She was young when they got married. He was a teacher but she had never seen the four walls of a school. However, she craved so much to get formal education. He promised he would ensure she got one after marriage.
But it didn’t work out exactly that way. Shortly after she moved in, he modified his promise; now he would teach her every evening rather than allow her attend a regular school. She was desperate for education. She had no options. She agreed.
The first evening was an exciting one as she sat with him, after he had taken his meals, for her first lesson.
The second evening was equally good. She soaked up the day’s lesson like a new sponge.
The third evening wasn’t as smooth, as she had to practically drag him from a relative’s house, where he had retired to after his meals, before he grudgingly got down to the day’s class.
By the fourth evening, however, he could no longer pretend that all was well.
When she approached him for her lesson, he told her that it would no longer hold, with an explanation, of course.
He told her, “You see, you’re already this smart without going to school. It means that if I continue with these lessons and you become educated, you will sell me someday”.
It was meant to be a joke, but that was the official end of her dream. A dream killed by the same man who had sworn to love and protect her.
So when the video of the grammar-challenged Hon. Muhammed Gudaji Kazuare of the House of Representatives went viral recently I couldn’t help but remember the above story as narrated by a senior friend about how her mother’s dream of getting an education was truncated by a father who was afraid of what possibilities there are with an educated wife.
It was the same fear that the 45-year-old honourable member representing Kazaure/Roni/Gwiwa/Yankwash, Jigawa State in the green chamber shared recently, without mincing his words.
Forget the theatrics that spiced the honourable’s submission that day at the floor of the House, he was damn scared of the true worth of a woman; a worth men like him would sooner die than embrace.
It’s now obvious that only a few exceptional men can handle the reality that a woman who truly becomes that which the creator intends her to be, will ever remain a force that cannot be conquered.
It’s the same fear that makes a man insist that his wife should sit at home without any form of financial empowerment or independence, even when every fibre of her being yearns otherwise.
It’s the same fear that drives some men to constantly beat the crap out of their wives, hoping that she will never be able to gather her wits enough in between the senseless beatings to become all that she could have
been…as a woman.
It’s the fear that fuels the emotional and psychological abuse many women experience in the hands of their husbands, whose real aim is rob them of their womanly dignity until they begin to see themselves as worthless creatures who can exist only by a husband’s grace.
It’s all about controlling the woman really. Many men want the woman on a short leash because deep down in his subconscious, every man knows that the woman is capable of much more than the society has ever given her credit for.
But you see, maybe these men shouldn’t have to apply these extremely crude measures to keep the woman down, the women themselves have been doing a good job of that already.
Every time a woman sees a man merely as a meal ticket and not a partner with whom she can grow together and also further her environment, she denies all the goodness allotted her at creation and also relinquishes her claim to true greatness.
Every time a woman is content to be just a wife and live all her life only in pursuant of the marriage goal, she diminishes her potential and also declares herself unfit for a higher office.
Every time a woman believes that all she needs in life is a functional ovary, uterus and other reproductive organs to be productive; that being a baby mama can indeed become a career that would ensure her economic survival, she is inciting men to take undue liberties with her.
But beyond regular chants of equality and development, usually intoned with greater fervour during March of every year, who truly understands the jewel that is a woman?
Beyond the various roundtables on March 8 of every year to celebrate the International Women’s Day, do the various participatory organisations and the women themselves ever bother to go beneath the rhetoric and discover that which makes the woman truly special?
And for as long as parents and guardians continue to wrongly educate girls and young women on their purpose, placing wifehood and motherhood before them as the ultimate crown; the woman’s true worth may forever remain the proverbial book with seven seals.