What is my feminism shaped of?


I have long wondered if I would be this ‘strong and very opinionated’ woman had I stayed and schooled in Nigeria. You see for me feminism was a Western concept started by the Suffragettes who I studied about as part of my history lessons of a  British education system so you’ll have to forgive my misguided beliefs as I only found out about the likes of Queen Sheba, Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and many others just over a decade ago.

So when I was asked to contribute to 9jafeminista it got me thinking about the things that have shaped me into this modern day British-Nigerian unapologetic feminist that I am.

Firstly I’ll need to pay homage to my mother – despite becoming a widow at a young age of 33 with 4 young children all under five and me her youngest at just six months,  growing up I always heard my mum say she never remarried because she didn’t want her children to suffer in the home of a new husband. The significance of this never really resonated with me until my late teens/early twenties when I started to gain a better understanding of the intricacies of marriage in the African context. And for this and many more reasons I am eternally grateful for her as showed me first-hand what it means to have feminist values and how to be strong and resilient.

Tokunbo with her mum

My feminism was shaped by the books I read by authors such as Maya Angelou, Buchi Emecheta, Chimamanda  Adichie, Zora Neale Hurston, and countless others. Books in which strong Black women were a common feature even with their flawed but unapologetic ways.

It is shaped by the song ‘Superwoman’ in which Karyn White lambasts her husband when he starts to take her for granted by crooning
‘ I’m not your superwoman
I’m not the kind of girl
That you can let down
And think that everything is okay
Boy I am only human
This girl needs more than occasional hugs
As a token of love from you to me…’

My feminism is shaped by the friendships I have cultivated with other strong, confident and amazing women I have met across three continents.
It is shaped by the men who allowed me to be both strong and feminine in equal measures.

Lately my feminism has been redefined and further shaped by the many modern day  African women feminists I have encountered both in the Diaspora but also on the home continent. Women like the Ogwuegbu sisters who are fearless not just because of their numbers but mainly because of their unapologetic feminist stance. Women like Wana Udobang, Saratu Abiola, Olabukunola Williams, Chika Unigwe, Funmi Iyanda, Abena Gyekye and so many others have shown me that feminism is not a Western construct thus reassuring me I would still be the same unapologetic feminist I am today had I been born and raised in  Ojuelegba and not Camden Town.

My feminism is who I am not what I seek to be.

Confessions of a ‘Child Witch’ – by David


It was between the late 90s and early 2000s, when Y2K was still a thing and we would burn time reading the stories in G.F. Oyor’s ‘Who Needs Deliverance’. Ever so often, we’d slip into our landlord’s parlour to watch one of those Liberty Films, on VHS tapes, about witchcraft and Jesus’ victory over the powers of darkness. We had private primary education, we were winning all the Bible quizzes at church and reciting Psalm 91 on Children’s Day, proving that mom’s Bible-teaching investment was paying returns. We were flying in school and three of us consistently remained top of our individual classes.

Life was good … till IT happened.

Helen Ukpabio the lady who ‘delivers’ children from witchcraft by abusing them

It wasn’t a single incident but a string of occurrences that I’m sure would have read like those stories in the G.F. Oyor’s book if they’d been written down. Daddy was going through a rough patch and momsy was trying unsuccessfully to get a job with her degree in Microbiology… and we were busy spoiling daddy’s radios and breaking his lamps with our destructive spirits. By the time the old boy considered the headache his extended family was giving him, it was obvious to anyone who had watched Helen Ukpabio in ‘End of the Wicked’ that this was a case where someone needed deliverance and so sleep disappeared and the nights became longer, filled with prayer points from ‘Dangerous Prayers Volumes 1 & 2’.

8If you slept off while the whole family was attempting to escape calamity, daddy’s kicks would wake you up. Sometimes you’d get flogged so bad you’d run out of the house to sit on the verandah to consider your welts and wait for the day to break.

Some nights, your aunt would join you to sit on the verandah after her failed attempts to obtain mercy for you on the grounds that you were just a kid.

It wasn’t long before we were all summoned before the pastor’s wife, who apparently had experience in handling those type of matters. The interrogation was straight to the point: what our dreams were about, if we ate in the dream, if we flew, if we found ourselves near water… I don’t recall which happened first, but in a few months of life challenges the old man and lady were facing, we were diagnosed with witchcraft.

child witch
Is this what a child witch looks like?

Witches were wicked. Witches spoilt with their parent’s electronics with their destructive tendencies. Witches were just bad luck. The Bible had warned that one should “suffer not a witch to live”. Witchcraft was why parents would warn us not to accept biscuits or sweet from any of our classmates lest they turned up at night calling us away to meetings at the coven with that notorious modified puff-puff chant. Biscuit, biscuit, biscuit…

My elder sister buckled under pressure of the long periods of starvation and fasting, periods of being away from school and told the pastor’s wife what she’d yearned to hear.

Yes, she had weird dreams. Yes, she had been initiated. Yes, they had given her some weird assignments to do. No, she wasn’t alone, my younger sister was also one of them.

That year was my worst result in primary school. My now frail memory says I placed 27th.

