“….There is fire on the mountain, and nobody seems to be in the run, oh there is fire on the mountain top and no one is a –running” – that song by Asa depicts the moral decadence we have been romancing for a long time. Initially, we saw the smoke and pretended that it’s not our house. Then the fire ravaged and we watched it like a cinema far away on the mountain top. All of a sudden, the inferno collapse on our roofs, and unfortunately we are not fireproof. The fire is grazing steadily across the fields, with wild tongues licking angrily and sparing no hedge or fence within its reach. What shall we do about it? Shall we tell the president?
When we flagged off the campaign for the boy-child with our flagship 3-series Radio and Life &Leadership Lessons – “The Dough, The Oven and The Bread” and “Gender Equity”, we were first greeted with stiff oppositions, a defensive group think and then denial of occurrences. Over the years, the focus on the girl-child and the vanguard for women emancipation, feminism and other related yet distorted view left the boy-child at the mercy of his foolishness. Now with the Ireti Grammar School and the Falomo Senior High saga, many are running helter-skelter and thinking “what if it was my daughter?” Who told you it’s not your daughter?
Obalende is just the uncultured and uncouth end of a single continuum. Many “Ireti-grammar-school-episodes” are happening right under the roof of many parents in highbrow areas such as Lekki, Ikoyi, GRA Ikeja etc. where boys are smarter not to go to the street in frenzy rampage but organize civil parties, sleepovers, play dates, prom, movie dates where you drop your girls off and they get laid without a rage. The noise has left the marketplace long ago; the haggling is going on right at our doorstep. What will you do about it?
One of the major errors that has been globally committed and locally adopted is the noise of gender equality that lacks a foresight for the right balance. The girl-child has received so much attention, tutelage, training that you begin to ask the question, who are we training the girls for? Is it for the same boys who we have not taught responsibility, courtesy, dignity and respect for the female gender? Is it the same boy who crosses his legs with his father in the sitting room, watching whatever while the girls slave away in the kitchen? Is it the same boy who we allow to watch television late into the night or internet access, unguarded, uncensored, unmonitored? Every lesson learnt must be practised and experimented; so if a boy has been watching pornography for a long time, why won’t he charge like a possessed bull, looking for a wall to destroy?
Some women are shouting, bring them to book, arrest them and ensure they suffer the wrath of the law. I agree but fear for the future more than the presence. After the reprimands, then what next? Many that are calling for the heads of these boys have smokes oozing out of their roofs. Yes! Don’t be surprised, that the fire is burning right under your pillow, yet you are feeling the heat from your neighbour’s inferno. Shouldn’t we arrest the parents of these boys, as well as the society that has allowed this demonic behaviour thrive and flourish? We must not be short-sighted about our choices; we must realise that these boys have an army in the lower classes, who have been under their tutelage and apprenticeship, and who have been initiated into these rituals. What shall we do about this trail of smoke seeping into our tomorrow?
What we see today is the failure of parenting and an eroded value system. What will see today are anomalies that have existed in the fabric of our patriarchal cultural heritage which gives the rein of leadership to boys without requisite skills and maturity. The global encroachment of modernization, the influx of strange practices, the exposure to bad media and the moral disruption orchestrated by the internet has contributed in no small measures to this decay. Let’s asked ourselves, how the boys got to this place of self-destruction? A lot of boys have been raped and abused at very tender ages. Many were introduced to sex, homosexuality stealing, smoking and other vices by uncles, house helps, neighbours and friends at very tender ages.
The society unconsciously requires of the boys a conspiracy of silence befitting of a man worth his mettle. The society expects boys to keep quiet, swallow the large bubbles of air that accomplished the tears, holding every drop within the confines of the lower eyelid because boys don’t cry. We have succeeded in breeding a generation of monsters that will cross breed with the well behaved to birth smarter clones who will know how to be good and bad at the same time without suspicion. They must and will take out their frustration on the society because of their mental imbalance and loss of identity.
You hear fathers and mothers shouting on the girls, “Don’t allow the boys to touch you.” Yet nobody warns the boy that you don’t drill every hole you see. Nobody tells the boys that the sexual urge and desire are perfectly normal evidence of puberty which gives no license for sexual experimentation with self, girls or other boys. Nobody holds the virginity of the boys as a trophy to treasure or a prize to chase. How many of us have called our boys and told them about the consequences they will suffer if they rape a girl? We are all choking on the smoke of our choices and must look for a long term reformative solution to wipe out this decadence.
It is not just about the boys alone, but about us, the oven, baking bad unwholesome bread. How have we been kneading the dough? Are we always there to regulate the temperature as required? We can start from the place of physical, mental and moral engagement with these boys by introducing certain teachings into their everyday lifestyle through the school. We must start by engaging parents on good parenting and how we have missed it over the years.
We must go back to the cultural heritage where a child is raised by a village and the community. We must tell our people to drop the camera and cease the video coverage and attend to issues in public spaces rather than gather history not worth watching. We must demand not just the head of these boys to grace the platter of our anger but their heart to receive the healing it requires. Remember, there isn’t any perfect moment, we need to be genuine about our desire for change.