By Festus Adedayo
Sex and sexual narratives took over the information highway for the better part of last week, causing a very serious gridlock. My Alma-mater, the University of Lagos, launched the traffic. Kiki Mordi, a journalist with the British Broadcasting Corporation, (BBC) had undertaken an undercover operation of finding out what the colour of sex was on Nigerian university campuses. Her findings were as shocking as they were revealing. UNILAG lecturers, whom Mordi encountered, failed the litmus test and got dragged down the cliff by the lurid revelations of their sexual indiscretions. In the same week, the virus of sex sneaked into the seemingly impregnable buffer of Aso Rock Villa. The Number One citizen of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, was its victim. By the time the week ended, the duo of illicit sex in universities and an alleged sexual liaison in the Villa, a virus that had allegedly grown wings, so much that it had mutated enough to be on the verge of transforming into a Nikah, emerged top of the news on Nigerians’ discussion menu.
But why did sex, a ubiquitous daily meal on the human menu list, suddenly detain a whole country for a whole week? Why did sex, or sexual matters, become so important that Nigerians had to debate it for that long? The truth is, sex is an ancient narrative in human discourse whose narration is as old as humanity which, whenever it rears its head, gets the attention of all. Sex always finds a way to sneak into every power equation and women, by that very fact, are always implicated in the discourse.
Reasons have been searched to justify why men suddenly lose their senses when sex comes on board. Why did the UNILAG lecturer, who probably had a daughter of the age Mordi alleged while talking to him, suddenly found her an apt venison for lunch? Why do men sleep with their maids, not minding the social gap, some with under-age girls and even their own biological daughters, in some curiously abnormal instances?
While criminalizing sex-for-marks that has become an epidemic on Nigerian school campuses, let us not be ostriches about the fact that indiscriminate sex has always been a fact of human history. It is in fact worse on the African continent where, historically, sex was seen as a commodity to be purchased. The advent of social media is what has obviously pushed sex and its discourse to the level of a menace. Before the advent of modernity, in those face-me-I-face-you apartments, sexual abuses were rife. Using sex as gambit for advantages was also an incidence which today has blown beyond proportion. Today, sex has become almost a pestilence and the social space, an arena where sex is employed as a weapon, to influence decisions. It is also used to get undue advantage in government, secure promotions and other perks in corporate organizations, marks by students, in diplomatic circles and the highest decision making level one can think of.
Why then do lecturers demand sex as precondition for passing their students? Socio-biologist, Johan Van Der Dennen, seems to be saying that since the power to pass and fail students is in their hands, lecturers see it as a powerful tool. Ancient history of traditional African society is replete with terrible decisions taken when sex is at issue. Even though it duds the influence of women in decision-making process, African history also reveals that those who underrated the sex appeal of the female gender in decision-making processes in pre-colonial society did so to their peril. One illustrative story of this was that of a king simply referred to as Olufimon-Akoko. His queen, curious about what transpires when the Oro cult was in session, persuaded the king to bring her to the arena of the cult initiation process. Alarmed by this unprecedentedly dangerous demand, the king was reported to have spurned the queen’s request but her constant seductive overtures won. So he devised a strategy to smuggle the queen into the royal stool, veiled from public glare. However, the kingdom, which relied strongly on divination, fazed by the discordant tunes emanating from the celebration, consulted the Ifa oracle which divined that the queen was hidden underneath Olufimon-Akoko’s royal stool. He and his queen were reportedly beheaded.
The truth is, the history of sex’s colonialism of Nigerian school campuses is as old as the establishment of higher education. Lecturers have been, covertly or overtly, exchanging sex for marks, exchanging sex for money and exchanging sex for nothing on the campuses, among the female students, for ages. It is getting more alarming because the drive to study and rigor by students is getting reduced daily. And many of us, parents, are complicit. We take them to Miracle Centres to write their secondary school leaving examinations; bribe for them to get admission into schools and when they get to the schools, their brains cannot cope with the rigour of the academia. They thus devise several modes to swim ashore. If they cannot use their bodies or, if their bodies are not sought in exchange, they pay cash. In many cases, the randy lecturers seek flesh rather than cash.
