Saturday, April 15, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Sexual Repression and Extremism in Northern Nigeria

Gloria,

There's one other issue that I forgot to mention. There are two ongoing simultaneous phenomena. On the one hand, you have the problem that Emir Sanusi of Kano talks about, that is, poor couples birthing children they cannot take care of, which then, according to him, become available to extremist groups like Boko Haram to recruit and use for their activities. On the other hand, you have several state Governments in the Northwest pairing men and women and organizing mass weddings for people who cannot afford it on their own and people who would otherwise not be able to afford or enjoy the stability of marriage. The official narrative is that it is done to help divorced and widowed women find husbands instead of living the rest of their lives alone. But many young single women also participate in the official match making and many young men who participate and are interviewed say that they participate because they are too poor to find a wife on their own or pay for a wedding.

Sent from my iPad

On Apr 15, 2017, at 1:48 PM, Emeagwali, Gloria (History) <emeagwali@ccsu.edu> wrote:

Moses,  can you direct me to  any study that  identifies the percentage of  wealthy  men in Northern Nigeria that are Western educated. 

I have often thought the opposite of the wealthy in Kano etc. Now is time for a reality check. 


Do we know the ratio of males to females in the region?


 Men  often have "outside" women, girl friends, lovers  and so on, in addition to wives.  Do men in northern Nigeria differ from their counterparts elsewhere in the country or the world in this regard?


Now that the Chinese have 30 million more men than women, due to lingering patriarchal tendencies and femicide etc.,

 should they anticipate  the rise of movements like Boko Haram?


Child brides are common in the  so-called " Muslim North" but there is also another trend, instigated by  Prophet Mohammed,  who married a woman

15 years his senior, Khadijah, in the 7th century,  and by doing so, set off another trend  that Muslim men  occasionally pursue.


Why is Boko Haram killing so many females through suicide bombs? Many of the recent bombings have been carried out by women

who may have been forced to do so. You would think that each "female body" will be considered  functional

by this group of sexually deprived miscreants.




Gloria






From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 9:00 PM
To: USAAfricaDialogue
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Sexual Repression and Extremism in Northern Nigeria
 
Professor Falola,

That's what you may call an ecology of sexual envy. Just as material envy is sometimes invoked to explain conflict between some immigrants and their host communities. But you're right that it needs to be explained further, substantiated, and developed.



On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 5:16 PM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
Abdul and Moses:
The line below calls for a lengthy discussion—the linkage between access to sex and the female body and older, mostly Western educated, well off men.
This political economy issue, with serious policy implications, is totally new to me. Indeed, I am hearing about it for the first time. Can this happen in a predominantly agrarian economy?
Whenever I pose a question, it is just because I don't have an answer and I am also profoundly confused. If this thesis were true, it would lead society to a permanent state of violence.


"Muslim-majority Northern Nigeria houses a sexual economy in which access to sex and the female body, whether mediated by marriage or concubinage, is almost exclusively reserved for older, mostly Western educated, well off men."

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
USA
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)


From: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of moses <meochonu@gmail.com>
Reply-To: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Friday, April 14, 2017 at 4:49 PM
To: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Sexual Repression and Extremism in Northern Nigeria

Abdul, thanks for your honesty in admitting that you did't see the word "provocation" in the title. This is a provocation, a think piece. I was expecting a vigorous discussion on it. You've mixed up many things in your clarifying post. It was you, not your brother who advised me to stop writing on political, controversial, and divisive issues, but that's just an aside. Also, I never said Ibrahim calls himself a minority. Out of the blue he accused me of harboring an ethnic agenda and of waving a minority flag--whatever that means. He said he knew where I was coming from. Well, since I had not advanced any ethnic or minority/majority script, I had to remind him that in fact he is also a minority in the Nigerian identity system that was his frame of reference in calling me a minority. I was merely inverting his own invocation of "minority." 

1. I used Muslim majority because that is the term that is used in scholarly discourse to describe societies that have a Muslim demographic majority. The term Muslim majority countries or region is commonplace and is simply a designator, nothing more. Northern Nigeria is a Muslim-majority region of Nigeria, factually and demographically speaking.

2. I used the term concubinage simply to refer to the culture in Northern Nigeria of married women having mistresses that they provide for. Boko Haram also permits certain top members to also have concubines or sex slaves, who are mostly captive women.

I hope this clarifies some of the points you raised.

On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 3:39 PM, Abdul Salau <salauabdul@gmail.com> wrote:

SEXUAL REPRESSION AND EXTREMISM IN NORTHERN NIGERIA: A PROVOCATION

I have to confess that I did not read this subtitle: a provocation I will not have commented on this write up if I had seen this.   These are the specific remarks requested Olayinka Agbetuyi below.

Assertion # 1

"Muslim-majority Northern Nigeria houses a sexual economy in which access to sex and the female body, whether mediated by marriage or concubinage, is almost exclusively reserved for older, mostly Western educated, well off men."   

