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2011 elections: Please have you seen the women?


Dodo Ahmed
 Published February 1st, 2011

I don’t know why I am always amazed, whenever my curious eyes take a peep at the Nigerian political terrain, specifically on the burning issue of our women in politics. Intriguingly, my amazement is more centred on the political drama in Nigeria over the past ten years. The truth is, I have always consoled myself with a wry grin, long aware that the present Nigerian political terrain has failed partly due to the conspicuous fact that the country’s politics lacks women with bold character and strong will, as witnessed in the first, second and third republic, when we had strong characters like the late firebrand women’s right activist, Mama Margaret Ekpo, the late sharp tongue and no-nonsense Hajia Gambo Sawaba, and the resilient Mrs. Fumilayo Ransome Kuti.

Unlike the first and second republic, when we had fearless women social mobilizers, who took on the men squarely and played major roles as grass roots and national politicians, in an era of male dominated political masculinity, including cultural and traditional discrimination of women empowerment. These women unlike their today’s womenfolks were able to put the men on their toes and thanks to them, the Nigerian women actually had a say and a voice in the political policies then. Today the story is different. Apologies to our present day women politicians, who are more visible during the sharing of the ‘goodies’ siphoned by the male counterparts, and popular at political dinners and luncheon, thus allowing the ever dominating and cunning male to use and dump them for their selfish reasons.

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The present day Nigerian women politicians are funnily different from those amazons of the past, who were ready to sacrifice their lives for the freedom and betterment of the women folks. They fought and won the battle against the imbalance in administrative promotions, cultural and racial discriminations, price control of goods, and struggled for women’s rights in tax and voting matters. They were humble, motherly and fearless. They never allowed the menfolks to buy them over with cheap atanpa, Ankara , soaps, rice and other cheap materialistic Greek gifts. Even though they had little resources at their disposal then, they were able to mobilize various women from different geo-political zones and formed viable and vibrant women pressure groups, which became a pain in the neck of the colonialist, including their fellow Nigerian collaborators, who saw pepe in their hands.

These women acted like the mothers and leaders they were naturally. Keeping the home front prudently and at the same time battling the injustices and suppression that were prevalent then in the society. They were united and not carried away by monetary inducement and fake political promises. Unlike our present day women politicians and women leaders who are now rich landladies, more seen and known in their flamboyant gele, imported hollandis, glittering jewellery and state of the art cars, and famous for their numerous shopping trips to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, London, America, France, Beijing , Malaysia and the other well organized countries, where the women there have continue to stand up for their rights, and their male counterparts had no option but to give them what they deserved and make their homes a better place to live.

Interestingly, our women politicians, turned shoppers, daily travelled to these beautiful cities, interact with other women from these countries and are in constant admiration of them and their rich cities, but yet don’t come back home and put pepe in the eyes of our male leaders who have been more dominant in the affairs of the country and the main reason why their own cities and homes are not as beautiful as their friends and acquaintances in these other nations.

What we now have today are women who are mainly in politics to better their lives, send their offspring to rich schools abroad and own gigantic malls, supermarkets, boutiques and very happy with the popular first lady tag, Hajia, Alaja, Madam, Princess, Chief- Mrs., and the other funny deceiving tags coined for them by their ever tricky male counterparts.

Actually, I don’t mean disrespect for our women, nor am I trying to be a chauvinist, but the truth is, our women need to stand up and rally around themselves to bring about a stable and well organized peaceful Nigeria, just as their counterparts in Liberia, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, India, Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, Ukraine, Canada, Philippines, Finland and the other countries across the globe where women have been able to mobilize and support themselves into the highest political offices in their land. I believe it is important that our women politicians shine their eyes and be wary of the dangling N100 million carrots recently approved for them by the federal government as Special Trust Fund for women politicians, and instead they should dust their wrappers, knot them firmly and take their rightful place in the affairs of this country. They should forget about their political, tribal, and other differences and rally around a viable Amazon, who would boldly fight for their rights in having well equipped hospitals, and good schools for their children and a secured environment. They should say no to the various cheap inducements and demand better markets with affordable price control of foodstuffs, wrappers, jewellery and all the other vanities that could be available in their markets if they want. Infact they have the charming power to sweet talk our expensive politicians to build some of the best salons, and jewellery stores in the world in the country, as well as sweetly instigate them to make each state in the country look like Dubai . True our women if they could be more patriotic, has the power to unveil the masks on the faces of our politicians and make them see the reality that most of the abandoned textile industries across the country can as well produce some of the best hollandis in the world and create millions of jobs for frustrated Nigerians.

They should say no to the many foxy promises, stand up and demand good safe roads and not the death-trap ones that over the years have turned them into widows and claimed some of their children, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers, including friends. We have the money and the resources and nobody knows this better than they. As the ears and pairs of our male politicians, they should continue to put more pepe in their eyes and encourage them to develop our villages and moderniz our towns and cities with infrastructure, reliable electricity and running tap water. They should comprehend that they have the power to starve our flamboyant politicians with hunger and other hidden ‘bedroom secrets’, until they are willing to stop siphoning our wealth to other countries, which help to develop and groom the women of these countries and provide them with better living conditions.

The famous 2011 elections is fast approaching with different drama, and I am yet to see the dominating beautiful gele of our women at the high political stand, apart from Dr.Sarah Jibril the only Amazon still standing, even though her womenfolks disappointedly abandoned her along the bridge at her crucial crossing point.

I don’t know if we should count those other women in the country, who all along have been riding on ‘daddy’s shoulders’, as our women politicians, but all the same, my curious eyes, are still looking out to see the women, as we ride towards dramatic election 2011. Please have you seen the women?




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