6We were out of school and always in church deliverance meets: from Mustard Seed Assemblies to Assemblies of God, prayer warriors tried to get us to vomit the witchcraft that was making life so difficult for our parents. I remember sitting on the pew, exhausted from the 6 to 6 fasts, listening to a young prayer warrior command my sister to vomit that seed of witchcraft. It was in her stomach, then it moved to her throat, then it stuck there and stopped, refusing the command to move to her mouth.

They finally got shipped off to an orphanage and rehabilitation home for kids. I’ve never really understood why they didn’t ship me along considering my destructive and evil streak.

My sisters spent almost ten years in that place before someone decided that they weren’t witches and it was safe to have them move home and c9ook for my father. They wouldn’t put witchcraft in his food, they wouldn’t give witchcraft to any of my younger siblings either. They were either delivered or were

never witches.

I didn’t bother to ask which was which. I don’t think much about that period and my memories from then are scanty. My head does this thing where it refuses to recall memories that spur a burning knot of anger in my chest and I would suppose that even though my family never really survived the drama of that period, we were maybe luckier than those who had been burnt with hot irons and boiling rings on account of witchcraft.

But the ignorance and gullibility still annoys me all the same and really, sometimes I don’t just understand how life could be so screwed.

9jafeminista in October

9jafeminista has had a pretty busy Octorber, originally meant to be a bi-monthly publication, we have, so far, featured 9 stories, an average of two stories per week.

Ugo Chime
Ugo Chime

Our very first contributor was Ugo Chime, a public health practitioner who is passionate about being independent, her first story was ‘Forgiveness or Gini?’, during which she challenged the gender stereotype that women are the ‘softer sex’, she talked about how she learned forgiveness from her husband, who is supposed to be the ‘harder sex’.

The piece was followed by ‘An interview with Ugo Chime’ during which Ugo talked about her relationship with her dad, Maternal, Child and Neo-natal Health (MCNH) and the problem with Nigerian NGO’s and their funders.

Ikhide R. Ikheloa

It was not long after our interview with Ugo that the scandal involving one of Nigeria’s foremost bloggers, Linda Ikeji, broke. In which she was accused of plagiarism, and her blog was taken down for a while by Google. 9jafeminista noticed that out of the many voices baying for her blood, the men’s were more dominant, but a few people came to her defence, including the indefatigable trouble maker, Ikhide R Ikheloa, who pointed out that almost all the dailies online do the same and asked why the people who went after Linda Ikeji didn’t go after them, since they have been around for much longer. We then conducted an interview with Ikhide, ‘In Conversation with Ikhide: Lindagate Love and Feminism.’


Following our Lindagate post was an interview conducted with a domestic abuse victim, Ayomikun. The interview was conducted in two parts, both are up on YouTube, the transcription of the interview was put up on the blog. Ayomikun took us through a harrowing tale of 12years spent in an abusive relationship. She talked about her many miscarriages, marital rape, and psychological abuse from a controlling man. Her story was titled ‘Yes to domestic violence: Why we should give up and give in (1)’ (and the video can be found here) and ‘Yes to domestic violence: Whe we should give up and give in (II)’ (the video of the full interview can be watched here).

Temie Giwa-Tubosun

Our next post was about Temie Giwa-Tubosun, one of BBC’s 100 Women of 2014, simply titled ‘Temie Giwa-Tubosun’ we put up her bio in order to provide our readers with a background to this amazing feminist. Following this was her non-fiction piece titled ‘Is this what a feminist looks like?’ She talked about becoming a feminist at the age of 10, maternal mortality and the right of a woman to do what she likes with her body, especially when it comes to their health.

In our usual fashion we had ‘An interview with Temie Giwa-Tubosun’, during which we talked about her One Percent blood donation project, reconciling feminism, God and lipstick, we briefly touched upon her adulation of Beyonce, and oturmapokpor – aka – love potion.

Briefly a member of falconets
Briefly a member of falconets

Our last post was an editorial ‘Editorial: Who gives a damn about female footballers?’, which was an opening to the terrible conditions under which Nigerian female football players are made to play. We had an interview with Omolayo Adebiyi, whose career was brought to an abrupt end when she injured her knee. Her full interview can be watched here.


Thank you all for visiting our blog regularly.

Editorial – Who gives a damn about female footballers?

On the 26th of October 2014, Super Falcons, the female national team, became Africa’s champions for the seventh time. As expected this feat went largely unnoticed, it wasn’t until 24hrs after the girls won the championship that the first post was put up by a Nigerian newspaper, The Sun. This is quite unlike the way self-appointed football analysts, on ‘twitterville’ and Facebook, updated the very breath each member of the Super Eagles squad (their male counterparts) drew in their last outing.

The general feeling one gets is that ‘they are just girls’ playing at playing football.

Omolayo in action, playing for Osun state(Oyinlola Queens) against Oyo state in 2005
Omolayo in action, playing for Osun state(Oyinlola Queens) against Oyo state in 2005

Although one is permitted to imagine that these effete footballers, spent 2hours sighing and fainting all over the field, or maybe…checking to ensure that their make-up has not been mussed during such perspiration making exercise … but one cannot get away with pretending ignorance about the hard fact that female footballers use the same set of muscles as their male counterparts, they train as hard, for as long and are as skilled as any male footballer.

Unfortunately, this view is not shared by sports administrators within the country, as the disparity in the payment of male footballers and female footballers is quite high.

