The opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics 2016 still depresses me from a Nigerian point of view. France had a terror attack, but still hosted the Euros like they were cooking indomie, brazil had just suspended their president, still had countless number of people protesting unpaid salaries and unfair treatment by the government but the time they were supposed to deliver the goods (Olympics) they did so like it was nothing. Nigeria, had a little setback therefore their ceremonial attires did not arrive on time and other sad stories with the Nigerian athletes. Why is Africa so different from others? Priorities. No matter the price of the dollar to naira, civil servants and political appointees would still go on government funded foreign trips, well, that’s by the way, today I want to introduce to some and remind others about something Nigeria is doing right; the August Meeting.
Since the building of the tower of babel, humanity has always drifted away from each other, that is it is much easier for a human to separate himself from his fellow human than to stay together, much more stay united in purpose. With the invention of technologies like the smartphone people could actually stay and even co-exist with one another but still not be united in anything rather they’d even be more distant because from their devices they could travel the world and back with just a few data lost especially as it is true the saying “someone at a distance always seems better than one nearby” in Nigeria, a clan known as the Igbo’s sort to correct that abnormality before it even became one by organising what is called the August meeting.
As you read women from every works of life; the typist to the directors, the market women to the big business female millionaires and from Maiduguri to Lagos are currently observing this tradition. Every year women married to men from the Igbo’s (Umuádá and Umubákálá) are expected to return home for a couple of days or if possible for the entire month to honour their mother’s, relate with their sisters and more importantly to relax from the troubles of men. The men are expected to leave their wives alone this period and also to support them in whatever way possible especially financially, as most men have come to realise “a woman is never too rich to take a man’s money”
As with most traditions around the world this custom is not by force, no married woman is supposed to be compelled to travel; it is a crime. But, everybody has a tradition they hold on to, whether it was passed down to them by foreigners, passed to them by their own or created by them, everybody is subject to a tradition, a way of life, no matter how civilized they look. And like Mali, Cameroon, Mauritania, Ghana, India, Niger and the Arab countries to name a few, that weren’t ashamed of representing their cultures in front of millions of people watching at the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics games, I stand by the August meeting as a Nigerian culture that brings the beauty to the word being a Nigerian.