The relationship between a horse and the rider is often difficult to explain. The horse is stronger, bigger, faster, fiercer and more powerful than the rider, who could even be very small. Yet, the horse loyally allows the rider mount and direct it to victorious battle, sports or other affairs. Anyone climbing a horse risks being kicked away or killed by the horse, except he gains the horse’s trust through understanding and confidence. The relationship between leaders and followers or man and woman may be comparable with that of horse and rider. Without obtaining women’s trust through understanding and competence, tendencies of feminism may continue to revolt against men’s leadership.
Feminism is the belief and aim that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. This struggle rose from some women’s feelings that their rights are denied in ‘male-controlled’ societies. Feminists blame patriarchy for sexuality restrictions, pay-gap, political failure, ‘unequal’ education, inheritance, bride-price and adopting grooms’ surname. However, some women distance themselves from feminism, in order to emphasize the totality of human maltreatment by fellow humans, whether male or female.
Human beings organize their societies by agreeing to collaborate in utilizing their human and natural resources to satisfy their needs. These needs include food, belief, security, affection, reproduction, productivity, social order, leadership and identity. To achieve this collaboration, humans distribute social roles according to people’s talents and natural dispositions. Because of their physical and emotional strength, men often undertake more physical and coordinative roles like leadership, security and productivity. Due to their motherly nature of care, patience and nurturement, women undertake management roles for fair distribution and sustainable social growth. Each person earns sufficient resources for his/her immediate or potential roles in the society.
For the leadership, protection and production roles, boys are trained to be physically, emotionally and morally strong, disciplined and inventive. Sensitive societies train men to have clear understanding of their social realities, strong-will and persistence to excel and contribute their productivity to the society. These societies train young men to be disciplined, caring, understanding and responsible for themselves, their siblings, parents, relatives and society. Young men who have been trained like this become successful and attractive to ladies who they eventually marry. The ladies are proud to be under caring and capable men who make good decisions and provide good leadership. The ladies often have no need to prove equality with men, nor to be afraid of being abused by men who have been properly educated on social responsibility. Those were the type of men that Africa and some other parts of the world had produced in the past.
Unfortunately, during colonialism, Europeans imposed an unproductive-shadow capitalism on Africa by confiscating the means of production, land and natural resources. Then, the only way to obtain survival funds was marketing colonialists’ goods and extracting natural resources for colonialists’ industries. At independence, colonialists handed over the same political structure to the few indigenes trained by Europeans to defend European interests. Those who obtained the colonial political structure confiscate and auction the peoples’ lands and mineral resources to former colonialists. Today, Nigerian men from the different ethnic groups do not have access to mineral resources for productivity and sustenance. Instead, they are expected struggle for chance to provide administrative, marketing and soft-skill labour to obtain government-issued money.
With this social disordering, ethnic groups become unable to train young men for social responsibility, leadership and productivity. Instead, they urge young men to struggle for scarce opportunities for supplying crude resources to former colonialists, and importing colonialists’ consumer goods. The role of overseeing crude-resource exportation and finished-good importation is too insufficient to engage Nigerian men. This situation of unproductivity robs Nigerian men’s self-esteem as they struggle to obtain survival positions in foreign good marketing or administration. Despite the lack of masculine education and productivity, men still expect the feminine admiration accorded to responsible, caring and productive men.
In the absence of those masculine qualities of caring, understanding and productivity, females doubt many men’s qualification for respect. Men who lose out in the money-economy that denies men of productive opportunities become first casualties. Females begin to doubt if the new breed of men are capable of making good leadership decisions for their families. The females enter the money economy, displacing men with ‘soft-powers’ as marketers, secretaries, customer-care-personnel, bankers, managers and accountants of imported goods and services for the few privileged ones. Eventually, they disregard men who have been rendered unproductive and financially incapable by Nigeria’s mineral resource-confiscation. Thus, they challenge men’s leadership competence based on ability to provide economic, moral and social security, and seek ‘absolute’ freedom to do what they want.
Ultimately, humans are all responsible for one another in the society, for nobody is an island. Though absolute freedom sounds wonderful, the destructiveness of human desires makes unchecked freedom dangerous to the individual and society. There may not be a final argument to convince women with deep emotional betrayal in their expectations from men. Men are supposed to be responsible and caring protectors, advisers, providers, loyal partners, friends, husbands and fathers. But when the social structure fails to produce such men, feminism revolts by seeking extreme freedom from financially incompetent men, equal pay for unequal tasks, ‘unjustified’ privileges and entitlements, excuses for avoiding social responsibility. Out of bitterness, they judge other non-feminist women, abuse men physically and verbally and use words like “you are not a REAL MAN” to manipulate men’s response to their demands and excesses.
Instead of masking their disappointments of men’s miseducation in different shades of feminism, feminists could call for better training on masculine responsibility. Even happily married women must join in this call for the sake of their daughters who will need competent, productive and responsible men as husbands. This call must emphasize the need for reordering societies, especially in Africa, for masculine productivity and responsibility. If men truly become responsible and caring, discharging their productive and protective duties, the number of feminists will reduce. Until then, women still have to consistently defend fellow women against exploitation, not only from men, but also from women. They may need more sincerity in the address for women rights, instead of using it as ploy whenever things don’t go their way.
In conclusion, without educating the male gender to be socially intelligent, physically productive and morally responsible, they become oppressors of the women they are supposed to protect. Then, some of the men become threatened by women empowerment against their inordinate desire for domination, exploitation or degradation. With responsible men around, women are motivated to develop and offer the best they can for family and society, without the pressure to prove equality. Every decent woman deserves a loving, supportive, intelligent, productive and responsible man to love, trust, adore and flaunt to her friends and family. Every good Nigerian lady deserves a productive man who has been trained and enabled to utilize human or natural resources to solve social problems, and to earn his living. And unless that happens, feminism will continue to fight in the defense of the women who have become victims of uncultured and socially irresponsible men.
Our society will revert its system of education to produce men who are not just sponsors of the family but social and moral educators, protectors, motivators and role models to their families. Then we will have fathers, brothers and husbands as educators and protectors, not just sponsors and commanders.
 Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, International student’s edition. S.V. Feminism
 29th March 1978, Land use act. P7
 Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2
 Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1
 Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3
 Neo-colonialism – Walter Rodney, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, 2009 edition (Abuja: Panaf publishers, 2009).