Since 2005, Nigerian female football has had professional football players, not only playing in Nigeria, but all over Europe and America, and this year, the different female teams within states finally got a premier league. But this hasn’t affected the fact that female football players are not given the same contracts as their male counterparts, especially when it comes to medical aid.

There are many football related injuries, but the most common suffered by footballers are knee injuries. A knee injury can easily mar the career of a young footballer if not managed properly, and this seems to be the case with many of our female footballers.

According to Omolayo Adebiyi, the former captain of Oyinlola Queens of Ogbomoso, “immediately they realise you’re not useful again, they dump you.” She had been used like that and the injury she sustained from Oyinlola Queens has marred her football career, a sport that she has dedicated her life to since she was thirteen years old.

She told 9jafeminista about how she got injured during a match in 2007, and instead of taking her for medical care her coach

Briefly a member of falconets
Briefly a member of Falconets

then, Adebayo Lawrence, used to pray over her leg “he will put my leg on top of a grinding stone, grind it, at the same time pour ‘prayer waters’ over it and chant incantations.” He also gave her a powerful injection that strengthened her enough to play, “but after the match has ended, I usually see hell.”

This went on for a while until the kneecap was totally detached from its socket and she had to go off camp to get medical aid. She was fired.

You can watch the first part of the video of our interview with her here.

Seven years later Omolayo is still battling with this knee injury that keeps reoccurring and has kept her off the playing field.

Omolayo’s story is just one of many.

Keep an eye on this space.

An Interview with Temie Giwa-Tubosun

From the Editor: Temie Giwa-Tubosun is one of the many young ladies in Nigeria working hard to change things in our health272667_104012953031223_4629245_o sector. Instead of just ranting about the poor state of our health sector from far away “in the abroad”, chomping down on her proverbial Big Mac and maxing out her credit card (like so many of us are wont to do) she came back home to put down roots and DO something about it.

During her interview we talked about the north, the perception of people about women from that part of Nigeria, maternal mortality and best of all she talks about the fact that the oturkaporkpor you’re planning to put in your lover’s food MIGHT-JUST-WORK!

Read on:

9jafeminista: In your article you talked about trying on different kinds of feminism before deciding to tailor one to suit you and in the same breath you talked about returning to Nigeria

Would you say that feminism brought you home?

Temie: I believe a struggle with identity brought me home the first time and a commitment to what I found, when I came the first time, made the final move possible and perhaps even easier.

I came home in 2009 deeply confused about a few things, the question of God and agnosticism, feminism and how lipsticks and high heels fit into all that, what I was going to do with my life and etc. When I got home (I lived and worked in the North for a few months) I found myself, at least a version that has lasted so far… Oh dear, that sounds so clichéd but it is true. I found a version of myself that I was comfortable with and that made me come home finally 3 years later.

And that included a feminism that I was comfortable with.

2So I think I find that Nigerian women paid attention to how they look and there doesn’t seem to be any conflict with their femininity and feminism, especially in the North. The women I met in Kano and Jigawa, I know they aren’t the norm so I might be a bit biased, were all lovely but strong and ready to change their culture and I wanted something similar for myself.

I had a colleague whose hijab always matched her jalabaya and her nail polish but she spent her weekends counseling HIV positive sex workers in the slums of Kano. Giving them tools that will help them lead easier lives. I have lost touch with her she had a great deal of influence on my life. I remember that her spouse wanted to marry a second wife at the time and the great conflict she felt and her determination to find a better way remained with me and allowed me to create myself and perhaps consolidate my feminism and femininity into a real whole.


9jafeminista: Was the first three months you spent in the north your first time ever in Nigeria?

Temie: Oh no. I left Nigeria when I was much younger, it was my first time in the country as an adult.

Random picture of Temie reading on the road… who does that?

9jafeminista: I’d like us to talk about Northern women. The single story about then is that they are a bunch of oppressed women who do not work. They are usually uneducated and at married off early… What is your impression about them? Would you say these assumptions are untrue?

Temie: My impression is a lot more robust. I lived and worked with them for a few months and helped to deliver services to a lot of them in the rural areas.

They are like most people, complex. Some are brave and willing to spit in the face of tradition and culture. Some are quite fine with the patriarchy and just want to be left alone and some are the gatekeepers of the patriarchy. A lot of them I know struggle with polygamy, many of them are professionals, and many are independent.

I was lucky to meet women from different socioeconomic classes. I met professional women, seasoned executives and small business owners. I met high level civil servants and rural women who are living in horrid poverty.

For example, my dress designer had a huge shop in suburban Kano and had about 5 men who were her tailors, she employed them and made their lives possible. I also met a woman who had been in labor for a few days and who was so poor that she couldn’t get to the hospital and was going to die.

I think that’s the interesting thing about travel, it forces you to see people clearly and yanks away the comfort of the single story brings.

9jafeminista: We know you’re running a not-for-profit project can you tell us a little about it?

Temie: Access to clean, safe, blood is incredibly hard in Nigeria and this affects women significantly. Hemorrhage after4 delivery is the second highest cause of maternal mortality in Nigeria. Almost 25% of child mortality can be traced back to lack of clean safe blood. Blood transfusion still accounts for about 10% of all new HIV cases in Nigeria. It’s insane. One Percent Project works to provide clean, safe, and affordable blood for the people who need it the most.

