Living in Lagos…well ...the whole of Naija…. is hard!
Please get me right… I did not say “difficult”, I said downright HARD!!
This is not one of those posts which starts gloomy and ends in sunshine, so if you aren’t in the mood to hear my tantrums, please log off… 9jachic is about to go in hard!! (I like this word, HARD! LOL)
So let’s get in…
First if you do not understand my circumstances, let me give you a brief update…
So I am a “first born” (also known as Ada) Igbo girl of a traditional man. What this means is that you are not allowed to talk to any man or look at any man until you are at least 21, but expect to be married before 25. Have kids before 30 (male kids preferably) and then go silent! (For the most part your voice from this point onwards can only be heard through your husband).
Anything you do from that point on, you are simply referred to as Mrs. XXX. For sure your last name evaporates, however in 90% of the cases, your first name and identity goes with it too.
For example, if you are successful in what you do, they say …”Wow! Who is her husband? He must really be a great man to allow her do the work”
f you are driving and brush someone, they say “Better ask your husband to get you a driver” or “Ask your husband to teach you how to drive” or “Go and return your husband’s car”
If you want to take a trip out of the country, they need a sworn affidavit / letter of approval from your husband before the international passport is approved.
If you want a driver’s license, you need your husband’s approval
If you want to open a Bank account, they say “Get your husband’s approval”
God forbid you want to invest in a landed property, except you get it in your children’s name, you simply cannot conclude the transaction without your husband’s consent.
If you need to hang out with only your girl friends in the evening in some “very high-profile” locations, they ask that you get a male escort.
If you call customer service of service providers, you are called Mrs. XXX
In Church you are addressed as Mrs. XXX, the wife of XXX who is a … (fill in the gap). No one seems to ask for what you do or who you really are, all that matters is you have been addressed by Mrs.
If you wear a gown, skirt or shorts probably just above the knee, they come in hard…”what did she give her husband to allow her come out of house like this? She must have charmed him”
This is all assuming you actually got married before 25 and had kids at 30.
If by any chance you did not… Gbese!!!
So if you are like your 9jachic…above 30… a first born Igbo girl… living in Lagos… not married… working class… a single mother… living alone… Oh my!!!
Let’s break it down:
You go to the Nigerian Passport office with your child, they say “Madam, please we need affidavit to prove that you are not married and two male referees”
- You go to buy a property, they say “Madam you need a male representative to talk to the traditional men that own the property’
- Your daughter’s school insists that they want a family pic of “Father, Mother and Child”, anything else will not be posted on the family picture wall.
- You live alone as a single girl and they tag you wayward. They don’t care that your immediate family lives over 5 hours’ drive away from where your office is.
- You want to rent an apartment and the Landlord insists he does not rent to Single women.
- You buy a good car, they ask “how can expect to get a husband driving around in that posh car? The men will be scared of you oooo”
- Your apartment has all the niceties; (more than one bedroom, TVs, CableTV, DVD, Fridge, Freezer, Washing Machine etc. ) they ask, ”why did you bother spending all this money? Don’t you want to get married? Will your husband be moving into your house?”
- The village/ town meeting is called to discuss salient issues about your people but you cannot even think of attending (it is not a place for women… neither can you join the women meeting… only married women have a place).
- Your street calls for a meeting of tenants (you arrive and discover you are the only woman) and they talk through you… when you insist and share an opinion, it is considered female tantrum
- Your security man will not greet you because he considers himself the higher mortal.
- You wear a comfortable cloth, “they say ha! Ashewo! See the short cloth, no wonder she is not married.”
- You travel to the village and you are simply treated like a leper (Over 30? Single with child?... What can be worse?)
Living in Naija is HARD!
Did I forget to mention especially for women? Do you agree?
Please share your comments and experiences below as always…..they simply mean everything to me J.