WEEKEND ARENA

The Sick Mindset of Men Who Lust After Their Daughters

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You must have heard or read about Fatima Usman, the 20 year old lady in Akure, Ondo State, who accused her father, Usman Momoh of sleeping with her repeatedly. Sleeping here, does not refer to sharing the same bed (the type Michael Jackson was once accused of) but actually having carnal knowledge of his daughter. To lay credence to Fatima’s claim, a relative of theirs, had in another video, confirmed that spiritual atonements had once been made over this same issue with tubers of yams, fowls and the likes, but that did not deter Mr. Momoh from further ‘plundering’. According to Fatima, there were nights, her father had had to drive her away from their house, aside sometimes, pulling out a knife to intimidate her into submission. That is not far from rape, if you ask me.

What runs in the minds of such men?

Let us not be deceived believing it is only Fatima that is in this ugly ship. There are many Fatimas and Usman Momohs on the prowl in our neighbourhoods, but like Fatima’s mother, who would sleep in a house without knowing that her daughter had been sent away by her father over sex, we are not being adequately observant. And some mothers are also not connecting enough with their daughters to be confided in. Stories like these are around us in churches and mosques, poor homes and rich homes, concealed, so much that only a few who have had it up to their necks, like Fatima, would come out boldly to say it. Of course, the conservative nature of our society makes it worse, which is why I will salute Fatima for her courage. It could propel others in her shoes to open up in the spirit of ‘soro-soke’.

In reality, a father having sexual intercourse with his daughter, just like other incestuous relationships is forbidden by the various religions in practice in Nigeria-Christianity, Islam and African Traditional Religion. In some cultures, banishment could follow after atonement, because it is imagined that such acts defile the land and the inhabitants. I am sure in the days of Okonkwo and Umuofia (Things Fall Apart), when strict adherence to the culture was still in place, such sacrilegious act would be treated with the same severity as suicide. But modernism is changing the rhythm. I can bet that those who want to play God may not see anything wrong with this; they will justify it with the principle of Natural Selection, hinged on that whatever is permissible by nature is alright. That is, since a man can get an erection, penetration and possibly impregnate his daughter, then it is alright with nature, but humans should live above bestiality.

Wondering why some men do this, will certainly ‘turn one to wanderer’, according to Femi Kuti, but some cases cannot be blamed on lack of sex, because some of these men have wives, who are probably sex-starved while their husbands’ loins are warming for the wrong persons. Even at the height of that ‘congi’, self-control should be the watchword instead of proceeding on this pathway to perdition.

As a journalist, I once worked on a similar story involving the daughter of a politician, who narrated how her father raped her in their mansion, insisting that he needed to do it to win the election as a federal lawmaker, ticking off ritual purposes as one of the reasons. The pressure that came with this story had been enormous after I called the politician on the phone to get his side of the story. A few hours later, the politician and his wife were in our publisher’s office. They came to explain to ‘us’ that their daughter was mentally deranged and had been going in and out of hospitals. In spite of those medical documents and pressures that forced me to drop that story, something told me there were elements of truth in the girl’s narrative, because her dates and descriptions were accurate and well-sequenced. Incidentally, the politician failed in his bid to go to the National Assembly, complicating the potency of such practices and beliefs. I knew the politician’s wife was covering up for her husband, like some women would; some mothers do opt for abortions of their grandchildren, because they are seeds of incest.

In reality, fathers with the propensity to commit incest are like regular guys, the difference is only with what goes on in their minds at any point in time. This disposition reminds me of one popular illustration of Sigmund Freud’s, theory of male libido, titled, ‘What’s On a Man’s Mind?’

If it is your daughter, Nna tufiakwa there!