In the past two weeks and few days that I was away due to sickness, most of us had the displeasure to hear or read some terrible news which were whipped around moral derangement and sexual molestation, all in quick succession, and they actually worsened my sickened state in more ways than one.
First, it was the alleged UNIOSUN guy who openly boasted about his ‘rape-scapade’ on Facebook; it was followed some 2 days later by another goose of a guy on Twitter, who tweeted that his HIV-spreading conquest had polled 17 victims, and with a nude picture of his latest victim to boot. A day later, while I was still trying to cure myself off the folly-stinging effects of these two above, I read the mind-shatter of a news about the brazen attempt by some Lagos school boys to gang rape their female mates, out in the streets and in broad daylight! I felt shot.
As my mind spilled blood, I thought the third above was the height, not knowing that “dem no mean me well”. Boom! >>> “Man connives with wife to rape 6-month old baby in Kano” [Paraphrased from the update]. Words cannot describe my reaction to this one. The numbing feeling from merely reading it zapped words. It all just seemed as if there was an ongoing olympiad of oddities engaged in a relay of sorts, where the previous passes the baton to the next together with a solemn plea, saying, “please, outwit me in absurdity!”. A roller-coaster of nutters! I couldn’t even bother opening the link with the video of a 15 year old girl in Owerri, who was said to have had turns of sex with 8 boys for “initiation”. I didn’t bother further, deeper into the abyss.
All of these happenings would indeed shock and sadden and sicken any Nigerian adult whose heart pumps a healthy pint of decency and whose brain brews saneness a handful. But, beyond the rude shock at the spate of these absurdities, and in fact, beyond demanding punishment for these ones we now know, don’t you think we need to think deeper and get introspective enough to decipher and tag root causes to this marauding sociocultural malaise? Especially because of the MANY we don’t know about (yet)?
Personally, I’ve had to ask, why are they like these? Why are most teenagers of present day Nigeria so banal it shocks? Why are they so lethargic in thought, so shallow with desires and always amourously aroused? Why are they so sex sex sex? Why are they so hammer hammer hammer ? We’re talking basically 14-18 year olds for goodness sake oh…..Why? How?
Well, we all know as standard, basic knowledge, that for every child, learning is birthed from both formal and informal education, and that as they grow, whatever is learnt from both, especially the latter (informal), forms building blocks for their being. For most people in my own generation, youths in our late 20s and mid to late 30s, one can confidently say we still met crumbs of good from these two bowels of education. Public schools still worked to some extent and our parents indeed trained us. Formal and informal education – unfortunately, these lads and lasses of present day Nigeria are enjoying the best of none and the worst of both.
It’s stale news that formal education is nothing to write home about actually, public and ‘pretend-private’ primary and secondary schools, together with the ivory towers, sorry, ivory dungeons I mean, no longer add value. In most part, schooling has been reduced to mere attendance and a certificate rush, not schooling per se. It’s clear to the blind eye.
Next up, informal education. I want to focus a bit on this, because I ascribe this rot we see today to the failure of this particular one. Back then, parenting, the society, culture consciousness, and the media, formed a core of what we learnt growing up. Today, all these have failed in most part. Without much ado, I’m going to single out the media.
Have you sat down to assess the effect and weigh the influence of what these teenage boys and girls are constantly and easily fed with these days? That forms the building blocks of their being?
Sit in front of a TV for 30 minutes, say Soundcity for example, you’d have an idea. This upcoming generation are not getting the best of education, worse still, their emptiness is daily filled with easily accessible trash. Yansh, sex, money, money, money, more Yansh, sex again, slay queen, slay, slay, make am, make am, hammer, hammer, based of logistics, and the likes. Nothing concrete or core per content. Really, what do we expect to be the outcome of this trend?
