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2019 presidency: Women can make a difference

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womenWE are in the darkest hour. Yet in these times, we still bask in past glory. We can’t continue holding on to our glorious past, making it a point of comfort to cover up for the present mess; putting off till tomorrow what can be done today instead of forging a way forward. Since Nigeria gained independence in 1960, the male gender has been in charge of the leadership of the country. But there has been little or nothing to show for it; rather, all we are holding on to is the story of the glorious past. The country has not been retrogressing on a daily basis.

Both the young and the old, male and female keep lamenting the present precarious situation of Nigeria. It sometimes appears we don’t know the source of our problems or rather, the solution is what we don’t have or better still we are in this mess because nobody is ready to take responsibility. Where are the elders who truly care? Where are the youths, who are ready to dare? How many children’s childhood dreams come to past? And why is there so much religion but so little love? What are the religious bodies doing to our situation?

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“Sooner begun, sooner done” they say, and I think it’s high time we tries something new, and stop putting all our eggs in one basket; lets the female gender. Why do people believe things they don’t know aren’t true? You can’t judge from appearance. If a woman can build a family, set things right in the home and give it a perfect shape, then building a nation might not be an exemption. While the defining characteristics of femininity are not universally identical, some patterns exist: gentleness, empathy, sensitivity, caring, sweetness, compassion, tolerance, nurturance, deference, and succorance are traits that have traditionally been cited as feminine. Women are innately nurturing, caring, and motherly: qualities which can contribute to the growth and development of our nation.

The strength and capacity of a woman cannot be underestimated. So, I am of the opinion that a female president should be given a trial in Nigeria. Hence the four female candidate for 2019 election; Funmilayo Adesanya Davis, Oluremi Comfort Sonaiya, Elishama Rosemary Ideh and Eunice Atuajide should be given due support. Let’s try something new, as variety is the spice of life. Nigeria is no different from other successful like Ireland, China and England that are governed by women.

We have seen, from countries a round the world, women who led great empires since ancient times. Many of the most powerful countries including: United kingdom, Israel, Brazil, South Korea, Germany, India, to mention but few, have, at some point, elected women as their heads of state, prime minister. These women succeeded in building a robust and viable national economies, managed vast populations, and most importantly, they had respect for their people.

In the history of the United Kingdom, for example, we have the case of Margaret Thatcher who ruled as the prime minister. She managed the country that was, initially in permanent state of decline; it is on record that by the end of Thatcher’s era; there was less unemployment in Britain. She revitalised the British economy through supply side reforms and entrepreneurship; hundreds of thousands of small businesses that are in modern Britain that formed the backbone of the economy, came on stream. Also through the right-to-buy scheme, she gave some of the poorest and previously disenfranchised people in the society a way to buy their homes; thus letting aspiration, hardworking people improve their security and increase their wealth by owning properties thereby having more of a stake in the society.

Among the fastest growing economies in Africa are Ethiopia and Senegal, who have in their history women of great substance who were willing to take risk and change the fortune of their countries. It’s no longer news that Ethiopia’s economy is booming and it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon: a country currently ruled by a woman. Why can’t we (Nigeria) as a nation take a bold step as fortune favours only the bold?

In the case of Liberia, Africa’s first female president, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, on her ascending the exalted seat, spent years repairing the damage done to Liberia by 25 years of violence and misrule. The country which was left as the world’s poorest nation beset by illiteracy, hunger, pandemic unemployment was revived by the woman.

In 2010; Johnson Sirleaf was listed as one of the “ten best leaders in the world,” while The Economist referred to her as “the best president the country has ever had.” She was a popular symbol of democracy not only in Liberia but throughout Africa. She was credited for securing peace in Liberia; promoting economic and social development. If women have successfully ruled therefore mentioned nations, then Nigeria can’t be an exception.

Therefore, it’s high time for us to take responsibility for our mistakes, and stop being a bad workman, who always blames his tools. We should engage in the collective work of rebuilding Nigeria and stop crying over a spilt milk. Women should be give the opportunity to fully exploit their potential and participate in the affairs of the country.

Little is done, where many command; we should all agree on the best and speak in one voice as a nation. Let us be the architects of our own fortune. We should take the bold step now because time and tide wait for no man.

Nigeria women have a record of vast experience, resilience, diligence and accountability. We have such great names and icons like Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Madam Tinubu and Margaret Ekpo who was among the nationalists that led the struggle for Nigeria gaining independence from Britain on October 1, 1960.

Others amazons like Professor Dora Akunyili, Kudirat Abiola, Ayo Obe, to name just three carved a niche for themselves because of their uncommon bravery and doggedness in the fight against injustice and impunity in the country.

  • Oyebanji is an NYSC member with Sunday Tribune.

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