stop judging our bodies! – Okwei Odili 

stop judging our bodies! – Okwei Odili 

​When Malcolm X told a thick crowd of African Americans that the most abused person in America is the black woman, he didn’t say it under the influence of ogogoro or overfeeding.

He said it because among our people are men like Trick daddy, African American men who hate African American women. Because these men hate themselves. Because these men cannot fight for their mothers and sisters.

According to failed and now fat rapper, Trick daddy, African American women are ‘hoes’ that need to sit up before the Latina and white ‘hoes’ take all their men. 

SAD.

Let us bring it back to Nigeria where many women are bleaching.

I shared an article talking about the pressures on women in Nigeria to emulate fake/un-African beauty standards and it was a Nigerian man here who said, Are the women being forced by men to bleach? Well I’d like to tell you about someone I dated as a young woman, who actually bought me the cream to ‘tone’. I dumped him.

I will also like to refer you to mainstream Nigerian music videos by popular Nigerian males filled with non African women, who look different than us. Each one fairer than the next. Diversity is the spice of life, to me. So I appreciate everybody. But to belittle one over another, especially the queens, I can’t take.

Not everybody has the psychological strength to refuse what is subtly or not subtly drummed into their ears. So yes, because men and women rely on each other, they have the capacity to influence one another. So yes, the bleaching continues.

Africa is the seat of the diamonds and gold, cocoa and rubber, oil and super humans, yet we assist those who hate us, to hate us. How dare we assist them, to un-glamourise us, we who are queens and kings, colorful, even when we are sleeping.

SAD.

Time to stop this. Leave African women alone. Stop asking us about our hair, stop judging our bodies. Our hair, breasts, nose, hips, vagina and all are OURS. We don’t tell you what to do with your body.

And STOP that fucking picture where all we do is carry water or firewood on our heads in 2016. 

Stop comparing us to anybody because we are too damn magical for all your collective idiocies and divisional tactics.

– OKWEI-UGO ODILI.

A brief Slut Shaming Dictionary aka Slut Shaming on Fleek

A brief Slut Shaming Dictionary aka Slut Shaming on Fleek

This article is dedicated to one thing and one thing only, arming you with words. Yes we can, arm you with words that should be used the next time you’re going on a slut shaming mission. We would be dismayed, if you start this very important activity that helps the patriarchy control women’s bodies without using the proper slangs and terms.

What else are we here for but to help you achieve your dreams of a world without equality, a world in which women are seen as objects (preferably sex objects). In this Utopia, men would be able to strip women that annoy them on the streets naked, without fear of reprisal. Teachers can sleep with as many of their underage students as it is possible, women with cups bigger than an ‘A’ cup size can be stared at and the state of their sexuality a topic for discussion and debate. Men will be able to grab the boobs of women they meet in the swimming pool. In this ideal world, women will be able to give excuses for the rape of other women… ooops… wait… we are living in this sexist utopia already!

But… we won’t let that stop us! Hell to the No! We will still go ahead and equip you with words that hurt, words that can maim, or kill… words that will continue to make this utopia of ours what it is today, a country without the basic amenities, but is obsessed with sex, money and religion (and not necessarily in that order).

Without any further ado, we introduce our dictionary of slut shaming.

Slut Shaming – stigmatizing a woman for having sex, or stigmatizing a woman on the suspicion that she’s having sex, or stigmatizing a woman on the suspicion that she might be planning to have sex… makes absolute sense don’t it?

Ashawo: If there’s any Nigerian dictionary, the word ‘Ashawo’ is the only one deserving of a whole page for itself, just that word, ‘ashawo’ written on a plain foolscap page… why you ask. Well this is simple, ashawo is one of the few (and we dare say the only) word understood across all languages, all ethnic boundaries. Ashawo is a prostitute, ashawo gives sex for money, ashawo sleeps around, her body count is almost as high as that of the Nigerian population.
Ashawo is to be pitied, only to be seen (by men) under the cover of darkness.

Ashawo is a slut.

Slut: is a term for a woman or girl who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous (Wikipedia)

Although men who are promiscuous are called ‘Community Penis’ note that being a community penis does not make you a slut, which is why another word had to be coined for them.

