Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ettehgate and the women's movement


The leadership of the House of Representative, headed by Mrs. Patricia Etteh, has in the last few weeks been engulfed in a public scandal and this has continued to undermine the work of policy making in the lower house in Nigeria. The said scandal of about N628million, has attracted public debate and condemnation and no doubt threatens to consume the speaker and some key leaders.

This imbroglio has created opportunities for some male chauvinists and cynics to equate the face of corruption to that of the “women” or to say, that Etteh’s mistake and failure justifies the fact that women are not worthy of nor matured enough to take leadership and decision making positions in Nigeria. Thus the canvass for enlarging the space for women in Nigeria be suspended, since ETTEH represents the quality of women that we have in Nigeria .

We must say categorically here, that the women’s movement in this country condemns corruption in all its ramifications. And that the Etteh-Saga, though unfortunate does not represent the face and intentions of women in politics, neither can the conduct or act of one person justify the need to abort our call for affirmative actions which is a global call with evidence of successes recorded in countries around the world.

Corruption in Nigeria is endemic and the history of the National Assembly in the past years has shown that Etteh Saga is not the first and may probably not be the last if we do not as Nigerian citizens insist on a credible party system, which encourages transparency and accountability as opposed to fraud and avarice. Nigeria party politics, a product of years of military misrule, has come of age, and particularly in the last eight years embarrasses the Nigerian public at home and abroad, and has been driven by certain interest, which has refused to yield to the yearning of democratic rule and good governance as recognized globally.

We then believe that Etteh was imposed on the Nigerians by the corrupt system, she has allowed herself to be used by same that produced her and brought her into office. Etteh is no doubt a sacrificial lamb, and this is not ‘the women’s business! Etteh does not then represent the women’s aspirations in Nigeria .

The Women’s groups below therefore re-state the following in a clear and strong terms that:
· ETTEH GATE Cannot be a justification for the exclusion of women in decision making since history is littered with great women who had excelled in leadership positions around the world and in particular in Nigeria among this great women of our time are Prof. Dora Akunyili (NAFDAC), Prof Jadesola Akande, Esther Nneadi, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala former finance minister now MD World Bank and Obi Ezekwezili.

· Women have played pivotal roles in socio economic development of the society; their roles have evolved over the years from primary caregiver to taking additional roles which were hitherto seen as traditional male roles. They have permeated all sectors of the economy particularly informal sector, where unfortunately little has been done to better their lot economically.

· Women have played vital roles in the establishment and growth of political parties which dominated Nigeria politics from pre independence till present Yar’Adua regime, however only very few women are allowed in the leadership position of the party and elective positions. This exclusion is partly responsible for the male-faced degenerate politics that we are faced therewith.

· According to reports, women represent 49.8%[1] and this has not translated to corresponding political power, thus as it is now the power relations reflects inequalities between men and women and have persisted and the leadership of this nation need to begin to put structures in place to remedy the long historical injustices that has been and has continued to be meted against women at all levels.

In conclusion, we call for more inclusion of women in the Nigerian political space and we insist that the present Yar’Adua Government at one time or the other committed himself to gender equity, we therefore demand that he should follow his heart and make Nigeria more gender friendly. INCLUSION OF WOMEN IN POLITICS IN NIGERIA IS BOUND TO AID DEVELOPMENT THAN RETARD IT, ETTEH SITUATION IS A REFLECTION OF THE MALE HEGEMONY, SO CANNOT BE SAID TO REPRESENT THE WOMEN’S ASPIRATIONS! WE DEMAND 30% AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AS A MATTER OF RIGHTS AND NOT PRIVILEGE!

Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, National Coordinator, WORNACO.
Oby Nwakwo, National Coordinator, NCAA.
Lydia Umar, Zonal Coordinator, GECORN.


Saymama 8:10 am  

30% only ? :-) She had me going up til that point.

Waffarian 2:49 pm  

First of all, if Nigerian women want to be taken seriously, they have to drop that nonsense "30%" attitude they have. Anyway, dem try sha, we need to start from somewhere. Pity that useless Etteh went and fucked it up!

logosian,  5:32 pm  

Hear, hear. But is there any chance we could find other examples of Nigerian women achievers, other than the ubiquitous "Prof. Dora Akunyili (NAFDAC), Prof Jadesola Akande, Esther Nneadi, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala former finance minister now MD World Bank and Obi Ezekwezili"?

RJ 9:57 pm  

Well I guess its important that they actually came out and made their opinion known rather than taking the siddon look approach. 30% is small yeah, but its baby steps right? I'm actually proud that they put out a statement...

Anonymous,  12:44 am  

BTW, why did this women's movement just wake up now. I hate to be cynical but did they have a stance whilst Etteh was speaker of the House of Reps and did they publicly come out to dissociate themselves from her.

Anonymous,  12:42 pm  

LOL@ 'Etteh-Gate'.

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