The reason I found this assertion troubling is because of the focus on sex and the female body.  If find this to be debasement of the complementary relationships that exists between male and female within African culture.  The notion of sexual economy undermines our culture and makes marriage and relationships to be transactional between men and women. These are concepts that are borrowed from Euro-American scholarship which is undermining our contemporary scholarship.  Marriage or relationship with women is not exclusively reserved for older, mostly Western educated, well off men.  What is marriage in African culture must be understood; marriage is a cultural obligation for all African people regardless of their religion and location on the African continent.  

Marriage in African culture is a cultural obligation as a result of this it is an activity which involves two families.  Because families have interests in their own immortality they assist young men and women financially and morally so that families can have future; children born into these marriages become future members of the family.  Schooling from primary to the university level involves many years of preparation males and females who not involved in formal schooling marry earlier and have children.

Marriage is between families even young, uneducated, and unemployed Muslim youths are married even sometimes to more than one woman. That is the reason why recently the emir of Kano advised; poor men should not marry more than one wife because they end up having more children that they cannot take care of.  In most African cultures men and women are supported to be married because it is considered a foundation for building a better life.  

I am offended by the notions of making women to be sexual objects for men by preoccupation with the notions of female bodies. One desires a woman for marriage to create a family which is a cultural obligation for African people men or women regardless of their religion.  A concubine is a woman who cohabits with a man who will not marry her because she is regarded as a slave; it is a Euro- American concept which you used uncritically.

Assertion # 2

"The region, moreover, is home to a culture of sexual repression in which the expression and pursuit of desire is constrained by status and financial resources. The result is that sexual frustration coexists with and is exacerbated by the inability of young, uneducated and thus unemployable Muslim youth to access sexual resources and other benefits of heterosexual relationships. Even Western educated youths lacking viable footholds in Nigeria's secular economy have found themselves unable to fulfill this cardinal Northern Nigerian ritual of masculine accomplishment."

Northern Nigeria is the home of African people including different religious groups; with healthy and unhealthy culture of sexual expressions this acknowledgement humanizes the people of Northern Nigeria.  Everywhere in the world expression and pursuit of desire of marriages and relationships are constrained by status and access to financial resources.  It is nothing peculiar to the youth of Northern Nigeria regardless of their professed religious affiliation.  The poor may not marry daughters or sons of the rich but they marry each other.  Culture of sexual repression is a feature of religious communities; this should be something which humanizes Muslims youth in Northern Nigeria with religious groups worldwide.  The writer needs to interrogate notions of culture of sexual repression,uneducated, western educated and masculine accomplishment; these concepts are subjective concepts and means different things to different people.  "Western education" in the enlightened African literature is considered brainwashing. The writer confuses the notion of schooling with education.  Concepts need clarifications to make the readers.  May be your target audience may be different Africa USA DIALAGUE.

Assertion # 3

"This rejection of Nigerian secular society and the concomitant allure of a terrestrial caliphate or an extraterrestrial paradise intensified when the indoctrinated Muslim youth sees Western educated coreligionists and Christians engage in both licit and illicit sexual relationships with women. This is one of the silent but rarely acknowledged drivers of youth vulnerability to extremist indoctrination in Northern Nigeria. This frustration catalyzes a jealous rage directed at those who are perceived to have monopolized the sexual and marital resources that are the markers of healthy Muslim masculinity in this society."

The rationalizations and ideological posturing is most obvious in the paragraph cited above.  'The indoctrinated Muslim youth rejection of Nigerian secular society and the concomitant allure of a terrestrial caliphate or an extraterrestrial paradise is intensified when they see other Muslims and Christians express themselves within licit and illicit sexual relations'.   This essentialization of Muslim youth by describing them by their so called 'essential features'culture of sexual repression, uneducated, western educated, masculine accomplishment, allure of  terrestrial caliphate, and extraterrestrial paradise based on the writer's  ideological partisanship  is what obscures reality and frames the truth from the writer's ideological framework.  The real drivers of youth vulnerability to extremist indoctrination in Northern Nigeria may not be known, because you did not satisfactorily argue your point of view.

 The term Muslim- majority of the Northern Nigeria used by the writer; is a concept to delineate majority-minority; and may be it makes sense in the context of United States; however, it is problematic in Nigeria because people don't see themselves in these terms.   In the American context this concept is used to rationalize means people defined as "majority" can monopolize power against minorities. The concept is used to justify majority oppression and abuse of politically dominated minorities.  Northern Nigeria was a concept developed during colonial era.

However, in the contexts of our time there are dynamic events, like migration, diversity of people, and complexity which makes the concept is obsolete. Today Northern Nigeria it is area that contains more diverse people, and nineteen states of Nigeria, people from Africa, and different parts of the world.    Northern Nigeria is a geographic area where many experts make assertions and declarations which should be challenged.  