It is even hypocritical of us as a society to now shout blue murder that our girl children are the meals consumed by lecherous lecturers to satisfy their libidinous rascality today. Many of the mothers today are graduates of this same sex school. In very many Government Houses, girls are ferried like dogs on sale to entertain government guests. They are your daughters; our daughters.
The sex-for-marks story in Nigerian universities, one can understand, but what exactly was responsible for the hoax of President Buhari getting married to one of his ministers? Who was behind this “sinister” motive of insinuating that sex matters, just like the UNILAG experience, is also a bother in Aso Rock? Were they insinuating that as arduous as the task of governance is, Buhari is still encumbered by matters of the flesh?
The social media was saturated with the illusionary sex-matter-in-the-presidency, so much that even those who do not ordinarily get sucked into the vortex of hoaxes believed it. Was it manufactured by “us” – the PDP, the usual suspects – or it had elements of truth in it? Could it have been spun by government itself to test waters? What is certain is that, whoever manufactured it must have based their actions on the sudden and inexplicable AWOL of the official wife of the President, Aishat. It synchronized with the hoax so much that not many people disbelieved it.
My source however told me that Hajiyah Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, is like a quasi-daughter to the president. She was indeed his late daughter, Hajia Zuliahatu’s bosom friend. Zuliahatu died in 2012 at age 40 during child birth. The source said that upon her death, Hajiyah Sadiya started tendering the president. She had been cooking for the president, taking care of him and handling his finance ever since. Upon Buhari’s smell of fart in the Social Intervention Programme (SIP) handled by his vice, he withdrew it from him and appointed Hajiyah Sadiya Umar Farouq as Minister, putting all of these programmes under her purview. The President is said to trust Hajiyah Umar Farouq as you trust the back of your hand. Since the SIP is close to Buhari’s heart, no other person was qualified to handle it, a la Buhari, other than Hajiyah Umar Farouq, who, as a demonstration of his trust of her uprightness, he made the National Treasurer of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Buhari’s earlier political party. Mrs. Maryam Uwais, who at first denounced Mrs. Buhari’s claim that there were suspicious underhand dealings in SIP, my source said, has now been moved to work under Hajiyah Umar Farouq, which she reluctantly accepted. Whether there is a UNILAG-like dalliance between the president and his quasi-daughter, the source could not say. He was however sure that the role Hajiyah Umar Farouq plays for Buhari is same with that the biblical Abishaq, who tendered King David in his old age, played for the king. Thus, the purveyors of the social media news of the “marriage” between Buhari and Hajiyah Umar Farouq may not be difficult to decipher. She is a woman Buhari can trust with the billions in the scheme and not the fellows with thieving vices who had reportedly soiled their hands with the delicious porridge while they asked Nigerians to recite the Lord’s prayer.
Anyway, the power and influence of sex over man are not necessarily destructive. This perhaps was the idea behind western democracies fashioning out the office of the First Lady. It is to assist the husband in the discharge of his duties. Sex as a variable of power is essential and consequential, yet society blinds its eyes to its destructive and constructive roles. Some decisions taken by government that seem overtly incorrigible and indeed very unrealistic are realistic from the prism of sex. For instance, governors, ministers and many other highly placed, powerful office holders have awarded billions of naira contracts to sexual liaisons simply because they became captive to the sex appeals of the women. Roads have been tarred to houses of sexual partners and the people living on the road assumed that government had their love at heart. It is all the power of sex.
The lesson in the hoax, for President Buhari and his spin doctors, is that Nigerians do not think that their president is super-human. They believe that, like every man, he also has blood flowing in his groins. President Olusegun Obasanjo is reputed to be a man in whose groins multiple gush of blood flows, even at his age; so also virtually all past occupiers of that office. Buhari should not be advertised as someone incapable of falling ill, as it will be unconscionable to advertise him as incapable of finding love. Love and sickness are existential indices. As our president is capable of lusting after women like any human being, he is also capable of taking ill. Nigerians will pray for him; we are not as callous as to wish our president evil. When his spin doctors, the cabal and all other principalities, put a lid on his human frailties, they make a god of him.
Festus Adedayo is a Public Affairs Analyst.