In February 2017, I witnessed a scary dimension of the effects of these ‘yansh-sex-make am’ songs and music videos on the teenage and neo-youth population. I was having fun backstage at the Lagos city marathon concert, I’m not a rube myself. Then, I think it was Olamide who got on stage to sing the staple, yansh-sex-hammer. The roar from the crowd, made up mainly of this age group in view, was maddening. I was backstage trying to just relax and let the fun moment slide, but, I was drawn by this maddening manner with which the crowd sang along the lyrics word for word. They sang yansh-sex-hammer with so much gusto and verve as if it were a creed. I saw a dimension of what this age group believed, studied and worshipped, young boys and girls, to them it is a creed, and I indeed got scared by that sight.
This is why the starter pack of an average teenage boy you see out there today includes but not limited to cheap sachet alcohol, badly brewed bitters or ‘sexnergy’ drink in a dwarf green bottle, naira bet or baba ijebu tickets bearing their highest loss, (last) cash to play the next bet, enough porn on a mobile device, a pack of condoms (in few cases oh, most are not that cautious), and cream for pink lips. This is why all the average teenage girl wants, more than a basic amenity, is either a real or fake “iPhone 16” that she can use to slay and picture pouts in paralytic poses for snapchat and insta. Why she’d do anything to shaaa slay! Depth comes to these ones as expensive, while trash comes cheap. Go out and check this yourself if you’re in doubt.
This is the age where anything that has a similitude of depth, morality and rightness is talked down with the voguish charter of triviality – Who e epp?
Again, just consider the dimensions that define the third occurrence above and I bet you’d shudder. It is clear those boys do not care about any exam, they pass or not; “who exam epp?”, they must have said. They marked out routes for the chase and grab, they were armed with scissors, a dimension that goes to show how premeditated their plan was. The mind of a set of young boys preparedly premeditated a “raperathon” in broad daylight as a rite of passage. To them, it was a rite of passage that should occur after their final exams. Consider the brazenness, check out the state of their hearts, the dimensions of thought and fulfillment that will dawn on their egos had they succeeded. Ditto the other four occurrences that informed this piece. And these are just the ones we know.
But, as I already stated, we shouldn’t expect any less. The average young boy out there is already unfortunately raised in the mire of patriarchy, most of them have been made to believe in penile superiorty. The young girl grew to believe she’s a buyable commodity (‘if you love me, you go buy me ferrari, soup wey sweet na money dey kill am’…..Ha!). Then, when almost every song, almost every comedy, almost every skit out there are like libidinal lighthouses to this same already problematic population, leading them to a place of wild and shallow desires, what else should we really expect, except these relaying oddities?
This above is not meant to absolve this wayward lot of any blame at all. While they have a role to play in making all of these acts of rot happen, I am a sucker for cause and effect, and as already stated above, this malaise needs to be sought to the root in order to stand a good chance at stemming it.
So, wetin we fit do?
Little steps. I don’t think any nsogbu-nsogbu approach can work in this case. While we tirelessly await a revamp of our educational sector, and while we hope that most tutors in the informal education sector can use their head to make good and tenable content that can rightly influence this population, we have to employ the effectiveness of little steps made in pockets. Little steps where you and I step in as mentors of right thought in our streets, random meets, mosques, churches, at that joint, that school in the neighborhood, etc. We need more Robert Katendes to raise more Phiona Mutesis [check; Queen of Katwe]. Little steps that can have huge ripples.
And, I salute parents who still thrive almost beyond best to raise children aright in this same age. Parents who still stand their ground to instill values of right and reason into their wards. I can imagine how hard and against the gradient it can be. I greatly salute you. Biko, keep it up. You bear the beacons of hope.
Huh? You disapprove? Ooooh yeah, I get it, we are all hustling abi, the parents are hustling, the artistes too are hustling, they must sell what sells, oh yeah, I get it. We go dey alright when it gets to a stage where the shit doesn’t even need to hit the fan in order to spread even faster.
NB: Big shout out to Michale Matthew for raising her voice in deed and in script, regarding the case of the Lagos school boys rape attempt.
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