Posts Tagged ‘YORUBA’


December 25, 2011

Mrs.Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Alao Adedayo-Founder/savior of Yoruba Language thru his GREAT newspaper Alaroye! Do Your own part and BUY it every week, get your children to read it- FIGHT TO SAVE Yoruba Language. FROM DYING!

I stumbled four times to make Alaroye a success story – Alao Adedayo

July 8, 2011

Musa Alao Adedayo, a.k.a Agbedegbeyo, is the Publisher/Chief Executive Officer, World Information Agents Limited, the publishing company of the popular Yoruba newspaper, ALAROYE. He spoke to BASHIR ADEFAKA about himself and how he stumbled four times to get it right with the vernacular paper that has today become a success story in the newspaper industry in Nigeria. Excerpt

How did you start out in life?

I am a Muslim but I am not a biased person because God Himself never loved a biased person.  But those who know me from the beginning used to call me Alao Agbedegbeyo.  When I talk of people who know me from the beginning, they are people from the  70s, early 80s and so on.

I came from Abeokuta to Lagos in 1980 doing Ewi (lyrics) artist.  In those days as an Ewi person, you must be attached to a particular musician and I was with Dele Abiodun, who was like my master.  Ewi was like side-attraction at a show and it would come on stage while the musician and his band members were taking a rest.

I had also participated in some dramas through the likes of Jide Kosoko, Ishola Ogunsola, (Dr. I. Show Pepper) and Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello).  It was because of the Ewi that I used to present in those days that Jide Kosoko would always come to Dele Abiodun’s shows.  He would say to me, “Alao, we are having an outing somewhere and I want you to perform your Ewi there,” and I would say no problem.

How did Ewi correlated with the broadcaster that you were?

By and large as God would have it, through that channel, as I have mentioned before, I became a broadcaster.  Sometime in 1979, Radio Lagos started a programme called, Kebuyeri, which was mainly for the Awada Kerikeri group that was then run by Adebayo Salami popularly called Oga Bello.  We went to a show at Ebute Metta and Adebayo Salami and his group members had also come to that show.

It was there he saw me and said, “Ah, Alao! Radio Lagos has just given us a programme and we want you to be in it” and I said no problem.  We didn’t even discuss money because what was more important to us at that time was the job.  That was how we started the programme and it became overwhelmingly popular turning me into a celebrity.

Behind that programme, a plan was going on by the management of Radio Lagos and the producer of the programme, Adebayo Tijani, communicated to me that management was talking about me and that was how I became a newscaster with Radio Lagos reading Yoruba news at that time.

I left Radio Lagos in 1981, which was a real year of politicking in the country.  Then, Radio Nigeria Ikeja which was established within that time was located in Ikoyi and in fact when we were there, we were always abusing and calling them, “Agberekusu f’ohun Ikeja” that is, people who were on the Island claiming to be speaking from Ikeja (laughs).  I eventually found myself at the Radio Nigeria Ikeja and later NTA but I did not stay long before I left.

When you left service, where did you go?

When we joined broadcasting, most of us did not get the job because of our educational qualifications and so, when I left the NTA, it was an opportunity for me to now go and improve myself, which then took me to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) and then the universities for my first and later second degrees.

How did Alaroye come into the show?

It was in May 1985 when I was 25 and while I was still working as a Yoruba newsreader with the NTA that I decided to try my hands in publishing, which brought about the Alaroye.  Between May and October of 1985, I was only able to publish four editions of the tabloid that was meant to be weekly.  I was doing it alone because I had no such money to hire people.   It thus became a staggered publication because it was a one-man’s idea and as a result, no prospective partner was willing to support or invest in the business.  It was also like that because Yoruba newspaper business at that time was seen as a barren land.  So, naturally, it died.

Further effort was made at resuscitating the paper in 1990 but it couldn’t get to the vendors,  though it was being published. It was to be launched that year so that some funds could be raised. On the day of the launching, a prominent member of the community who was a friend of both the chief launcher and chairman, Lai Balogun, died. So it was a wrong day for the Alaroye’s show as the whole community was thrown into mourning and no one remembered the launch.

In 1994 when I made the third attempt at the publication, I was convinced that Alaroye would one day emerge a success story because, for four weeks, I was able to publish the weekly paper consecutively and throughtout the period,  it was well circulated and generally accepted.