9jafeminista: So what are the advocacy tools you use for your project?

Temie: We sponsor blood drives in higher institutions. We are in the middle of a 2 day blood drive in OAU and we have collected almost 2,000 pints of blood – that is 6,000 lives saved. We are in the process of completing our app that will connect donors to recipient in emergencies and many more tools in the pipeline.

9jafeminista: You’re doing amazing work! Well done Temie!

Temie: Thank you, 9jafeminista.

9jafeminista: As you well know we’re very irreverent at 9jafeminista. Can you tell me what you know about oturumapokpor aka love potion aka efo?

Temie: Laughter … Well I have never used it and to my knowledge it hasn’t been used on me.

Will it work? It probably could… I mean there are drugs that enhance and changes moods to a significant level and we all believe in their efficacy… right? So, why not oturumapokpor?

Oturumapokpor is probably a drug that enhances the dopamine level of the drugged… Methinks.

59jafeminista: Does that mean you believe in the existence of witches? Actually the question occurred to me when you said in your article that nobody seems to be able to explain why maternal mortality rates are so high in Nigeria… Witchcraft?

Temie: Well. Witches are probably people who learnt to pay attention to instinct and could thus predict certain events. Witch doctors were probably folks with extensive knowledge of the natural world (herbs / lotions / potions ) and over time can create concoctions that saved lives.

I think we really just aren’t paying attention to why we keep burying thousands of mothers.

Is this what a Feminist looks like?

1483887_10152021733289235_2038658990_oI have been a feminist since I was 10 years old.

I have loved my older brother since I can remember and he was a magnificent boy and an even greater brother. He was strong, smart, and swift. I followed him around and was sure I was going to be just like him.

It was cute, until I was 10 and the world told me I could not be like my brother in subtle but important ways. You talk too much, why do you think you will be president of the world… they will ask.

I was outraged and decided they were wrong and that I was and could be all that my brother was and would be. That was the beginning of my feminism and I imagine that there are millions of little girls who come to feminism much the same way. A male figure whom they loved and wanted to be like and the world who insisted they were less because of their vaginas and ability to bear children.

I believe this sense of injustice is natural during the innocence of childhood but on the road to womanhood, many of us are taught out of it. We learn to exchange this sense of injustice for an acceptance of patriarchy and a womanhood and motherhood that diminishes all we are and could have been. Many even learn to become the defender of patriarchy, essentially voting against their own interest, in exchange for useless accolades as perfect wives and best mothers.

As a 10 year old, I did not have a name for outrage about how my world was ordered 1until a decade later, in a women’s study class in a little state university in Minnesota. I learnt about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her organizing and a little bit of her racism, I learnt of Sojourner Truth and Sister Soulja and black feminism. I met bell hooks’s militancy and tried to accept it all and find a way to tailor all these feminisms into who I was and who I wanted to become. Also I was preoccupied with how Beyonce (the one I was truly enthralled with) would fit in all of this. I read and I learnt but it wasn’t enough so I came home.

graphicsI have written about what feminism means to me HERE so I will not rehash it but to state that feminism as it’s core argues for the equality of the sexes, as eloquently stated by Chimanmanda Adichie. I must mention that it doesn’t argue for equality in the outcome but a true equality in the opportunities presented to all of our children. Feminists, according to Sheryl Sandberg, will be happy when 50 percent of young women run our countries, businesses and religious institutions and 50% of our boys rear their children and run their homes. Which naturally means that 50% of our men will run our public sphere while the other 50% of women will still run their homes. Thus feminism isn’t about reducing men’s influence or hating men but it argues for an egalitarian system truly based on merit and helping all of our children, boys and girls, fulfill their potential.

The world is worse off when a deeply religious and fundamentally called to service girl is kept from leading a flock simply because she is in possession of a vagina. Likewise, when a boy who wants to nurture his children and dedicate his life to their wellbeing is told that he is weak or somehow less of a great man because of his penis. As a mother of a little boy and as one who was a little girl once, I want a world that is just and that allows myself and my son to be all that we want and could be without judgment.

The patriarchy has managed to build a deeply structural system that prevents a truly egalitarian world. There are so many systems that keep women from work or forces them into diminished roles that it will take quite a long time to unpack all of them.

Sexual assaults, female genital mutilations, real discrimination in the work place, unequal pay for equal work, are all some of the real world factors that keep girls back. The thing that I am most committed to, notwithstanding the importance of all the other factors, is reproductive justice, which in my understanding includes maternal care and yes, access to health care that allows women to control their reproduction and choose.

Millions of women get pregnant every year; many of them are giddy and ecstatic over this blessing, many of them give birth to3 beautiful children and launch lives filled with the most intense love and a deep sense of accomplishment. I am one of them and my little boy is an incredible blessing, one that I am deeply grateful for. However, millions of women carry children they do not want to bear and are severely worse off physically, financially, and emotionally because of their pregnancies. Many more, who might want these children, or not, lose their lives through this process, leaving behind little children without mothers and full lives of their own. This injustice, this senseless loss of life and self-determination, should be unacceptable to us all.

