That Power Distance Issue
I prefer utilizing systems thinking in solving problems. Those who know me very well would have heard this concept from me many times. It just works in every situation – personal, business or society.
I have attended Universities in Nigeria and South Africa. The level of god-complex I experienced in Nigeria was mind-boggling. And the same applied mostly in the workplace.
It has been surreal reading accounts of exploitations (sexual and monetary) in Nigerian Universities in the past few days. But we will be ostriches if we pretend that this is a new phenomenon. It has been around since 19-gbogboro.
Now let me shock you. Secondary school teachers have been raping female students for decades. I said rape because according to the constitution, no sex at that level could be termed consensual. It is statutory rape! I knew teachers when I was growing up who impregnated form 4 kids. Yes. And I am not going to pretend that these stories are so far from my door. It was an irritating phenomenon for me whilst growing up seeing the nonsense of people you know dating their secondary school students. I have God to thank for helping me hate those events and deciding I won’t be a victim but take a stand against the slimy, low-life mindset of overage children that think with their penis. I am thankful because people tend to make the mistakes people around them make.
Sex to many men is an act of conquest. They see it as power over women and this is the reason their brain gets suspended when it comes to this conquest. And this is why we need to dig deep into the psyche of the man who suspends his brain and uses his own hands to destroy himself.
I mentioned the same god-complex is applicable in the work place. Hmmm – stories of conquests are innumerable in every form of organizations from 1-man to multinationals. I had a personal experience many years ago in a big company I worked for in Nigeria. This beautiful lady was hounded by this big boss in another department. He was so desperate that he offered her a position in his unit. She didn’t agree and left for another company. A few months after, the big man became our director and a position opened up that was meant for a guy who worked with me. But the big man wanted to use the job as a bait for the lady to come back to our company. I got wind of it, called the girl and she was like wow, this man is still playing games. She turned down the job and my guy got his right. I respect this lady till date. There are many stories of successful conquests. Many.
Again, it is a show of power and conquest. Imagine how these people use their position and money to conquer. Everyone has their own price and some would fall more easily than others. Mind you, these practices are global, but the problem with Nigeria is that the victims don’t have a sure path to justice. I have seen people blaming girls for wearing skimpy dresses on campus and enticing the lecturers. What a shame!
So what do we do? This problem is beyond SEX. We need to look at it from a systemic view. It is all about POWER. Hofstede’s power distance index is a great work that has been used mostly in business but I believe it should be studied from a sexual predator-ship and general bad behavior from people with higher standing to lower standing people in the society.
Our problem is the big-mannism that is prevalent. We have a society that disdains the less privileged. You watch a movie where a big man decides to marry a 15 year old just because the parents are poor and the plot is as if a wonderful thing just happened to the family.
We need to start healthy discussions about power distance in Nigeria. A re-orientation is truly needed. I have lectured post-graduate students in South African Universities and the power distance is zero from my mind. I see them as colleagues and they don’t see me as a god. It is something that needs to start from the home. Our children must not see us as gods. Some Masters students in Nigeria go to help their lecturers’ wives at home – YES. I am not even joking. Else they won’t graduate.
If we look through most of our societal problems, we’d see the pattern. Rape is a power thing. Stealing money meant for the nation is a power thing. Requesting money and sex for marks is a power thing. When you have people who can’t control their access to power, you will keep having the same issues. I have seen gatemen who rubbish graduates who want to submit CVs in companies. This issue of power is complex.
I am challenging friends who love research to check these issues and contribute to knowledge with a plan to effect change. We cannot continue being ostriches and just making noise that fizzles out in another week after the next scandal breaks. We need to find long-lasting solutions to societal problems. And I believe this is one of those.