As Nigerians joined the rest of the world to celebrate St Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, a survey has indicated that was about 70 per cent increase in the sale of condoms and contraceptives purchased mainly by fun seekers.
A check by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) around Oyingbo, Yaba, Ikeja and University of Lagos (UNILAG) on the day shows that there was an increase in the sale of the materials for safe sex.
NAN reports that though there are many diverse historic stories surrounding how St Valentine’s Day came to existence, the most celebrated account is about a Roman priest beheaded in the third century.
The date is for the celebration of what many chose to call season of love is Feb. 14.
Arguably, no one can agree on exactly what he did or why he was executed but some legends say St. Valentine was a bishop in Terni, Italy.
He was said to have healed the sick, including the blind daughter of a prison guard whom he met while in jail for practicing Christianity in a pagan world.
Some say he was sentenced to death because he tried to convert Emperor Claudius to Christianity.
Others yet say the sentence came because he was caught secretly performing weddings, defying a ban on marriage that had been imposed by the Emperor as a solution to a military recruitment crunch.
The check by NAN on the supermarkets, chain stores and kiosks around Lagos showed that condom sales are on the increase with the sellers’ acknowledging the increase in their sales.
At Anifat Stores, Oyingbo road, there was about 80 per cent increase in the sale of condoms according to the shop owner, Mrs Anifat Adebiyi.
Adebiyi said that it was expected that there should be a major increase in the sale of condoms and contraceptives because there would always be an increase in sexual activities on such a day.
“We do have a sharp increase, and it is expected we have more sales during Valentine’s Days because that is the day many will want to express themselves.
“We are expecting more sales because many will still come to buy, but we don’t normally increase the price of the condoms.
“Condoms are in various qualities depending on the one the consumer may want to buy. It is a season everybody wants to show love through love making.
Another Kiosk owner at Oyingbo said that he was expecting his supplier to give him more quantities because he was almost out of sale.
“I am expecting my supplier for more condoms because there will be more demand today being Valentine’s Day.
“I always have increase in the sale of condoms during Valentine days and it is expected because many anticipate that,’’ he said.
Another check by NAN to the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka shows a lots of Valentine’s Day celebration going on in the campus.
Students in the mood of the season of love showed that they were in the celebration garb with many regarding the day as a time to express undying love among themselves.
Many of the students were dressed in red typifying the colour of the day, while many were also dancing to the music blaring at the popular student arcade from a stand by DJ.
A student in the Department of Education, Kofoworola Majekodunmi, said that it was a day when immoral activities were at its peak because of what many ascribed the day to be.
“ Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers and fun for loved ones, families and friends. It is a day set aside for immoral activities and socials.
“This is also when illicit affairs commence more because people’s perspective says it is a day for lovers and friends,’’ she said.
The Assistant Secretary-General of Anti-Aids Club in the university, Joshua Ogunmola, a student of English Education, said Valentine is a day for lovers, but the club advises students on the need for safe sex.
He said the club preached on the ABC of Sex Abstinence, Be faithful and use Condom; especially Abstinence.
He said that many packs of free condoms were distributed to students.
“The rate at which condom sells during the Valentine Day is about 70 to 80 per cent this is a result of the celebration of today.
“The students want to show appreciation, love and have fun. People abuse this day by luring girls into immoral sexual activities in the name of love and valentine.
Longe Omotosho, a student of Department of Education, emphasised the negative effect saying that people abuse the day by indulging in illicit affairs, most especially students who say is meant for lovers.
“Students should learn to abstain and show love without indulging in illicit affairs which says in the commandment “Thou shall not commit adultery’’.
NAN reports that the kiosks and chains of supermarket said the increase in condom sales is much and the belief that Valentine’s Day is meant for fun and entertainment fuelled the sales.
Meanwhile, many organisations, including the Federal Government had cautioned youths on the use of condoms and abstinence from sex on Valentine’s Day.
Dr Sani Aliyu, Director-General, National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) on Wednesday urged youths to play safe and stay protected while celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Aliyu made the call at the commemoration of 2018 World Condom Day in conjunction with Valentine’s Day celebration in Abuja.
