Mr. President Sir, on behalf of me, myself and I, I write to draw your attention to something I consider very important which deserves your sincere consideration.
As a very proud Nigerian, I often visit the Nigerian High Commission in London for various purposes. Recently our most loved and well respected High Commissioner, Dr Taffida ended his tour of duties in the UK. At his farewell event he announced that his Deputy will look after us pending the arrival of a new High Commissioner or your confirmation of his appointment as his replacement.
Not that you do not know this, but it is important to me to say that Dr Taffida in my personal opinion is the best High Commissioner we have ever had in London. He made the Mission home for all. I am sure that like me, many people must be anxious about who may succeed him if not his current deputy. We are hoping that whoever will be appointed must be someone of equal standing and character who will continue to make the Mission a home for all.
With this troubling my mind, I have had to reflect on the history of the mission and realised that although the London Mission is said to be one of the most important to Nigeria, there is no picture of a female High Commissioner in the function room where the pictures of all our former Heads of State and High Commissioners are proudly displayed. This suggests to me that we have never had a female High Commissioner and that women have been overlooked by Nigeria in this area.
I must say that I find this quite disappointing and feel that although Nigeria claims to be gender sensitive, women are still not treated equally or well at all by Nigeria at this level. However, it is not too late and the time to remedy this injustice could not be better than now when you are carefully selecting your team.
On this note Sir, I am wondering if you would consider appointing a female High Commissioner to London to replace Dr Taffida if you are not going to confirm his Deputy as our new High Commissioner. I believe this to be fair, just, reasonable and appropriate at this time. Any such appointment will be justified in every respect. Furthermore, it will not only make history but also demonstrate the commitment of your government to women development and empowerment.
As you may know, there is currently serious concerns that the gains of the past few years of our democracy when a few women were elected and others appointed into various offices as compensation for the failure of parties and voters to give us a level playing field may be lost because women may not be sufficiently represented in your cabinet. I would like to believe that this will not be the case and look forward to seeing more females appointed into various offices when you complete the selection of members of your cabinet.
May I take this opportunity to assure you that the Nigerian woman is not seeking to be represented in this way because she is a woman but because she is qualified and very capable of discharging the duties of the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and ought to be fairly given that opportunity.
I trust that you will give this your due consideration and give the Nigerian woman a sense of belonging and ownership of our country. You have a large pool of able and totally credible ladies to select from. Therefore you will surely have no difficulties making us proud. I am happy to submit names if necessary and I am given the opportunity to do so.
Thank you Mr. President.
Jenny Chika Okafor August 2015 ©