And because I had acquired more knowledge about all it required to make a successful print media, Alaroye was able to stand and  able to meet the standard of a newspaper. Yet, it couldn’t go far because I could not raise the required fund to keep it going.  And for two years, it remained like that until July 2, 1996, when we were able to revisit it and tried our best to make it what it is today.  That was the fourth attempt and it has now come to stay.

I thank God that today, Alaroye is seen not as a happenstance, but a planned revolution in the newspaper industry in Nigeria.  And it is so because, no Yoruba newspaper has been so successful because most of the earlier issues, people have said, were translataion of English newspapers or repetition of news items already carried on radio and television.

Alaroye is original for its thorough analysis, research works and investigative journalism that many have appreciated as having put the newspaper on a very high pedestal. It informs, educates, entertains and analyses events as they unfold through the Yoruba culture. For this, it circulates in Nigeria, wherever Yoruba domicile, with the print run sometimes as high as 150,000 copies per week.  I have the reason to really thank God today because, in Nigeria, particularly among the Yorubas, Alaroye is a language. It is the culture.

The Conference of Yoruba Leaders showcased by your newspaper, which debuted in 2002, hasn’t seemed to produce any result considering the fact that Yorubas are still intolerably disunited.  What is the problem?

The problem we have in Yorubaland is the way we play our own politics.  What Alaroye is trying to do is to serve as a bridge to bring all the leaders together.  There is need for a connecting point, which will connect all Yoruba people with one another.  We have very, very intelligent, well exposed and highly patriotic sons and daughters of Yorubaland.  We cannot run away from the fact that we are Yorubas; we had been Yoruba people before Nigeria and we will remain Yoruba people within Nigeria.

Yes, political party differences are there but we should be able to know that there is difference between politics and governance.  So, during election, you can abuse and criticize yourselves but once election is over, issue of governance becomes the central point while politicking is set aside for another election season.  And if you are the governor, you should see yourself as the father of all, as the head of government and people should see the governor beyond his party but as the leader that all of us should relate well with as one of our own.

In the year 2002, I went to Papa Abraham Adesanya and I said to him, “E ma bawon se oselu.  Ema bawon da si oro oselu.  Asiwaju Yoruba ni ki’e je” (That Papa should not be part of politics other Yorubas played but that he should be okay with himself as Leader of the Yoruba Nation).

He asked me why.  We talked a lot about it and he agreed with me.  Not only that I went to discuss it with him, we made it a critical editorial issue, which some of the Afenifere members then responded to.



October 19, 2010


Old play, new language
Edozie Udeze 17/10/2010 00:00:00

Who is Afraid of Solarin? a play by Professor Femi Osofisan, has always been a symbolic one. It is so because it is a comic treatise on what makes Nigeria and Nigerians unique. In the play, Osofisan uses plenty of comic scenes and statements to portray the story of a society where things work upside down. The name Solarin is used symbolically because of his role in trying to give a better direction to Nigerians and to the Nigerian state. The play chronicles Nigeria’s many socio-political problems in such a way that the audience are made to feel the impact while the play is on stage. You can’t help but laugh and hiss and then wonder the sort of society Nigeria is and why the people are what they are.

This was why it was selected as the independence play this year by the trio of Mufu Onifade, Tunde Kelani and the Lagos State government. However, the play which was translated into the Yoruba language by Dotun Ogundeji as Yeepa! Solaarin Nbo!!, is meant to send home the message to the larger Yoruba theatre audience.

In this new experiment, the message is supposed to sink deeper, so that people who love to see the lighter side of Nigerian myriad of problems dramatized on stage, would have a better view of it. The few days the play was on stage in Lagos last week proved that a lot of people were really eager to laugh away the problems of the society. Not only that the artistes led by Ropo Ewenla were on top of their game on stage, the large turnout of theatre lovers showed that the choice of the play was apt and appropriate.

To make the play appeal more to the audience, the producers introduced an opening glee. This marriage of convenience between opening glee and full-length drama presentation was Mainframe and National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) Lagos chapter’s synergetic way of joining the Lagos State government in celebrating the 50th independence anniversary of Nigeria. This way, there was no moment of boredom. The artistes were able to appeal to the audience to wake up to the realities of the moment; to make Nigeria great.

