Under The Hair Drier

by Uche Nworah

So you think you know what Nigerian women talk about when they go under the hair drier? Think again. How about this little con-versation which took place at a popular Hair and Beauty salon along Bode Thomas Street, in the Surulere part of Lagos? For security reasons, the names of the female matadors have been obliterated, likewise that of our informant.

“Madam Speaker is indeed a true son of the soil”

“Daughter of the soil, you meant to say”

“Oops! Yes” (Laughter)

“I really admire her courage and conduct in all these. She appears unfazed by all the drama both on the floor of the House, and outside”

“Girlfriend, i am also proud of her. I didn’t know we still had such strong female characters in Nigeria. To think that Nigerian men have tried to sell us dummies as heroines in the past, who needs Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, Dora Akunyili or Oby Ezekwesili when we have Patricia Etteh?”

“You have a point there. What have the Ngozi Okonji-Iwealas of Nigeria ever done for Nigerian women? This goes to show that contrary to what the male-run media houses in Nigeria will have us think, the female breed are actually alive, well and thriving. We are not any dying breed facing extinction”

“I find the whole thing interesting because as a Nigerian woman, I have had to contend with selfish chauvinistic men all my life. They make us believe that women are not any good, that we can not stand up to the men, or match their ways. This will teach them all a lesson”

“Tell me about it. In Patricia Etteh, i see a modern day Amazon, she is indeed my heroine. The men are shouting because she is proving to them that what a man can do, a woman can also do, even better. One of the reasons I’m stuck in this marriage with Anthony is because of what i grew up hearing from my dad, Di bu ugwu this, Di bu ugwu that. I wish i had the courage of Patricia. Damn them all, Nigerian men, my foot”

“Don’t mind Nigerian men, thieving bastards they all are. They should just watch their backs. Let’s see who is bucking. Now they are beginning to drop dead one after the other, and have the guts to blame it on Madam Speaker, weak hearts and lily-livered they all are. Was it Madam Speaker’s fault that they are all getting a little bit excited about nothing really? What is 600 million naira to the trillions of naira they have been stealing from the national treasury? If i had the opportunity of meeting Madam Speaker, i will just pat her on the back, i will also tell her not to mind the over-pampered Nigerian men calling for her resignation, does this country not belong to both men and women? Ever since they started dipping their hands in the national till, how many of them have ever resigned”

“Do you mind them? Now they all keep referring to Madam Speaker as the ‘hair dresser’ as if that has anything to do with the matter at hand, at least she had a J-O-B before coming into politics. We can not say the same for most of these agbada wearing fools who buy their PhDs from the internet. Even with the so-called educated ones, what have they done for the development of Nigeria with all the Harvard, Yale and Sandhurst degrees they possess? Talk about turning logic on its head”

“I am happy that Nigerian women are finally beginning to see the light, those foolish men who have since cornered Nigeria’s national cake in Abuja can no longer pool the wool over our eyes. Do they think that we are buying all these ‘Ettehgate’ nonsense? It is just their own way of oppressing Nigerian women the more, denying us of our rights and share of the national cake, and perpetuating the age-old male domination over women”

“I feel you girlfriend, it is simply a classic example of the power relationships in the Nigerian society. I wish Nigerian women would recognise what is going on in the House for what it truly is – typical Nigerian man’s tantrum. I laughed myself into a fit the other day, watching the so-called honourable members of the House on the floor of the House behaving like six-year old kids whose toys have just been taken away from them”.

“Of course their toys have been taken away from them. Who do they think they are fooling? They are angry that it is a woman pulling the rug from under their feet, they would have imagined what they would have done with the 600 million Naira contract sum, had it been one of the boys that presides over the house. With the ink on the contract paper yet to dry, they would have hopped on the next plane to London with their girlfriends in tow for another of their weekend frolicking at the London Paddington Hilton Hotel”

“What else would they have done with it? They would have frittered it away as usual in frivolous purchases. I’m sorry for those small-small girls running all over Abuja. They would feel the cash squeeze for once, also the owners of Steam bar at Paddington”

