Are Men…and Women Necessary?

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

In general, there seems to be a conversation gap between Nigerian men and women. The women are talking, drawing the men’s attention. The men are listening, but can’t hear or understand what the women are saying. Overall, one gets the feeling that the men are livid at the women. But somehow, the women seem aloof, not knowing or understanding why the men are angry at them. Another phenomenon I have noticed — and I began noticing it about five years ago: a growing number of men have given up on Nigerian women, and or have an indifferent attitude towards them. On their part, the women are banking on the fact that, sooner or later, the men would “come home.” These attitudes may be present in the UK and other countries, but I shall limit myself to the US where my tentacles extend to all the regions and to most Nigerian communities.

After Nigerian Men and their Foreign Wives was published, a group of men voiced their displeasure, accusing me of giving Nigerian women underserved praise and attention. Most of these men narrated their experiences at the hand of Nigerian women. They tell of how conniving, untrustworthy, adulterous, uncooperative and vindictive they are. The pain and the sadness and the regret in their voice and in the email some sent me were shocking. According to a reader who is now married to an American-born Madagascan, “Nigerian women are to be used, dumped and then gassed…” One year after the said article, readers of different nationality, race and creed still write in to offer their opinion.

By and large, the Nigerian male is “wounded as a result of his historical past. Once, he was the primary breadwinner. Once, he was the head of the household. Once, he was the man who moved mountains and parted the heavens for rain. That was a time long gone. The modern times have not been good to him because of the multiplying effects of globalization and modernity. Today, he has to confront or live peaceably with women who are independent, assertive, aggressive and competitive, and can, in most cases, go toe-to-toe with a man. Men now have to contend with women who have found their voice in a society that has for so long been dismissive of their feelings and concerns.”

Except in some situations, a growing number of women no longer look up to men. Some men can’t bear this realization. Obugi, a regular respondent to the NVS site it was who said:“There is nothing a Black woman needs from an African man that she can’t get elsewhere or get on her own…It is the CHOICE of the woman as to whether she will have anything to do with a man, or if she wants to be a wife to him. That is the choice of all women everywhere…Our women are performing better than us men in just about every indices of success in America. What on earth do they need a husband for?”

An old friend from the State of Florida wrote to ask: “Are Men Really Still Necessary”? She went on to say that, “by the time we are in our 30s, most of us would have grown into ourselves, be accomplished in our own rights and are financially and emotionally secured. The only thing one could possibly need a man for then would be just that…the thing. In fact, whether the thing is essential is even debatable, these days with sperm banks every where and variety of toys easily accessible. I told my boyfriend this last week, that this was the only benefit of my dating him, really I did.I haven’t heard from him since.No Regrets. Even when we were together, he was a lousy lover; I could easily have rented it for all it is worth.”

But to hear Caucasian women speak of Nigerian men is to think Nigerian men are kings and gods and honey. The vast majorities of those I know or those who have written me think highly of Nigerian men (and in most cases blame the women, and thank them for their loss). These women can’t seem to get enough of Nigerian men. And indeed, the feeling seems to be mutual as male friends and acquaintances and respondents tell of how nice and cooperative and forward looking their White wives or girlfriends are. They believe that the White women are better at everything.

I don’t know if anyone is keeping records; but this is my observation: In predominantly White states — especially in the Midwest — when a Nigerian divorces a Nigerian woman, the chances are that he would end up with a non-Nigerian woman — especially a White woman.

The younger Nigerian males, 20-35, seem least encumbered by race. They don’t have the same hang-ups as the older generation who thinks and desire marrying women from their own ethnic groups, or at least a fellow Nigerian. This is also the groups that will not think twice before heading to the divorce court. Somehow, they also have the highest degree of contempt for Nigerian women. Ha, there is something about the youngees and their swagger! The older generations are most likely to stay in relationship longer, and are willing to work through difficult times in order to save the relationship. This is also the group that is least likely to marry non-Nigerians.

There is a fit between the younger males and younger females. The younger females are more assertive and demanding and have experimented with sex in more ways than can be imagined by the older generation. This group is very current in all matters sex and will tell you about fellatios, rimming, cunnilingus, dildo and all sorts of sex toys and games. But unexplainably, these groups of women are not too keen on marrying outside the Nigerian community; however, they would readily have kids outside of marriage.

