I must stress here that being an educated female, in my culture, is just the beginning of the struggle. It is not a license to freedom, but it gives the female a fighting chance. From now, I will give a glimpse into what I had to go through even with a Ph.D. in my field of studies. A colleague of mine wrote a book about me detailing my struggles, and the struggles continues.
April, 1977, Lagos is buzzing, especially around the National Theater where the black world is gathering for the Festival of Black Arts and Culture, known simply as (FESTAC). Njide is rehearsing with her Ensemble to perform at the festival. She is also performing with the national choir. She finishes rehearsing, and is gathering her things to leave, when she hears whispers and giggles especially from the girls. She turns to see what the commotion is about and sees a tall, fair complexioned and handsome man walk into the rehearsal hall. He has a two headed drum slung over his right shoulder, and walks with a swagger. He stands very tall in the center of the main hall, looking straight at Njide. Every other
girl in the room tries to attract his attention, but he is looking at Njide, or is he wondering about her voice?!
Njide turns around very slowly and looks back at him. She sizes him up amused. She is used to men “oohing” and “whaing” after hearing her sing, but this one is God’s gift to women. Their eyes meet and she lowers her eyes, and puckers her lips in a smile. He reminds her of the man of her dreams, the one with the shinny ebony skin, and white teeth that will one day sweep her off her feet and carry her off to love land. He too is smiling at her with a squint in his eyes. She recognizes that crafty smile but ignores it. He swaggers over to her, and offers his hand.
“I am Tunji Lamidi.” He says still smiling and squinting. “You have a beautiful voice.”
Njide looks forward and hopes that Tunji’s new position will bring relief to her from shouldering the expenses of the family for so long, but Tunji has other plans for his newly found well being. Without informing her, without discussing with her, without respecting her feelings, Tunji takes another wife. A member of his family tells Njide about it. Days after his secret marriage, he sends a delegation from his family to tell Njide what he has done, and that he will allow her enough time to get used to the idea before bringing his wife home.
He did not go to house again after he took off with Njide’s suit case, but his friends went to pick up the rest of his things when he found his own house. Njide did not see him again until five years later when she asked him to petition for her to relocate to the United States of America.
When I returned to Nigeria from Michigan in 1982, January, 1982, the news went around that I was back. Some people were happy for me, especially my family, but others had mixed feelings. These others argued that I could never have done a Ph.D. program in three years, that I must have bought my Ph.D. certificate from one of the American schools they hear about that sell credentials to anyone who can afford them.
A dramatist, I will not mention his name, whom I thought was my friend, travelled to the US around that time, with a promise that he was going to use the opportunity to unmask my fraud. In fact, many of my other colleagues were rooting for him and supporting him in his quest.
In the meantime, Sammy Akpabot, was writing a column on Sunday Times at that time, and I liked reading his column. One Sunday, his column was all about me. The Sunday before that, he wrote about the Nigeria Female Musicians, and I was not even mentioned. Then the next Sunday, the article was all about me. I was glad and believed that he was giving me a special treatment, and it was a “Special Treatment”.
Sammy started with how I came home with a spurious Ph.D. certificate from some unknown and spurious US institution, and was parading about with this fake credentials expecting, the real musicians to respect me.
I was jolted off my seat! I was not expecting anything like that at all. I adjusted myself on my seat and tried to read again, and it was all there. He promised that very soon the truth about what I did in the US will come out. He was referring to the man who went to the US and who promised to unmask me.
After reading his very long comment about me, with no single good, attributed to me musically, he even mentioned some ladies who he said sang better than me, even with less training than I received. In the end he warned me about what he said he knew I did, and asked me to leave Unilag before I was disgraced out of the place.
When things like this happen to me, all I do is pray. I prayed and asked God to tell me what to do, how to react, and how to respond to this man. After three days of serious praying and seeking God’s face and help, the inspiration came to me. I decided to rebut Sammy’s claims with my own article. The Lord gave me one of my finest written rebuttals, and I went to the Daily Times office and handed the article personally to the Sunday Times editor. I told the editor that it was my answer to what Sammy said about me the Sunday before, and that I wanted him to publish my rebuttal the very next Sunday.
They did, and on Sammy’s column, and that put a final stop to all the speculations about my American credentials. The one who went to the US returned and also confirmed everything I said in my article. The next time Sammy and I met at a conference, he doffed his hat to me.
For more information on the above, please check out the following:
Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko: The Saga of a Nigerian Female Ethnomusicologist [Kindle Edition]
Godwin Sadoh (Author)
Websites: http://sbpra.com/joylobamijoko/ Mirror of Our Lives …..
http://sbprabooks.com/JoyNwosuLoBamijoko/ Legend of the Walking…
Buy Legend…..from Amazon.Com:
Buy the B&N e-Pub version at:-
Buy Mirror of Our Lives…Amazon Link:
Barnes & Noble Link
FaceBook Link: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lobamijoko
Twitter Handle: @Jinlobify
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