Here are the facts: Each year about 34,000 to 54,000 able-bodied women die because of our horrible health system. I give you those numbers because we actually do not know why these women die. Yes, Nigeria, a middle-income oil rich nation, does not know how many mothers she buries each year. And if she does not know how many, how will she know why and if she does not know why, how can she stop this horror.

This I find incredibly outrageous and unacceptable. So from a deeply personal outrage when I was 10 years old, I find that my feminism is now rooted in the defense of female lives. It seems to be that before we must argue for equality, we at least must ensure survival of those who will be equal.

Temie Giwa-Tubosun

From the Editor: Our contributor and gravatar for this period is Temie Giwa-Tubosun.

272667_104012953031223_4629245_oTemie is program manager for the GIST project of Nollywood Workshops. She has worked with the Lagos State Government as operations manager for the Office of Facility Management and Maintenance, and as a research support fellow with the health systems financing team at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, where she managed the health expenditure reports for all WHO member states. She has interned for the Department for International Development (DFID) supported program Paths2, worked for the UNDP and Colombia University funded Millennium Development Village in Ruhiira as health system quality improvement coordinator. She is also the director of the One percent Project, and organization aiming to harness the power of young people to improve health service delivery in the Nigeria. She is a member of the Global Health community with the Global health corps organization and writes for various publications, including the Impatient Optimist Blog of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We will be talking maternal mortality, blood donation in Nigeria, being a feminist, love and women’s health.

Yes to Domestic Violence: Why we should give up and give in (II)

From the Editor: Ayomikun is the poster child for the ‘wife material’ usually recommended by love and relationship ‘experts’ in Nigerian cyberspace (mostly made up of men, but the sprinkling of women amongst them are quite strident). She is stoic, forgiving, long-suffering, willing to give up her dreams, anything to make her man love her. She is determined to make her marriage work and her worst fear is being called a divorcee (Dalemosu in Yoruba).

In the last installment she talked about her several attempts to reconcile her desire to make her dreams come true and the realities of the abusive marriage she found herself in. She talked, in great length about her several attempts to get a job, her husband’s interference, to the point that he took it upon himself to send in a resignation for her.

She also mentioned, briefly, the fact that they were childless, despite the fact that she was a virgin when she got married.

Read on(the interview below has been edited for easy reading the video of the interview can be found here):

O: So I started working with my sister-in-law at her shop in Aleshinloye, after working there for about a year and half, my sister in law and I started having problems, she complained a lot about everything, ‘you’re not doing this well, you’re not doing that well,’ so I complained to my husband and he said I should come and sit down at home.

I was at home for about six months, then I was invited to start contributing to Everyday Gospel Magazine, Remi Olabanji was my boss then, he was the Chief-Editor. During that period I had several miscarriages. I noticed that whenever I’m pregnant, that’s when my husband will come up with some minor issues, he will start beating me until I lose the pregnancy.

9jafeminista: So you’re saying your husband beats you.

O: He can beat o! Not once not twice, in fact the third time, during my third pregnancy, while he was beating me I took up a knife and said I was going to stab him if he doesn’t leave me alone, on seeing the knife, he ran out of the room and called my parents.

9jafeminista: Didn’t you report him to anybody when he was beating you?

O: I did not, I believe it’s marriage, and you need to endure in some things, if I tell other people about what I’m going through, somebody would come and tell me that what I’m passing through is minor compared to what is happening in her home. I took the advice given to me by so many people that I should stick it out. That whenever I notice that he’s trying to start a fight, I should just leave the house. But there was this day it didn’t work.

After six months of staying at home I was able to scrape some money together, about thirty thousand naira, to start up my personal business. With that thirty thousand naira, I went to a man at Dugbe (who sells bales of second hand clothes), and asked him to give me one bale (using the experience I gained from selling second-hand clothes in my sister-in-law’s shop) and started selling clothes out of my mum’s shop. I was able to refund his money after a few months.

Anyway, I returned from shop one day and my husband said ‘You’re smelling, won ti lo si’ta won ti lo ba e sun’ (translation: one of your lovers has just slept with you). ‘Lo we, lo we ko yee run. Ke mi naa wa se te’mi.’ (translation: go and take your bath so you’ll stop stinking and then I’ll come and take my turn). I was like, ‘Am I a harlot or what? What do you take me for?’ And that day he was in my shop, he saw the way I was working.

Later that night he asked for sex and I said ‘no problem, come over’, when we started having sex, he said ‘mo ti mo e, oo ni gbera, oo ni m’ira tu’pu, won ti lo e, lo e, sugbon emi naa a lo t’emi si e l’ara.” (Translation: I know you will just lie there stiffly, not participating, they’ve used you very well, but I am going to use your body too). That was when he started hitting me again, in fact my cervix (vagina), he used his fingernails to tear everything. I had wounds for about four days, I started using antibiotics and hot-water, it was just like rape that night.

9jafeminista: What did you do while all that was going on?

O: He tied me! He tied me up that night. After two days he came around and was like ‘se’mi naa ni mo se e bayi? Gba owo k’o lo ra ampiclox,’ (translation: Am I the one who did this to you? Take some money for ampiclox [an antibiotic]). That same night he had sex with me, in spite of the fact that it was pretty painful.