Is this Nigeria of our dreams in 1960? That seemed to be the question raised on stage by the actors. Ewenla, the lead character was able to convince the audience that we need to do more; we need to work harder and be more honest to make Nigeria a better place for all and sundry.
Yeepa! Is an exclamation that something hilarious or ominous is about to happen and that people should sit up to welcome it. This situation calls for an acclaim, calling the Nigerian people that there are more than meet the eye. Solarin was an enigma of some sort when he was alive. Although the name is hyperbolic in a way, it goes to portray a visionary leader who saw long before now what the Nigerian society portended. Now the play in his name says it all.

Anywhere this play goes on stage, the euphoric appeal it gives leaves much to be desired. The Yoruba version of it also did much more; the message seeped deeper into the fabric of the audience whose laughter and hisses tore deep into the night. And so, it is kudos to Onifade for his sense of humour and wisdom. The play truly helped to embellish the mood of the moment and bring Nigerians back to that moment of reflection.

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October 18, 2010

original from

Film to the rescue of indigenous languages
The Arts Oct 17, 2010

For Nigerian indigenous languages to be preserved and saved from total extinction, there is an imperative need for the government at all levels to encourage the production of indigenous language films reports, Benjamin Njoku.

This was the observation of over 300 film makers, scriptwriters, directors, stakeholders and industry operators who gathered in Akure, Ondo State capital last week, for this year’s edition of the annual, Behind the Screen festival of indigenous languages, now known as, Festival of Indigenous African Language Films.

The festival, which held between October 3 and October 9, at Owena International Hotels, Akure saw the participants drawn from different parts of the country urging the government at all levels to consider the option of giving Nigeria’s indigenous language films a boost as a way of preserving such languages as well as saving them from total extinction as presently being threatened by global statistics.

They also asked the government to begin to pay more attention to the motion picture industry, which according to them, has not only brought global recognition to the country but also, is capable of becoming a veritable alternative to oil economy.

Professor Tunde Babwale, Director-General of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation(CBAAC) who chaired the occasion posited the need for government to support film makers, noting that indigenous language films are critical to the development of any nation. He lamented the steady relegation of these languages, arguing that out of the 500 languages spoken across the ethnic groups in the country, only 84 of them are still in use.

Arguing further, Professor Babawale whose parastatal co-sponsored the event said the use of African indigenous films is also a means of propagating African tradition, culture and norms. “Promotion of our indigenous languages are the manual of development. There is no better way to market our country and our culture other than through film. It has a two fold ways of communication ; audio and visual.” he emphasized.

On CBAAC partnership with Remdel, organisers of the annual festival, Professor Babawale said, Remdel shares similar vision with CBAAC. “This is not our first partnership we were part of the festival last year. We want to use this film festival to project African culture and we also want to use it as an opportunity to show that our language can help in enriching our faith. We believe that there no better way to preserving our cultural heritage than the instrumentality of langauge.”Professor Babawale further stressed.

In her good will message, the wife of the Ondo State Governor, Mrs Olukemi Mimko, while commending the organisers of the 6-day event for taking the lead and for the bold step which would also bring the state to limelight urged parents and guidance to endeavour to teach their wards how to speak the local languages. She observed that despite the fact that “film serves as a medium of correcting societal ills, communication, relaxation and dissemination of information, it has equally found its way into our very existence such that the politicians are now using the film makers to achieve their political ambition.”

The First Lady however took a swipe at the state of th industry, lamenting the rate at which producers churn out obscene movies.

She observed that most of the movies are gradually eroding the rich cultural values of Nigeria, most especially the Yoruba culture, which she said, lays much emphasis on moderate dressing.

While advocating the need for the film makers to control the content of their works, the First Lady said obscene scenes are gradually eroding the qualitative works of the industry. She therefore urged the relevant agency saddled with the content check of the films to put in place a strict measure that would sanction producers who shoot obscene films.

Delivering a lecture entitled “Like Father Like Son: Random Reflection on Yoruba Society and the Yoruba Video-Films”, Professor Wole Ogundele, the Director-General of the Centre for Culture and International Understanding, Osogbo, Osun State, concluded that given the danger of extinction faced by African indigenous languages, any positive attempts and strategies to ensure their survival and preservation should be encouraged without any further delay.

According to the erudite Professor, who has a wide and varied knowledge of the film industry, in the absence of a vigorous language literature, the video-film remains one artistic form that is keeping the language alive in the creative and intellectual arena.

“Many African languages, including Yoruba which is spoken by millions of people along the West African coast, are already in danger and will become a threatened language.If it is the indigenous language films that will rescue our languages from that tragedy of eventual extinction, then, rather than crucify the film makers, let us salute them.” he concluded.