He also enjoined youths to get tested and know their HIV status.
He said it was important for youths in the country to play safe and stay protected during this season of Valentine to arrest the transmission of new HIV infection.
“It is important for our youths to stay protected, HIV is still much around and the best way for them to protect themselves from HIV is through abstinence.
“However, if they cannot abstain from sex, then they have to use a barrier protection. Yesterday and today is an opportunity for everyone to get tested for HIV.
“All youths should get tested to know their status; it is very easy and not painful.
“Persons who test positive will be placed on medication that will help them live a normal and healthy life, while those negative should take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones,’’ Aliyu said.
Also, Dr Greg Abiaziem, the Acting Country Programme Manager, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), said the event was targeted at increasing awareness and to promote the prevention of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
“Others include safer sex, condom use and its role in preventing HIV and unwanted pregnancies.
“It is important to ensure that condom option was made available as preventive measure to youths who can’t abstain from sex as new HIV infections is highest among young people from 15 to 24 years,’’ he said. (NAN)
Old age, not a challenge to creativity – Fasuyi
Pa Timothy Adebanjo Fasuyi was one of the founding fathers of Nigerian art. He established the first cultural centre, TAFAS Cultural Centre in Lagos. In this interview, he talks about development in the visual art sector, TONY OKUYEME reports
At what stage did you discover that you have talent in art (painting)?
I think it was when I was in primary school. I was about six years old then. Before then, we were going our grandfather’s studio.
My grandfather was the Asolo of Isona, the head of the artists’ guild based in Isona, Ilesa. He was called head decorator of Isona. They saw art then, as a decoration, and they were the people who prepared the Oba’s crown, the staff of office, the umbrella, beads, and other things. So we used to go there.
As we grew up we continued to go there. But when I got to the primary school, somebody came to me that I should be copying drawings from magazines and newspapers.
We used to have an examination for arts and crafts in our secondary school. Other students did brooms and baskets, but I did painting and I got the highest mark. By the time I left secondary school, I had already developed this idea of copying of drawings, photographs, and making my own calendar.
There were challenges here and there. In school then everybody called me Artisco. I was very popular. Alhaji Lateef Jakande, the former governor of Lagos State, was our prefect in school.
He started the Ilesha Grammar School Journal, and he made me the Arts Editor. I was producing cartoons and other drawings to enhance the publication. Art was my best subject, followed by mathematics. After that, I started work in Ibadan, as a draughtsman in a company there. From there I went to the Nigerian College, Ibadan, where they interviewed us. But they moved us to Zaria.
Did your parents support decision to study fine art?
My father was very hostile to me. He was not a very rich man but he was not a poor man. The pride of men in those days was that their children went to England, US, Canada, and so on, not anywhere else. He had therefore expected me to come and prepare for international passport, then tell the course that I was going to study.
So, when I told I was going to Zaria, he was shocked and angry. That was the first setback, because he really wanted me to go to UK, USA, Canada
Also, when he asked me what course I wanted to do, and I said was going to study art, he was shocked, and he asked me if I was going to paint house. When he couldn’t handle the matter again, he took me to his elder brother – the father of late Justice Kayode Esho – when we got there they all laughed at me.
My father then told me that since I was determined to go and study fine art in Zaria, he would not spend his kobo (money) on me.
Luckily, I saved some money when I was working in Ibadan. So, when the issue of Zaria came, I used the money to pay for my school fees. The first two terms were very rough for me, also it was harmattan period. I suffered, but after sometime, I was doing works and started making some money from the sale of my artworks.
What is your take on visual art sector in Nigeria?
I think we need to understand what we mean by arts. Art has been in Nigeria for centuries, and in fact, it was through art that Nigeria was on the map of the world. I am talking of Benin art, Ife art, Nok art, those of other places in Nigeria. These were the real symbol of Nigerian entities at that time.
So, when you talk art now, you are talking about the Western art education. So it is different from our own art. In our system, it was training by apprenticeship. Somebody will go to a senior artist or craftsman, learn for a few years, and you go and establish your own, to do something similar. So there was education that way, which was not formal.