I’ve tried to be enduring, because before I got married they were like ‘ile oko lo n lo o, won ki n p’ada si’le wa o, to ba ti lo ro d’aada o. Don’t come back, won ki n d’ale m’osu o’ (Translation: you’re going to your husband’s home now, you’re not allowed to return to us, think about your decision thoroughly. Don’t come back, we don’t allow divorce). So in times of trouble, I will just keep quiet. There was a day that he beat me up to the extent that he left marks on me. I had to take myself to the hospital. He did not come to visit me. I was there for about three days. On the third day, I called the members of my family ‘I’m in so-so hospital, I fell down the staircase.’

My mum came and said ‘Ah! O de su’bu bayi, oko e de de e mo’le ko so.’ (Translation: You had a fall this bad and your husband just locked you in the house without informing anybody). I said he travelled and he’s not back yet. My sister now said, ‘if at all he’s not back yet, I’ve been here for over 3hours and he’s not even called to find out about the state of your health.’ That was when I told my sister that I did not fall down a staircase that my husband beat me. My sister was like ‘S’on fi se bobo yi ni? Eni yi lo ma je ana’mo fun.’ (Translation: Has a curse been placed on this man? This is the last time he’ll lift a hand up to you). I started pleading with my sister ‘Ile oko ni o, emi ni mo ma gbe be, ee ni ba mi gbe be.’(Translation: This is my matrimonial home, and you’re not going to live there with me).

But we don’t have any baby!

9jafeminista: Did you try to take any tests and find out what was wrong?

O: We did everything, and we were told we are okay. I did HSG test, I did many tests, I even went to UCH, then in UCH we did ovary test…

9jafeminista: Which test did he do?

O: (long pause) he did, he did … spec… what do they call it? He did sperm… spermatozoa test. He did it at Union Diagnostics and he was tested positive, he had over 99million sperm cells, so there is high tendency that …

9jafeminista: Did he show the result of the test to you?

O: (pause) yes. So since there was no baby …

9jafeminista: Has he had another child after all these?

O: No, but he’s been victimising me at home ‘cos he had a girl called Victoria, she would call me and say ‘Ako Ibepe’ (Translation: Male pawpaw tree)

9jafeminista: Does she have a child?

O: She’s a single mother

9jafeminista: Is the child your husband’s?

O: No he’s not my husband’s, they are just ordinary boyfriend and girlfriend. So this lady kept calling me, abusing me, so one day I called him ‘come o, this girl has been calling me constantly saying all sorts of things, do you know anything about it?’ He said ‘No, I don’t know about it.’ So that night I monitored him till he slept off. After he fell asleep I took his phone and typed in the number that had been calling me, the username appeared on his phone, ‘Koredemi’ (Translation: The one that has brought blessings to me). I was quite surprised that my husband knows the girl and was just being cagey. So I accepted my fate. In the morning when he went to the bathroom, I rang the girl. Immediately she picked the call the girl said ‘Hello honey, se o ti kuro ni’le ni?’ (Translation: hello honey, have you left your place?) I ended the call. When my husband entered and saw the dialled call, next thing …

9jafeminista: pounced on you and started beating you

O: In fact, that day, I was beaten like hell. After that day I called my parents I was no longer interested in the marriage, that I’m tired of the abuse.

Conclusion: I’m sure by now you’re all wondering why we felt the need to interview Ayomikun. Aside from the fact that 9jafeminista is a platform for women to discuss issues pertaining to us all, we are also trying to examine the myth of the ‘wife material’. That perfect woman seemingly every man in naija cyberspace desires, beautiful, can cook, is willing to sacrifice her dreams and hopes on the altar of marriage, will do anything to keep her marriage together, will allow her husband his girlfriends, is willing to be beaten and raped without using those words.

Ayomikun is presently separated from her husband, In an offline interview she told us that he eventually threw her out and has refused to let her back to remove her things despite ‘pleading’ with him and his family. He informed her that he will ‘call her back when he is ready’. And of course nobody is talking about the 99million spermatozoa running around his sperm and the fact that he can’t father a child, but we won’t forget to mention that Ayomikun is considered barren, because it is the woman’s duty to bear children.

Yes to Domestic Violence: Why we should all give up and give in (I)

From the Editor: At 9jafeminista, one of our aims is to document the experiences of Nigerian women from all walks of life. We are particularly interested in examining why Nigerians believe we do not need equality, that things are just fine the way they are .

Marriage is a big deal in Nigeria. Domestic violence is a common occurrence. In actual fact, the Penal Code endorses violence against women, as long as there’s no ‘bodily’ harm caused (for more on laws that shows Nigerian women as second class citizens you can check out this link).

In spite of the fact that people know how damaging domestic violence can be and how it has often led to death, over 90% of women in Nigeria believe that there is nothing wrong with a man beating a woman.


Meet Ayomikun, a 30years old woman who, besides running second-hand clothing shop, is a printer at Mokola (Ibadan). Ayomikun has been separated from her husband of 6years for the past five months, she has tried everything within her powers to bring about reconciliation between them.

She told us her story in an interview which we’ve transcribed below. The unedited audio version is here . The transcription was edited for easy reading.

9jafeminista: What’s your name?

Ayomikun: Oluwadamilola Ayomikun

9jafeminista: What do you do?

Ayomikun: I’m into buying and selling

9jafeminista: Do you own a shop?

Ayomikun: Yes.