Other keynote speakers at the event, included Femi Odugbemi, film maker, who spoke on “The future of Film Distribution in Nigeria”, Mr Dele Oni, General Manager, NTA, Akure, Mr Dele Odule, ANCOP president,Mr Alex Eyengho, Mr Greg Odutayo, president, NANTAP and Dr. Gbemisola Adeoti, who also delivered paper on, “Advancing the role of Women in Politics using the film medium” amongst other speakers.


October 15, 2010


original from

Friday, October 15, 2010

Remember me as somebody who promotes use of mother tongue in schools —Fafunwa
By Segun Olugbile
Wednesday, 13 Oct 2010


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Babatunde Fafunwa
This interview, conducted by SEGUN Olugbile, is believed to be the last Prof. Babatunde Fafunwa granted on September 30 this year. It is being repeated here in honour of the former education minister, who died on Monday, October 11.

On whether Nigeria has a reason to celebrate 50th anniversary.

Yes, we have reasons to celebrate when you consider the fact that as a nation, we are still one. In spite of our challenges we have managed to survive up till now and this makes you to want to believe the joke that God is a Nigerian. If you look at it from this perspective, you will discover that the anniversary is worth celebrating. However, we should not do anything grandiose while celebrating, our celebration should be done soberly, we should do an agonising self-appraisal of our situation so as to determine what we should be doing after October 1, 2010.

Assessement of the education sector.

That’s a tough call, but I’ll try. You should be mindful of this fact that when you are dealing with a small number of students with surplus facilities and well-motivated cum quality teachers, quality will be guaranteed and so there will be a big gap in quality when doing the same with a huge number of students in a crowded classroom, using inadequate and obsolete equipment and with disillusioned teachers. Before and shortly after independence facilities were superb, we had fewer number of students, teachers’ welfare was adequate and the general environment was good. We had large classes with fewer pupils and I think this made us to forget that a classroom is not expandable and there would be need to build more classes and train more quality teachers. In 1960 the total number of pupils we had in primary schools was less than five million while the number of secondary school pupils was less than a million. But by the time the Universal Primary Education was introduced, population of primary school pupils increased to 15 million while those in secondary schools rose to over two million. This is a sizeable increment but quality was lacking.

The same yardstick could be used for universities because in 1960 we had one university and that is the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and not the University of Ibadan as a lot of people believe. Though UI had been in existence since 1948, it was just a college under the University of London; it was not until 1962 that it became autonomous. The Ashby Commission had recommended the establishment of four universities at Lagos, Zaria, Ibadan and Ife but before then late Dr. Nmamdi Azikiwe had set up UNN as a regional university in 1958 and the institution admitted its pioneer students in 1960. As at that time, UI still remained a college of the University of London. But like I said earlier, the university system expanded to five universities in 1962 and remained so until 1970. But shortly after the military came in, some other universities were created.

How private universities started.

In 1979, higher education was put under the concurrent list and due to this, state governments and the private sector were encouraged to start universities. So, many mushroom universities with lecture rooms in garages were set up particularly in the eastern region. Most of these substandard universities were scrapped by the military again in 1983. Seven years later, I became the Minister of Education, I revisited the issue of private universities and to raise the standard, we set up the Longe Commission to look at the function of higher education. To discourage unserious people from setting up private universities, we said interested applicants should put N200m in a fixed deposit, should have 200 acres of land for the permanent site among other stringent conditions. It took seven years before one of the applicants, Chief Igbinedion could start.

So, between 1960 and 1990 we had over 70 universities owned by the public and private sectors. But between 1999 and 2010 we established another 73 that is at the rate of six per year. That is fantastic, but our politicians are good at building edifices which people will see and clap for them but they will not provide the most important facilities and equipment to drive these universities.

In essence, we have done well in quantity but when you look at the quality, you will be shocked particularly in public universities. Many laboratories in most of these public universities have outlived their usefulness; a lab set up for 100 students is now being used by over 600 students. That is why I said that as a nation we have grown the sector in quantity but we are very short in quality. And at the root of this mess is corruption. Name any problem we have in this country and I will tell you that corruption is the root cause. If there is a plane crash, car crash, bad road, poor health facilities, bad economy, insecurity, bad education, corruption is at the bottom of all these challenges and we must kill corruption before it kills us.