“I tell you what; perhaps we should take these our conversations forward, why don’t we set up an informal group of like-minded sisters, form like a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that will articulate our stand on issues particularly as it concerns Nigerian women, especially those in politics”

“That sounds like a good idea, but would we not be duplicating the efforts of organisations such as Women in Nigeria (WIN), and the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS)”

“Not at all, those organisations are ‘dead’, they don’t quite represent the views of contemporary Nigerian women, perhaps they are a bit out of touch with present day realities, still fighting eighties battles. Have you seen or heard any of them come out to make a statement in support of Madam Speaker? The people who run such organisations are traitors to the women cause if you ask me. Contrary to what they claim, their husbands are parts of the establishment, and so they dare not buck the trend before they are sent packing from their matrimonial homes”

“You are right; we should articulate our views and seek an audience with the likes of Abike Dabiri, Chris Anyanwu, Kema Chikwe, Joy Emordi and Florence Ita-Giwa. We have got to let them see the bigger picture, if Etteh goes, then it is 20 years backwards for the feminine movement in Nigeria. See how long it took us to get here”

“I will also suggest that we reach out to Marxists in Nigeria if there are any survivors left, the likes of Professor Des Wilson, Edwin Madunagu, Mokwugo Okoye and Bala Usman, we may be able to convince them with the argument that even Karl Max himself would be proud of Madam Speaker’s achievements so far, a hair dresser, commoner and highly revered remember of the proletariat turning the table on the bourgeoisies and ascending to the number four position in the land, that’s some achievement. A man like Edwin Madunagu will describe the situation as the fulfilment of the Orwellian prophecy foretold in George Orwell’s Animal Farm”

“I wonder what the venerable Chinweizu would say to this, can we bring him to our sidoole?”

“Chi who? That’s a man we don’t want on our side any day, with all his Pan-African ideologies and conjured conspiracy theories of the west trying to annihilate Africans; by the time he finishes with his imaginary ideological battles against the west, would he still have any energy left in him to offer us any meaningful support? A man like him may actually see our cause as an affront on African men”

“You are quite right my sister, I wonder why sisters are not truly seeing the game Nigerian men are playing here; we are not kids any longer. They think they are clever, throwing tokens at us to appease us while at the same time working to undermine our progress. See what they did to Remi Adiukwu-Bakare in Lagos state, they never let her settle down at her job as deputy governor under Bola Tinubu. Look at how they have tried to smear Virginia Etiaba during her brief tenure as Governor of Anambra state. Even the men’s poster girls, their own evidence of women empowerment in Nigeria – Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, and Dora Akunyili, look at the rough deal they are all getting. See how they shoved Aunty Ngozi by the side, and almost killed Dora”

“You are right girl; you are really getting me started on this thing now. Sure we should take these ideas forward. All over Nigeria, i just see evidence of Nigerian men’s grand conspiracy to scuttle the women’s movement and leave us perpetually subservient to them”

(Telephone rings, con-versation ensues between one of the female matadors and a male voice barking out from the phone’s speakers)

(Seconds later, con-versation cease, sighs, curses and hisses follow)

“Stupid man, just wait, my day is coming. Sorry Angela, you’ve got to hurry up with this hair. I have to be home soon. My husband is on his way back from work and his food is not yet ready, i don’t want that his bad mouth this night”

See also Feminism and the Man

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linda January 15, 2008 - 3:12 am

wow,this is so hilarious.But i’ve got a question ; what were u doing at the ladies salon? anyway that was a good piece

Mustapha Abdu - Aguye November 1, 2007 - 9:18 am

I loved that , yeah She's proven that when ever a Nigerian Woman choses to act like a man , she acts like a Bad one !

She's only gonna end up ruining the names of outstanding acheivers like Prof. Dora And Okonjo-Iweala , Shame on those women for talking like that !

as an after thought , i feel that she doesnt deserve to be put in the (Nigerian?) female hall of fame , as i read in a paper !

Rosie October 24, 2007 - 11:48 am

I wonder how you remembered the entire conversation verbatim. You must have excellent memory. Funny piece. I agree. Gather all men and house them in one place so all of us women can breath jare!


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