9jafeminista: Where’s your shop located?

Ayomikun: At Mokola market (Ibadan)

9jafeminista: What are your educational qualifications?

Ayomikun: I attended Command Primary School and St Louis Girls Grammar School, here in Ibadan. For my tertiary education I attended Federal Polytechnic, Ede

9jafeminista: So what course did you read?

Ayomikun: Marketing

9jafeminista: What kind of things have you ‘marketed’ before?

Ayomikun: I’ve marketed some banks, like Intercontinental Bank, now Access Bank, then one microfinance bank, Easylink Intercontinental, then Cadbury… But now I’m marketing myself

9jafeminista: You’re building a brand

Ayomikun: Yes

9jafeminista: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Ayomikun: In a higher place, to become a higher person. I see myself going to Dubai and even the UK to buy stuff, instead of these second hand clothes.

9jafeminista: Would you mind sharing your story with us?

Ayomikun: Before I got married I was once a gospel artiste, I write, and sing. I was writing for a newspaper called Daily News for Celestians, I had a page there. After that I worked at a Law firm in Ikorodu. Then I met my husband. We met in 2002, at Mokola (Ibadan). We courted for about eight years, I was preparing to go into a tertiary institution.

9jafeminista: Are you saying that when you met him you were still in secondary school?

Graphic1.Ayomikun: No, I’d left secondary school, I was applying for admission into a tertiary institution. When we started dating, then I was even a virgin, but due to all these Mokola stuffs he didn’t believe that he can still find someone like that. After some years he requested for sex, which I decided not to give him because in my heart I’d decided that whosoever I got married to, that was the person that will deflower me. So the guy was like ‘don’t worry, we’re getting married very soon.’ Then I later accepted my fate, we had it. The first time I had it, it was so painful, but then it was a pride to me, because we were getting married. After I gained admission into Federal Poly Ede, we continued the relationship. We eventually got married on February 21, 2009.

After we got married he asked me not to work, but I told him I can’t be a housewife, we dragged the issue until we decided that I’m going to work.

9jafeminista: What was he doing?

Ayomikun: He was into interior decor. He then helped me to get a job at a microfinance bank, three months later, after coming back home from work, that night, he had already written a letter that I should withdraw, that he doesn’t have any interest in the job any longer, that I should stay at home. And then we’ve been having a minor problem about the issue of baby. That day when I returned from work, he had already written a letter which he asked me to drop at my office. I didn’t even know he had helped me to write a resignation letter.

9jafeminista: You mean he wrote a resignation letter for you.

Ayomikun: Yes. I didn’t even bother to go through it. The next morning I went to drop the letter, my Oga now said ‘sit down,1 what happened? What kind of letter is this?’ I said ‘my husband asked me to give it to you.’ He didn’t even tell me what was written in the letter. My boss was shocked and asked me ‘Mrs Ogunbiyi what happened? Why are you leaving the job?’

I was considered the best marketer in the company back then, they were about to increase my salary.

In order not to ruin my home, I decided to pretend that I knew about the letter. I left the job and stayed at home for another three months, I became uncomfortable because I’m not the kind of woman who stays at home, I’m a very hard-working person. My husband and I started quarrelling again, because I can’t stay at home, we finally agreed that I should find a job. So I went to my brother (my blood brother) who helped me to find a job at Intercontinental Bank (Ijebu-Ode), I was shuttling between Ijebu-Ode and Ibadan, I would leave for Ijebu-Ode on Monday morning, come back on Friday night, everything was going on smoothly, but after three months my husband started grumbling, ‘I can’t condone it anymore, we said we’re looking for a baby and we’re living apart, we are in a far distant relationship. I can’t have you anytime I want you, I eat jungle food, etc’

I was finally able to persuade him that instead of resigning I should ask for a transfer, but the bank refused, because I was new and I am not even allowed to have a child until I’ve worked with them for three years, so I was like, I will not wait until this thing will ruin my marriage, so I decided to quit. I returned to Ibadan and started sitting down at home again. Later on one of my husband’s sisters called me and said ‘instead of sitting down at home, I have a shop at Alesinloye,’ she was working at a printing press at Bodija then, that I should assist her. My husband accepted that I should work with her.

9jafeminista: Let’s pause here.

In conversation with Ikhide: Lindagate, love and feminism

From the Editor: Plagiarism is a profession as old as time, at least that’s the impression one gets particularly in Nigerian cyberspace as bloggers ‘borrow’ (often and consistently) articles and photographs from other blogs or websites without attribution or payment.

Linda Ikeji and her Jeeeeep (culled from lindaikeji.blogspot,com)
Linda Ikeji and her Jeeeeep (culled from lindaikeji.blogspot,com)

Ms Linda Ikeji, a former model turned blogger made millions from her gossip and entertainment site which was getting over 500,000 hits per day. Ms Ikeji had been accused by several writers and photographers, of simply ‘copying and pasting’ stories and pictures from different blogs and websites without permission or even an acknowledgement.

Things, however, came to a head earlier this week, (after Ms Ikeji posted the picture of her latest expensive car on social media and had done some more copying and pasting on her blog) when, beleaguered writers and bloggers asked why she couldn’t pay for stories if she was making enough to buy an expensive jeep, they took it a step further by reporting her to Google (there are even rumours of a class action suit) and her blog was taken down.

