By Reno Omokri
The article from last week’s The Economic magazine, titled ‘Nigeria’s demand for fancy wigs fuels a global trade’, reveals our shallowness in Nigeria. If you have not read it, I urge you to read it. It may shock you to know the extent to which the world is acutely aware of the growing cultural rejection of our Nigerian heritage by contemporary Nigerian society.
It starts with this line ‘Hair from EVERYWHERE adorns Nigerian heads’. The writer describes how Nigerians “grovel” (their exact words) over “long, straight hair”.
We spend more money on human hair than we spend on books. Looks matter to us more than knowledge. According to Reuters, in 2014, Africa spent $6 billion on human hair. And they say we are poor.
Sadly, as The Economist investigative report shows, what we import as ‘human hair’ in Africa is not always human hair. It is often a synthesis of human and animal hair. A lot of it is untreated and unhealthy and is causing various types of hair and scalp issues.
Obviously, African women need role models that demonstrate to them that there is nothing wrong with looking African from head to toe.
No matter what you want to say about Maryam Babangida, she was the epitome of Nigerian beauty. Always in her natural hair. Always in local fabrics (spectacularly tailored to achieve breathtaking results). Black, unbleached and beautiful! With poise, panache and confidence. No First Lady before or after her was her equal!
And it is not just that Maryam was beautiful and had poise; she was also intelligent. The Better Life for Rural Women was the first and best of all the First Lady intervention projects in Nigeria, again, bar none!
It was futuristic. It was meaningful. It was grassroots focused. It made sense. It was not vain. Maryam Babangida understood the impact of empowering women. When you empower a woman, you empower the community.
And even in my own family, I have personally seen the impact of empowering women.
When my father was ill, my oldest sister left her job to stay with him. My next oldest sister left her business to work shifts with her. My next oldest sister simply moved in with my parents as a live-in carer.
None of us boys left our business or work. Yet African men foolishly complain when they have only girls? Rather than complain, such men should realise that they have hit the jackpot! Each of their daughters is worth three sons!
Having a daughter prolongs your life. She will not get into as much trouble as your sons. She is less likely to be disobedient. When she leaves your house, she will remember you. If you are too old to live alone, she will move you into her home, marital or not. African men should thank God when they have daughters!
And if that daughter is anything like Maryam, then you have not only hit the jackpot, you have won the lottery itself.
Almost all the so-called pet projects that came after her (but not all), were vain attempts to replicate what Maryam Babangida started. And for all the media exaggerations of the faults of Nigeria’s first family from August 1985 to August 1993, in hindsight, the team of Maryam and Ibrahim Babangida were not as bad as the media portrayed them to be.
Together, they were charming. The exuded more warmth than strength. They were both personable personalities and, but for the annulment of June 12, 1993, they had set Nigeria on a course of steady progress.
But, the thing I most celebrate about them is that they were unapologetically Nigerian. Much like his wife, no other Nigerian leader made it a point of duty to wear Nigerian outfits from all over Nigeria.
I remember that when out of uniform, General Babangida, as President would sometimes were a Yoruba style agbada, sewn in aso-oke like material, which, along with his middle name, Badamasi, gave rise to the urban legend that he is a Yoruba man passing himself off as a Northerner (he is not).
I recall watching General Babangida as military President, attending the Nigerian Music Awards, and even presenting one of the awards.
It matters what leaders do because followers tend to copy their leaders. Africa needs leaders who believe in themselves and their people. We do not need leaders who feel inferior to Western and increasingly Chinese leaders. We need leaders who epitomise the African idyll, in their appearance, demeanour and outlook.
Too much money leaves Africa to Europe and Asia to buy bleaching creams, human hair, champagne, and other products that are a complete waste of our scarce resources.
I remember once watching a comedy in the late 90s with a scene where the main character walked into a room and asked the occupants if they had seen a Black woman with blonde hair. Those in the room looked at him as though he were bonkers.
Alas, today, if that man asked the same question, those in the room would answer ‘we have seen many Black women with blonde hairs today. Can you be more specific’?
We have to stop aping White Europeans. Being Black and African is more than adequate. You do not need to adopt Western standards of beauty. We also do not have to adopt their culture. Adapt, maybe. Adopt, definitely not.
For example, when you do a white wedding and then do a traditional African wedding, you have not done a Christian wedding and a traditional one. You have actually wasted your money by doing two traditional weddings. Read Scripture from cover to cover, and you will never find a church wedding. In fact, the word ‘church’ does not even appear in Scripture. Church is a word that appeared in The Bible, which is a translation of Scripture. The original Scriptural word translated church is actually Ekklesia, which means gathering.
Nobody in Scripture married in an Ekklesia, Synagogue, or temple. ALL Scriptural marriages were done in the home (Genesis 24:67), and marriage was considered solely a family matter. Yeshua Hamashiach, our Lord and Saviour, attended the wedding at Cana as a Guest in a home. John 2:2 is very clear. It says, “Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.” He was not there as the Officiating Minister. Stop allowing church, priests and pastors fool you. Church marriage is unnecessary and unscriptural and is purely a scheme for financial exploitation.
The power a priest or pastor has to say, ‘I now pronounce you man and wife’, comes from man, not God. There is no Scriptural authority for that. God Himself pronounces you married once your parents consent to your union. It is a family affair! This is how God defines marriage-“a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one”-Genesis 2:24.
I have read Scripture from cover to cover in multiple languages and the original languages. Scripture has no instance of a wedding in a church, temple, or synagogue. Isaac married at home (Gen 24:67). Christ attended a wedding at a HOME as a Guest (John 2:2-10). He played no role during the wedding. The changing of water to wine was for the party. Isaiah was a prophet. When he wanted to marry a fellow prophetess, all he did was invite two witnesses. And immediately, the woman moved into his home (Isaiah 8:2-3). No ceremony at all. Are you holier than Isaiah? Hosea’s marriage was captured in only one verse-Hosea 1:3.
God made marriage EASY. It is humans who made it complicated. Church has no business with weddings. The idea of a church wedding is a creation of the Roman Catholic Church to raise money. It has nothing to do with godliness. It is just like a bank introducing a new financial product to boost revenue. ALL churches doing it copied it from the Catholic Church and not from Scripture. Your parents bless your marriage, not any priest, pastor or church.
A government marriage registry is only meant to REGISTER a marriage that has already occurred when you accepted a woman as your wife. That is why it is called a marriage registry. You don’t marry there. You record marriage there!
The ONLY people involved are
No pastor or church is involved! It’s a family affair.
I see many young men chasing women and asking for their numbers. Sadly, they are going about it the wrong way. If they chase success and get the right numbers in their account, it is them that women will chase. Nothing is as attractive as success! Let me break it down for you: Women are not interested in men that chase them. Materialistic women are interested in men that chase wealth. Vain women are interested in men that chase power. Godly women are interested in men that pursue God. No woman is interested in men that chase women!
You have the power to summon a stronger positive thought into your mind whenever a negative thought attempts to break into your mind