When it is all said and done, the Nigerian men and women have no reason to loath one another. Two groups of people, with common history and common life experiences and in search of prosperity in a foreign land have no reason to hate or despise one another. Women’s life would be nothing without their male counterpart. And vice versa! Women! Oh women! You are the song we sing. You are the breath we take. You are the salt of the earth. You give life and assure us of our future. You nurture us. What would men be, or do without your love and grace and forgiveness? We are who we are because of you. You plead our case before man and god. You dance better than the priest’s masquerades; you sing and dance like the angel of god. We cannot deny your essence and your humanity.

Even so, what would women do without men? We pray for you and pray with you. We sing and dance for you and with you. We are there for you at night and at every moment of the day. We make you cry and make you laugh. We break and mend your fragile hearts. We protect you against the seen and the unforeseen and against nature’s unruliness. We spend our lives looking after you, and in the end we depart this world before you just so we could go to the world beyond and soften the soil for you to walk on. The next time you feel the wind blow, it is our breath you feel. The next time you feel the sun on your face or on your shoulder, it is us gently caressing you. The next time you hear the birds sing or the leaves whistle, it us men serenading you. We are thankful we have you.

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Scarlett August 11, 2007 - 11:42 pm

Nigerian women need to wake up and smell the coffee. Their man love Toto anywhere you look at it and they will get it from whereever. So this belief that they are the sole and only wifes is quite untrue. If only they knew

Ashley July 7, 2006 - 3:39 am

I have recently entered a relationship with a young Nigerian man, 28, and I am not Nigerian. I am mixed race, black and white, born and bred in the US. I have heard so many negative things about the aggressiveness of Nigerian men, that they tend to beat their women, etc, from black and white women alike. The one I have found seems to be a blessing to me, and though I am only 20, and a strong-willed female, I am completely willing to be subserviant to this man, happily playing my role as his woman, as long as he follows through on his role as the man: the protector, the lover, and someone who truly appreciates me and all I do for him. I have noticed that the problem addressed applies not only to Nigerians, but to Black men and women in general. Black women have risen much more quickly in the corporate world than our Black men, but those that I know don't hold that against them, they hold it against the stereotypes and prejudices that prevent our men from prevailing. Most Black women that I know are frustrated with our men that choose to marry outside the race, simply because they believe Black women are too headstrong and independent. What they don't realize is this: most of us, while thoroughly enjoying being self-sufficient, would prefer life with our Black King by our sides. The problem is, we truly want them BY OUR SIDES…not in front of us, or behind us, but walking hand-in-hand through life's journeys. Yes, without the blending of races, I wouldn't exist, but I still prefer a strong Black man to share my life with than any other. I just hope that our men can understand and accept our independence as a part of who we are. It doesn't mean we need them any less, and for the women who disagree, I believe you are completely out of your minds.

mimi June 23, 2006 - 2:28 am

properly laid out in black and white,i like that. atleast they know we expect more from them just like they do us.the nigerian men need to wake up and face the reality that we would love them more if only they try to see us as who we are and not objects of display and live in the reality that the world is changing and that includes nigeria before it is too late.weldone

mrskenna June 19, 2006 - 7:42 pm

Sabella, they are still letting you write articles here? I am going to have you banned. Just kidding. Interesting write up though. I guess it depends on the person. Race shouldn't be a factor in love.

MKA June 18, 2006 - 4:33 pm

Interesting writeup

Anonymous June 17, 2006 - 10:01 am

Well written. There needs to be more compromise between us due to our shared history and great love for our nation and cultures.

Reply June 16, 2006 - 12:58 pm

It's all in a Nigeria man's mindset. Caucasian women are more aggressive and competitive because they belong to a society that encourages that. Nigerian men who choose Caucasian women over Nigerian women and say they do that because Nigerian women are not worth the trouble – to them, I say that is complete bullcrap! Those men just prefer to be castrated by Caucasians rather than Nigerian women because it is easier to explain to friends and family why you can't control your Oyinbo wife. Imagine having to explain why you can't control your Nigerian wife. That is the ultimate failure of a man in marriage to a Nigerian woman – the inability to be the head, the breadwinner, the alpha and omega of his family. Too bad. Us Nigerian women are enjoying the view from the top and we aint coming down any time soon.

To Sabella, you are misinformed when you say Nigerian women won't date outside their culture. Many of my friends date and marry men other than Nigerians. We have come to the realization that limiting ourselves to the hard-headed pride of (most) Nigerian men is emotionally crippling. Why look at menu shortlist when you can have a F#ing buffet?


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