NIGERIAN WOMEN IN POLITICS
How have we performed so far and why? Have some of us who have been given the long overdue and much needed opportunities done well and well enough to encourage the electorate to trust us with the office of the President, Governor, Senate, President or Speaker of the House of Reps?
I would like to be the Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representative one day but do you think that given our performance to date, anyone would have the confidence to trust me and many others like me and give us the chance we deserve?
Yesterday, I read the near ridicule of the Coordinating Minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala by the press and members of the finance committee who are looking into her performance when she appeared before them recently. Initially she asked for time to attend to their inquiries as she was not well enough to attend them immediately. Her request was respectfully granted. However, in a bewildering turn around she then asked for the proceedings to commence. This was turned down by the intelligent committee members who then gave her 50 questions to answer and return to them within a given time scale. I understand that she has asked for a further extension of time and described the process as an examination.
Now I turn to Stella Oduah who has been mired in the embarrassing Bullet Proof BMW fraud and who is still under attack by the nation for various other matters but she is standing her ground and not moving an inch. Clearly, the findings of misconduct against her are more than justified but her supporters are playing the gender and tribe card and conveniently turning a blind eye. The President is mute on the recommendation to sack her given by the Committee that investigated her conduct. I wonder where we go from now and how this will end.
Then the Oil Minister Dezani Alison Madueke has also been mentioned in many allegations of misconduct and personal enrichment. Again nothing is being said or done to assure Nigerians that all is well.
Then Okereke Onyuiuke had her own spell with mismanagement and over spending. This nearly got transferred to Aruma Oteh who escaped the witch hunting credibly.
Then the famous Patricia Etteh embarrassing soap opera which ended in the death of a lawmaker in the hallow chambers. She was not punished for even thinking of embezzling that sort of money because as I imagined it was not for her it was for the PDP so there is the usual convenient silence. Now the hair dresser who in my opinion is a total failure and must not be given any chance to lead even animals is alleged to have gone back to University to acquire a cheap law degree because she is coming out as the Deputy Governor of her state in 2015. But what about the other very educated and highly competent women in her state?
We cannot forget the biggest embarrassment Mrs Ibru caused women and Nigeria? What did she get? A slap on the wrist and she is going about her business as usual. She has people in high places. I even heard that she reached out to her co criminal Ibori and asked him to press his buttons so that she would have a soft landing. He possibly did otherwise how on earth could she have gotten away with such level of criminality while hungry unemployed children who stole bread or gold mobiles belonging to big shots in power languish in prison?
Looking at the above few situations does anyone know why women who have been given the chance to have a bite on leadership performed badly and the consequences their poor performance holds for other women who are aspiring for a chance to serve our nation?
Do you think that the women who have been or are representing us are being targeted because of their gender as Nigeria remains very misogynist and not ready for women leaders or the wrong women have been selected and they are not performing well?
I personally think that apart from people like Okonjo Iweala and a few others, appointments of women into high offices remain a matter of favour instead of merit. I am mindful of the fact that many of our male leaders are criminals anyway and not better than the people they recommend. However, I also believe that since women are fighting their way up, we must insist on the best serving our country on merit and not good looks or favour. We need women who have their own minds and who get there by merit and therefore will insist on being allowed to do their jobs or they will simply quit. This is necessary as the current attitude means that they are answerable to their godfathers before Nigeria and that is wrong. We cannot continue to serve the greed of a class of people whose only understanding of service is power to themselves, their family and friends. We must depart from this and let the best emerge.
Until that becomes the case the journey up remains a very uphill one and may stagnate if women do not come out collectively and condemn the current system of selection and appointment of women into high offices and insist on merit only as the criteria. That will help us to be proportionately represented. So say no to favoritism and insist on merit only.