Kiki Mordi, the BBC undercover reporter, has set our tongues on edge. She scooped it. Not your regular stormy petrel. She and her colleagues at BBC have burrowed into the steamy and sometimes mysterious world of sex. They have caused a stir in university campuses on the West side of Africa. And for their audacious effort, four lecturers have been interdicted to pave way for investigation. They were the latest culprits in the booming sex-for-grade markets in universities across the globe. Oh, yes, sex-for-grade is a global syndrome. Several UK universities have been fingered but it does appear Africa leads the log.
So, Kiki has kicked up the hidden, smelly rump on campus. Professor Ransford Gyampo and Dr Paul Kwame Butakor both of the University of Ghana (UG), one of Ghana’s Ivy Leagues, now have questions to answer. At the University of Lagos (Another Nigerian Ivy League), our own Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu is a heap of emotional wreck. All for the three-letter word. They were all alleged to be part of West African universities ring of lecturers who subtly or brashly demand sex from their students in lieu of good (?) grades.
Since the BBC report broke, different commentators have lent their voices. And it’s not only a man’s world after all. Women have been accused of sexually harassing and seducing men. A female Executive Director in a Nigerian bank, some years back, eloped with her driver. Her driver was no match to her in social status and financial standing. Not even a match in intellect but once it comes to matters of the heart, it was her driver that drives her to the summit of sexual ecstasy. And she submitted to the promptings of the heart rather than the prodding of the head. You see, the heart’s not so smart, sometimes.
Sex is sweet, sour and surreal. Scientists say sex and associated emotions engage the mind of an adult man more than any thought. From the priesthood to politics, entrepreneurship to entertainment, from the proletariat to the nouveau riche, sex has rocked humanity. Psychologists say it is the nature of man. Man is a sexual being.
The potency of sex is in its many contradictions. Depending on the perspective you view it, whether spiritual, cultural, physical or even pecuniary. Sex heals, sex injures. It promotes, it demotes. It relaxes the body, it weakens same. It brings shame, it also brings glory. And, it is a mystery; an inexplicable act that shoots the actors to emotional nirvana, the very peak of bliss.
Even the Bible alluded to the power and mystery of sex. “There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.” (Proverbs 30:18-19 KJV). Sex is indeed powerful. It is the opium of the world. Again, we return to the Bible which warns eloquently about the dangers of illicit sex.
After the Bible has warned humanity to “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” it followed quickly by listing all that is in the world to include: “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1John 2:15-16). God, the Grand Architect of the Universe and the one who fashioned man in His own foundry knew that fleshly lust has capacity to overwhelm man. He knew that sex has the power to overawe mortal man. Is it then any wonder why the mightiest of men have succumbed to the aphrodisiacal stupor of sex? King David, the man after God’s heart fell to the charm and feminine majesty of Beersheba. Solomon, the product of David’s conjugal bliss with Beersheba, upped the game. He established a harem of 700 wives and 300 concubines – still a world record. And that’s the man blessed with unmatched wisdom.
Indeed the mighty have fallen to the spell of sex. US Presidents, past and present, were at different times caught in the web of sex scandals. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both accused of fathering children with slave girls in their time. William Henry Harrison (ruled America for only 32 days) and his successor John Tyler were also said to have fathered children from slave girls under their care. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Donald Trump have all been accused of involvement in steamy sex scandals.
The priesthood, from the Vatican to the Evangelicals; from Imams preaching piety in mosques to tongue-talking Pentecostal pastors, sex shows no respect; it takes no prisoners. Religion has not been able to tame it. Religion seems to fuel the sex trade. Ever wondered why the United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, has become one of the prostitution capitals of the world despite overt religious aversion to sex outside of wedlock.
Sex is so key in man’s relationship with humanity and God. Jesus in the New Testament upped the ante. In his teaching, the Lord expanded the frontiers of sexual relationship beyond the bounds of physical act. He said any man who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her. The same applies to a woman who looks at a man lustfully. This raises the bar for all men and women.
Sex is a powerful tool or weapon, whichever. It is such potency that is at work in every campus environment. The university campus is where you have the largest constellation of adults, male and female, in ceaseless intermingling. It is where the students are deemed mature enough to interrogate knowledge together with their lecturers. The lecturers are not mere teachers dishing out notes to the students/pupils. They share knowledge with their students. There is bonding, the type conducive for learning. But that is where the landmine lurks in waiting. Not all men can tame their libido when it runs wild. Some female students also add to the burning furnace. They simply seduce the weak lecturers with their amorous gestures just to get good grades to make up for their mental indolence. No lecturer can successfully harass a brilliant student. But the weakness of any student is not an excuse for a lecturer to prey upon her. Every lecturer, male or female, should be above board. The Code of Conduct for university teachers promotes parent-child relationship between the lecturer and his students, not amoral rapport. This is where Dr. Igbeneghu and others erred.
They must show contrition and stand up to the consequences of their action. The rest of us must refrain from ascending the judgement seat of God. They need our prayers even as they bear the weight of the law. The least we can do is to pray for them and forgive them just so our own sins be forgiven us. The only person fit to keep casting stone at them is the one without sin. Can we find such a one?