In the early days of his reign as Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi has made headlines as perhaps the most accessible Ooni of all time, attending one function after another, and some are of the view that this accessibility is reducing the status of the office.
His second wife Zainab, also made headlines at the end of last week, when she spoke at a forum saying that she is not a fan of gender equality.
I’m not a huge fan of gender equality, because we can’t be equal. We can’t be men. We have our role to play here. A very pivotal one […] I wouldn’t go back to my husband and say “I want to wear your crown and hold your staff”, because he’s the king and I’m the queen and I have my role to play, and he has his to play that’s just as important.
Her Majesty makes a cardinal error of assuming that women want to be like men. This is ridiculous. All women want is access to the same opportunities and choices that men have, without being judged for or obstructed from taking those opportunities or making those choices. All else really is details. But Olori Wuraola is not the focus of this article. Freeze, the Cool FM OAP, gave his own full-throated support of her on his Instagram page.
The Olori of Ife, Her Majesty, Queen Wuraola-Zynab Ogunwusi, spoke what I consider words of absolute wisdom, when she stated her belief that gender equality is hardly achievable in the modern world […] Although feminism in itself is a noble cause, and by definition is “a range of political and social movements and ideologies, that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, personal, and social rights for women, the way many of my Nigerian sisters are going about achieving this is becoming counterproductive. Although I agree that men and women have equal rights I absolutely disagree that they are equal.
How can people who are not equal have equal rights? Never mind, don’t answer that. The best part is yet to come. Of course, when Nigerians, men especially, begin to talk about feminism, it inevitably ends up in relationship talk. Our darling OAP concludes with this…
Though some men like feisty, argumentative ‘my way or the high way’ kind of women, I unfortunately don’t fall into that category. I don’t enjoy relationships where women stand up to me all the time, putting their feet down, as it’s something I consider a major turn off.
This is one of the reasons why my work relationship with the gorgeous @kaylahoniwo has been so great. she always knows how to get what she wants, without being rude, cocky or argumentative, making me constantly tell her how much wife material she is, and how lucky the man that would make her his Olori would be.
Far from being a harmless tribute to a colleague, Freeze is pushing the narrative that women who don’t ‘stand up to him all the time’ and are not ‘rude, cocky or argumentative’ are the ideal, and all others are less so.
In essence, so long as Kaylah, in his view, continues to be agreeable and non-confrontational, everything will be fine, and she will continue to be his ideal example of ‘wife material’.
The moment she expresses a view on any issue beyond the threshold he feels is acceptable to him, that status will be under threat, at the minimum. If she keeps it up, she will no longer be placed on that pedestal.
That’s how oppressive systems work. Behave in this or that way, and you will be granted access and all the benefits that come with it. Struggling to get this access is what pits women against each other.
It is what makes some women fierce defenders of the very system that makes the existence of feminism so important in the first place.
What Freeze has done, probably without Kayla’s knowledge or permission, is to use her as a stick with which to beat other women. “Why can’t Nigerian women be more like Kayla?” he asks, pitting women against each other in the process to compete for the crumbs that fall from the table of patriarchy.
That was his intention. He – and other men who employ such tactics – should not be allowed to succeed.