But the Western education, it was a different thing. Western education in Nigeria, we are the first set of people to received Western education in art at the tertiary level. But there were some scattered teachings here and there, but art education at the tertiary level started in Zaria at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology. That was where I started at that level.
There were some people who studied art abroad, and some of them mixed local class with art. I want to mention here, Ben Enwonwu. There were also Lola Ugbodoaga and Aina Onabolu, regarded as the father of Nigerian art. But for the first graduation, that is doing a four-year graduate programme in Nigeria, started with us. So, before going to Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria, I knew have talent for art.
To answer your question about the visual art sector in Nigeria today, well the number of art students produced per year has increased. In Lagos, there is always one exhibition or the other.
In our time, it used to be yearly exhibition by the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA). But now there are several exhibitions each year.
The number of works is enormous, so also is the number of artists exhibiting. In terms of quality, we are still tied in style and materials to the Western, European style. The only Nigerian artist that has broken the myth is Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya, and he did not do it in painting. He went into printmaking. Onobrakpeya is now known more as a printmaker than a painter. He is hard working, and he has achieved success.
At 82, you still paint…. Yes. All these works you see here are mine; you don’t grow old and out of creativity. I still paint. I am working on another solo exhibition. I want the younger ones to know that age is not a challenge to creativity.
You are the pioneer Secretary general of SNA. Would you say the aspirations of the founding fathers are being met?
Yes, I was the pioneer secretary of SNA. There is huge difference between the SNA of today and what it was when we founded it. At the time we started, it was a supreme body, recognised by government. When there is art exhibition, artists’ welfare, artists come together.
But now the SNA of today is no longer effective, because everybody has become self-centered. So SNA is not as vibrant as it used to be.
So, when I realized that SNA was not as vibrant as it used to be, and I saw that some of the old ones who were former executives of the Society are now working independently, I tried to bring the old and the new together into what I called the Artists’ Forum. We hold meetings every other month, at which we celebrate artists who have made their mark, and we also come together to discuss our problems.
We invite formalists, writers. So, we are trying to strengthen SNA.
Looking back now, any regrets?
The Lion And The Jewel goes on stage
The stage is set for the Crown Troupe of Africa production of Prof. Wole Soyinka’s play The Lion And The Jewel. Produced by the Ibadan Playhouse, the performances will hold at the Amphitheatre, Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, Lagos, on Sunday March 4, 2018.
Set in the fictional village of Ilujinle, The Lion And The Jewel tells a griping story involving four major characters – Sidi, the village belle; Lakunle, the village school teacher with Western ideals and believe in cultures such as eating with cutlery, kissing and bogus dressing; Baroka, the ageing but nimble witted Baale (head) of Ilujinle; and Sadiku, Baroka’s senior wife and head of the harem.
As the play opens Sidi, carries her pail of water past the school where Lakunle, approaches her and chastises her for carrying her water on her head and stunting her shoulders, but she is unruffled.
Lakunle loves Sidi and wants to marry her. Sidi does not love Lakunle; she finds him and his ideas about making her a modern, Western bride strange. However, she plans to marry him if he can pay the price as the village traditions necessitate. He refuses to pay her bride-price because he considers it an archaic tradition.
Meanwhile, Baroka has ‘got his eyes’ on the “feisty but voluptuous” Sidi. Baroka considers Sidi another conquest but Lakunle, whose cunning reluctance (or inability) to pay Sidi’s bride price, remains an obstacle. Sidi on the other hand will ‘not give’ unconditionally.
All three as well as the entire village are embroiled in a game that must be won by one.
Tribe and Prejudice: Omatseye’s musings in service of humanity
Title: Tribe and Prejudice
Author: Sam Omatseye
Publisher: Parresia Publishers Ltd, Lagos
Year of Publication: 2017
Reviewer: Tony Okuyeme
“Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” The above statement by Plato, one of the world’s best known and most widely read and studied philosophers, underscores the essence of poetry.
