Every now and then, twitter explodes over who is to cook in a relationship or in a marriage in Nigeria. The debate resurfaced recently. What I find amusing about it is that it is mostly single people who engage in this argument, not married people.
So, is it a woman’s duty to cook? Are women born with cooking genes?
As the parties continued their debate, I figured someone went to dig up a clip of Pastor Adeboye’s preaching, maybe to use as defence. In the video clip, Pastor Adeboye advised men not to marry women who cannot cook, who are lazy, and who cannot pray for one hour.
Because I don’t trust Nigerians, I went to watch the clip myself; this is what the Pastor said. ‘Any girl who cannot pray for one hour straight don’t marry her. . .don’t marry a girl who is lazy, if she is lazy when she is girl how is she going to cope when she is married and have children? How will she cope? Don’t marry a girl who cannot cook…’
Now it is okay to disagree with him of course, but people went from zero to hundred, they called the man ignorant. Are you people aware he is a professor and that he is also from another time? The changing dynamics in relationships are not familiar with his generation?
My problem with the statement is that it was said to Nigerians in Nigeria. Nigerians who take advice as the law, as the word of God especially if it comes from a respected man of God like Pastor Adeboye, and in Nigeria that is still neck deep in patriarchy. Statements like that fuel the argument for patriarchy, women’s lives are not auditions to become your wives.
I imagine relationships must have crumbled over ‘Pastor said I should not marry a woman that cannot cook, that cannot pray for one hour, that is lazy,’ Nigerian mothers will be like “Obiageli, sebi you heard what pastor said? If you cannot cook no man will marry you o, you better drop that book and enter this kitchen now.”
One time in church, a Catholic priest said, “a woman does not have a name until she is married.’ I got into an argument with one of the guys who said ‘yes Father!”, when the priest said it. I left him exasperated, he was convinced that he is doing a woman a favour by marrying her and giving her his surname, besides Father has said it.
There are people who do not take their sick children to the hospital for medical care because pastor said, families that do not celebrates birthdays because pastor said, some do not watch or own television sets because pastor said, others drink palmoil/olive oil because a priest said.
There was a pastor who flogged members of his church because they committed sin. There are women, who have chopped off their hair because pastor said, people who chain their children, who beat their wives because someone said it is okay to discipline women. Some do not wear certain colours of clothes; do not eat some foods because Pastor said.
I imagine this is how we acquired all our myths, somebody said… and it became law.
Dear Nigerian, when Jesus said we are the sheep and he is the shepherd, he did not say you should actually be like a sheep, and not have sense. You were not made a zombie to ‘follow follow,’ that is why God almighty gave you brain, to think for yourself, to discern right from wrong, good from bad, to do what works for you. What the pastor said, is a fatherly advice from a typical Nigerian father, what most pastors say are their opinions and thoughts, it is not law.