On what he would love to be remembered for.

I will like to be remembered as a man who try to make every Nigerian literate and numerate in his or her mother tongue and in English as a second language.

On the dangers of policy somersaults.

Concerning the policy inconsistency, I experienced it as a minister. Before I became a minister under Babangida, government had proscribed the Academic Staff Union of Universities. So, when I came in, I met the president on why we should lift the ban on ASUU. As I mentioned it, IBB, Abacha and Aikhomu said I should go ahead. They did not even allow me to present my argument. Afterwards, I called the leadership of ASUU to a meeting and what they told me was shocking. They said that Nigerian lecturers were the least paid in the whole of Africa. I said no. But when I did my findings, I discovered that it was true.

The present INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, was the President of ASUU then. That man was so brilliant and articulate such that if you are not on your guard, he would argue a bad case and convince you. So, we set up a committee and at the end of the day, we reached an agreement with the lecturers in September 1992. But we could not start the implementation of the part of agreement that had financial implication until January 1993 because of budgetary constraint. But shortly afterwards, I was removed as the minister and another person was picked. On the handing over day and in the full glare of television, the new minister said that the agreement we reached with the lecturers was not binding and that it was illegal. I thought he would not get away with it but he did. I was surprised. If the agreement had been respected, the industrial disharmony that we had till July 2009 in the university system would not have been there. That kind of attitude has been a major problem not just to the development of the education sector but all sectors of the national economy.

If we must grow as a nation, we must stop this idea whereby a minister comes in or another government comes in and abandon a policy designed by his predecessor. Our system of succession is bad. We must build institutions on policy and whoever comes in must be forced to follow through on policies and regulations.

We should also redefine our education policy most especially at the primary and secondary education level. It is not right for a Federal Government to saddle itself with primary and secondary education. The local and the state governments should be left to cater for education at this level, though the Federal Government can intervene in form of grant and aids. A minister of education should not be reduced to admission officer to unity schools. The Federal Government has no business with unity schools. At least, the central government of the US did not have a single university let alone a primary school.

His rating of education sector.

Well, there are but if I were to award mark, I will give us 49 per cent for achievement and 51 per cent for failure. It’s painful when you see a nation like ours with the wherewithal to progress, but we are crawling. Mention any profession, you will find Nigerians making waves all over the world. Is it in law, medicine, accountancy or journalism, our people are there but we have allowed mediocrity to take over governance. We keep our professionals out of leadership and now mediocrity has taken over, corruption has overwhelmed transparency while hard work has been sacrificed. There is also this problem of uncertainty of sanction and this gives looters of the economy the confidence to steal and run away with it. But I tell you that Americans are not any better than Nigerians but the difference is that in America, nobody is above the law. If we are able to fight corruption and embrace the rule of law, all sectors of the economy including education will experience positive change.

For education, our language policy must change. We must use our mother tongue to teach our children if we must experience growth in our search for technological advancement. Nations like China, Japan, Spain, Germany and India are examples of nations that have experienced development as a result of this.

Comments :

* Thank you Baba, may ur soul rest in peace. I am 100% with u on mother tongue and Im waiting for a courageuos leader that will call a debate on this and I will give the nation million reason why development is tied to language. “Literacy is ability to speak, read and write most especially in your mother tongue”. But honestly God is not a Nigerian and will never be. Baba You have done your very best.
Posted by: Wole Oyewo , on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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* Great talk form the late Prof who is an educationist to the core. I wish the present government will look into this interview and get wisdom on how to move forward as far as education is concern and more importantly as nation. I pray that Prof. Fafunwa Babatunde gentle soul R.I.P
Posted by: Makinwa Oluwole , on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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* i believed the past ex head of state / president should read late professor Fafunwa’s interview on the nation education system and see where they have derailed the nation education system.pls the present government schld try and normalised it.
Posted by: raheem , on Wednesday, October 13, 2010


September 30, 2010



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Perspectives of Yorubaland: Compendium of Writings about Yoruba Arts and Culture
By Rotimi Ogunjobi

Perspectives of Yorubaland:
Compendium of Writings about Yoruba Arts and Culture
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Rotimi Ogunjobi
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xceedia – tee publishing, 2010 – Art – 128 pages

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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Lost Kingdom

The Place of Susan Wengers Art in Yorùbá Religion

Ethical Insights from Odu Ifá

Exploring Art and Spirituality In The Yorùbá Culture

Metaphysics and Gender in an African Ritual Play

Exploring Ile

The Batá Drums

Ìbéjì Custom in Yorùbáland

The Death Of Yorùbá Language?


