By Binta Suleiman Gaya
While dancing around in circles; you marry off a young girl, without education or skill, to a man of similar status, probably was once a beggar himself and never learnt a trade beyond selling pure water on the roads.
She is divorced with five kids and returns home. Family that sent off one member in order to rest, now has six to cater for. Poverty doubles.
New divorcee goes into part time Benylin, part time prostitution and part time house maid’s job.
We see them every day, hire them to work as maids in our homes, and many of them can’t make ordinary pap ( koko) satisfactorily. They were raised by mostly unskilled uneducated poor parents with little exposure to modernity.
Government decides it has had enough of that wayward divorcee and organises a free mass wedding.
At this mass wedding, less than 0.5% of the divorcees are honored with a husband, a furniture with all domestic work paraphernalia and she is sent off to her new marital home. Nothing new she muses to herself.
Meanwhile, mass wedding looks appealing. Oga with four wives decides to divorce the troublesome one, and perhaps the oldest wife.
Two more divorcees hit the market. The number of existing divorcees swells again.
So, for a 0.5 solution to the divorcee problem, you double the main trouble.
In essence, the chief divorcer which is, the man remains at the center of the problem. He continues to throw more women into the divorce arena and folds his hands while government tries ever so gingerly, albeit not so strategically, to take care of man’s problem. Man the center of the universe.
If that is the situation, why not just stop the rampant divorce? Or at least tame the monster to only the most reasonable cases? Why create more problems when you solve only a few? What happens to free choices? Happiness?
In truth, of all the women up for free marriage organised by the state, most are not skilled, or educated or from rich homes or even empowered. Doesn’t that tell us; it’s a question of value and not just want?
When you raise the status of women, educate them, provide them with skills and empower them to become capable of standing on their own feet materially, their value increases. They become like that small generator, “I pass free marriage”.
If that is true, then why don’t we use the funds for free marriage into for example, training of CHEWS ie community health extension workers, agricultural extension workers, literacy programs, etc that provide skills and jobs and improve our communities? A worker with skills finds husband any day. A divorcee without job is a liability and a burden nobody wants to incur. Except government!
Isn’t it a simple logic then? Why then do we persist in error? Why do we like dancing around in circles like a cursed generation?
Let’s think about it as we inch closer to 2019 polls.
Binta Suleiman Gaya, a lecture in the department of Mass Communications Bayero University Kano first published this article on her Facebook account
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