Matters arising: The Hen That the Cocks Are Wary of By Ahmad Mubarak Tanimu

AREWA AGENDA – Sometime ago in February I was viewing status from my contacts on WhatsApp when I first came across the popular song “Da so samu ne” by Yaran North side (YNS). The song was played in a background of a short video made by a young lady and her friends in the university who were all ladies too. The young lady is my relative so we often speak or chat. I have never been a regular visitor to YouTube like since the beginning of this lockdown and some weeks back I searched and watched the video of the song. The song is a huge success with over five hundred thousand views on YouTube. If you are a regular visitor to Entertainment pages from Arewa on YouTube you will understand why I will call a video with five hundred thousand views on the platform a success. Perhaps, followers of entertainment industry from North are yet to be conversant with the site.

When I watched the video I was a bit disappointed with some of the content of the song. Da so samu ne simply means if wishing could happen. Ten rappers participated in the song and each of them spoke about his fantasy woman. One of them calls himself Geeboy. And below are his lines in the song, originally in Hausa which I put in English thus:

Geeboy:
If wishing could happen
I should be married to an educated woman
But my fear is she may turn me to a fool
YNS:
And if you have your way?
Geeboy:
Definitely my children would be brilliant
But I’m not so sure if my pocket will be lively.

The guy clearly depicted ‘yar boko (educated woman) as a wife that controls her husband (something only a foolish man would allow) as opposed to normal submissive housewives in the North. And it is the impression that most men have on educated women in our region. Whatever good about an educated woman that the rapper managed to say in the lines were destroyed by the “buts” which after it comes a negativity. I recall a time I was giving words of encouragement to this my relative and reinstated my usual “we are proud of you girls. Just remain steadfast on your studies. The future will be bright”. In reaction, she honestly expressed her fears on the consequences of the educational status she is chasing. “Most of men don’t want us for a wife” she said. “Even those that will marry us, their families may not welcome ‘yar boko”. I told her there are many men out there that will marry her without passing through what she is pessimistic about. I gave her example of educated women that are her acquaintances living a happy married life and urged her to fear not her educational qualifications but be proud of it. The irony here is that this my same relative who is in her second year in the university, despite what Geeboy said about educated women in the song, she and her colleagues still found it worthy of getting played in the background of a video of themselves. I have been trying to settle this matter on my head since.

There is another piece of art from the North that I also came across which badly depicted educated women as evil housewives. This time a movie titled Mijin ‘yar boko (husband of educated woman). A local business man who had acquired a lot of fortune remain single in the movie against all pressures on him by family and friends because he vowed it was either an educated woman for a wife or nothing. He was not himself educated but in the end he found the woman of his dream. Alas she turned out to be a mischief maker that severed his kinship ties with his parents and siblings. She deployed the use of black magic to conquer him and had him and his wealth under her full control. In the end he broke the spell, divorced the educated woman and began a new life with uneducated woman who brought tranquility back to his life. The movie made me realised that Geeboy was actually nice in his own view of ‘yar boko. He at least said some good things about her. But to makers of Mijin ‘yar boko, there was nothing good to portray about ‘yar boko in a complete film! How this crap got censored and approved for public consumption despite the damning effects it may have on female education is the matter I have been trying to settle since the day I watched the movie.

Just yesterday I spoke to a lady about our societal perception of educated women because the university memories of my colleagues that vowed to never marry a lady that has ever been to Higher institution is still fresh on my mind. She said that was a thing of the past, but went on to tell me the story of her elder sister’s failed marriage which was basically as a result of the fact that she is educated. That her husband, who she influenced to go back to school after their marriage would troll her at every given opportunity saying “because you are educated” other women are doing this but you are doing that…. The marriage terminated in 2018. The woman is now doing well with a good job planning to start her PhD.

The question now is why are Northern men (even some of the educated) afraid of educated women?
The educated among us too have not been helping matters. They condescends to others and this made many that are not educated to naturally feel alienated and unsecured around people that are educated. The conservative Northerner sees the west as a natural enemy that wants to disrupt and dominate his culture. Acquiring western education is a step towards becoming an agent of the west to some. Recently, a lot of energy has been channelled on social media by educated Northerners to distance themselves from being agents of the west. These Northerners call themselves ‘yan boko san’a. They say to whoever wish to listen that the purpose of their education is for meal ticket and nothing more. Same group of Northerners would call anyone that doesn’t align with them Dan boko aqida (whatever that means).

Educated ladies make their uneducated peers to even feel more alienated. The way they adorn themselves, the way they talk and sometimes the way they walk is quite intimidating. They will always find a way to put one or two English words in every sentence they make in a conversation with Hausa speakers. The type of life and home some of them watch on movies is the one they wish to live in. Some of them get carried away by the fantasies they read in Novels or watch on movies. So they are always a subject of gossips and backbitings. They become a potential insolent daughter in law that some mothers would not like their sons to marry. Because they are “too exposed”, some young men would harbour the fear that they won’t make a submissive wife and can’t therefore marry them. There is also a concern about the chastity of an educated woman. Many of them are generally presumed to be unchaste. I will not say much on this because there is no single immoral behaviour that one can accuse an educated woman which the uneducated woman can be exonerated from it taint. The whole land is morally corrupt.

One thing is certain in the North. Every man wants for himself a submissive wife. Is ‘yar boko an obedient or rude wife?
I have lived in the staff quarters of University of Maiduguri where almost every staff of the university is married to an educated woman. And I didn’t see a new marital life other than the normal patriarchal homes all round the North. And I know a lot of wives that are not educated but terribly insolent to their husbands. Why the tendency to be rude to a man is always attributed to an educated woman in the North is the matter we need to sit down and settle.

Ahmad Mubarak Tanimu is a graduate of Economics from University of Maiduguri

Arewa Agenda is a Publication of Young writers from Northern Nigeria towards National Development and peaceful coexistence through positive narratives.

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