This news report about the Bauchi beer parlour (brothel) crystallises what I’ve wondered about Nigeria and Nigerians for a while. There are at least two countries within Nigeria. One, referred to as Christian but really intensely liberal and secular, and one which is quite conservative, commonly referred to as Islamic.
I see a lot of women from the liberal secular part and their lives are even more hedonistic and liberal than the four ladies from ‘Sex & the City’. And these women are all ‘Mrs’ something or the other and they openly socialise with men other than their husbands. No one in their society bats an eyelid or raises an eyebrow. Women in England, Europe and USA live much more conservative and sober lives than these women in southern Nigeria or women of such origins who live in the north of Nigeria. And you should see them on their way to church. They wear clothes I won’t have worn in my younger student days while attending a party or nightclub. Basically, these women live for their shopping trips, consumerism and a good expensive time.
One example of how they live would be seen in the lyrics of the music of a popular musician amongst southern Nigerian Christians called Flavour. This guy is nice I’m sure and he’s technically a brilliant musician with excellent notes and beats, but the lyrics are too crude even for the likes of Tupac or even the most foul mouthed rapper in America. Yet at weddings and baptisms amongst southern Nigerians you see married women loudly singing along to the lyrics of his songs. And the dancing would make you quite embarrassed. These guys genuinely don’t know the meaning of ‘vulgar’.
Meanwhile, you have women in the more conservative northern part of the country that many women in England, Europe, Asia and America can identify with more. They and their men want to live sober lives and don’t want decadence present in their world. Yet these two worlds are colliding daily although neither side wants this.
Beer parlours are really dens of iniquity and some people need them for their genuine socialisation while some find them intolerable. Both worlds should not be forced to rub along for much longer. Refusal to honestly address these issues would result in more violence and needless loss of life.
It’s not possible to ask people who are committed to a secular, liberal and hedonistic lifestyle to submit themselves to a conservative lifestyle that they’re genuinely not interested in. It would be inhumane to subject them to a discipline that is totally outside all that they consider important in life. At the same time, it is equally inhumane to expect people who genuinely find such liberal hedonism disgusting and intolerable to put up with this daily on their doorstep.
The elite can no longer pretend that Nigeria is one country pulling together in one direction.
The two Nigerias have less in common than India and Pakistan had in 1947 at partition.
The humane and logical thing to do would be to work out how all these very different people can live contently in their various worlds and in their own sovereign lands/countries. The police in each society need to plan their priorities to keep people safe. You can’t in a country like present day Nigeria where you don’t know what the priorities are. Are they moral guidance and control against alchohol, drugs and moral decadence or are they the protection of liberal values, more at home in certain parts of Amsterdam?
Otherwise, headlines about explosions and killings would remain the order of the day. This is thoroughly unfair on the ordinary person in Nigeria who deserves to live life as they please.