Knowledge is the domain of everybody who chooses to exercise their minds, not only self-appointed knowledge producer.  Together each one contributing to knowledge production we can understand reality better.  The truth is that we cannot allow self-appointed knowledge producers and experts to monopolize knowledge production.  We make these critical inputs to strengthen debate and critical analyses for intellectual ameliorations; and to take responsibilities for active knowledge production rather than being passive consumers of knowledge production.      The reactions of Ibrahim Abdullahi to your claim that he called 'himself is a "minority" he denies this view violently, this  supports my point of view; these concepts are not useful for discussing political issues in Nigeria,  it is used exclusively for neo-colonial project of dividing our culturally united people.  

I don't know whether my 'younger brother is a good friend of yours or not, and   I was not aware he once inexplicably advised you to stop writing on political and cultural issues in Nigeria'.   I don't understand your reason for bringing this up.  I have my own views and my brother has his own views, I am responsible for my own views.

 On my part I sent you private comments when I agreed with your point of view and kept quiet when I disagreed with your point of view.   Yes your views do not align with mine this time; I hope these honest comments have made my position clear to you.  My current responses have been made to deal with these on a rational and not on emotional basis; all my efforts have been refocused to dealing with substantive issues which you raised in your writing.  An atavistic African sense of morality charges us to defend against African people any alienating influences.


On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 4:26 PM, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:
Professor Falola, where is the contribution to this discussion by Jibrin that I missed? Am I missing something. I was responding to Abdul and Ibrahim, the two artful dodgers and anti-intellectual debate killers, not to Jibrin, who has not joined this discussion.

On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 3:18 PM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
I said Jibrin and Ibrahim 
Not Abdul 
Jibrin is one of the continent's most formidable scholars and he deserves our respect. 

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 14, 2017, at 3:12 PM, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:

With all due respect, Professor Falola, your moderator note fails the basic test of fairness and balance. First of all you should not be basing your moderation on who is formidable and who is not. Everyone should be treated the same. Leave members to decide who is formidable and who is not. It is all in the reader's eye. Secondly, Ibrahim and Abdul attacked me, saying that I have a minority agenda, that I am masking the truth, that I am driven by ethnicity, etc. Did you read my post? Did you see anything that remotely resembles a mention of ethnicity or the promotion of an ethnic agenda or a minority agenda in it? I responded to the suggestion that war and sex have always been interlinked--an obvious point--and pointed out Boko Haram and other Salafi-Jihadi groups are peculiar precisely because they have developed an elaborate theological rationale for justifying and promoting the sexual enslavement of the female members of their enemy societies (infidels), an ideological infrastructure of sexual entitlement that you don't find in secular warfare, a theological justification of sexual enslavement in jihad that the "weaponization of sex" argument does not explain or capture. They left that point alone and continued to call me names and make silly ad hominem insinuations about my motive and "where you're coming from."  Even Bolaji had to intervene to redirect the conversation back to the issues I raised by restating the main questions. They continued to make all insinuations and to impute imaginary motives to me. You stood aside watching this anti-intellectual attitude of their unfold only to now weigh in to exonerate them of anti-intellectualism and to pretend as though I had not responded to the reductive, pedestrian, and commonsensical point about the weaponization of sex. This is not moderation. 

On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 2:24 PM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
Moderator's note: 
Only that both Jibrin and Ibrahim are too formidable to dismiss and they don't make anti intellectual arguments.
War and sex have been interlocked for centuries; so the point for you is to insist on what is peculiar about Boko Haram and you leave out their asides.
TF

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 14, 2017, at 2:04 PM, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:

Chidi,

I'm not bordered by critique; I savor it. That is how I refine my thinking. In fact, I posted this provocation here in the hope of getting critique and of sparking a rich conversation around the issues raised. There is critique that is grounded in substance and faithful to the issues at stake and one that is grounded in emotive bluster and in unfounded preconceptions and assumptions. I welcome, appreciate, and engage critique. You've known me for a long time, so you should know that I am game for debate and that in fact I enjoy it. But the debate and critique have to be substantive. Nowadays, I have no time for conversations that will not challenge me to think or add intellectual value to me; I'm too busy. What you have here is an anti-intellectual hostility to debate and discussion on controversial and sensitive topics, as well as a tendency to instinctively lash out at people who broach such subjects in the hope of silencing them. That is the problem I have with some of the responses and attitudes here. Of course such juvenile antics will not work with me.

You're my friend on Facebook and you may have seen the conversation on the same post over there. The reception of my provocative hypothesis there is not unanimously positive. Some agree with me, others disagree. Some agree partially and others disagree partially. But everyone is focusing on the issue I raised and making their points as passionately as they want to without the personal obsessions, insinuations, and escapist tactics you see on display here. No one there is questioning my motive or insinuating a phantom ethnic agenda. Folks there are discussing the post in the spirit of intellectual debate and inquiry that I offered it. I have learned a lot from the exchanges there.

Which is why it is disappointing to see those who call themselves intellectuals and academics display such unscholarly revulsion to controversial, unfamiliar, and disagreeable opinions.

On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 9:05 AM, Chidi Anthony Opara <chidi.opara@gmail.com> wrote:
Toyin, Moses,
The facebook crowd are not as critical as the persons you would find here.

CAO.

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