Profs Natufe, Mohammed and Bello-Kano on women
When I devoted this column two Fridays ago to our women who have suffered unimaginable marginalization in our polity, I never at all made it my goal to inspire it to generate the debate it has been generating going by the responses that have been leaping at me since I dwelt on the subject. Today I am once again yielding the column to my readers who have entered the debate begun last Friday. Today’s debaters are high grade professors and fellow radical intellectuals-cum-activists from Nigeria and outside Nigeria. Their thoughts leap at me like an eagle sweeping through the air in wide circles before perching in my mind as a friend, a friend, a friend and a friend and friends.
The first professor who I am not headlining is an Indian from India. He is an ultra-activist who simply asked me cryptographically: “Why “our” in reference to the women”? When I tried to know why he objected to the pronoun, Professor Rajan Barret fired back: “Are the women your property”? He and I are still debating my employment of the determiner philosophically and from the perspective of human rights.
Now let me with the pleasure and wisdom of Zarathustra quote my headlined professors verbatim; and enjoy the debate that should make you wiser from your hearts.
Professor Igho Natufe (North America and Eastern Europe based)
Thank you beautiful columnist and writer, for constantly pricking our consciousness on various angles of Nigeria’s liberation struggles. The denial of women’s participation in the political space is an attack on the concept of human rights. As it’s well known in history, the oppressors, from time immemorial, drawn from the propertied class and autocratic monarchs of all ages, do not freely relinquish power until they are forced to do so by an organized agitation of the oppressed. But the oppressed must first recognize his/her oppressed position and, armed with that consciousness, begin to organize to liberate himself/herself and the entire community. Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” readily comes to mind. Women possess the power and influence to change the status quo in male-female balance of power in Nigerian politics.
Unfortunately, wives of the monarchs, male politicians, directors of corporations, etc., do not perceive themselves as “oppressed” because of the residual privileges derived from the status of their respective husbands, compared to the wives of lesser class men. It reminds us of the dichotomy of “house slaves” and “field slaves” that defined the class of slavery in the United States. Not only women, and indeed, all oppressed people – male and female – realize that they are in the same boat and learn to say “NO”; like the hero in Albert Camus’ The Rebel, they will unconsciously allow their boat to sink far from the shores. Women of Nigeria, unite. Oppressed peoples of Nigeria, unite.
Professor Razinatu Mohammed (University of Abuja)
Thank you for this illuminating and exquisitely written interjection in the interest of the women folk. You, versatile columnist and writer, I have come to know to be one great feminist writer and thank you really for politics and “politricks” of this land? Women have gone further down the irritating lane of oblivion because of the unholy and atrocious activities of the so called political leaders who will willingly sacrifice their own mothers if only it will fetch them a little extravagance in this damned society of money worshippers. Where have our values disappeared to? What’s it with this new found pleasure in taking human life without recourse to the religions we are so famous for? My dear fellow-writer, TA, women are weaklings in the face of such eagerness to shed blood, eat fetuses and balangu of human flesh. Women are primarily mothers and are unlikely to partake in eating the fetuses that grow within them, unless those who have signed an ugly pact with the devil. So the women, naturally, have had to slide inward for the fight is now, heavily weighted…”
Professor Ibrahim Bello-Kano (Bayero University Kano)
Super-Columnist TA, I have the following observations to make about your column: (1) The exclusion from political process that middle class women complain of is the same that affects rural men and women and the urban poor generally; (2) The 35% that women want would go to middle class women or women that can be co-opted by the establishment; (3) When Margaret Thatcher became the Prime Minister of the UK her first act was to implement policies that disadvantaged largely women and children. In fact she was called “milk snatcher” when she stopped the provision for free milk for babies at NHS; (4) Women in power cannot implement policies that the state machine can’t or wouldn’t do for economic or political reasons.
Example: The poor expected Buhari to improve their lot. The very opposite of that is now the case; (5) If we can grant that women be given 35% of the seats in the National Assembly or at the state level, because they are women, the same logic can and must apply to the People With Disability, Farmers, Industry Moguls, University Professors or even Gays and Transgender People. Or, we may have to treat young people below 30 the same way; (6) The concept of Positive Discrimination applies not just to women but also to any recognized minorities – ethnic, religious and sexual; (7) Western women, especially American women, having been empowered by the establishment and legal acceptance of some feminist ideals, are now no longer interested in equality but the active suppression of the males.
Such women are quick to ask for divorce because of the economic benefits of doing so. I have books on my shelf that document how western women are on a vengeance spree against men in the courts – payments for child support that could run for 18 years, upkeep money for the ex-wife, the house given to her, and other clearly vindictive schemes against the ex-husband. This has led to the phenomenon of MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way), men refusing to marry, or simply seeing marriage as a trap; (8) Men should be wary in pushing women’s rights or a version of women’s privilege. Men should support the aspirations of women but not at the expense of their own well-being. My metaphysical and studied view is that a hitherto disadvantaged group quickly becomes the champions of privilege when they get power. The same with educated middle class women: They are not interested in true, liberal, or enriching equality because in practice all they will do is turn the tables on men, whether poor or affluent; (9) Although women are care givers and nurturers and “soft,” they are, on the whole, not very nice when they get real power.
Consider the nastiness of the present Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed. She’s pushing through horrible economic policies that pauperize everyone, including women. She’s a blind follower of the very neo-liberal economic policies that impact negatively on the poorest women. She’s stopped all the “Women Empowerment Programmes” of successive administrations since the days of IBB; (10) Men in power do not rule as biological men. No one rules by their genitalia: men or women rule because they have been “selected” by the relevant and pervasive Centres of Power in the society and the political economy. Men – beware of signing your death warrant under the cloud of romantic pussy-footing. Ha! Ha! Ha!
My remark(s) shall follow next week to close the debate.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
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