Elder and the school principal

At a colloquium recently, I almost got myself into trouble by my inability to keep quiet and nod along as others. An elderly man in his mid seventies, university lecturer and head of department in his university ‘made’ me voiced out. The seminar was fantastic, educative and inspiring. The purpose of the colloquium was to get speakers to talk about religion and its many influences from different perspectives and how we could use our differences in religious affiliation to our advantage rather than another tool to further divide us.

Then on the second day during a Q & A session, one thing led to another and a university head of department – *Dr Agbaje was answering a question and to buttress his points he cited an example of one time his sister had issue with her boss, the school principal.

According to Dr Agbaje, his sister, *Ms Aminat, a teacher liked to wear hijab to school. This was a Catholic school. So one day the school principal *Mrs Gbotie explained to Ms Aminat that the school policy is against class teachers wearing hijab. Because of this Ms Aminat went home to her to report the headteacher to her big brother and the big brother Dr Agbaje followed Ms Aminat to school and made huge scene and eventually slapped the school principal. Also threatened to take Mrs Gbotie to court for discriminating against Aminat based on her religion.

By the time Dr Agbaje finished his story all I could remember was his rude attitude towards the school principal.

Most adult women in Nigeria wear headscarf of some sorts so wearing headscarf is not unique to Muslims alone actually many Christians will never expose their heads in public and so are the atheists. I felt there was a missing link in the story.

If you are a teacher in a Catholic school based in SW Nigeria, Aminat probably did not attend her job interview with hijab on. Changing attitude after getting the job is deceptive and I am not sure why Dr Agbaje refused to see the principal’s point of view and try to manage the situation in a civilised manner.

There are a few things wrong with Dr Agbaje using this example especially at this colloquium;

 

In a society such as Nigeria where gender inequality is very wide, Dr Agbaje would never do this to a male principal but it was easier for him to show his male superiority complex by demonstrating to his sister how raw women have it in our society. SCORE!

So I ask Dr Agbaje why he thought using a violent example was appropriate in a gathering where we were trying to make sense of religious atrocity we found ourselves? I asked him what slapping Aminat’s principal achieved? Dr Agbaje was not only shocked but was not pleased I questioned his actions, so when he had a chance to say something he was quick to repeat himself saying he would do the same given same circumstances.

If you’d thought your view of the world will widen positively when you get to university, just imagine being stuck in the same department with Dr Agbaje for four years – That’s a torture.

Then it occurred to me that elders like Dr Agbaje are the way they are today because they have never been challenged not in public at least. Maybe the problem lies with the women for not speaking up when their voice is most needed.

We can respectfully disagree in public too without disrespecting our elders, at least by doing so we are giving comfort to ourselves, peers around that not everyone shares violent way of resolving conflicts, there is a better way – it’s called dialogue.

When Dr Agbaje was leaving at the end of the seminar, he left an autographed book for at the hotel with reference to pages quoting holy book. He left the most charming note starting with “Dear Sister…” The note was a nice surprise as I had thought he’d break my legs after the seminar but Dr Agbaje was a gentleman afterall despite his skewed views on important social issues. I am grateful for that gesture. Still have the book on my bedside table since April each time I looked at it, I just had to smile.

 

* – Not their real names



Categories: Africa, Education, Myths I grow up with, Nigeria

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

24 replies

  1. Somebody already said it all, don’t be fooled by his supposedly kind gesture. Nigerians especially people in position of authority still have a long way to go. A pastor ( Bishop Oyedepo) slapping a member of the congregation in the full glare of the public. A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly beating mercilessly a pregnant banker, the lists endless. The one that took the cake was the daughter of a school owner insisting that a teacher must kneel down to apologise to her in the presence of the students because the students did not do very well in a competition, when I heard, I wept not because she was told to kneel down but because she did. She should have refused, we have to start somewhere. The professor wasn’t ashamed of his act otherwise he would not have bragged about it in the first place. I wonder why people are surprised that Patient Jonathan has ordered the stoning of people ‘asking for change’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder, wouldn’t it just be the bomb if he wrote about his thoughts about women rights in Nigeria in the book? LOL

    His kind are charlatans, don’t let the gesture fool you. If you ask me, you should have that book up on a mantle piece or frame it and hang it, treating it like a trophy you won for putting the clown in his place in public. As a teacher, I have had first hand experience of how badly some people treat lowly teachers. And to learn of a fellow instructor of students treating another in such a despicable manner, it enrages me beyond words.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I read this and kept nodding my hear in agreement to everything you said. Violence is never a fitting response to anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Two of the issues that continue to plague Nigeria’s social firmament are raised here: my-way-or-the-highway and women-as–footmats by quite a sizable chunk of the male species. It’s often subtle, especially in the South but it’s there, all the same.

    Very true that OUR Dr. Agbaje would never have slapped a guy because ever present at the back of his mind (like most men) is perhaps the fright that the other guy’s hand may hit harder.

    Thanks for issuing all these very simple, down-to-earth but basic to the Nigerian’s DNA write-ups. It should help any with an ounce of Nigerian blood look deeper with a view to working hard at cleaning out the not-so-nice traits, and help non-Nigerians understand The Nigerian better.

    TOLA.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. what can I say? (I know, I know, it’s all the fault of my ‘boy’ jonathan!) “teacher don’t teach nonsense”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can always count on you to get my 32 exposed!

      Liked by 1 person

      • what can I say, your ‘president’ is my second favorite African leader (mr Mugabe remains numero uno in my book: god bless him!) and I wish him all the success in the world!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yea, God has no option but to keep blessing them while the nation survive on scraps. Presido Jona has his own very mouthpiece of God aka Redeemed Church GO Daddy and Ayo Oritsejafor- both guys have their own jet private jets in the name of Jesus christ our lord, business is good!

          And for Mugabe, his wife is taking over him – she recently had a doctorate degree after studying so hard for two whole weeks! Who says Africa is not a country?!

          God has a job to do – a big one. I reckon African politicians judgement will be the last on His list, He will need the seventh day of resting this time, no doubt!

          Like

          • ah, yes, madame mugabe, what a gem, what a shining example of female worthiness! bless her, if the good people of zimbabwe can ‘survive’ her husband, perhaps upon his death their eyes will open and burden be relieved by her immediate relocation/exile to the south of france – or perhaps chelsea/london – god willing (and i know he is)

            Liked by 1 person

  6. I honestly think that slapping or any form of violence act towards the principal was uncalled for. Words are enough to sort out issues without any physicality. Although, it was a nice gesture on his part towards the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have a way of always making me smile when you discuss our issues with so much realism and humour. I love

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Teacher don’t teach me nonsense

    Like

Trackbacks

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