Vanguard (Lagos)

24 November 2012

Nigeria: Hurray! It's a Bouncing Baby

opinion

For hours, Daniel Abiodun was lurked in a deep despair, as he peaces restlessly at the maternity ward in a Lagos hospital. Like a flash, series of event race through his troubled mind as he waits impatiently for his wife who was wheeled into the ward.

At the middle of his endless thought came the news from the Nurse, Harry! It's a bouncing baby girl.

Daniel who was lost in wondering contemplation, unconsciously screamed, girl again?

That was the kind of empathy Africans have towards the male child. But ironically, recent development has shown that the male child only turned out to be a blessing most family household will live to pray for.

All over the world, women are beginning to make indelible impressions in virtually every spectrum of human endeavours, ranging from politics, economy and even social life.

In most countries in Europe including the United States of America, women betides both the political and social scenes like a colossus. The likes of Hilary Clinton, Condolus Rice former Foreign Affairs Secretary of States of the USA, Margret Thatcher, the iron lady of Great Britain to mention but a few. In the Asian countries, women have gone beyond the post of ministers to becoming President.

In Africa, the story is near the same but this discriminatory traditions that seems to lock them out of the political space.

In Nigeria, our women now engage the men in healthy competition in virtually every aspects of our national live. From the political space to the boardroom, the Nigerian women have made parents of the girl child to be proud.

Inn the banking industry, the Nigerian women have recorded tremendous success just as they did in politics. The likes of Senator Florence Ita Giwa, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Petroleum Minister, Mrs Maduaeke and others too numerous to mention.

Perhaps, it was against this discriminatory traditional stance on women, that government of most African countries including the developed ones, now opted to reserve not less than 35% for women in government.

For most government all over the world, it has become a campaign issue. But for Nigerians, this is mere widow dressing as the exclusive place for women inn government must be enshrined inn the nation's legal book if the government must be taken seriously.

There is no gainsaying that the Nigerian women, and indeed African women have come of age. However, available evidence abound to show that they are no more the home keepers but home grown to become women of substance.

I married a second wife for the sake of a male child - Pa Mike Odafe

Years after a blissful marital life with my first wife, I took a decision that caused much. We were blessed with a female child.

Earnestly, I was quite comfortable and happy with my family size. Things worked perfectly as God had arranged them. But this arrangement did not go down well with my kinsmen. They thought otherwise of my family's position.

After a shot spell of time, I gave in to their mounting pressure of marrying a second wife for the sake of male child. Well, as God would have it, the second wife gave me my first male child. The boy is big now and precisely doing fine.

However, in the society where I come from, preference is given to male children as against the female. Coincidentally, experience has shown that female children are even more interested in their father's upkeep when age starts weighing down on one.

Then the male child will be more preoccupied with his immediate family's responsibilities.

Every African man wants to bequeath his assets to a male child. It is all about continuity of the man's lineage, something to be remembered for when he passes to the wold beyond.

Though, I quite appreciate the essence of this sentiment as expressed by African tradition on the male child. However, I must admit that there are imminent dangers that lurk around this quest for a male child.

In my case, I'm a Catholic by faith, and the acquisition of a second wife has denied me the privilege of receiving the Holy Communion. By extension therefore, I'm no longer a communicant.

But I still hold dearly to the Catholic faith. I believe, the arrangement is God's design and I've since accepted it in good faith.

I advise the younger generation, especially prospective fathers to accept any child as a bundle of gift from God. By so doing, God can spring surprises when you least expect.

How the female child comes

Medical expects say that the male sperm contains tiny thread-like structures called chromosomes. The fertilised egg contains 46 chromosomes with 23 each from both parents.

The sex chromosomes from the mother's egg is always the same and is tagged X-chromosome.

On the other hand, the sex chromosome from the father's sperm may be an 'X' or 'Y' chromosome. By implication therefore, the husband determines the baby's sex as he solely posses the XY chromosomes. Therefore, if the egg of the mother is fertilised by a 'Chromosome, the baby becomes a boy carrying an 'XY' chromosomes.

Conversely, if the egg is fertilised by an 'X' chromosome, the baby invariably becomes a female child.

Apart from determining the sex, the X and Y chromosomes in the fertilised egg dictate the baby's inherited traits, with each chromosome carrying about two thousand genes which are responsible for such physical characteristics as the baby's height, built, hair, blood group and eye colour. Hence, it is possible for children to look like or bear resemblance with either of the parents.

Also, the gene is affected by other physical attributes as the environment and how a child is brought up influence features as personality and intelligence.

However, experts disclosed that parents have chance of knowing the baby's sex before birth through scientific method, in the amniocentesis method - a special tube is passed through the oval of the abdomen into the amniotic fluid which surrounds the baby in the womb, a sample of the fluid is drawn out and tested.

An ultrasound scan is another method of knowing the baby's sex before birth.

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