The Leopard and Chimera A fable



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abundantly Orisa African art Afro-Cuban añá animals art and religion Art In Yorùbá artist batá drums Beier bless me abundantly bulging eyes carved ceremonies child Chimera Cuba dance dead deaf fish deities divine English Eredo exhibition feast festival Gèlèdé goddess gods/goddesses human ìbéjì children ìbéjì figures Ibitokun’s Igbo igede Ile-Ife Ita Yemoo jee n sowo Kehinde king king’s father king’s palace Lawal Leopard Leopard’s head Leopard’s wife let me labor monuments mother mask myths National Museum NCMM Newark Museum Nigeria Obatala Odu Ifá Ogboni Olabimtan Olodumare Olokun Oranmiyan Orisa ma jee Orunmila Osogbo Osun groove palm-oil parents people’s performance religious ritual river sacred sacrifice Sango Santería shrine songs sowo asenu Orisa spiritual stew Susanne Wenger symbols Taiyewo tattoo told town Ori koo traditional Ulli Beier Wenger’s art worship Yorùbá art Yorùbá belief Yorùbá culture Yorùbá language Yorùbá religion Yorùbá Speaking Yorùbáland
Bibliographic information
Title Perspectives of Yorubaland: Compendium of Writings about Yoruba Arts and Culture
Author Rotimi Ogunjobi
Editor Rotimi Ogunjobi
Edition illustrated
Publisher xceedia – tee publishing, 2010
ISBN 9784983710, 9789784983716
Length 128 pages
Subjects Art / General
Reference / General


September 28, 2010



The politicisation of the female breasts
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Sunday, 12 September 2010

The employment of the female breasts and sexuality in Nigerian politics has shown that nothing is too sacred to be involved. The erstwhile cultural implication of the female anatomy is beginning to lose its relevance as it has been railroaded into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. KEHINDE OYETIMI writes.

FROM time immemorial and of all the unique structures that make up the anatomical configuration of the female, nothing seems to arrogate much attention to itself than the exterior twin organs of the female chest – otherwise referred to as the breasts. Unlike in males, which of course are just a couple of buttons attached to the chest, the breasts of the woman have always been objects of much interest, whether overtly or covertly. Apparently, the breasts of the woman are secondary sexual organs, but the peculiar curve and arch of the breasts, their sensitivity to contact or touch, their role in the suckling engagement of infants, lend ever-abiding credence to both their artistic beauty and functionality.

In virtually all societies, the body of the woman is an object of interest, while it is a taboo to give an explicit detailing of the female anatomy, in other climes, the female body is worshipped. In pristine societies (settings that were not yet tainted with the vagaries of modernity), the female was held in awe and typified in utter sacrosanctity. African culture and so many others usually do not openly place much discourse on the female breast. Many cultures whose historico-cultural progress could not be documented hold varying but unique perspectives on the body of the woman – especially the female breasts. Any attempt towards the interpretation, perception and understanding of the placement of importance on the female breasts would naturally yield both cultural and conventional elucidation.

The Amazonian women, as captured by Greek historians, are depicted as a collection of a nation of female warriors. In world history, nothing more captures this unique gathering of women-warriors.

Records show the Amazonian women-warriors with their left breasts usually exposed, while the right ones were covered. This, of course, was done for the purpose of warfare. It was believed that in warfare, the left should be exposed so as to aid the handling of the arrow when shooting with the bow.

In pristine African milieus, women typified fertility. The female body commanded cosmic energy and it was therefore a taboo to misrepresent the body of the woman. In fact, of all the chambers of the female body, none assumed such spiritual connotations than the breasts. It was an act of utmost sacrilege for the female body to be exposed in near or total nudity. The breasts of the woman in African cultural settings were instruments, not just for the sexual gratification of the invasion of the male character, but had far reaching cosmic influence on monarchs. Monarchs who have lost their political and social relevance were cursed with the exposure of the female breasts, in protest. The breasts of such women were weapons of social and political change. Two very sacrosanct parts of the female anatomy in traditional African societies were the breasts and the vagina, the exposure of which attracted a curse to the male viewers. The deliberate exposure of the female body was the height of a man’s or monarch’s undoing.

