By McPatrick Michael Linus
In the last few years we have witness a lot of programs, campaigns and road shows across the country under the guise of encouragement for women to go into active politics even when it is obvious that such campaigns is aim at legitimizing or justifying the large budget for such office or directed to indirectly win the heart of men to back the re-election of her spouse as the case is with the incumbent president. The controversy over the issue is quite unnecessary if you ask me. The time spends to condemn its scrap by Nigerians especially our women could have been put to better use. If I was in their shoe, I would take it as a challenge and work hard to occupy an elective post come Feb. 2015 instead of waiting for the imaginary 30% affirmative action allocation.
Of late we have seen our women try to compete with the men folks in politics thereby arrogate their chores to maids. On one hand we hear them talk of men giving them a chance in the polity on another forum they say ‘what a man can do women do better’ what a paradox! I often ask how long women would continue to sideline or undermine their God given potentials and wait for men to relinquish power to them. In the past we saw the activities of the likes of Fumilayo Ramsom-Kuti, Margret Ekpo, Gambo, etc. even in our contemporary time Hon. Patricia Eteh, late Prof. Dora Akunguli, Sen. Zainab Kure, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu just to mention but a few who got the support of their husbands and gave their male counterparts a run for their money during election. So far the closer a Nigeria woman came is a deputy governor and maybe an accidental governor like Mrs. VergiEteaba of Anambra state during the ‘nightmare’ of Governor Peter Obi.
Our women could achieve a lot both in short and long run if only they’ll unite and support their own as seen in other parts of the world. In Germany for example, a woman is a Chancellor, President in Brazil, once a Prime minister in Britain and the last secretary of state in The US was a woman. Across countries of the world we have seen women occupy sensitive post and leaving their foot print in the sand of time not forgetting here in Africa, countries like Liberia and Malawi have women as president. Before now no one would ever believe women could aspire to such offices let alone occupy it because it was solely reserve for men who continue to enjoy monopoly at their expense. Inasmuch as religion and some obnoxious traditional practices mostly here in Africa have impeded our women from aspiring to any level of their choice in life, another factor that continues to pose a challenge is lack of unity among them. It is not surprising these days to see our women wear ‘Aso-ebi’(local attire), happily singing and throbbing out in large numbers across the country to drum support for their male counterpart during campaign rather than pull their resources together to support one of their own. I believe Sarah Jibrin’s melodrama at the Eagle square during the 2011 PDP primary election is still fresh in our memory. It is common today to see posters of women who are vying for the post of women leader in various political parties flooding our streets in contrast to those running for let say, State/Federal house of representative or senatorial post. Let alone talk of taking a shot at the highest post in the land.
It’s high time our women wake up from their slumber and actualize their dream instead of relying on affirmative action or better still wait for men to relinquish power to them. If this is the case; I can confidently say, it won’t happen anytime soon perhaps in the nearest future. Nonetheless, the point must be made clear, that the role of a woman is complementary and not competitive as some thinks. I’ll spare you the temptation of a voyage around religious, ethno and traditional beliefs across different African cultures since that’s not the focus of this article. What I’m simply saying is that, the whole notion of a woman trying to compete with a man is a myth and an aberration. Rather than grumble or demand for the head of the general for considering scrapping what most of us consider an illegality, they should instead welcome and support the idea and consider it a blessing in disguise. This may just be an opportunity for our women to take up the challenge to run and win the next general election into the office of the president who knows. Concluded
McPatrick Michael Linus wrote in from Abuja