Heart of Arts


Toyin Falola


My bald head and protruding stomach make me look like a “Sugar Daddy!” When seen with a driver and a nice jeep, I become Sugar Daddy X. If I move around clubs, pepper soup joints, and attend parties like a socialite, I am upgraded to Sugar Daddy XXXL, Extra-large x 3. And in the glove compartment of a Sugar Daddy are bottles of “Origin,” among other aphrodisiacs, the most potent in Lagos being “Je ko mo!” that is, let her know you are strong, handle her till she surrenders. Underneath the seats are all sorts of other medications, mainly bottles that contain high blood pressure medication. To enjoy life, the Sugar Daddy must first save his life!

How many Sugar babies do I have? None. Why? I am looking for a Sugar Mummy instead, and I have been unlucky all my life. It is too late now, as I was told that Sugar Mummies prefer younger boys with stronger muscles. I desired a Sugar Mummy to collect money, which I could then spend on a teenager or a girl in her twenties.

To a Sugar Daddy, the older you get, the younger the woman must be so that the blood passing through your veins is cleansed. The small girl, sometimes so small that she can be swallowed in the big stomach of a Sugar Daddy, is full of magical charms that a man in his late 70s by the side of a 20-year-old babe is greeted by his fellow Daddies as young, looking fresh as if he is in his 30s. His first daughter is older than his girlfriend! He is called Grandpa during the day and Sugar Daddy at night. And to the young damsel, Baba Sugar becomes an Uncle, Bro. or Cousin. When speaking with the Sugar Daddy, you think the Babe is talking to a family member. To the organic older women inside the net, the Sugar Daddy becomes “Alaanu mi,” my helper, saviour, and benefactor. God is a miracle worker: He can disguise an Angel in the body of a Sugar Daddy.

I know I am already in trouble for revealing a little. No more revelation, but allow me to explain. As I have heard multiple times, every woman needs a man in her life. Perhaps, they are not in a land where a woman needs a woman! Pardon me once again: almost every woman needs a man who will pamper, spoil, care for, and be hers. So I heard. Can you believe that a woman from a polygamous home whose father has five wives can think like this? Many do as I was told: one-on-one is the best formula.

I also heard that it is also the natural order for a man, irrespective of his social or financial status, to seek affection and companionship from a woman. Millions of Nigerians have never left Nigeria to see a man kissing another man and a man getting married to another man.

As the stories go, a man must work, but a woman need not. What an unfair world! So, I was told that except a man is from a wealthy home or has a trust fund, he will have to work very hard to become financially stable before deciding to settle down with a woman to build a family. Why do they forget that a woman can also be feeding a man? I don’t understand! You must not have been to Ibadan, where Baba General will never pay school fees or leave monthly allowance. Baba General is not a breadwinner but a bread taker of women.

Unfortunately, Nigeria’s economy makes it difficult for many young people to become successful legitimately; this is not an excuse to justify fraud and other illegitimate businesses, but one would have to work twice as hard before one can hit the jackpot. The jackpot can come from luck, ill luck converted to a fortune, like running away from the Kirikiri prison to carry the bags of money left by the warden. And what about ritual money if you are strong enough to use your brother’s body parts for juju? Apologies for ruining your dinner with true stories.

As a result of the toughness of hitting the jackpot, many women seek financial stability from men; they want a ready-made man. Olorunsogo, and not Surulere! They want Toyin Falola and any of his friends. Indeed, some women have asked me to introduce them to my rich friends, especially those managing their businesses who can expense trips to Dubai without considering the cost. In my goodness, I run the errands. In my holiness, I don’t know the results. There are boundaries to the messenger’s job: you can be part of the Workshop to teach how to steal a woman but avoid the closing session on killing the husband. Sadly, many young men are still on the ‘streets’, trying to make ends meet, and many ladies, especially in this generation, do not have the patience to build with a man from scratch. They are on the roadside to be taken, not stolen. This is where Zaddy comes to the rescue.