A community penis is a ‘man’, because part of hyper-masculinity is your ability to have as many sexual partners as possible.

Side-Chick – the other woman; also known as the mistress; a female that is neither a male’s wife or girlfriend who has relations with the male while he is in another relationship (Urban Dictionary).

Men are expected to cheat, women are not expected to cheat. In a heteronormal, hyper-religious and homophobic society like ours that operates a gender binary system, we wonder who men are supposed to cheat with… other men? Trans? Lesbians? Who?… but that is not why we are here…

The point is, a side-chick is a slut, an ashawo, who is giving sex away ‘free of charge’.

Transactional Sexual Relationships: We know you did not come here to read big-big grammar… who grammar don epp? But there are times that you need to sound like a Patrick Obahiagbon in order to get your point across. If you can throw this sentence into a conversation surrounding slut-shaming, we assure you that will be the end of that matter!

So what are transactional sexual relatitonships?

Transactional sexual relationship is closely linked to socio-cultural expectations of gender whereby a man is expected to act as a provider to their partners and women expect a compensation for ‘giving’ sex. This results in implicit assumptions of exchange, whereby for example a man might buy a woman a drink and her acceptance implies a willingness to have sex.(Wikipedia)

In proper Nigerian English, what this means is that a man is expected to be the ‘provider’ of money and penis, and in exchange a woman is expected to ‘give’ sex and often times, these days, domesticity.

Body Count – also known as ‘how many men have you slept with?’ Having a body-count of more than half, qualifies you for sluthood… period!

With these few, but very important words, we encourage you to go into the world and put women to task.

A girl is unreachable because she’s classy, she has a job and doesn’t want to date a jobless, uncivilized slob? Call her a slut.

A girl turns down your proposal for friendship because she’s noticed that you’re borderline sociopath? Call her a slut.

A girl breaks up with you? Call her a slut.

You rape a girl and she reports you to the police? Call her a slut.

You blackmail a vulnerable girl into having an affair with you and then she calls it off? Call her a slut.

A girl refuses to sleep with you because you’re suffering from hyper-masculinity and have violent tendencies? Call her a slut.

A girl refuses to wash your underpants because she’s not your domestic help and breaks up her friendship with you? Call her a slut.

Slut shaming covers a multitude of sins…

Are we saying that you’re a sinner? Oh no we wouldn’t dare say that…

Do we dare call you a misogynist, self-hating, uncivilized pig?
Oh no, we are not that nasty… are we?

Ese Oruru: A teenager being torn apart

Ese Oruru: A teenager being torn apart

When do teenage relationships start?

According to raisingchildren.net.au , there isn’t a ‘right age’ to start having relationships – every child is different, and every family/culture will feel differently about this issue. But here are some averages:

From 9-11 years, your child might start to show more independence from the family and more interest in friends.From 10-14 years, your child might want to spend more time in mixed gender groups, which might eventually end up in a romantic relationship.From 15-19 years, romantic relationships can become central to social life. Friendships might become deeper and more stable.

There is a lot of controversy about Ese’s age, but the excellent investigative journalism by AIT with the interview of her parents confirm that Ese is in fact 13 yrs old so there is no need to waste time debating about this.

As a mother of a teenage son myself, I know that many teenagers spend a lot of time thinking and talking about being in a relationship. In these years, teenage relationships might last only a few weeks or months. It’s also normal for children to have no interest in romantic relationships until their late teens. Some choose to focus on schoolwork, sport or other interests.

Each parent is different, and no one has a right to tell another parent how to raise their child. But the problem is when the general public decides to have an opinion over a young girl’s sexuality. Going over Linda Ikeji’s blog when it was announced that Ese had in fact choosen to stay in Kano, the comments people left on the article made me nauseous. They had no respect for her privacy, and no one even viewed her as a child.

It is very disturbing that our society does not view child sexuality any different from adult sexuality. They take it lightly and find it funny that a 13 year old confused and vulnerable, who has obviously made some poor choices  should be made an object of ridicule.

