It is intriguing how sex pops up in all narratives. Even when hunger and fear are supposed to freeze its warmth, it peeps, seeking to be counted. Nigeria’s trouble pot is bursting in its seams but some won’t let serious be serious. They would rather pour profanity into the sacred. They would seek to drag a bride to a show of masquerades. Where is the link between marriage and Egungun? They say because an endowed someone had many wives and many children therefore he cannot wail again. Because somebody’s fecundity enlarged his coast so well that he has many children from several women, he cannot be heard criticizing a government again. Because 2Face, aka 2Baba, sowed his generosity across the bosom of many daughters of eve with verifiable goals to show for it, therefore, he could not lead a march against power? That is the logic of the guards of change. But what is my own if a songbird has guts and thrusts and uses both to people his nest? Between the tepid one with one lone wife, and the hot one with a harem of responsibilities, who should really have greater stakes when things are bad? Who should lead protests?
Now, the planned protest has been aborted by its own father. I may not know what might have been its dimensions if it had held. Was it real in the first instance or was it a mere threat or stunt? Whatever it was, it succeeded. The message was clear in the frenzy on the streets. It was clear in the panic mode it put circles of power. Its effects were enough to change the direction of a government that wants to stay with the people. The street protest won’t hold again. But can we stop the protests raging in the stomachs of the hungry marketplace? Go out and see ghostly men, women and kids on filthy streets in aimless walks. I see hunger knocking on doors and opening doors. It does not matter where you belonged in the botched protest. You could stand with Buhari. You could stand with 2Baba. You could stand with Nigeria. You could even stand alone. What you cannot do is question where others stood and stand. Again, we must not say because we site our stand on firm grounds today, therefore things are normal. They are not normal. You know and I know. Even Sai Baba knows. But what are we doing about what we see? In times of real crisis, real men step out and get counted. But men can be very impotent “bumbling, incompetent fools.” That is what they are when bad is good in their eyes. The poor is helpless. The men he hinged his hope on are not talking and are not complaining. They are rather looking for opportunities in silence. Should the helpless not be happy therefore that a man called 2Baba was out in this season of men without balls? But what could the street protest have done to men behind walls of granite rocks? Tortoise was asked why he was cooking stones in a season of hunger. His answer was: “at least I am doing something.”
Things are bad. Very bad. You don’t need to peep outside to see how bad. You are the proof you seek. And some would want you to stop seeing what you feel because of the sex life of a messenger of protest. But could it be that they did so because they knew how potent that thing is? Sex is a powerful tool of everything. It is deployed for good or for ill with equal efficacy. Men are forever its victim. The one who behaves well has it when and how he wants it. The unserious ones get slammed with sanctions. The man must work for it to have it even in his home. It must be earned like varsity lecturers’ earned allowances. But do today’s men of power know sex can also be a weapon of war? What war? Whatever war — of liberation or of domination. Remember Egyptian queen, Cleopatra charmed and enslaved randy (or adventurous) emperors of imperial Rome with sex. Back home here, a distraught man told a customary court in Ibadan some days ago that his wife wanted to kill him with no-sex. “She wears pant, boxers and trousers to bed,” he lamented. Abubakar Bello Masaba, man with 86 wives, died in Niger State a few days ago. He was 93. He hit the headlines repeatedly only because he thought 86 women deserved the benevolence of his horse power. Just as 2Baba’s attackers are saying today, Masaba’s enemies went for him repeatedly over the size of his bed. Masaba and 2Baba are guilty. But so are these other men donning feathers of the ostrich. They know what has always been known. Men are prisoners of sex. It is a life sentence for every man, even the ones whose embers have yielded place to “cold, impotent ash.” If you battle it you are damned. If you surrender to it you are damned. It becomes double jeopardy when it is used by the state as a core ingredient of a capital offence like organizing a popular protest.
Away from the sex and sexuality of 2Baba’s botched mass action. They said some more bizarre things. They said he collected money. But they did not say from whom. Someone said those who planned to protest are children of anger. Someone said they are impotent men castrated by job loss. Someone said they are she-men fallen from the headship of their homes. Someone said they are he-women broken from the leash of their husbands. Someone said the young among them are rodents of idleness. Someone said the old there are the retired- bent by unpaid pensions. Someone said they are souls displaced internally by men of power. Someone said they are wailers unconsoled and inconsolable over their loss of Aso Rock. Someone said they are jobless men and women wheeled out to create scenes of pity. Someone said they are empty pocketed labourers with caked sweat on their brows. Someone said they are distressed MMM investors transferring anger. Did 2Baba also do MMM?
An avalanche of pains is coursing through the veins of every home. Unpaid school fees. Unpaid rent. Unpaid electricity bill. Unpaid refuse disposal bill. Unpaid road maintenance bill. Unpaid night guard bill. Unpaid hospital bill. The sick is sicker still. But where are the doctors? Physicians who would heal the land are too down to look at the patient. The bell man would also not summon emergency men for rescue job. And yet they are mad that 2Baba was the unusual messenger. Someone must take the gauntlet if others won’t. If Sai Baba was out and won’t be seen by ordinary folks, a lord of songs should sing succour. It is entertaining that a musician, even if momentarily, filled the void which cowardly politicians avoided like death.
Security men would be out. They promised to. But I wish 2Baba were more creative about this march of February. He would have got it done. If I were him, I would have given kola nut to the dogs of power. I would have built an iron wall of resistance. I would have deployed the very brush that was used to tar me. I would have used women to paint the nation in its true colours of green-white-green. I would have made the march an all-women’s protest. I would have made the men stay at home and do what they do best- sleep, eat, fart, boast and… I would have seen women for what they are… I would have held the end of their wrappers and let them lead that war of survival. I would have used their wings to make change happen. I would have remembered the women of Columbia, the Philippines and even Liberia and their fight against mindlessness. I would have remembered Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and how she roused the women of Greece to a sex strike against their war-mongering husbands. I would have remembered how she made men of war and blood walk across Greece with painful erections without relief. I would have remembered that after the strike, there was peace in Athens and in all other places. I wouldn’t have had any reason to cancel the protest.