Zaddy is a ‘Gen-Z’ term for Sugar Daddy that has become a societal trend. Sugaring or Sugar dating is a term used to describe the romantic, transactional relationship between a Sugar Daddy and a Sugar Baby, which has existed for years and grown rapidly as society progresses. Many of you reading this may be Zaddies, but you may call yourself a Chief, Honourable, Pastor, or Daddy G. O.

Zaddies are mostly older, married men, even grandfathers seeking companionship or consensual sexual pleasure from the ‘young female blood’, the organic body purifiers, in exchange for money and luxurious things, ranging from pepper soup to a nice car, preferably a Toyota brand. Many ladies, as young as 15 years old, have Zaddies. Do not ask me for statistics or how I compiled my data. Before you go to bed tonight, you will see a Zaddy near your house!

In defence of these babes, with their artificial wigs, fake nails, bleached bodies, breasts and buttocks sometimes made of foams, they believe there are not enough honourable men to go around and that because men are assumed to be polygamous, it is okay to indulge them. Also, as long as they have no plans to become second or fifth wives, it would not hurt to be a side-chick and enjoy some good things. Sometimes, it is more profitable to have many Sugar Daddies than one miserable husband. Besides, young men their age are ‘broke hustlers’, attending a Pentecostal church to seek God’s blessings. Who is the beautiful girl who wants to suffer with a man in this present age and time? Tufiakwa!

The qualification for being a Zaddy, especially in Nigeria, requires only one basic instrument of domination: Kudi, Mr. Money. Lots and bundles of it in your bank accounts and wallets: money in all its forms and shapes, naira, pound, dollar, yen. A Yoruba adage says, “Eni maa je oyin inu apata, ko gbodo wo enu ake,” loosely translates as “the person who wants to eat/lick honey from inside a rock, will not be bothered about the axe.” This means that when you are focused on getting something, you will not be worried about the sacrifices you must make. The Zaddy can be ugly, shapeless, unkept, couth and rude. It does not matter.

A Zaddy must be ready to spend money because, clearly, this relationship model is designed for younger women who require financial assistance. They are not prostitutes, and please respect them. As there is compensation for every hard work, the reward for being a Zaddy’s baby (or a Sugar baby) is a fully funded Baby Girl Lifestyle. Expensive hair, designer clothes, bags, perfume, shoes, jewellery, latest expensive phones, vacations and ‘baecations’. Depending on how ‘loaded’ Zaddy is, he may establish a business for them or get them a nice car or even a fully furnished apartment in a high-brow area in the city. Now, is there a better way to define grace other than this? Of course not. God did it! The mother will even tell her friends how successful her daughter has become! Mama Baby also looks gorgeous every Sunday, with pocket money from the Sugar Baby.

Many single ladies have a Zaddy or two, but ladies in tertiary institutions are the primary beneficiaries of Zaddies’ benevolence. Friends with maximum benefits! It can be deduced that these young ladies choose this lifestyle for various reasons, money being the sole reason. For some, having a Zaddy relieves them of the financial burden of getting an education and the struggle to make ends meet. Why should beautiful girls burn the midnight oil? For others, discontentment, greed, laziness, peer pressure, and social media are reasons they become Sugar Babies. And for some, the need for good grades has made them run to academic Zaddies, the professor who enjoys visitation to the “Cool Room” or low-grade quickie hotels where no one bothers to change the bed sheets.

Thanks to the Zaddies, young men have been ridiculed and disregarded because they cannot perform the duties of an average Zaddy. The ripple effect is that some not-very-wise young men who could not finance their babes but could not stand losing them to Zaddies have been pushed to nebulous and illegitimate means of getting money: Yahoo Yahoo to the rescue. Davido has said it better: “Love is sweet o, but if money enters, love is sweeter.”

All is not lost. It is interesting to note that some of these girls have young boyfriends with whom they enjoy the benefits of their Zaddies. Some ladies sacrifice to become Sugar Babies to sustain their love for their boyfriends. After all, it is just to massage a potbelly, play with beards, lay on one’s back and get some cool cash in return: small work, plenty of money. Love is sweet!

