“It’s Important For Men To Live By Some Code Of Honour” – Man Like Dondekojo

September 27, 2020

What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up.

“Man Like” is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means to ‘be a man’ from the perspective of the subject of the week.


The subject for today is Ayobami Dondekojo. He’s a comms and policy specialist and he talks about how he handles disappointments, his red flags in relationships and why men should live by a code of honour.

When did you get your first “I’m a man now” moment?

From a young age, I was independent. I felt I didn’t really need my parents to do anything. When I was in uni, my parents wanted me to live within the campus, but I got some money and rented a place off-campus. My apartment was spacious, so boys were always coming through, and I had to provide for them. Food, alcohol, weed, whatever were on me because my parents didn’t send me to have a large group of friends. My place quickly became a boys hostel.  The sense of responsibility for others without having parents to ring up for help was my first real experience. 

Sorry, what?

I know. It’s sad that we keep linking responsibility to being a man or whatever. It shouldn’t be but…

It is what it is?

While I don’t want to give masculinity a straitjacket definition, it can actually only be defined as responsibility. This doesn’t mean that other people are irresponsible or should be, but responsibility is the word that best describes being a man. 

I feel you. What’s different about being a man in Nigeria? 

Being a man in Nigeria is tough because of the traditional African structure. The entire world started out as hunter-gatherers and moved on, but in Nigeria, subsistence agriculture is still one of the biggest employers of labour. This makes life difficult because it means a lot of tasks are still down to brute force, which means more expectations for men. 

We also don’t have generations of rich families who have moved on to making money off intellectual property. It’s either someone’s grandfather was a skilled hunter or warrior or farmer. So, history is still within reach about some great man in your family and this builds its own kind of expectations, especially when you’re trying to be progressive. All this makes it hard for men in Nigeria. 

Heavy stuff. What gives you joy? 

Work. I put my emotions into my work so when it turns out well, it’s joyful. I really like it when my work makes people say: “Who did that?” This applies to both praise and criticism. The feedback culture is good for me. The fact that you’re feeling something and not indifference is fine by me. Seeing progress in my life is another source of joy. It’s a happy thing when I can afford things I couldn’t afford last year without blinking.  

God, when?

But, if things don’t go my way, I retreat into a shell. I might sulk for a bit, but the comeback is usually the return of Abija. I plan my glory come back till the end so that when people think it’s over, I pull up to the scene like, “What’s good?” That usually shocks people into giving me some space.

How do your romantic partners take this retreat? 

Not very good. But I guess that the end — making a comeback — justifies the means. They usually want to support me at that time, but I try to stay away because I don’t want to pass the baggage. To them, this feels like I don’t love or trust them enough. I guess I try to protect them even when they don’t ask for it. 

When you bounce back, everyone joins the new bandwagon. You only look stupid when you retreat and there’s no visible progress after some time. As long as there’s progress, they’ll join the new bandwagon. 

I’m curious: how do you handle heartbreaks? 

It’s all about realism for me. I know that everyone is in something for something. So if it happens, it happens. I’ve had friends try to mock me over something that should have been sensitive, but I found it funny. My recent ex got married while I was out of the country and my friends tried to mock me. What they didn’t know was that we had broken up before I travelled, but it was still funny regardless. For me, when these things [heart breaks] happen, I’m like, I dodged a bullet.

Why?

Because it’s their loss at the end of the day. Also, I have one deal-breaker.

What’s that? 

My red flag is people who don’t share food.

LMAO. What? 

On a serious note, I think that you should just be kind because it comes back to haunt you whether positively or negatively. 

Whats’s something you shamelessly spend money on?

Comfort. I try to be as comfortable as possible. If I go out and I don’t feel like driving home, I’m getting a hotel. It doesn’t matter how expensive that area is, I’m booking it. I also enjoy spending money on hosting my friends when they come around.

Where does one signup to be your friend?

[laughs]

It’s funny because I already have a group of tightly knit male friends. We share advice, money and even gigs. We also give honest opinions. When you’re down, they cover for you. When people say your secret is covered, that’s the context they mean. 

Some people see the bro code as some patriarchal nonsense, but I think it’s important for men to live by some honour code. There should be well-defined lines for conduct and lines that you should never cross.

I tell people not to get lost trying to get into certain circles because you don’t know what the men there do for each other. It’s important to understand how the men run their things so you don’t come in feeling entitled. 

Can I do I.T in you people’s WhatsApp group?

[Laughs]


Check back every Sunday by 12 pm for new stories in the “Man Like” series. If you’d like to be featured or you know anyone that would be perfect for this, kindly send an email.

Hassan Yahaya

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

August 30, 2020

What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up. “Man Like” is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it […]

March 22, 2021

I am personally very fascinated by the sugar baby and sugar parent relationship business model. I have read and also written several stories exploring it but typically from the perspective of the sugar baby. Prompted by a conversation with Zikoko’s editor-in-chief, I decided to start reaching out to the sugar babies I knew and asked […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

black woman with afro smiling
September 20, 2021

Hair lice are tiny, wingless insects that live in the hair of humans. They feed on tiny amounts of blood they get from the scalp. They spread easily from comb to comb. It is especially rampant among kids.  It’s not easy to get rid of hair lice but here are a few tips that have […]

Recommended Quizzes

September 1, 2021

August is over, and here are some of our best quizzes from August. Enjoy: 1. QUIZ: Only Ajebutters Can Get 10/21 On This Quiz Some people like to form ajepako when they’re really ajebutter. Are you one of them? Let’s find out. 2. QUIZ: Sorry, If You’re Under 25 There’s No Way You Can Pass […]

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

November 14, 2019

The fourth season of Big Brother Naija came to an end over a month ago, but the conversation surrounding the housemates is far from over. So, in a bid to keep the fire burning, we decided to create a quiz that tells you which famous member of the ‘Pepper Dem’ gang is your soulmate. Take […]

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

More from Man Dem

September 5, 2021

The subject of today’s Man Like is Enioluwa “Lip Gloss Boy” Adeoluwa, a 21-year-old social media influencer and TV host. He talks about growing up in Akure, accidentally becoming popular from making videos while wearing makeup and how he handles being an unorthodox man in Nigeria. What’s your relationship with your dad like? He’s my […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X