Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.” – Clare Boothe Luce
The above quotation by Clare Boothe, a US Congrewoman aptly captured what happened at the last Presidential primary of the dominant political party in Nigeria, People Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja.
There were only three presidential aspirants: President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and a respected and popular Nigerian woman politician Mrs. Sarah Jibrin.
Though there were allegation of manipulation of the electoral processes and the intimidation of some delegates to the convention, the insulting one-single vote for Mrs Sarah out of over 5000 votes means that Sarah the woman was the only person that voted for womenfolk and for herself.
The question that continued to disturb me and which will continue to haunt Nigerian women is where are the women activists, the feminists and the women politicians who were lousily disturbing the air with their so-called women liberation when they could have influence their husbands, fathers, man-friends and boyfriends to vote for the woman?
Could there be some conspiracy by women against women or they are demonstrating sheer jealousy against a woman that has courage to have consistently come fore to prove that a woman has a right to aspire to any position of authority.
Why should men for instance, who have noticed how women politicians betrayed a female aspirant at the last PDP primary, have trust in voting for female candidates in the next elections when womenfolk themselves are in conspiracy against themselves?
What about the Nigerian First Lady Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of women Affairs, Josephine Anenih who before the primary where obviously visible calling for women empowerment and the need to support women in the next electoral disposition.
While launching state chapter of her Pet Project; Women For change Initiative (W4CI) in Yola, the First Lady challenged Nigerians to believe in the immense capacity and capability of the women folk in nation building in order to bring about the much needed positive change the country is yearning for. she said the initiative was created to bring about a change in the lives of women adding that the activities of the scheme range from giving women soft loans for small scale businesses support for those seeking political offices, and generally changing the lives of women for the better.
On her part, the Minister of women Affairs, Mrs Josephine Anenih endorsed two- time Presidential aspirant Mrs. Sarah Jibril for elections. She said the endorsement was to achieve the 35 per cent affirmative action come 2011 general elections and beyond provided for in the national gender policy so as to increase the number of women in appointive and elective positions come 2011. She added that the political empowerment of women is one of the ministry’s highest priorities.
They made promises of providing logistical and material supports but the awful outing of one-single woman at the highest level with one-single vote call to question their sincerity and commitment to their campaign for equality in the polity.
I wonder what could befall other women seeking top public offices like governors of states. I just imagine the miracle or magic Senator Gbemisola Saraki, a gubernatorial aspirants under CPC in Kwara State can deploy to defeat formidable male opponents like Barrister Kola Belgore, a philanthropic lawyers dearly loved by the masses under Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Alhaji Fatai Ahmed an unassuming former commissioner of Finance who is supported by the governor of the state under People Democratic Party.
Sarah Jibrin herself asked a rhetoric question she put forward to womenfolk when she said: “What offence have I committed against the women of Nigeria? They should tell me so that I will know? They should check my records right from when I was a commissioner right from when I was chairman governing council and all other positions I have held in the past.” She added that: “Nigerian women should tell me what I have done wrong and how I have misrepresented them that made them afraid to vote for me.”
While only the women should address that, it is necessary to point out that it seems Nigerian women are not ready for real challenges as well as their occasional selfishness against their own.
By that action against the only respected and recognisable woman politician of substance in Nigeria, can Nigerian men see the handwriting on the wall and take appropriate actions accordingly to advise our wives, sisters, mothers and daughters to be wary of politics or they could easily embarrass the family in an election through the antics of womenfolk. We should also drum it to their ears that a woman’s role ends in the kitchen and at home to take good care of the family while the men take charge of external forces.
By the way where are all the money and other allocations voted to support women in politics go to? Can’t we prove that now with a panel that should exclude women?