she had got pregnant for two other men while staying with her boyfriend, who stood by her despite the highfalutin cheating while Eleen, 90, has just married her late husbands best friend Ron( 87)on 26/12/21, in line with her late husbands. So, it is different strokes for different folks.
And now, the story has gone scientific as Mazi Ibra One claimed that his empirical study has shown that men who do not cheat on their wives do not live long. In other words, men should show love to multiple women or risk early death like smokers! I am still searching for the statement of problem, objectives of the study and research methodology so as to replicate the study in Nigeria to ascertain its veracity and find out if it also applied to women who do not cheat
So, are there more men than women? I believe that the numbers are almost balanced. The only difference is that while a man will be ready to marry a lady who is nothing and who has nothing, the women want ready-made husbands and they are not enough to go round, especially under this turbulent and harrowing economic times. Even men have become wary of marrying women who do not bring anything to the table.
Meanwhile happy new year to all men of good will. May we be among the micro-success cases of this year, provided we are ready to do what it legally takes! However, I don’t know how happy they would be in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have banned cellphones and allied devices. Different strokes.
Ik Muo, PhD. Department of Business Administration, OOU, Ago-Iwoye. 08033026624