Puberty is the period when an adolescent reaches physical growth and sexual maturity. It is marked with bodily changes and change in feeling towards opposite sex due to increase in sex hormones. This period starts from late childhood and ends with early adulthood. (12 to 18 years).

In this crucial stage, adolescence is influenced by peer pressure especially the opposite sex peers. Puberty is a period marked with rapid physical growth leading to sexual maturity and psychological changes. The average onset of puberty is at 10 or 11 for girls and age 12 or 13 for boys.

Girls become sexually and  physically mature two years earlier than boys. Puberty begins with a surge in hormone production, which in turn causes a number of physical changes a an adolescent is going through drastic physical changes  she also goes through psychological, mental and  emotional changes. Stanley Hall, well known psychologist, describes this stage as the period full of “storm and stress”. This phase is marked with psychologically growing-up. Ericson, another psychologist refers this stage as “Identity Crisis” referring to confusion in identifying oneself neither as a child nor as an adult.

The early and late childhood period boys like to play with boys and girls prefer to be comfortable in the company of girls. Developing relationship with same sex friends and getting their approval and acceptance is one of the important characteristic of interpersonal relationship. The maximum socialization takes place during this stage. But as childhood period end and child enters into an adolescent stage suddenly due to hormonal changes and development of secondary sex characteristics the interest in opposite sex becomes more significant.

Suddenly an adolescent becomes self conscious and  her outlook changes.   She becomes conscious towards herself as well as towards opposite sex. An adolescent spends lot of time looking at himself or herself in the mirror, new look in hair style, preference in clothing and dressing up manners changes, use of cosmetics and interest in looking good increases. Sudden changes occur in improving self image and having better self impression on opposite sex. Girls become shy in the presence  of the opposite sex.

Is all this  my attempt at using pchychology to justify Ese’s behavior? NO! What I am in fact saying is that is is normal for her to be interested in the opposite sex, but that is not a reason to make her an object of  ridicule. She is still a child, and  it is the responsibility of society to protect her till she reaches the age of consent. Just because   she is an  adolescent  with raging hormones doesn’t mean she is a responsible adult ready to make decisions on her own. All responsible adults in her life have to protect her till she is mature enough to understand what she is getting herself into.

Back in 2013, a Time magazine article on abduction began like this…

“Abduction is a singularly grotesque transaction. In a single instant, a relationship between two people changes to one of captor and prisoner, owner and chattel. One holds absolute power and the other holds none.”

The  Nigerian, media had a fanfare with word abduction, but when Ese was being returned, there were a crowd of men around her, the video circulating the web showed a terrified little girl trying to hold on to some sort of control.  There was no comforting voice. Once again, there was absolutely no recognition that this was just a child. For Heaven sakes, Ese is just a child.

She may or may have not chosen to have gone to  Kano. It doesn’t take a genius to know that it will be traumatizing to be the center so much controversy.  She may or may not be in love.  It does not take a PhD to know that no one would want their their private life broadcasted on air. An adult would be nerve wracked to go through what Ese has been through.

The American Psychological Association say, According to research, hostage survivors often develop an unconscious bond to their captors and experience grief if their captors are harmed. They may also feel guilty for developing a bond. This is typically referred to as the Stockholm syndrome. Hostage survivors may also have feelings of guilt for surviving while others did not. It is important for survivors to recognize that these are usual human reactions to being held captive.

When hostages are released, it is essential for them to:

Receive medical attention.
Be in a safe and secure environment.
Connect with loved ones.
Have an opportunity to talk or journal their experience if and when they choose.
Receive resources and information about how to seek counseling, particularly if their distress from the incident is interfering with their daily lives.
Protect their privacy (e.g. avoid media overexposure including watching and listening to news and participating in media interviews).
Take time to adjust back into family and work.

I am writing this as a teacher and a mother, Please for the love of God, leave this child alone to go back to school no more media coverage on this story, it’s doing the Ese more harm than good. As long as she is below the age of consent, all responsible adults should act like it!

