Teaser For Yoruba Mothers By Lekan Sote

No elder or custodian of Yoruba culture has yet reacted to claims credited to TV talk show host, Funmi Iyanda, that “The average Yoruba man… doesn’t mind his wife cheating.” Maybe, they are taking their time to wrap up something equally controversial to clubber her with. So, Funmi’s comeuppance is nigh– probably.

Because what you are about to read may get the dander of Yoruba Women Libbers up, it comes with a plea of the Fifth Amendment to the American Constitution that absolves a man from bearing witness against himself. This bloke is a mere pencil in the hand of a male chauvinist.

On a recent BRT trip in Lagos, Ayinde, the name adopted for this accuser of Yoruba mothers, imposed himself on everyone, as he rattled on about what appears to be pent up bile. Please, endure as this story unfolds.

Ayinde started by saying that modern Yoruba mothers do not want to have more than two or three children. (He must disapprove of family planning.) He accuses them of turning their male children into softies by pushing them to the church and Western education that offer no vocational skills.

Strange, Ayinde forgot that religious institutions admonish believers to work and pray. He also didn’t seem to have noticed that the syllabus of the Junior Secondary School of Nigeria’s admittedly badly implemented 6-3-3-4 educational system offers vocational skills.

He apparently has not also noticed that many Yoruba youths acquired vocational skills after their “soft” tertiary school education. Some of them are carpenters, or “furniture makers,” to use the appropriate trade name. Some are farmers, Uber drivers, security guards, evacuators of garbage and cleaners of drainage, while yet others are auto repairers.

Ayinde must recognise that the digital technology of the New Economy fuses the works of the hand with that of the brain. Robots that absorbed the menial and hazardous job on the factory floors still require someone to physically push some buttons: You must have noticed that pilots, who “drive” aircraft, push buttons.

Ayinde insists that young Yoruba males, unlike their hardy Hausa compatriots, are unable to do menial jobs. He points to the Hausa youth who works out his back as a porter at Oyingbo market, in Lagos, or remains in the North to grow the food that the Yoruba youth will buy.

Ayinde adds that religion and Western education-induced laziness have turned many young Yoruba males into economic migrants in developed countries. Em, this is not peculiar to the Yoruba, or to Nigerians. The irony, he adds, is that the youths do even more degrading menial jobs than the type they avoided doing in Nigeria. True.

A damning report by Ayinde is that many Yoruba boys are turning into gigolos, sleeping with older women for money. Hmn! One’s initial reaction was to vehemently “reject this in Jesus name,” and ask Ayinde to keep his thoughts to himself.

But the journalist’s instinct for a good human interest story took over, and it thus became easy to take Ayinde’s outburst in stride. Ayinde avers that young Yoruba males have become even poorer after selling the properties that their parents left for them in Lagos to their more enterprising Igbo compatriots.

Ayinde, a Yoruba, oozes great admiration for the toughie Igbo women, whom he claimed helped their leaders to prosecute the civil war by allowing, and encouraging, their young lads to join the Biafra war efforts.

If the narrative of the civil war that you heard says that young Igbo males were forcefully conscripted into battle, you may doubt the basis of Ayinde’s fawning adoration of Igbo women. But you may not be able to fault his claim that Palestinian women sowed their young male children into the battle against Zionism and western imperialism.

When you consider that many young Arab males, born in relatively comfortable North American and Western European countries, willingly enlisted in the ruinous war currently being waged by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria against the rest of the world, you will agree that Ayinde’s submission is highly plausible.

Ayinde’s theory is corroborated by Western intelligence agencies that tell of the incredible but nauseating surfeit of young and highly trained Arab male professionals who became suicide bombers or work behind the fighting lines as dedicated resource persons, in the behest of global terrorist groups like al Qaeda, al Shabab, or ISIS.

Ayinde was not done with the Yoruba womenfolk: He detoured, with a touch of epiphany, to a totally unexpected subject. He claimed that Igbo men, who generally married late because of the demands of the Igbo society, had turned the delay baton over to young 21st Century Yoruba men, who now marry well into their late 30s, 40s, or even 50s.

Ayinde, who apparently doesn’t see the economic angle to the delayed marriages, charges that Yoruba mothers, who want to keep up with the Joneses, compel their sons to pay for expensive weddings that start with pre-wedding photographs.

The other wedding spreads are Introduction and Engagement ceremonies, upscale church exchange of vows, and lavish reception. Mischievous Ayinde added that some Muslim grooms now marry Christian brides for the “poposhinshin” extravaganza of Christian weddings.

One had thought that it was brides, and not grooms’ mothers, that demanded expensive weddings. But it seemed foolhardy to contradict imperious Ayinde, as he sounded pontifical in delivering his hard-won eureka.

When Ayinde became evangelical over the matter, it seemed wise to agree with him, especially when it looked like he might swing his fist at anyone who dissented. You could only lean away from him, and say “Touché,” under your breath.

It was unnecessary to remind Ayinde that there are reports of mothers-in-law, back in the villages of Igboland, who still demand bundles of George and “agbada” fabric, and wads of naira notes from prospective sons-in-law, now that “love-wan’-tin-tin” motor scooters or “white horse lady bicycles” are no more in vogue.

The relentlessly roaming, and sometimes truthful, rumour mill suggests that Igbo fathers-in-law still ask for roofing sheets to complete the houses in the village, in addition to handing younger siblings of the bride to the prospective sons-in-law for “training.” Those who recently took Igbo brides can confirm the pecuniary aspect of today’s Igbo marriage institution.

Anyway you throw the marriage dice, the young Yoruba husband-to-be must still splurge on his marriage-to massage his mother’s ego. But of a truth, what may seem to be Ayinde’s jaundiced viewpoint cannot be discounted; he may have a point.

But it would be interesting to know what the young Yoruba males think of Ayinde’s submission – that they are sissy Mama’s boys, and are incapable of determining what is good for themselves. Their task is even more complicated because some young ladies privately concur with Ayinde’s view.

As these young men go on their way to the proving ground, to convert from boys to men, their mothers may have to keep a date with the exorcist, in order to be rid of the meddlesome poltergeist that Ayinde swears makes them trespass against their male children.

Would Funmi be impressed by amateur sociologists who argue that though Yoruba boys that were reared by overbearing mothers may make trophy grooms, they may turn out to be inattentive and weak husbands?

Twitter @lekansote1

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