Sam Omatseye, award-winning Nigerian journalist, poet, novelist and playwright, in his latest collection of poems titled ‘Tribe and Prejudice’, demonstrates his commitment to the making of and desire for a better Nigeria, where though “tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand”.
In this collection, titled ‘Tribe and Prejudice’, Omatseye takes the reader, indeed Nigerians, on a reflective journey. While the last collection, Scented Offal, looks at Nigerian history with a view to “capturing some of the essence of the conflicts, crises, and challenges of our history over the years”, in this latest collection, Tribe and Prejudice, Omatseye interrogates further the sundry ills that have plagued the nation. He wants us to look at ourselves critically and realise the kinds of social ills that have bedevilled our nation for so long.
He laments the tribal psychosis and ethnic rivalry pervading our society. In this 63-page book containing 30 poems, the poet reminds us, with clarity of expression and vivid imagery, that “a nation which normalises evil can never make any progress”.
This is clearly captured in the eponymous poem – the first in this collection of 30 poems – Tribe and Prejudice. In it, Omatseye looks at the metropolitan city of Lagos, home to variety of people from different tribes and culture, living together happily, united by a foreign language, which they have adopted to suit their purpose. In the words of the author, “Tribes knitted beneath a tent/All tongues tied by one thread called English…”
But as politics and election came, ‘things began to fall apart’, tribal and cultural differences too centre stage. For, according to the poet, “but in that poll the cosmopolis/came apart one part at a time / One pact was one pact. / The Yoruba past / I jaw past / Igbo past and so on / But past make the present tense / Yoruba of the west / Igbo of the east / Were no longer at ease / The twain met in
Lagos / Not as friends or foes but as / Foes feinting as friends. “Suddenly all our past no longer met / In the pidgin English / We no longer convene in / one tongue.”
He laments the antics of the key politicians, especially Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe, two of the prominent political leaders of Yoruba and Igbo descent respectively. In the third poem, Massacre, 1967’, the author laments the invasion of Asaba by the Nigerian Army and the massacre of unarmed people – old and young – who had come to welcome them with songs and dance for liberating them.
Again, in another poem entitled ‘The Fart of War’, the poet expresses his personal view of war. He sees war as a foolish and destructive venture, an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
The poet notes: “A war does nothing / But build up / A ruin… Cities become fragile like / Human bones / Fields once green recoil to grey…”
With vivid description and haunting imagery, the poet captures other areas of tribalism and its attendant prejudice which are no doubt nauseating.
These include the supremacy battle in Niger Delta, among the Ijaw, Urhobo, and Itsekiri, the Ife and Modakeke case in Osun that raged for years until peace returned; and the activities of the Niger Delta militants and that of the Boko Haram insurgents. They also include Strangers Invocation; ‘Indolent beauty,’ ‘Girl Bomber,’ ‘Corruption’ Almajiri, Tyranny; ‘The Sham I Am’, ‘Wretches’, ‘The Vultures’ and others.
The collection is not just about historical events. The poet looks at some current issues such as the Awo statue at Alausa, Lagos, the Almajiri phenomenon, and some glorious moments such as the victory in the Under 17 World Cup Final in 2015 which he also celebrates in the poem, ‘A Mexican Tear’.
In all of these in Tribe and Prejudice, Omatseye shows us, with a deep sense of patriotism, his desire for a better Nigeria. Notes the Executive Editor of TheNews/PM News, Kunle Ajibade, author of ‘Jailed for Life: A Reporter’s Prison Notes’, Omatseye’s Tribe and Prejudice is passionate honest descriptive lyrical and reflective.
“The arguments here are empowered with measured rhetorical flourishes.
We are roused to rage, shame and pity as the poet confronts us with stupidities, madness, and calamities. We are roused to joy as he celebrates with us moments of glory and triumph. We are roused to value tenderness and to love even in our castle of miseries. We are admonished to consider constantly the futility of life. The poet reaffirms his faith in the goodness that will make humankind endure.”
Reading this collection, you cannot but agree with Ajibade when he also notes that the poet reminds us that “a nation which normalises evil can never make any progress”. Omatseye’s Tribe and Prejudice is a must read.
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