 

 

 

Time Magazine

http://science.time.com/2013/05/08/abduction-psych/

 

American Psychological Association

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/hostage-kidnap.aspx

 

Her Parents confirming her age

Blogged onwritestartinternational.com as AN HONEST LOOK AT ESE’S PREDICAMENT

Maryanne Kooda, a CELTA qualified Special Needs Teacher, conducts weekly creative writing workshops and reading programs for 6 to 16 year olds in Colombo Sri Lanka. Ms Kooda is a feature writer with a passion for children; she has extensive teaching experience in the tertiary and primary levels of the Sri Lankan International school system.

Of Kisses, of Sexual Predators, Of Chijioke Amu-Nnadi

Of Kisses, of Sexual Predators, Of Chijioke Amu-Nnadi

Mine didn’t start with poetry.

I didn’t know him beyond his name, his posts, on Facebook.

I was in Uganda for 2015 Writivism Literary Festival as the festival’s blog editor; he was there too, as a guest to hold a masterclass on poetry.

He checked in at midnight with Sadiq Dzukogi. I was working at a section of Ministers’ Village –the hotel we were lodged- dining hall when he arrived. Mukoma wa Thiong’o, Pa Ikhide, and Aaron Bady had arrived not long before and I’d gone to the reception to greet them so when Ssekandi – the festival’s official chauffeur – pulled into the driveway, I went out to see who else had come in.

As I greeted him and introduced myself, he hugged me. Then one of the minders  and I accompanied them upstairs to settle in. After we found their rooms, we all made to leave. I was going back to the ground floor to continue work; he offered to see me off a bit. When we got to the first floor (his room was on the third), we stopped to wrap up our chit chat. I didn’t see what happened next coming. It just did.

He cupped my face in his hands and kissed me.

I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t even processing. I just said, “Goodnight,” turned around and walked back to where I was working. As I sat, it began to hit me. Chijioke-Amunnadi kissed me. He kissed me…he…kissed me? He fucking kissed me?

Irritation. Anger.

This was the man I had never interacted with personally, not even on Facebook. We had just met and he’d kissed me. I didn’t even know him! As I processed, I began to calm myself. I had work to do, Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire and the Writivism team did not bring me to Uganda so I could spend time sorting feelings at Ministers’ Village hotel. As I continued working, he came downstairs to give me an autographed copy of his book. I thanked him and kept working.

The next days at Uganda found me avoiding him and getting irritated when he tried to come close or call me daughter. My roommate, Nneoma, knew my irritation for the man.

One night, he asked us to move into his room which was bigger than ours so he could move into ours, because a “friend” had come in and needed somewhere to stay. I disagreed but Nneoma calmed me and said it was just for the night. When we got to his room, he looked around and said it was big enough and we all could share. We disagreed.

Adeola would later see the massive doze of ‘attitude’ I dished him regularly. And even the night she and Nneoma asked me to go with them for a dinner that Chijioke ended paying for, I had mental workings to do and ensured nothing drew he and I close.
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I have heard things.

I don’t know Chijioke. I don’t know him at all.

Perhaps kissing me – without so much as a simple by-your-leave, may not count much in the scope of all that’s been blowing up for days but I heard the old man has been saying the girls he tried things with seduced him, they were cheap…I hope he hasn’t mentioned my name because the result will take the host of heaven to settle. My blood is that hot.

There are a few more things to say about my encounter with this man.

I hosted a project on 10 October 2015 for World Mental Health Day at University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Some of you may know about it. The Curator of the project invited Chijioke to perform as we were interpreting mental health issues through art. I had given the Curator sole right to decide on who got invited, so I chose to let things slide.

In the course of planning, we ran short of funds and she turned to Chijioke for help. He did. She was one of his “daughters” but as I’ll later discover, one of the few “daughters” he hadn’t tried to touch… Yet.

He gave a total of about 35,000 naira towards the event. I thanked him. And I kept him far.

But the old man still did not know his place and went on to attempt something with our Welfare Coordinator. He wanted to kiss her; he wanted to give her head. I wasn’t there when he said those things but she came back from performing her official duties and told me this.

It is important to mention the money part because I heard he said these girls – the ones he’s tried things with – were after his money.

