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LOUD WHISPERS:  Alainitiju (The Shameless)

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Monday, April 29th, 2024

‘When the tortoise is heading on a senseless journey and you say to him, ‘brother Tortoise, brother Tortoise, when will you be wise and come back home?’

The tortoise will sing, ‘My brother, not until I have been disgraced, not until I have been disgraced, disgraced, disgraced, not until I have been disgraced’

We were all taught right from wrong as kids

Most of us listened

Some of us did not

We were taught about hard work, a good name and the value of your word

We were told, ‘remember the child of who you are’

We were told ‘don’t do this’

And, ‘don’t do that’

You did not get up when Mummy entered the room – one slap

You ignored Daddy when he was looking for his shoes – double portion

You took food from a neighbour – triple portion

You brought home a report card and you did not make the first five in class

Daddy was not creative

So, his instruments of torture were predictable and on standby

Six-ten lashes, depending on your capacity to maneuver

Mummy is the one who was always the problem

Her weapons were sundry, unpredictable and never missed their target

Even if she nursed the wounds she caused herself

She was always the one who did the most damage

We were no saints

We got into trouble

But there were things we simply did not do

More than all the whips and belts that decorated our rebellious bodies

The most painful were the words

For the Yoruba speakers it was ‘Alainitiju’


That was one of the worst things that could be said to you


A fool with no sense of responsibility, no dignity, no restraint in thought word or deed

 a careless, thoughtless person who was missing on the queue the day wisdom was being handed out on the way to earth

a person lacking in self-worth, nobility and decency


We have always had them

Yet, it used to be simply a matter of opinion, not fact

Thanks to the digital age we live in

The Alainitijus now have a whole new world open to them

To display their ignorance, stupidity, greed, spite, envy

Nothing is too sacred

Nothing is taboo

Nothing is too outlandish

Nothing is too unbelievable

Now we have a crisis on our hands

Those who know better keep quiet

Perhaps we should not blame them

Sometimes you get tired when you feel like a broken record player

So, the space is wide open for those who know next to nothing to keep running their mouths

Someone who does not have six yards looking for twelve yards of wife material

Someone with two yards decides to sew a bra and mermaid skirt to jiggle front and back at a wedding

Someone whose father probably worked every bone in his body to send her to school

Is looking for a man who can spend the equivalent of U$5,000 at a night club every weekend

A fifty-year-old man pounces on the thirteen-year-old daughter of his poor neighbour

And has the audacity to blame the devil and not the piece of mass destruction between his legs

Even the devil would be ashamed at the things done in his name

How many times have we called out sexual predators in our schools of higher learning?

How many laws and policies have we campaigned for?

Yet, the Alainitijus keep popping up

We have not settled the matter of the Alainitiju Professor at UNICAL

That was after the hard fall of his Professor colleague at OAU

Now another randy goat was caught pants down (literally) at UNN

Alainitiju Professor, sweating and trembling over a matter he was prepared to sweat and tremble for


Live a life you can afford

Be grateful for what you have

One chicken, two chickens, three, it is your choice

It is okay to keep a poultry

With the understanding that chickens lay eggs

It is not every juicy steak that has to be chewed on

But, chew, chew, chew you must

Then it occurs to you that one day your bill at the dentist might be too massive for you to pay

So, you pay in advance

Just in case you chew yourself into losing all your teeth


If you were taught, teach and teach again

If you were taught but refused to learn, learn again

Our parents knew something we did not when we ‘suffered’ at their hands

There is a cost to being an ‘Alainitiju’

Now, we are all at risk of paying the price.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Policy Advocate and Writer. She is the Founder of, an online community for women. She can be reached at

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