Mordecai Sunday Ibrahim, President, Southern Kaduna Youth Vanguard, stated that “As far as I am concerned, it is an indecent act. A woman for whatever reason is not supposed to expose the sensitive parts of her body in the name of asking for change. We witnessed this in the 30s and the 50s, but of course in the 21st century we can see that these things are affecting the morals of our children. We should begin to think of better ways of pushing our case. What is wrong with hunger strike? What is wrong with carrying placards? Exposing the breasts is not decent. Neither Christianity nor Islam advocate this nonsense. Anywhere culture goes against your faith, you should drop culture. If we want to go into that then we should go on to wearing bante which my grandfather was wearing.”

Dr (Mrs) Gloria Olushola Adedoja, Department of Teacher Education, University of Ibadan, found no basis for the practice since other avenues are available. “I am not sure if that cultural implication of exposing the female breasts for change is still there. But in those days, it was there. Exposing the breasts is not the only way by which women can champion their causes. Women can make their reactions known by saying them in the dailies, writing notices to the people that are in charge. Even there could be the use of dialogue. Grievances can be made known through different fora. I doubt if such acts are relevant in our societies because people do not really recognise them. Now some of them could even be paid to do so but in those days it was not like that. When women came out like that, in those days, it meant that it was an issue that men could no longer handle,” she advised.

Dr Sola Olorunyomi, of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, saw a modern relevance of the practice. “When such interventions are made, they must not be used flippantly. I don’t necessary think that it has been misused. The Ekiti incidence was a show of the miscarriage of justice. There was really need for some kind of response by the people. Roads and infrastructure would come only when governance is good. Governance is foundational. If there is one thing people should response to, it is actually governance. I think it still holds some relevance,” he opined.

Unfortunately, in modern times, female breasts have been commoditised and commercialised. The media have constantly used the woman in the sale of goods which have no immediate relevance to her. Yet unfortunate is the fact that there is a gradual shift in the politicisation of the feminine power of the woman. Nigerian politics has invaded the sacrosanctity of the female energy housed in the female body. Threats using the female sexuality have become the norm in the Nigerian political space.

A bit of the horrendous act was demonstrated last year in Ekiti State during the electioneering engagements that almost marred the peace of the state. Women with tired, sagging and flabby mammalian glands came out in their droves carrying placards. The sickening aspect was the sensuous irrelevance of such breasts in display. What must have helped the Amazonian women in warfare, that Nigerian women must quickly adopt, was the distraction that their exposed left breasts caused their male opponents. Of course, what would be more disarming to a warring man than the incapacitating influence engineered by visual contact with the undulating, sensuous movement of youthful, firm breasts? The recent threat in the contemporary documentation of such incidents was the “No Jonathan, No sex” campaign of the Organisation of African Women in Diaspora, which was reported last month. The politicisation of the feminine sexuality is of course beginning to lose its power of suasion and social relevance. The same appeal to such sexuality was witnessed at the beginning of this month in Cross Rivers State when a group of aged women from Erei, Biase local government area stormed Calabar half dressed protesting what they collectively termed the “disenfranchisement and illegal arrest of their sons.” It would not be farther before the nation witnesses the use of the female breasts in electioneering, since it has been nationally inaugurated by the campaign for a Jonathan presidency in 2011.

In 2002, a group of women threatened to bare it all in the Niger Delta in protest against the incessant abuse of their environment by oil producing firms. Speaking, Terisa Turner, an anthropologist, argued that by exposing the breasts and the vagina, “The women are saying: We all came into the world through the vagina. By exposing the vagina, the women indicate that we hereby take back the life we gave you. It is about bringing forth life and denying life through social ostracism, which is a kind of social execution. Men who are exposed are viewed as dead.” If the baring of the female genitalia would do the nation good, perhaps it would now. There are more pressing demands now within the Nigerian socio-political landscape now than ever before. One wonders if the only negotiating tool possessed by the female gender is couched in her sexuality.

The Yorubas are playing it up in their band!

May 15, 2009

These are my black people’s from yoruba. They got their instruments out ready
to give you a soulful tune. They are ready to get you in the mood for….
whatever! These people are looking
all fly!
They transmit their special
atmosphere through the computer
screen. They belong more than on
youtube, but also on tv. Ladies
and gentleman clap your hands
wherever you are for this bunch.

They in the mood for a music
party. They jammin!

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