We must agree on one thing before we proceed in our all important piece today. Should women be clothed as human beings or they should not as beasts! We think they should, and properly so. One of the major differences between man and beast is that man clothes whereas beasts don’t. Man clothes for a reason which dates back to the fall of man. When for sin Adam and Eve fell they knew they were naked, and needed therefore to be clothed. Whereas Adam and Eve sewed themselves aprons (girding coverings) of fig leaves to cover themselves, God later made for them coats (tunics) of skins (leather) from an apparently slain animal to cloth them. We can see here that Eve, for instance, didn’t dress half-woman and half-beast. She was clothed, properly clothed! And this has been the culture over the years with many a religion. So, we sail with this before we continue: Any clothing that exposes a woman’s breast, armpit, tummy, laps, etc or shows, say, her contours makes her beast-like, anti-God and satanic. And didn’t even old Seneca give us some food for thought when he said that “if sensuality were happiness, beasts were happier than men; but human felicity lodged in the soul, not in the flesh”?
Writing few years ago in the Daily Independent about Warri, her churches and criminality in that city, this writer said: “In Warri, prostitution (immorality) fiercely advertises itself everywhere – from her streets, homes/offices to here and there including the worldly churches. At the instance of Satan, girls and women are simply on ‘rampage’. While those decent days of putting on lingerie before normal clothing appear to be gone, dressing without underwear may be a common place as their tight silky wears advertise their contours. At other times some can just no longer conceal what we grew up to know are called private parts, and so must be half, even two–third exposed. They see in these already messed up parts motif given them for body decoration. Like graffiti not meant for confinement but pasted out for every reader’s consumption, so these people want the essence of their womanhood to be seen everywhere their feet are seen. And it is normal! What remains, perhaps, is for them to walk without bodices and under-bodices, or even stack naked” (see Daily Independent of Thursday, September 16, 2004). The story of Warri is the story of Nigeria. Women of easy virtue are on the loose in Nigeria without check and restrain, and men of loose morals not only in ghettoes and street corners but in government and the corporate world are there ready to satisfy their sensuality.
Nothing corrupts society more than women advertising their ordinarily private parts; nothing causes and multiplies profligacy in government quarters, armed robbery and other vices more than obscene women and girls in our streets, offices and homes, and this is not merely being sententious. This writer made the point before now in the Daily Independent of Monday, July 26, 2004 that it has been said generally that the bad girls, be they in brothels, wayward homes, matrimony, ivory towers, corporate world or what have you, represent a major reason the underworld boys go robbing and even taking up arms to eliminate human lives. It has also been said, in low tones though, that mostly for the same reason your politicians go “banditting”, burrowing head, shoulder and heart into our treasuries with obstacle and resistance, real or perceived, meeting with assassination. We also said then that licentiousness and ribaldry are today on display on screens across the nation and wondered why laws against obscenity means nothing to the politicians. We also wondered why the head of the last regime (with his sacerdotal posturing) and the National Broadcasting Commission want miracles off the screen but will do nothing serious about obscene pictures watchers of the screen have to be invaded with. We were very concerned as we still do with those foreign and home videos that rubbish our good upbringing and sound ethos! We were very pained, as we still are, with those musical artists promos on screen; people not only dancing their souls into eternal doom but also want many with them in their passage to damnation.
Prostitution which nudity (whole or in part) represents is the fuel for financial profligacy, and its mainspring. And because nudity, in all its various ramifications and expressions, is becoming the first open invitation prostitution offers the men folk, its monstrous place in societal decay cannot be overemphasised, and it must, therefore, be tackled with a magisterial tool such as a well-conceived legislation. And until we do this and confront this evil head-on government would only be throwing a spanner in the works of EFCC and ICPC in their anti-corruption drive. To ignore this critical area of the war is to adopt a slapdash or at best half-measure approach. We need a total and very rewarding approach. Obscenity and all forms of nudity in public places, our streets and on screens must be seen to be rigorously battled. Nudeness (whole or half) on screen and off screen in the open has robbed our common treasuries more than a thousand and one Abachas. To fight corruption among men and yet be blind at the same time to one of the chief reasons corrupt men behave the way they do translates to insincerity. It means fighting a blind battle. It is like chasing after armed robbers while arm suppliers are let alone to, of course, supply more arms to ready armed robbers. Actually, there is always a strong correlation between crimes (generally speaking) in society and prostitution, which nakedness and nudity – whole or half – is about. To solve the problems of Nigeria appreciably our women must learn or be made to dress well.
Good enough, the last regime showcased many decent women who we wish to recommend as national models. The likes of the Daisy Danjumas in parliament made good sight indeed. The likes of the Joy Ogwus in the presidency will be chiefly missed. The Oby Ezekwesilis, Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealas, Nenadi Usmans, Dora Akinyulis and few others represented the ideal woman in this regards and we would want to see our girls and women (married and unmarried) modeling their selves on them. Yes, we are not left without good examples. The time indeed has come when our laws must compel what is good and acceptable. Is it really any wonder that these women performed brilliantly in government? Perhaps the temptation is to try to draw correlation between descent dressing and performance. But because descent dressing is a product of the fear of God and proper upbringing the correlation is more appropriately between the fear of God and good performance. The Nigerian Television Authority scores high too in this regards. Many of the ladies there come out as women, at least on screen. If our cherished dressing values are upheld by some in government and at NTA which we could call the country’s gateway then such values must necessarily be driven to our streets across the land and anything contrary treated strictly as aberration! There are enough allowable things to be seen in the face of a woman in public places and on the street. So, we must be spared the evil of seeing rubbish, for so is anything that is emptied of value or have no value attached to them by those who possess them.
If Nigeria must become as sane as possible, if our treasuries must be as safe as possible, and if we must get the best out of our women as much as possible our women must be made to live as they are created to be: WOMEN, AND NOT HALF SO. And to get that done legislation that has God in mind, and has the likes of great models like Danjuma, Ogwu, Usman, Akinyuli et al in focus is very essential, and that urgently. We want our ladies to cover. We believe their private parts should remain private if our society can move forward away from the corruption that has besieged governance and made area boys of governors. But if they must bring to the glare of all their private members then they should be better advised to co-habit with lesser creatures. How truly odd and phoney in the eyes of humans to see beasts clothed; and how equally truly odd and phoney in the eyes of beasts to see humans naked! So then, may each creature stay and maintain its station.
Let our girls and women remain girls and women indeed. Whilst it is the ‘animal right’ to go naked home and abroad, it is no ‘women right’ to be naked in public. We mean that the spoilers of society, destroyers of our value systems and influencers of the emptier(s) of our treasuries should be checked. We need this piece of legislation NOW!
Igho writes from Warri
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