Politics: Bad hustle (2) Daily Parrot

Bad hustle

The most resonant message from John Eka Ewa aka John Lyon’s predicament is that manhood is the new fiend.

Lyon, who was arrested by the police, on Thursday, September 15, over links to a kidnap syndicate responsible for several high-profile abductions in Bayelsa and other parts of the Niger Delta enjoyed fabulous repute on social media until his arrest.

The 36-year-old’s plight once again highlights why most societal problems are attributed to degenerate maleness. The previous arrest of boychild ritualists: from the Bayelsa teens, Emomotimi, Perebi, and Eke (all 15-year-olds) for money-making rituals, has been blamed on poverty and the lack of a positive male role model in their lives. But what do we make of Lyon’s motives?

From teenage boys and young men’s frantic lunge for sudden wealth via money rituals to their complicity in terrorism, gender-based violence, armed robbery, kidnap for ransom, Nigeria careens to the shove of dissembling manhood and we experience a fatal forming of maleness and society.

Toxic families produce toxic citizens. Toxic citizenry becomes poisonous to nationhood in the long run. The interplay of toxic materialism, misandrist-feminism, and the absence of an exemplary father figure has foisted upon us a generation of ill-nurtured boys.

Economic forces aggravate their sense of disenchantment and futility and changing gender roles and the denouement of masculinity afflict them with greater confusion.

Masculinity flows from nature as an aspect of the birth mother, no doubt, but it is sculpted by society and a father figure into humane and effective manhood. The boy-child learns by instruction, counselling, and imitation.

In an ideal setting, the father moulds his character by careful nurturing, awarding punishment for vice and reward for virtue. So, he teaches him to be a man within acceptable precepts of culture and society.

Where the father is absent, or feckless, the boychild suffers exposure to degenerate blooming, like 32-year-old Afeez Olalere, who was encouraged to use his younger brother for money ritual by his mother – to encourage him, she fed poison to the said brother (her younger son) and watched him die.

Boys are in trouble; due to the lack of positive male role models in their lives, they get what they can from the streets, social media, anti-male movies, and video games. All they need is someone whose exemplary footsteps they could follow but society provides them only men they could dumb down to.

A recent analysis of 2, 000 mass media portrayals of men and male identities, found that men were depicted mostly as villains, aggressors, perverts, and philanderers. From this stockpile of anti-heroes, the boy-child is expected to navigate for a good male identity.

Promoting the image of men as juvenile, mean, and stupid is cynical and exploitative, which makes the tide of inverse sexism that has swamped out television screens and the pages of literature even more appalling.

In modern Nigeria, boys and young men suffer a dire lack of role models, especially if they are raised in a single-parent home. The situation is worsened by the lack of positive role models in extended family and government and the perpetuation of overwhelmingly negative images of men by the media and feminist scholarly research.

Ultimately such portrayals lead to negative social costs for society in areas such as male health, rising suicide rates, and family disintegration. This is a precarious age for the boychild. He is taught to repudiate positive patriarchal notions of manhood and imbibe virulence as the cornerstone of his becoming.

The college gender gap is another worrisome development; it must be acknowledged that while Nigerian males are projected to hold a statistical edge over females in school enrollment rates, they do not hold a productive edge over females.

There are more females contributing meaningfully at work and acquiring postgraduate degrees. A cursory look at education statistics may be instructive.

The academia shies from the issue bound by the gag of gender politics and the dubious notion that males enjoy higher school enrolment, are more financially stable and are better placed in business and politics. Consequently, several boys are denied push from high school to college.

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I have seen more boys drop out of school to become internet scammers (Yahoo Boys) disguised as bitcoin traders, forex specialists, and I.T gurus, to mention a few. Many of them are casualties of dysfunctional families and the changing dynamics of the new global economy.

The economy has become less friendly to men. This is a global problem, however. Jacqueline King, of the American Council on Education in her group’s study of lower-income adults in college, discovered that men had a harder time committing to school.

They tended to start out behind academically, and many felt intimidated by the schoolwork. They reported feeling isolated and were much worse at seeking out fellow students, study groups, or counselors to help them adjust. Mothers going back to school, however, described themselves as good role models for their children. Fathers worried that they were abrogating their responsibilities as breadwinners, explained Hanna Rosin.

Against the backdrop of these realities, the “protector” and “provider” theories of manhood and fatherhood are continually dismissed as credulous and crude, in a modern world where conservative ideals of masculinity are maligned and fiercely rebuffed.

On the flip side, female folk enjoys patronage in crusader art and pedagogy. This slanted social complex has been adduced to a toxic leftist orientation.

The situation is aggravated by a lack of adequate attention to Nigerian males at the policy level. Responding to my query on the issue, a staff of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) told me recently, that his organisation ignores Nigerian boys and adult males in its intervention programmes because the government has failed to make provisions for them in the policy level.

“The Nigerian government and local NGOs do not consider boys and men worthy recipients of any form of intervention,” he lamented.

It is pleasing to see girls and young women flourish and succeed. But it is wrong to neglect boys, leaving them to grow up embittered and miseducated. This is sure recipe for disaster, the kind that is happening in real-time.

Aside from the teen boy and young adult male’s fancy for quick money via money ritual, a tragic manifestation presents via Boko Haram and armed bandits’ replenishment of their ranks with a steady stream of boy combatants, moving child abductees cum stone-cold killers through neighbourhoods and forests, using military trucks and passenger vans to boot camps holding more than 1,000 boys on the watch of adolescent trainers.

There is a reason the “money ritual,” and Boko Haram and armed bandits’ creed of diabolism and violence is resonant among misled and brainwashed minors. The exasperating nature of their lusts, the grievances articulated, dysfunctional families, and the pervasiveness of poverty amplify the boys’ rationale for embracing a creed of cruelty and carnage.

A history of corruption and neglect at the federal, state, and local levels of government, among others, is a major source of widespread dissatisfaction with politicians, the legal system, and law enforcement.

More worrisome is the teenage cult, Awawa’s incursion into primary schools. Just recently, 12 pupils of the Egan Community School, between the ages of 6 and 16, were reportedly initiated into Awawa, in Alimoso area of Lagos.

These days, in the far north, it is normal to see 10-year-old boys romanticise raiding villages, killing traditional chiefs, and taking over their wives and daughters.

This is how fragile the situation is.

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