It is disheartening that an unemployed female undergraduate who was probably sent to school by a pepper seller mother and bricklayer father, slaving themselves away just to ensure that their daughter has a better future, or a widowed mother who is a petty trader, is only concerned about using the latest iPhone or wearing a 100% human hair and will get what she wants by all means necessary, even if it means offering her body for use. It is even sadder when their single or widowed mothers had to suffer sexual harassment from toxic Ogas or construction sites contractors just to send their child, their future investment and the supposed end to their suffering, to school. The Nigerian academic environment has deteriorated so much that it has unconsciously encouraged this act. Who would advise sugar baby? Is it the Zaddy lecturers that check out female students needing good grades? You know, use what you have to get what you want. Desperation and poverty make people do the unthinkable.

Interestingly, some women come from wealthy homes and are financially buoyant. They just want the thrill and experience of being a Sugar Baby. Because it has become a trend, they want to be adventurous and satisfy their curiosity for fun. You see, that is the power of choice.

One would think that the various reports of Sugar daddies using their girls for rituals, and several other unpleasant stories, will curb the increase in this decadence, but it only gets worse by the day. There are now Sugar dating online platforms where Sugar daddies can find available Sugar babies and connect with them.

Zaddies are men from different walks of life. They can be bankers, politicians, pastors, lecturers, lawyers, imams, soldiers, policemen and businessmen. Let us talk about Nigerian politicians whose every after-meeting or occasion is a carnival for Sugar babies. Their workers and assistants go to the nearest places with a concentration of ladies, like campuses, to scout ladies that would be souvenir packages to Honorable Potbelly. Well, who would not want Abuja dollars? A form of a dividend of democracy. If one asked politicians and men in high places what they do for relaxation, they would think of the several sugar babies before using recreational centers as a disguise. Or should we loud the Imams and Pastors with tinted car screens hide their secret mamas away from the public? Or the mansions built or rented for them in Banana Island and occasional holy pilgrimages to the Bahamas?

It is, however, pertinent to establish that not all older married men are Zaddies, and not all Zaddies are older married men. There are still men who are faithful to their wives and are only Zaddies to their wives. In the same vein, there are older, unmarried rich men and young, unmarried rich men who are Zaddies. You see, irrespective of the category of Zaddy one may belong to, it still boils down to money. It is impossible to earn a Zaddy title without money. It is like a chieftaincy title; no one confers the Sobaloju title to a poor man.

One would ask why a man who probably has his wife and children tucked away safely somewhere engage in the shameful act of destroying a young woman’s life. The common reason is covetousness, the irrational desire to have a taste of everything that wears a skirt. Also, some men have an insatiable sexual appetite that even multiple women cannot satisfy. Some others no longer find their wives attractive, possibly due to changes in their bodies due to childbirth and ageing, while others are divorced or widowed. Irrespective of the reasons for being a Zaddy, take a moment to imagine how you would feel if your sister or daughter were a Sugar baby to a Zaddy like you. Did that make you cringe or squirm? Then, let me pray for you: desist from your destructive habit.

I still have some words to vomit: I must tell you about the Ministry of Sugar Mummies. What a man can do, a woman can do better; thus, as much as we have Sugar Daddies, we also have Sugar Mummies who search for young boys to satisfy their sexual needs in exchange for money and other goodies. Some of these women also need young boys for companionship, to feel loved and seen and sometimes for emotional needs.

If proper measures are not implemented, this rot will eat deep into society and produce many damaged young people who do not have the patience and grit to work hard but want to enjoy all the good things life has to offer on a platter of gold. Young people, ladies especially, should be content, patient, learn and be willing to work hard to have financial stability. Nothing stops a woman from making her own money instead of clamouring for the position of Iyawo Oga (the boss’ wife) or Okun emi Oga (the boss’ lifeline). The government also has a part to play because almost every crime and societal misconduct stems from the nation’s poor economy, which cannot provide basic amenities and give its citizens a good life. Jobs should be made available for youths. Work and Study schemes should be enhanced and regulated occasionally to assist students financially.

Most importantly, parents should be on the lookout for their children, as a dysfunctional society is the product of many broken families. Parents should raise their children properly, hold them accountable and discipline them when necessary. Until God saves all the sinners, Babe, tell me:

Who is your Zaddy? Is he a Chairman, or is he an Alhaji?

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