American music maestro, Shaggy, only saw a fraction of it before he sang his song in which he aptly put the woman on the correct pedestal of power and strength. The Bible has always granted men the headship in the house. This head, we know, rests upon a neck. And we all know too that the head never turns to any direction except with the active cooperation or connivance of the neck. If the man is the head, and next to head is the neck, then common logic holds that the neck in the family where the man is the head is the woman.
The month of August can be seen as remarkable in our lives when we consider that crops mature for harvest in that month. It is during this month also that various villages, towns and clans celebrate the new yam festival. Indeed, every August 15, members of the Mbaise Community celebrate their iri-ji-Mbaise in a grand style barring these days that the COVID-19 and security have vowed to make the nation uncomfortable. That is about food and fanfare.
August, in addition, acquired a new hue in the East of Nigeria as the month also witnesses the show of the relative importance of the woman in our lives. Stylishly named August Meeting, this annual assemblage of women has transformed from a platform where our wives and mothers flaunted wealth, elegance and flowery radiance to a veritable vehicle of positive change. Today, the women no longer gather to quarrel over nothing but to talk about how they can usefully contribute to the growth of the community, knowing that the men need their help to move the communities forward. Their assistance seems important as the Eastern region appears to get little government attention, to the extent that the people always resort to self-help in the development of their communities.
State governments, at a stage, took interest in the August Meeting show and they decided to give it form. They picked topics for discussion during the meetings and the wives of the governors tour the local governments with a retinue of state officials.
This year, not much is being heard from government about plans for the yearly ritual of the eves. Although government involvement has not been ruled out as August is just beginning, communities and churches would hardly wish it away, giving hope that if the governments fail the people, the people might not fail themselves.
It might be necessary to address the growing insecurity in the nation on this August Meeting platform. Through the women, perhaps, the human tools of violence – the known and unknown gunmen, the kidnappers, the armed robbers, the political thugs and professional killers – would be reached and perhaps dissuaded from embarking on their nefarious business or offering themselves unwittingly to those who might want to use them to perpetrate violence in the nation.
There is a great deal of sense in doing this crusade through the women, at least, knowing that they are the mothers, wives and sisters of the violent men and are truly the makers of our homes.
We recall the biblical story of Adam and Eve where Eve offered Adam the deadly apple that threw mankind out of paradise into a world of misery and pain. One of the lessons we learn from the story is that the woman commands enormous influence in the family. It is, therefore, plausible to use them in a campaign against violence. Just as they can offer an apple which Adam could take without resistance, they can also place some restraints on their children, their brothers and their husbands so that violence would be reduced.
From the story of the loss of paradise comes knowledge that, apart from making the man, the woman can also mar him. The import remains that the women are capable of constituting the catalysts to the violence that consumes us all. History has proved that women package tyrants and killers and donate them freely to the world. The story of Emperor Nero is typical of where a woman, Nero’s mother, molded a tyrant and a killer into one and Rome, one of the greatest empires in human existence, was worse off for it.
Nero, from history, was not the rightful heir to the throne of Rome. But through the machinations of his mother who married the king after having him for another man, Nero was crowned king as soon as the king died. Following her instructions and advice, Nero grew into a powerful ruler, silencing oppositions from all angles by the use of the sword. He was tyranny personified.
It got to a point where his mother became disgusted with the killings and high handedness. The price she paid, however, was that her own son, the monster she created, plotted her death and successfully carried it out.
The women who happen to hold their August meetings this year could evaluate their contributions to the growing violence in our nation. What do the wives, mothers or sisters of governors, local government chairmen, legislators, party men and other men of influence discuss with them in the bedroom, on the dining table, at the sitting room? Do they push them too hard to acquire material wealth? Do they bother about the manner the money is made? Or, do they sit back and relish the loot of their sons, husbands and brothers, unconcerned?
If the ferocity with which the woman asks for ornaments or the best wrappers in the world is directed at admonishments against political violence, insurgency and the like, our nation will wear a human face.
One is temped to suggest the replication of these August meetings in the North for the women to meet and draw their husbands and children away from Boko Haram and banditry. The wives of governors in the East where it is practiced at the moment should consider the curbing of insecurity and armed banditry as a topic for discussion this year. As we hope to get rid of the cankerworm through the eves of our society, we say to our wives, our mothers, our sisters, who are set for the August business/fanfare HAPPY DELIBERATIONS!


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