Dem too love money.

– Mary Ajayi

… of kisses, rape, and a god of poetry

… of kisses, rape, and a god of poetry

Life is full of stories.

I have been kissed before, forcefully, by a man I was close to.

It happened years ago.

My mum had just died and I drifted to someone close because he was the only one that I felt understood me.

One day he kissed me against my wish, I told a few friends, they laughed, I pretended to laugh, we called him a fag and other names.

Inside I felt dirty, I felt betrayed, I felt life is full of people who will use and use you. For days I watched him move around freely, I remembered others who had the same experience but we kept silent, wounded, afraid nobody would believe us.

He was handsome, intelligent, and had a swag girls wanted. Who would believe someone like that defiled little boys?

It took me years to open my heart to a man, it took me years to sit down and talk to men without that fear hiding in my head. I swore to myself to always stand for those going through such because of what I felt, but these last few days has been hell.

I have been sick and still yet my head can’t just leave these issues. I have cried. I have called, I have tried to know the truth because in issues like these one has to be careful but the truth is always constant, it will always come out, it does not stay hidden forever.

It is often said that ten people can’t lie the same way. As a security personnel, one of the ways to detect lies in a witness is to have the person write his statement again and again and then you pick the truth from it.

The truth is bitter.

But it is a pill I must swallow.

No man should kiss people forcefully because he gives them things, goodness should not come at a price. It is wrong and what is wrong is wrong. I’m broken but one should always stand on the truth.

For those that think I’m an ingrate, I agree, I am but it could be your sister, it could be you…

Life is a funny place.

For those  that chose to speak out, even when people doubted you because of love and loyalty, I say you are my heroes, you have done more than I was able to do.

For snitches, I also say well done. Life is a funny place.

What more can I say, I have learnt. I will heal. Life is funny, life is real. I am no longer disappointed. People will always be people.

Selah.

Oluwasegun Romeo Oriogun

SEXISTS, FEMINISTS AND THAT SPACE BUS RIDE INTO 2016

SEXISTS, FEMINISTS AND THAT SPACE BUS RIDE INTO 2016

This year has seen a resurgence in women finding their voices and refusing to be shut down…

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This year has seen the transformation of your garden variety, everyday sexist into… The Thing!

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For some of us that are not comic or cartoon  or Manga buffs, The Thing is this mild-mannered young man who can hardly swallow even the water that has been placed on his lips. But watch him ‘rub’ his balls rings together … And he becomes this huge,  destructive troll with anger management problems.

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Sorry wrong picture

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Yup this picture…

So The Thing is the representative of the Nigerian Sexist Troll Cabal. A bunch of misogynistic types with mummy or daddy issues.

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This does not leave out the ‘cultural’ troll cabal like marketing outfits

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Bloggers who have perfected the art of victim blaming by turning stories upside down…

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The sheer El Stupido

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And the most heartbreaking… Parents

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But seriously you troll cabal guys need to up your game because it appears your bullying game is getting old…
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Of course feminists don’t take any prisoners…

Like bang!

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Boom!

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Boom!

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Oh and a quick reminder

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Happy New Year!!!

VIOLENCE AND THE NIGERIAN: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN I

VIOLENCE AND THE NIGERIAN: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN I

