By Nkechi Bianze
There’s this elderly man that worked temporarily as a driver for my mum. I met him when I went home in 2013.
We got into a conversation one day, one talk led to the other, and he told me that he has TWELVE children. I mean 12.
He said it with all pride and joy, and was willing to go further, so I decided to push further.
“Papa papa, 12, you strong o. How you take hit target 12 times? How many twins, triplets and quadruplets dey?” I asked.
And he responded “No twins o, I born dem one by one. Na so so woman my wife dey born for me. After she born 7 girls, she talk sey she don tire. I tell her sey I go marry another wife if she don tire o……”
This man had his first eight children as females, he threatened the wife into having another, because he was in search of of a male child. Their ninth child came out a boy. He then decided he wanted two boys. The 10th and 11th came as females, then the 12th male. That was when he stopped.
This is a stark illiterate. According to him, he got married very late in life. He earned less than N100k as at 2013. His wife was a petty trader who sold roasted corn, but he consciously brought twelve lives to this world, even when his salary could barely take care of one.
He told me that four of his children are working as house maids for different families. And that the contract he had with those families is that they should feed, shelter and clothe them, and also send them to school.
A Facebook friend of mine whom I used to be very close to told me that his two sons where born in the US, while his daughters were born in Nigeria.
Apparently, whenever the wife was pregnant and the scan shows that it’s male, she immediately set out to the States. I asked my friend why he did that for just his sons, and he told me that he is preparing them to be men.
My friend has given his sons more opportunity than his daughters, even before birth. Whether we admit it or not, being a dual citizen of US and Nigeria gives you more opportunities than being just a Nigerian citizen. My friend clearly values his male children over his female children. This story almost made me cry for the poor girls whose Dad has made second class from birth. This incident made my friendship with this man die a natural death.
Each time I say I want only 2 children, or 3 at most, if my partner wants more than two, I get questions in the line of “what if you have three girls”.
That line of question is one I have always considered LAME. I want three HEALTHY CHILDREN who would grow up to be very intelligent, successful and influential. Who would attain great career heights, who would do their bits to leave the world a better place than they met it.
Three children who I and their Dad would be proud of all the days of our lives. Who we would love, and who would love us in return.
Quite frankly, whether these three children come with penises or vaginas is the LEAST of my worries.
As a human, I’ve got a preference; I would love first child to be female and second a male. Or if I end up with three, I would want first two to be females and the third male. But that doesn’t mean I would make any effort to get them.
Just last week, a full blooded Nigerian displayed a disturbing level of silliness when he said Mark Zuckerberg has only xx chromosomes. Why? Mark and his wife had their second child, and it turned out a second baby girl.
This Nigerian was worried about who would inherit Mark’s estates and wealths.
Sometime a year ago, Michelle Obama took a photo with their dog, and a Nigerian (trust us, we never fail) told her to leave the dog and go and have a male child who would inherit their wealths.
Our obsession for male children is Nigeria is on an insane level. To very many Nigerians, a male child, even though he is a moron is a more valuable child than six intelligent female children.
Too often, we see families who can barely feed continuously pop out children, in the desperate search of a male child, as though the daughters are pseudo humans.
You see men abandoning their wives for other women simply because they had female children.
Some men even abandon their wives in the maternity wards of hospitals, if their newborns come out as females.
Women are being humiliated and driven out of their matrimonial homes for having all female children.
Some families throw bigger parties for the celebration of the birth of a new born baby boy than they would do for the celebration of the birth of a new born baby girl.
These might sound as “little things”, but these things say a lot about our mentality. These little things sometimes sting the most.
What the hell is wrong with us?
For how long are we going to continue to hide under the guise of culture, tradition and religion to display blatant stupidity, discrimination and idiocy?
Humans are equal as humans, and entitled to as equal opportunity as possible. Raising your male children better that you raise your female children is WICKEDNESS, and a gross injustice to all females on earth.
Nollywood further propagates this by the shitty movies they churn out to the public. The kings go all the way and take extreme measures to get male children, even though he is a moron, just to take over the throne.
We need to begin to take pragmatic measures to clear our minds of the bulkshit that a male child is worth more than a female child. Such mental rejuvenation and unlearning should be the bedrock of our advocacy for gender equality.
For as long as somewhere at the back of our minds, we still believe that a male baby is of more importance than a female baby, the fight for gender equality will remain a huge joke.
While other countries are researching and brainstorming ways to further develop their countries, innovating things and making their lives better, some Nigerians are jumping around checking out families with male children, asking women to be submissive, and telling them how much more important a male child is than a female child. Little wonder we are still looking forward to producing our pencil in 2020.
We Nigerians just don’t know how to mind our business. Such “mind your business” way of life is alien to our DNA. Looks like we can’t help it.
From putting pressure on people to get married, to putting pressure on them to have children, to putting pressure on them to have male children, then asking them to have more male children.
Many Nigerians have messed up and miserable lives, yet they can’t stop worrying about other people’s lives.
This piece was first published on Nkechi Bianze’s Facebook Page.
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