9jafeminista however got interested in the story when a literary critic, human rights activist and cyberspace troublemaker, Ikhide Ikheloa joined in the fray, instead of calling for her head, as would be expected, Mr Ikheloa joined his voice to the multitudes DEFENDING Ms Ikeji’s actions.

Below is the interview conducted with Ikhide Ikheloa (you have to pardon his too much grammar):

9jafeminista: Why have you been defending Linda so loudly on social media? As a writer you know very well that plagiarism it’s a really big deal and as you’ve pointed out, you’ve also been a victim of intellectual property theft, so why then are you coming to the defense of a woman who built her wealth from other people’s hard work?

Ikhide: To be clear, I do not condone plagiarism, acts of intellectual brigandage and the notion that writers, especially Nigerian writers, should write for free. Indeed my position on this matter is best articulated by  Ayo Sogunro  and Mr Mobility.

I salute them for articulating their views on the Linda Ikeji saga with deep introspection and rare integrity.

What I am up in arms against is the rank hypocrisy and lack of self introspection by some of the major howlers. I detect class

" I detect class condescension and sexism in this issue" - Ikhide R Ikheloa
” I detect class condescension and sexism in this issue” – Ikhide R Ikheloa

condescension and sexism in this issue. Where were they when the men of Premium Times garroted the credibility of Nigerian journalism for pennies? Some of them are in cahoots with Dele Olojede in the NEXT saga. They hurt many young people. Where were they when Chris Abani took Africa’s dignity to the cleaners for pay? Nigerian intellectuals protect their own.

The abuse many of us have suffered in the hands of pretend-publishers in Nigeria is well documented. I am owed thousands by NEXT. I am lucky; some people were not so lucky, no one has held them accountable because there are no accountability structures in Nigeria that work. If you need relief, count on external intervention. That is what happened in this case. Google took care of business. The characters in NEXT, Premium Times, etc. are still walking around giving us phony lectures about corruption in Africa. Some of them want to hang Linda. The hypocrisy is galling.

I adore Linda Ikeji. She is gutsy, brilliant and market savvy. She has survived the unnecessary roughness that stands for life in Nigeria and has made a name for herself. She also is a leader with more following than those of all the African bloggers combined. We should study her business model and use it to propagate our ideas instead of begging pretend publishers to publish books for us that only our relatives will pretend to read.

9jafeminista: There’s no denying that Nigeria is patriarchal, and there’s double standards whenever a woman is involved in anything considered scandalous. For example Ynaija, the Sun Newspapers etc are known for the kind of copying and pasting journalism used by Linda, they have been called out on several occasions by the linguist Kola Tubosun,

But like the case of Patricia Etteh, the first female speaker in the House of Representatives (who was later cleared of corruption charges leveled against her) while men literally get away with murder, a woman would be singled out for execution, if possible, if she plays the men at their own game and appears to be winning.

Ikhide: Exactly. Linda has done some sketchy things, but she is head and shoulders above the men that ruin Nigeria daily. She survived their dysfunction, a scrappy single woman, who found a way to tap into a hunger and make a real living from it. Why start with her?

I am disappointed that many did not see through the numerous self-serving agendas at play here.

9jafeminista: That being said should writers because of this ‘forgive’ her for stealing their intellectual property? Already there are rumors of a class action suit being brought against her and Ms Ikeji has not helped matters by going the way of corrupt Nigerians blaming ‘enemies’ and raining curses on them, instead of offering to make reparations, or at least offer an apology and start paying writers.

Have you been in touch with her? What solution are you proffering?

Pa Ikhide
Ikhide R Ikheloa

Ikhide: Linda and I are not personal friends. We have never communicated privately, ever! I am in this on principle and because this one evening, to the chagrin of her haters, ML had sent me to the doghouse and I had a lot of time on my hands, lol! I rarely read her blog, but I know that she has half a million followers at the very least and unlike most Nigerian writers, she has parlayed that into money. I would love to have her problem.

What solutions do I have? Great question! I have been in the forefront, as you know, of vociferously demanding accountability from African intellectuals, they are THE problem. Those who want to lynch Linda Ikeji must learn to be consistent and honest. Do not look the other way when your friends, men by the way, do 100 times what Linda has done and then start writing preachy tweets when Linda does her own. More importantly, many of us actually make a living from the lack of accountability in Nigeria. We should join those who have been speaking up to force leaders to build these structures. Nigeria and Nigerians only listen when the Washington Post and Google bark. In the absence of accountability, you will not get any apology or reparations from Linda Ikeji, Dele Olojede, Premium Times.

There has to be a motivation for folks to behave. You see what happened with Basketmouth when we went after him? He apologized. Quickly. Who wan die?

9jafeminista: Because we are totally irreverent we need to ask one last question, two sef… Do you consider yourself a feminist? Do Nigerians fall in love?

Ikhide: I think the term feminist is fast becoming a pejorative, so I am reluctant to dump yet another label on myself. I consider myself a human rights activist and will fight to the death for the right of another human being to be human in all respects.

And do Nigerians fall in love? DSD What a question! Please release all the love poems I have ever written to you and make Neruda blush in his grave. Of course we fall in love. Right now I am on the rebound. Again. Free me, Olokun of my seas.