The Nigerian is a violent person. It is a wonder why “violence” has not been inscribed into Nigeria’s coat of arms, along with other words like “progress” and “unity” and “faith”.
The Nigerian’s relationship with violence begins early in life — you will not get what you want unless you are violent. A severe smack by a Nigerian parent to the person of an unwitting pesky baby, the momentary pause in the baby’s movements, the facial expression of betrayal on the baby’s face, succeeded by an explosion of a combination of cries of pain and helplessness. The Nigerian parent, undeterred, fails to register the protest of betrayal and smacks some more, simultaneously placing a single finger across his or her lips and shouting at the uncomprehending child to be quiet or “chop” more licks of the backhand.
This, is Nigerian Parenting 101, ordained by personally by God (or the Nigerian variant, as cynics are quick to point out), who does not mind the parent taking a bribe here or there, or doing something else not to be mentioned in certain types of company, to take proper care of their baby. Parent wants child to be quiet and will not stop smacking until child is quiet or stops the act that prompted the smacking. The child may comprehend in good time, as the months and years go by, violence’s importance in getting what one wants in the world, and internalizes this most valuable lesson.
Adolescents will however always be adolescents — forgetful breed that they are. Many babies will forget this lesson with the passage of time, some will stand up to their parents, either unknowingly or knowingly (perhaps after they have been told like I was told by a close friend when I was a teenager — “If you’ve not started disagreeing with your parents, you have not started growing up!”) The spanking gives way to full blown “discipline” which some unduly scrupulous lawyers whose heads have been filled with Westernisms may otherwise term “assault”. “I feed you in this house! I pay your school fees! You must do what I tell you! You must agree with everything I say!” is the admonition that accompanies the blows from the Nigerian parent to the now growing child. Sometimes, “I will kill you in this house if you don’t do what I tell you to do!” is the icing on the cake, the real yellow card, which for some becomes the red card and means of quick dispatch to the great beyond. This, is Nigerian Parenting 401, advanced level. These blows are dealt with a wide range of objects — brooms, clothes hangers, the koboko (the weapon of choice of the Nigerian society’s disciplinarian at large called the Nigerian military officer), iron rods and cutlasses (both said to be favoured by some officers of the Nigeria Police Force during “interrogations”), pestles for pounding yam, electric wires, the list is almost endless.

Adolescents can be quick learners too, actually, although they may be quick to dispose of old knowledge. If they have younger siblings, their parents have laid down a wonderful template for bringing younger siblings under control. “That story is not true!” younger sibling says to older teenage sibling. “You dare not disagree with me!” older adolescent sibling rebuts and gives younger sibling a thorough beating for daring to think for himself, just as his or her parent before them. The chain goes on, and may be reinforced when they see parent get into fisticuffs for a thing as mundane as two cars bruising each other, with parent at the wheels of one of the cars, mundane in the sense that reason should always trump force in such disputes. The lesson at this stage of the child’s development is clear — force shall always be better than reason, in the Nigerian scenario. To engage reason is folly, the Nigerian adolescent learns fast.  
The teenager becomes an adult, a man or a woman, after eighteen, or so says the law. This man or woman, will be called boy or girl, until he or she has children because a person who has no children of theirs, or is unmarried, has no mind of his or her own (it is the Nigerian way). One way to escape this denigration is to grow ancient features as quickly as possible. Only old people are permitted the privilege of a mind, and respect, although these features may not earn one stripes with the Nigerian armed forces; violence from them knows no discrimination. Elderly men are known to have been dealt koboko blows from time immemorial, by soldiers, for some offence as earthshaking as parking wrongly, or overtaking vehicles at military checkpoints. 

If the teenager, going on adulthood, is lucky to have tertiary education at a state-owned school, they may meet lecturers happy to entertain views divergent to theirs — a most unlikely event, even for those privileged enough to attend private tertiary institutions where it is widely reported that independence of thought is tacitly discouraged. There is a small respite from violence at this station in life, because many universities make expulsion a penalty for violent students, but as usual, this applies to those who have no godfathers. Elections into student union bodies are not for the faint of heart.

If you an aspirant who is apprehensive of being caught out as a violent individual, you can always have a crew willing to get its hands in the mud on your behalf. In the late nineties and noughties when I was a university student in Nigeria, no serious contender for any office at the national level of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) went to the national convention of that body without an assortment of weapons and charms to physically overcome the other. Many of those who occupied NANS executive positions at the time are now to be found in many political “high places” of today, including the National Assembly of the country. There was cultism as well, not the American brand of fraternities, the type of fraternities that killed difficult university lecturers and fellow students. The number of students who went on to graduate from these schools based on their abilities to muscle their ways through, become absorbed into the workforce due to educational attainments they cannot intellectually defend, and then climb to the top of the ladders of their organisations, corporate and public sector alike, will be an interesting statistic to behold, if an international or local NGO with or without a cause can manufacture a figure that will become the official standard. 

– Bolaji Olatunde