The Roadside Discussions


By Abdussamad Ahmad Yusuf

It was Wednesday evening, the clock ticking to point 6:00 pm. Alongside two friends we were joined by another friends’ friend reminiscing my 44 days stay in Abuja, the Federal Capital — the longest I have stayed off Kano.

It’s roadside discussion, and all topics have the freedom to cross our minds. We present, discuss, argue and analyze; some times to even pass verdicts and judgments.

In Kano it is Majalisar Bakin Titi, the roadside parley. It is a local gathering of men. In the local roadside parlays unless in some special circumstances, there is segregation of age, group and social and even economc status. While there is Majlisar Attajirai, the wealthy’s parley, there is that of the humbles, nobles to that of ‘yan caca, the gamblers’. Men branched in the majalisa after work or market hours, in the evening. For the youth, joblessness and idle-mindness have made their parley almost an all-day affair.

It’s easy when you talk of youth or range of bachelors, be rest assured women and girls have to find way into dorminating the discussions.

Habu would began showing the girl in blue, her Atampa cost six thousand, the bag two, her veil eight hundred; putting everything she wore averagely kept at Fifteen thousand. She was of humble background and not suitable to be “settled with”, he concluded. Marrying her means you have to struggle all your life satisfying your needs and hers’ and expecting nothing to come to your table from her side or her parents. Is it crass materialism or the new normal? Anyway, it’s a roadside perlay not an academic or intellectual forum.

Untill the begining of the 1990s, marriage is contracted basically on mutual friendship between two families of the intending couples, for settling disputes, generally to stiff bonds or forge new ones. The material benefit do not count as much, even at community not familial level where crowd-achievement due to communal life-style is extol than the individualist-materialism in prevalence today.

This permeation of materialistic viewpoint of life has degraded standard of familial life seen manifest in roadside discussions, more unfortunate, stemming from the Manyan Gobe, leaders of tomorrow who are nurturing an ignorant standpoint for the nucleus of society: the family.

The Habu thesis painted above, shows the complexity of young man’s ‘misthinking’ wealth, status and rank, for fancy and expensive dress and accoutrements. It has sadly, put young girls of marriageable ages reduced to racing for material possessions; an iPhone – the latest in the market, expensive ‘Vatik’ Atampa, posh shoes for kece raini, being-above-equals.

These are the ‘yan mata Roadside Discussions extol to the high heaven, and about-to-marry young men internalize as the best description of woman to seek her marriage. Its’ no longer about the Ladabi (obidence, and I am not being apologetic to the ‘alpha’ men), kunya (modesty and good manner), hankali (sobriety), mutumci (humanity toward others) and Karamci (generousity), in addition to what zamani, current dynamic brings; industriousness, economic dexterity, education (in the western sesnse or the karatun boko) and may be tech-friendliness.

The Roadside parleys are a hub to discuss which girl has the curviest hip, who has bosom chest and who walks beguiling, and identifying who has Girman kai, ego in the community. The one egoistic, closely when interrogated one would discover she is the one who is not trading her teeth to beautiful smiles at any of these near-jobless men, what they will turnout to brand Rashin kamun kai, not modest. The best of the times, if any, is one that discusses, often prejudicial perspectives, who is mutuniyar kirki, good girl and who is not.

Many girls dodge passing by roadsides parley simply to skip their topic brought up unsolicited, and to evade, the roadside social appraisals and analyses of their lives.

What I will not close however without telling you; beautiful marriages have been tied from Roadside Discussions, even though, one may argue equally, many have been dissolved thanks to Roadside Discussions. The paradox notwithstanding, should not deter young men and women, from being the best they could be so that the best come their ways.

Abdussamad wrote in from Kano and can be reached on

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily