The nomination of seven women in the 43 ministerial list transmitted to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari is raising dust on the commitment of the administration to the engagement of women in the country. While some see the development as a means to stifle women representation in government, others averred that the 16.4 per cent representation indicates that women are only reckoned with during electioneering, when politicians made several promises to the womenfolk. Tope Ogunbanke writes
Seven women in ministerial list highly disappointing – Ojikutu
Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu is the first elected female deputy governor in Nigeria and Third Republic deputy governor of Lagos State
It is highly disappointing considering that women were the major workforce of the campaign. It is highly disappointing and we have more women that are qualified to hold the positions all the men had been put in. They should have considered more women. I don’t know whether those considered were considered on the basis of money that they put down to support the campaign or on their efforts because if it was on effort, many women put efforts too. But if it was about money used to support the campaign or money put down by their sponsors to support the campaign, then it means that we are back to square one. And these people are going to go there and work for the money that was spent during the campaign to reward there sponsors.
If it was on the basis of merit, we have women too who were qualified to hold positions and helped turn Nigeria round. So, I am very much disappointed that it is like we are back on same and this is highly making people like us, who supported President Muhammadu Buhari very uncomfortable and very unhappy. We thought that his administration is going to be a turn around and so far money shows the game. In his first term, I said he should hit the ground running; I hope he has what it takes to hit the ground running. I am a die-hard Buharist but what I am expressing now is not making me feel happy at all and we pray that things will change. We are receiving a lot of batons left, right and center. I have gotten a lot of calls over the ministerial list. I am not looking for position but I believe more women could have been recognised. The baton we are receiving on his (President Buhari) behalf is too much for him to come with this kind of list. I don’t know, maybe it is the state that put them up but he himself could look out. There should be more room for women to participate. We are not even near the Beijing Conference recommendation of 35 per cent. What we have now is just about six per cent representation. That is not fair; not fair at all. We are not happy since the list was made public on Tuesday.
I know some people will say some women messed up in the past when they were put into positions but men also messed up. Some of us flew the flag and we flew it high. So they should consider that there are more women out there who are capable and able and they are not corrupt and will not corrupt themselves.
What I felt actually was that from the list, it seems we are back to square one of people going there to service their sponsors. Because on the basis of why they were chosen; I don’t know. It is a political list, not a technocrat list at all. And if it is a political list, it means it is same of the same. People are going there to loot the nation’s wealth to reward whoever had sponsored their names to that place and to recover whatever they have used for the election. And that is not good for the nation at this point in time. Many of those who made the ministerial list don’t deserve it base on their past performances. This is not what we expect from President Buhari at all.
Nigeria women deserve better representation, says Okei-Odumakin
Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, a human rights activist, is the President of Women Arise for Change Initiative
There are actually seven women nominee in the recently released Ministerial list by President Muhammadu Buhari. While this represents a slight improvement when you compared to the previous cabinet, it is my opinion that Nigerian women deserve greater representation in government, particularly at such a decision making body like the federal executive council.
Having about seven female ministerial nominees out of 43 nominees is not encouraging especially when we access the contributions of our women to the political development and also conscious of the global realities of today. It is therefore my hope that the President will make this up by appointing a higher number of women as Special Advisers and head of other key government institutions, in order to address this very fundamental issue of gender imbalance in our society.
With the few positions given to women both in the executive and legislative arms of government, women are not represented in governance and politics as much as expected, but we must continue to demand higher inclusion of women, not only in the federal executive council, also at every organ and level of government in the country. I think those men who have anything against women occupying public positions in politics and decision making can best explain why, that nonetheless, the women must at all times understand that power is never given, it must be fought for and they must be ready to do this at all times.
I don’t think Nigeria will be ready to implement the 35 per cent Affirmative Action or allow more women in politics anytime soon, if we don’t sustain our struggle for the actualisation of the affirmative action. Hence the women, civil society and the media must work together in demanding from political parties and government at all levels, the implementation of it. Women have become an integral part of development in most societies today and Nigeria cannot afford to miss out of this global trend.
It’s not good representation of women – Chukwueke
Barr. Nkechi Chukwueke is a former deputy governorship candidate of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and Special Adviser on Women Ethnics Group Mobilisation and Empowernment to ex-Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State
Having only seven women out of the 43 ministerial nominees by President Muhammadu Buhari is not a good representation of women. Before now, we are clamouring for 35 per cent and we shifted it to 50 per cent and as at today it is about five per cent. There is a lot of declining. It is not a good situation. But I wouldn’t know his reason for doing that. But whatever the reasons are, I think there should be more women that are qualified to do the job that men are going to do as ministers. I believe he has reason for choosing those he has chosen already.
The next thing is board appointments and ambassadorial appointments. Looking at that, I think he should look at peoples’ complaints and since women are now voicing out our opinion, I am sure he is going to consider more women for ambassadorial and board appointments as well as appointments more women into ministries, departments and agencies. There are lots of women who are capable and willing to do the job. I believe he is going to make up with that. So, I am expecting government to do more for women by ensuring that more women are appointed as board members and Nigerian ambassadors to different countries.
Everybody has right to their believe ad what they think. The ministerial nominees by President Buhari showed that he has chosen those who he believes he can work with and can help him to deliver his change agenda to take Nigeria to the Next Level. If he thinks he is more comfortable with men; as long as the job is done and is delivered, to me, that is the most important thing.
A lot of us would have prefer that he has more women, at least maybe 15 or so out of the 43 or even more. But the most important thing is that let those he has chosen deliver and help him to actualise his dream. President Buhari is known all over the world as a disciplined and no nonsense person. Those around him should not spoil that name for him. They should work with him. We want Nigeria to move forward.
Women not adequately represented, says Akiyode-Afolabi
Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi is the Chairperson of Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) and Executive Director of Women Advocate Research and Documentation Center (WARDC)
This is a sad development owing to the fact that there was high expectation from Mr. President on running an inclusive government based on the fact that his last administration excluded women and his attention was drawn through different mediums to this government of exclusion.
The president at different times, made public commitments to an inclusive government and some of these are audio taped and documented, so it becomes challenging where he reneged on these promises at different times. Nigeria at this point does not need politician to manage sectors but rather experts, the list had most people of questionable characters, some have been charged for corruption and still have questions unanswered , moving on with this kind of people is a dangerous and an insensitive step on the part of the president. A good leader should be sensitive to the yearnings of his people.
Seven women out of 43 ministerial nominees does not reflect inclusion, as much as there is a shift from his last administration. The shift is still not significant as it does not meet our expectations on running an inclusive government.
The president is bound to fulfill the constitution on gender equality and other international instruments. Our data shows that Nigeria is low on gender indicators and our representation is a ridicule in Africa and globally, several countries are moving forward on this , and Nigeria cannot continue to be a laggard.
With the numbers of women currently in legislative and executive arms of government, it is clear women are definitely not adequately represented. And that means there is still more to be done. Furthermore the president has a duty to push for more. At the elective level, the political parties didn’t do well but political will on the President’s part can help to ameliorate the injustice that women face in coming around the decision making table. His body language in this respect is important and critical to ensuring increase in the number of people.
There are a lot of stereotypes around and unfortunately little is done to address these which are as a result of socialization. From experience shared by few female who are into politics and at one point or the other have aspired for positions, most of whom are perceived as sex objects and of inferior personality to their male counterpart and this cannot be separated from the patriarchal system of our society. The government should therefore to lead the way. The list is not inclusive for women, people with disability and young people or youth.
From all indication, Nigeria is not ready for the 35 per cent affirmative action. I think women groups, women politicians, women associations, women led professional bodies etc need to come together to demand equal participation in politics and also continually use the international instruments that Nigerian women are part of such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), National Gender Policy, 2007 and other instruments Nigeria signed to. We need to come together in one voice and be prepared to encourage more women to actively participate in politics. We also need to engage the government as well as create awareness about promoting women actions in governance especially at the grassroots level.
With the above stated, through continuous engagement we will not relent, there’s always a time in the life of a country, when citizens will define their identity. If we fail to act, nothing will change. Having a crop of politicians as gatekeepers for a nation, keeps the country at risk.
We use village savings, loans to enroll girls in schools, delay early-marriages – Attah
Comfort Attah, CEO, Attah Sisters Helping Hand Foundation (ASH Foundation) in Bauchi State, is not only passionate, but deeply convinced about her vision. Driven by passion, she dared the norms and culture of her environment by helping the girl-child get educated and shun early marriages. This, she does by making use of the village savings and loans to surmount the challenges of running an NGO. Ali Garba writes
What is the brain behind ASH Foundation?
ASH Foundation was actually born out of the passion. I grew up as a child with passion for humanitarian services; I have had that zeal as a child.
What have you been doing in ASH foundation so far?
At ASH foundation, we are into women empowerment, girl-child education and we are into peace building. We are into good governance, we protect people’s right especially when children, women are abused. We observe and did research which revealed that women are abused on daily basis. So, we are into women right as an activists, I deal mainly with women, we do many women advocacy programmes. We are into skills acquisition training as well, we have trained many women in Bauchi state. In our records we were able to trained more than 2000 women from the very day of the inception of this Foundation to date. The girl-child education we have enrolled 1,066 pupils into school in the last eight years, we have protected the right of so many children and women that have been abused, molested and neglected by their husbands.
In peace building we have done a lot of collaboration with international and local organization in Bauchi State, we collaborated with Peace Director UK for the past four years now we have being on global consultation. Personally I have been involved in the global consultation where you meet a lot of experts, professionals from all over the world, people of very high integrity and experience sharing ideas on how to resolve conflicts and a way forward. The organisation have also partner with international women peace building in the past eight years and they made me their peace Ambassador here in Nigeria and I have taken IWPG to about nine states of Nigeria I completely introduce them in North East and I established network for peace for IWPG. I started with Bauchi extended it to northern east and took it to Jos, Kaduna and Benue state. These are some of the things that we have done so far.
We are also into youths activities because you cannot take away the place of youths where you are talking of capital development.
We have done a lot of mentoring to many young men.
As I said, ASH Foundation is a women lead organisation but the place of youths cannot be taken away.
There is this notion that most girl-child in the North prefer to marry early instead of going to school
We have conducted a research and we discovered a lot of things happen in the rural areas where the parents themselves are not educated. So we needed to do something to create awareness, they don’t even know the value of a girl-child education. To them, education doesn’t exist, we decided to do advocacy to sensitise them to create awareness on education and to tell them the value of education. We succeeded in doing that and we got good result, over the years, it has been a positive result from where we started. Why would the boy-child go to school and you would not allow the girl-child? In some cases, even the boy-child doesn’t go to school, so we try to educate them. Our organisation runs full scholarship on education and then we enrolled some of them but before you knew it, our monitoring team would come back telling us that out of 50 that we enrolled, only 20 are remaining in school, we keep trying by using different methods and strategy to encourage them and their parents towards education but it hasn’t yielded desired good result.
From our research, we discovered the girls are dropping out of school because they have to go hawking for their parents. The parents’ constant excuses are that they need to survive, poverty play a major role. We decided that any child we are going to enroll in school must be empowered. We also empower care givers, parents or guardians, this enable us to be able to enroll their children. We give them loans, with a condition from village savings which is handled by us. For instance, if we enroll 20 children in school, we make sure 20 parents are empowered to sustain the child in school. We can only support you with uniform and some bills. We now empower the women and we insist you must be on the village daily savings and loans that we term in Hausa Taimakon Kai da Kai. So this Taimakon Kai da Kai you will be saving money in two ways, you are into business because we give you grant, that is a compulsory that you need to be in village and saving loans. They are used in doing but this one in a better way, we provide you a card where you keep records of your savings, we have our monitors that monitor their activities and you can contribute something.
How do you foster peace building among the people?
We have done a lot of activities, our peace building have about three faces-peace building and conflicts resolution, peace clubs in schools and peace clubs in communities. We tell them about peace, value of peace, reason why we should have a peaceful co-existence, we should unite together; we also used religion perspective of Faith to talk peace. Our preventing method, include us warning the people about the danger of going into radical groups, danger of ideologist. Wherever we see signs, we try to go to that community and sensitise them especially youths because they are the ones that are mostly used as tools of violence.
As a young female CEO what challenges do you encounter from male CEOs?
I have faced many challenges, still facing some up to date while I have overcome some of those challenges. When I started from nowhere, it was not easy for me. I remembered those days when I run to some people for help, they would tell me NGO is not meant for little children, they would tell me, ‘go and work’! ‘After you become an adult, you can come and start running an NGO’. But I always replied that I have passion for this NGO because it involves women and children. Resources, acceptability, were another challenge I faced. I was not easily accepted, I have to go through trainings and after the training, I became fully convinced about myself.
I started with nothing, no money. I never had an office, I was rather using a borrowed-office from one of our trustee of the organisation, mostly I depend on the trustee to help me with one or two things.
Worries over rising suicide cases
The World Health Organisation (WHO), in its recent report says 800,000 people commit suicide annually across the world.
WHO’s 2016 Global Health Observatory Data Repository, also estimates that 9.5 suicides per 100,000 occur in Nigerians.
The worry is that suicide continues to be on the rise, though it is a criminal offence in Nigeria. According to Section 327 of the Criminal Code, attempted suicide remains criminalised and the victim risks imprisonment for one year.
Besides the usual reasons adduced as the causes of suicide, Dr Olayinka Atilola, a Consultant Psychiatrist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), said mental health problem can also be responsible.
According to him, most people who commit suicide could do that as a result of mental health problem or a psycho-social problem
The psychiatrist listed psycho-social problems to include: anxiety, depression, hostility, hopelessness, which exist at the individual level, among others.
He called on the government to ensure the provision of mental health service in each of the primary health care centres across the country.
This, according to him, will provide a means of helping those who might want to attempt suicide, adding that the best approach to combat suicide is to provide psychiatric help.
“The federal and state governments should endeavour to have a programme that will allow people to talk about their health problems and other challenges of life that are daily confronting them which can serve as impetus to committing suicide.”
He noted that one of the causes of suicide is the increase in urban migration, which according to him, can cause increase in psycho-social problems.
Atilola also listed the signs of depression as: sustain unhappiness, losing interest in those things that earlier interest you, a feeling of consistent downiness and loss of appetite
According to him, mental health and depression cut across ages, group and strata.
Dr Funmi Akinola, a Consultant Psychiatrist, said that failed relationship, sexual and physical assault, financial challenges, among others, could also force one to take his or her life.
She noted that these factors can have emotional effect on an individual when they become so overwhelming and they seem to have no option than to take their lives.
Akinola called on the government to think of establishing a hot line strictly for those who are on a suicide attempt to forestall such attempt
Mr Haruna Abdullahi, publisher of World Entourage Magazine, while recounting his experience in a suicide attempt, said that the moment he lost his mother he became `empty and sullen.’
“I took to adulthood early in life in order to make my mother happy. I got married early to make her a grandmother.’’
According to him, life became torturing, bitter and fearful, when his mother died,
“Nothing interests me anymore, I became withdrawn, and I dropped in weight and zest, I was losing sleep, food became poisonous to me.’’
He stated that the world later became very uninteresting, adding that his mind was more for an end to “follow his mother to where she hurriedly went to.’’
Mr Bunmi Gabriel, a counselor and a minister in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), said that taking someone’s life as a result of depression will rather compound the problem than solve it, noting that time heals all wounds.
He noted that suicide could be both physical and spiritual, stating that those physical depression could emanate as a result of not achieving ones target as and when due.
“People should be encouraged to meet people and talk to them about their experiences, especially those of the same age bracket or those that are older who can relate with them some of the things they have passed through in life.”
He stressed the need for people to go out and associate with people either in church, community meeting, social gathering, where they can meet and share their experiences.
Mr Adedotun Ajiboye, Clinical Psychologist with Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti ,advised relations, friends and colleagues of persons suffering from depression to be extra vigilant to avert incidents of suicide.
Ajiboye noted that people who suffered depression had the tendency to become suicidal, while calling on friends and relation to always be proactive once they identify that a person is suicidal, adding that they should not be allowed to stay alone.
He also said that terminal medical condition, poverty, among others, are factors that often lead people to commit suicide.
He called for close monitoring of persons with depression in addition to taking them to see a psychiatrist who would prescribe anti-depressant drugs and follow up on such patients.
Ajiboye also advised that harmful objects such as knives should be kept away from people suffering from depression.
He advised that people should be their brother’s keepers, especially in the religious circles, saying that they should have welfare packages for people in these times of economic hardship.
“People are passing through a lot of tough times and they may not want to share their experiences, so religious leaders must learn to engage people.
“We must call our loved ones regularly to check on their welfare and see how we can be of assistance, you do not know if that call will just save a life,’’ the psychologist said.
He also advised people who were faced with some challenges to learn to share their problems, saying “a problem shared is a problem half solved.’’
Ajiboye explained that unstable mental condition was one of the factors that could make an individual to be prone to committing suicide.
Dr Ninyo Omidiji, a psychiatrist, reiterated that suicide is the third leading cause of death especially among young people world over.
According to him, you might have been horrified by homicide, but the number of people who kill themselves outnumber the number of those who die from homicide.
Omidiji said that “WHO stated that every passing 40 seconds, somebody somewhere is killing himself and for every completed suicide, there are about 20 other attempts at suicide that survived.’’
According to him, suicide is not an occasional spree, but are popularised, when a few cases are sensationalised by the media.
Ninyo called on Nigerians to be more kind and steadily supportive of one another, stating that social disintegration in the face of hard times is a contributory factor to suicide.
The psychiatrist expressed worry that victims of suicide hardly get the needed sympathy, especially in developing nations like Nigeria.
According to him, in Nigeria the subsisting law of the land still stipulates one year jail term for a survivor of suicide attempt, stating that the provision is ridiculous for someone that needs help.
• Femi Ogunshola writes for News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Miyetti Allah women leader: Fulani women, children deserve better treatment
Hajiya Baheejah Mahmood is the national women leader of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore. She is candid and eloquent. In this chat with ALI GARBA, she did not mince words in expressing the pains and trauma Fulani women herders, experience with their children. She stressed that their children do not attend school while their women do not enjoy their matrimonial homes…
What is it like for Women to rare cattle among men?
It’s normal because the Fulani women are born into it. Although, they are considered as the weaker sex and having limit to their endurance, they have specific roles reserved for them including rearing the calves and taking care of the home front.
What motivated you into cattle rearing instead of going into other jobs that are typical of Women?
Heritage and passion, besides it’s a lucrative business and keeps one busy. I do other jobs that women do, plus being a house wife and a mother
Do you rear cattle?
Yes, I do but not by myself. I keep them on my farm and engage the services of professional herdsmen to attend to them. You know like I said, it is not all Fulani that are herdsmen but most of them rear animals of one kind or the other. The President of Nigeria rear cattle too and yet he is the President. It will surprise me if the first lady Hajia Aisha Buhari does not rear animals. Again, rearing of animals could be done at home or on the farm using the ranching method, or choose to do the transhumance, that is crossing over to far away areas in search of greener pastures. The choice may also depend on the number of cattle that one has. In the North, it is common for ethnic groups to engage in rearing animals.
What are the likely challenges you face as a woman-cattle-rearer?
Like I said, I do not face much challenge since I don’t graze cattle around. I only rear them within my farm, the major challenge being that it’s a more expensive venture.
What about advances from male counterparts, how do you handle it if there is such?
No, l do not experience such, since I don’t rear the animals myself, but male advances to women is a natural phenomenon and every woman has a way of surviving through it.
There is a notion that most Fulani girl-child marry early instead of going to school. How true is that?
It is not a belief; it is actually the culture that the female children should marry early. But some Fulani female children do go to school, one thing you should know is that these early marriages are not peculiar to Fulanis alone, even Hausas and other tribes practice it but the practice is generally becoming outdated as a result of advocacy and sensitisation activities on the importance of education. On the flip side, even male children are married off as early as 17 years of age. So, it’s very true that some still practice early marriage.
What are the exact challenges you talked about that the Fulani face as cattle herders, especially their women, wives and children?
The Fulanis face many challenges that involve moving across the length and breadth of this country and even beyond with their cattle in search of greener pasture. It is not an easy feat as their health safety, and general well-being and that of their children and animals can all be compromised during such trips especially with the current insecurity reigning in the country. The Fulani women and children are more vulnerable in every situation when their husbands and fathers embark on such trips in search of greener pastures in places thousands of kilometres away. They are equally vulnerable when the whole family moves on such trips as the women have to back-strap the infants while the older children are made to trek through treacherous terrains on foots.
Children do not attend school, women do not enjoy their matrimonial homes, and they don’t enjoy any form of care, while they constitute the larger percentage of ethnicities of the northern part of the country. They have no access to all the social amenities and yet, they provide most of the proteins Nigerians depend on. When we talk of such Fulanis, we refer to the nomadic amongst them, while some have excelled to become professionals, top government officials, marketers, teachers, the Forces and in other fields of endeavour. Yet that does not change anything for the nomadic Fulanis, they still suffer in silence, the hatred, brutally marginalised, lack of sympathisers, voiceless, misrepresented, misunderstood and misguided by many different ethnic groups in the country that want to take advantage of them.
Why do you think other people see the Fulanis criminals and violent?
As I said earlier that the Fulanis are not criminals, they are hardworking entrepreneurs, self-reliant, honest, reserved and conservative people, they are law abiding, pay tax as and when due, and do not have access to basic amenities the rest of Nigerians enjoy. The Fulani are the most misunderstood. Unfortunately, because of their naivety, they come across people that take advantage of them and embellish them with bad influence. They are generally trusting and open minded to those they meet for the first time but people take advantage of that and lead them into all sorts of bad behaviour including what we are now experiencing in Nigeria. The Fulanis are not bad people, rather, what they need is our understanding and empathy so that those bad eggs amongst them can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society. Truth is, only a small percentage of Fulanis fall into this unfortunate category and gave the whole race a bad name which is widespread by media and other not-so- well meaning Nigerians.
The issue of Fulanis is politicised in Nigeria and they were labeled as criminals out of hatred and unfairness, but they are not. There are many tribes that have criminals committing various crimes and criminalities in Nigeria and beyond but have you ever heard the names of their tribes being mentioned. The people that stole from the Fulanis, killed them, thereby, making them become hostile. Whenever arrests of suspects are made, you have to go deep and find out who are their sponsors. If the sponsors are identified, then we will know the real actors behind Fulani criminality. A Fulani does not push cocaine, does not rob banks, and does not engage in 419. Rather, they rear animals in the most difficult ways and when that is taken away, they fall prey to evil doers within the society.
What, in your opinion is the Ruga-to-Ruga project?
The Ruga-to-Ruga project is a National program meant to benefit the Fulanis, the North and Nigeria at large. The Fulanis may be the direct beneficiaries of the program, but Nigerians will also benefit indirectly, especially those in the animal marketing and supply chain sector, the consumers, butchers, e.t.c. In comparison, a sea Port in Warri, or anywhere else, does not directly impact on the lives of people in the hinterland of Nigeria, but rather indirectly through their contribution to the economy. Likewise, the provision of Ruga settlements for the Fulani may not have direct bearing to the lives of people in the South and Eastern parts of Nigeria but will definitely have indirect impact through its contribution to food security, GDP of the Nation, employment, industrial sustainability through provision of raw material.
So, what is the way forward for peaceful coexistence?
Nigerians should learn to tolerate each other, be patient and avoid doing anything that will breed hatred , disaffection and disunity. We have to understand government is for all Nigerians. Recently, the Federal Government awarded a 3.9bn contact for building the Warri seaport, and the 90-hectare Ibadan Inland Dry port (IDP), estimated to gulp about $99.6 million (35.8 billion). After the contracts were awarded, the Fulani did not cry or say anything about it just for the interest of unity and peaceful coexistence.
An Igbo or Yoruba man will come and settle in the North doing his businesses even in the remotest villages peacefully. But why are they crying out loud when herdsmen momentarily relocate to their areas, living in the bushes and vacant or untenanted land? My advice to the Federal Government is that it should continue to initiate, implement and sustain laudable programs that will positively impact the lives of the citizens of the country.
The Ruga-to-Ruga is a laudable project, but the Government needs to involve those that are knowledgeable in all aspects of the program to implement it. As it is, life in the North is becoming more challenging due to worsening infrastructures and economic indices, so the Northern elites and Political leaders need to stand up and demand or lobby for developmental programs and projects to be implemented in the North that will be of economic, social and political value to its people. For example, border states like Katsina, Adamawa, Sokoto, Taraba should have their borders opened to enable them continue with their trans-border trade on which many of the citizens depend, therefore Government should remain focus in moving Nigeria forward at any cost. Nigerians should stop being judgmental and sentimental for no reason, after all, it’s part of development to even provide and protect animals and trees.
If the North can provide an enabling environment for all Nigerians, why not the other part reciprocate.
What is your leisure time like?
I relax engaging myself with hobbies like reading, watching entertainment TV, tending to animals and going to farm. I also enjoy working on humanitarian services. I have four children; three male and one female.
Women of power
They exude power, class, and influence. The key to any political door is firmly in their handbags. They are queens with cutting edge clouts in politics. In this report, OLUWATOSIN OMONIYI and WALE ELEGBEDE write on politically powerful and influential women in the current dispensation and what makes them tick
Since the return of democracy in 1999, women have largely made good impressions in different positions they have occupied- elective and appointments.
While it’s not still Eureka for women in elective offices as cries for marginalisation still pervade, there is no doubting the fact that either in government or not, the behind-the-scene influence of women in politics is real and active.
According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), women form 49.4 per cent of Nigeria’s population. Regardless of the handful number, female political representation at the last general election was negligible compared to their size. In 2019, only 2,970 women were on the electoral ballot, representing only 11.36 per cent of nominated candidates.
However, of the lot, four women emerged as deputy governor with their principals in Enugu, Kaduna, Ogun and Rivers. In the National Assembly, only 18 are women; seven in the Senate and 11 in the House of Representatives.
At the federal cabinet-level, though with a proposed enlarged cabinet number of 43, only seven women are members of the current Federal Executive Council, representing only 16.3 per cent of the cabinet.
Interestingly, despite the gender imbalance in the different levels of political compositions, women, in and out of politics, have been making their voices heard on issues of concern.
While some use their political offices and education to vent their stance and influence government positions, others are making audacious impressions through their proximity to power as either spouses or associates of leaders in power.
Aisha Buharia nee Halilu born 17 February 1971, First Lady of Nigeria who assumed office on 29 May 2015. A cosmetologist by training, beauty therapist and author, is also a mother of five and a grandmother. According to Wikipedia, Mrs Buhari holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs and Strategic Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. Mrs Buhari is a vocal women’s right activist and child right Advocate, and she has criticized child marriage and homosexuality.
She is widely known and described as her husband’s best critic. She is well known for brutality when it comes to speaking the truth. She does not waste time to tongue-lash at whomever and whatever she believed is on the wrong path of her belief. There was a time she bombarded her husband’s government, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, on what she believed was going wrong in Nigeria. She said, “we must speak on whatever is going wrong in the country. The security agents should either assist to take action or allow the situation continues until bandits finished killing our people.”
Again, she sent a cryptic message to her husband through her tweeter handle over appointment of people into his cabinet. She tweeted that, “You cannot drive an agenda with people who don’t believe in that agenda…how you will achieve your purpose if you bring in people who fought against your agenda.”
Vocal and assertive, she does and says what she is convinced about. This shows when she announced her decision to be addressed as the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And this, she declared it to take effect immediately in order to resolve the issue of the title of wives of governors. “When my husband was newly elected, I personally chose to be called the wife of the President. But, I realised that it causes confusion from the state as to whether the wives of state governors are to be addressed as the first ladies or wives of the governors. So, forgive me for confusing you from the beginning, but now I chose to be called the first lady,” she asserted.
Dolapo, wife of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is always a delight to behold. Her carriage and mien is just like a dove. She is harmless, caring, courteous and supportive to her husband.
Despite being raised with a silver spoon as a granddaughter of the sage, Obafemi Awolowo, she still exudes humility, grace, and candor. She is a passionate woman who places a premium on substance and value.
Married to the VP in 1989, the couple is blessed with three kids. Considered to be a voice in Aso Rock, the nation’s number two woman is quite influential around the corridors of power despite her delicate poise.
Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa
The journalist turned politician is a very popular figure in both political and citizens circle. Her popularity soared during her stint at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), anchoring the weekly NTA Newsline programme.
In the advent of the Fourth Republic, she left the media to stand for election in the House of Representatives and was a representative from Lagos for three times up until 2015 when President Buhari appointed her as Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora.
In the current dispensation, she was appointed as Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the recently established Nigerian Diaspora Commission. With her latest position, the ex-lawmaker is perhaps in the middle of decision making as far as Nigeria and Nigerians interest abroad is concerned.
She is the wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi. Aside from her role as dutiful wife of the governor, she is an intellectual of note who wields within and outside the Fountain of Knowledge State.
Her husband, who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum recently described her as his pillar of support and problem solver during their wedding anniversary. Her strength and influence were obvious during recent elections in Ekiti state.
She recently bagged the 2018 Zik Prize for Humanitarian Leadership alongside the former Ghanaian President, John Mahama and immediate past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who won in the political leadership category.
Lolo Cecelia Ezeilo
She is the Deputy Governor of Enugu State and a legal practitioner by training. She worked in the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) as a programme producer and presenter before she joined active politics. In 2011, she was elected into Enugu State House of Assembly as the member representing Ezeagu Constituency.
After a decent first tenure as his deputy, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi renominated her for a second tenure in office. Ezeilo is the first female Deputy Governor of Enugu State since its creation in 1991.
Described as a modest, gentle and intelligent leader that anybody who is privileged to come in contact with her would like to identify with her, it was gathered that cordiality with his principal has made her a force to reckon with.
Dr. Hadiza Balarabe
She is the first elected female deputy governor in the history of Kaduna and she wields so much influence even before her swearing-in.
Dr Balarabe, was until her selection as running mate by Governor Nasir el-Rufai the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Agency,
Born in 1966, Balarabe is from Sanga Local Government Area in Southern Kaduna.
Prior to joining the Kaduna State Government, Balarabe was the director of Public Health in the Federal Capital Territory.
A former senior registrar at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Balarabe studied Medicine at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, and graduated in 1988.
By all assessment, Noimot Salako Oyedele, a multi-talented professional with over 30 years of proven records of experience in Consulting, Contracting and Real Estate sectors is one of the most influential deputy governors in Nigeria.
Her choice as running mate by Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun came against all permutations and that quickly sent a signal that she is a round peg in a round hole.
Salako-Adeleke is the daughter of late Professor Lateef A. Salako who served in the state as Chairman of Ogun State Scholarship Board and Chairman Ogun State University Teaching Hospital Board of Management.
Ipalibo Harry Banigo •
Even in the face of intense challenge, Dr. Harry-Banigo Ipalibo epitomizes courage and inner strength. She is a medical doctor and the first female Deputy Governor of Rivers State.
Through her first term tenure with her principal, Governor Nyesom Wike, she had a seamless working relationship and that shot up her influence in the political circle. Expectedly, the same cordiality has picked up during their second term.
Senator Tinubu, the wife of APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is serving her third term in the Upper Chamber. She served as the First Lady of Lagos state for eight years. She was first elected into the Senate in 2011 and repeated the feat two different times.
Love or loathe her, she carries an uncommon conviction and she is forthright in her belief. A highly masses oriented personality, Yeye as she is fondly called hardly knock any door twice before it opens.
With the influence her husband already wields, its only an added sway for her that she possesses such panache and carriage that can’t be intimidated. Her network is far-reaching and she has many at her beck and call. She currently heads Senate Committee on Communication.
Some have described her like a cat with nine lives due to her never-say-die attitude. The banker-turned politician was a two-term member of the House of Representatives, representing Anaocha/Njikoka/Dunukofia Federal Constituency of Anambra State. She was deputy chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts in her second term.
In 2010, she contested for the governorship of Anambra State on the plank of the Peoples Progressive Party, PPA and lost. She also lost the race on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in 2014.
She won the Anambra Central senatorial seat in 2015 on the platform of the PDP in 2015 but lost the position to Senator Victor Umeh of APGA at the tribunal. She later defeated Umeh at the 2019 election to return to the senate. She is currently the Senate Committee chairman on Science and Technology.
Rose Oko was a member of the House of Representatives representing Yala/Ogoja Federal Constituency in the Seventh National Assembly on the card of the PDP. She was elected into office as the first female representative from her constituency in June 2011 and sat as deputy chairman House Committee on Education. She became the first female senator in Cross River North in 2015 and she retained the position at the last poll.
The former minister of Aviation is one of the three female senators that got re-elected.. She won the Anambra North senatorial seat for the first time in 2015 and repeated the feat last week.
Aishatu Ahmed Dahiru
Aisha Dahiru won Adamawa Central Senatorial seat on the platform of the APC, making her the only female senator-elect so far in Northern Nigeria. She could be the only female senator in the Ninth Senate as her predecessor, Binta Masi, lost her bid to return to the upper legislative chamber.
Regarded as a thoroughbred professional with immense influence across board, 59-year-old Ahmed was appointed Minister of State for Budget and Planning in 2015 and later substantive minister of finance in 2018 following the resignation of Kemi Adeosun. She is the daughter of Yahaya Hamza, the foster father of Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state.
She holds a degree in Accounting from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun. She once served as the executive secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI). Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
54-year-old Gbemisola is the daughter of Olusola Saraki, former strongman of Kwara politics, and a sibling of Bukola Saraki, president of the 8th senate. She was elected into the House of Representatives in 1999 representing Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency, Kwara State.
She holds a bachelors degree in economics from the University of Sussex. She did her national service at the Nigeria Bank for Commerce and Industry, Lagos. She worked for the Societe Generale Bank (Nigeria) as Head of Money Markets and later as Head of Domiciliary Accounts. From 1994 to 1999 she was Executive Director of Ashmount Insurance Brokers, Lagos.
Gbemisola was elected senator representing Kwara central senatorial district. She held this zposition till 2011 when she tried to succeed her brother who was governor of Kwara between 2003 and 2011 but she lost despite having the backing of her father. She defected to the APC in 2015 and was believed to have worked against her brother’s re-election at the last general elections. She is the Minister of Transport.
Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development,Mrs. Tallen is a popular politician from Plateau State who has served as Minister and deputy governor in her state. The 60-year-old later contested the governorship election in 2011 but lost to Jonah Jang. The University of Jos sociology graduate defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress before the 2015 election. She is the first female to be a deputy governor in the northern region. She is a board member of National Agency for Control of Aids (NACA).
Ikeazor is the executive secretary of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). In 2011, she was elected the national women leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and emerged APC’s interim national women leader after the merger that produced the ruling party. In 2014, she was appointed to APC board of trustees.
Sharon started her primary school education at the St Mary’s Convent School Lagos and went to Queen of the Rosary College Onitsha for her secondary education and the Godolphin School Salisbury England for Higher Studies at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. She obtained her Bachelor of Law (LL.B Hons.) from the University of Benin and Certificate of Practice from the Nigerian Law School in 1985.
Sharon runs a prison outreach programme that pays the fines of awaiting trial persons and also undertakes free legal representation for inmates. She is the Minister of State for Environment.
Passion blinds many into marriage – Nkpobre
Didi Nkpobre, a relationship coach and statistician with the National Bureau of statistics (NBS), is a woman generous about empowering others with her talents. With about 75 per cent success story in relationship fixing, she could be best described a cupid. She lets Oizah Ibezim into why she does this
When and how did this matchmaking start?
We have been love-matchmaking remotely-by word of mouth and through family, relatives and friends for seven years going now.
And what’s your testimony base like?
If people are coming for relationships fixing, doesn’t that seem that there is a problem of relationship among us?
I think we are in a stage where people don’t have time anymore to meet people. They are very busy, no time even for themselves. Hence, it’s easier to outsource relationships, dates for different purpose. We ensure we match-make the right people so that there will be no problem.
Is that typical African, does it look natural?
Yes, because from time memorial, even our grandmothers and parents match us up with cousins or distant relatives and families that they can vouch for.
As a relationship expert, based on the people you fix and your experience, between bind date and matchmaking, which is more beneficial to the couple?
They are both very similar, because in those days, they will say, oh I have someone I want you to marry, which is the same thing now and this is even better because now, you get to meet the person, then, you go on dating. That courting period, we don’t tell the couple what to do or say, it is strictly their affairs at that level.
However, marrying the person off use to be good because the parents involved know the spouses (children) since when they were born, in fact, both parents know each other before that, they already know that he/she is from a good family.
But the chemistry may not gel….
Yes the chemistry may not gel but, one thing certain, they have solid foundation of good parents and upbringing. So the parents keep pushing it, monitoring and nurturing it to maturity. People think marriage survives on love but it doesn’t, it’s not based on love. There are other things like family relationships, having the same values and more in common. At least, the parents try to help you unlike now that you don’t know where this person is from. The person doesn’t know where you are from also, you try and get to know the most you can get to know but it is not enough that they would go to the village and investigate that family and say ooh he is from a good family and she is from a good family. Nowadays, we call it guess work when we are just dating each other but on the platform, we are here to give small information that will help you. You would have already known a lot about him- educational, marital or family background.
But how well do you do your background check before doing the match-making.
We do background check, speak to the people and we get to find out what they are looking for, we find out if they were divorced, because majority of the people we have are mostly single parents, divorced people. We try to find the cause of their divorce story and try to make sure that if you don’t have a good experience, you don’t repeat it again. In fact the first couple that got married, he was a single dad and she was a single mum.
He had a daughter, she had a daughter, their kids found each other and became best friends.
Majority of our single parents come in knowing what they want, truth of the matter is that when they come into their first marriages, they come in for love, hence, they are not really looking at issues as they should, not looking for red flag, just going in with their hearts not looking for anything. But in the second marriage, people know that this is what happened, and they put extra effort into it to make their second chance perfect of what they desired. That is why with the single parents, I think it’s easier, that is why it’s faster than people who have not be married before.
But what really is it that sustains marriage in a typical African setting?
Well, African setting is changing now, and there are things that can be checked like family values, having the same interest, doing what you expect from marriage and discussing it. For some people, the man has his own idea, like to do things his way, same with the woman. But, when in marriage, you find out that there are different expectations, so they either compromise or not.
Does it mean that the general notion ‘Love conquers all’ does not help to sustain marriage?
It has been, because love is very sweet, so everyone just wants the idea of love, not realising that relationship is much more important. So, I always tell people, especially when you start dating someone, have it at the back of your mind that in marriages, there are bound to be fights and quarrels. So think along how to resolve conflicts.
A guy once told me that when he get angry he slaps her and shouts, while another lady is like I want someone that keeps quiet because she married someone that was noisy, another lady said she wants someone that will talk as she had dealt with someone that keeps everything inside, different folks for different strokes. You have to talk and know how you are going to resolve your conflicts, if not, that is going to be a problem, because conflict is going to come especially in the early years of marriage.
Do your clients come back to you for problem solving?
No, because we are just concentrating on the dating part, so that early stage, we create the platform for you to meet someone and get to know the person.
We have other relationship coaches that we send them to and say ok, you can talk to this person if they are having trouble in the relationship.
Our platform is for you to meet people. That’s the main aim, some people do not meet the right people, like when they go to a party and they say everyone there was too young. But with our platform, you can meet the right age, right person with the right job. So this platform helps you to see all you need and you will be able to choose with a say.
So how long do people stay on your match-making platform before they get married?
It depends on the individuals. But during their first month, they start meeting their matches. On our platform, we make sure it’s not only a physical thing and anyone that comes with that notion; we say this platform is not for you. We make sure it’s an indebt thing, because looks cannot make a relationship, it’s more about the person.
So how do you test their genuineness on the platform and in the relationship?
That is why we have a payment structure so that for you to bring out money from your pocket, then, it means you are serious to a certain level .Otherwise you can go out and just meet anyone.
We also ask them questions to weed out the unserious ones.
Adefarasin to singles: Hardwork, contentment, keys to success
Ifeanyi, wife of Paul Adefarasin, Nigeria’s televangelist and head of House on the Rock churches, is a well known and likable face. What many don’t seem to know or prepared for about Mrs. Adefarasin is her being brutally blunt. That is especially the unsparing manner she lashes out at singles who dress indecently or who live beyond their means in a bid to impress others. Edwin Usoboh writes
In an undated video, the former banker is seen serving the congregation with a sermon on how some young people clamour for overnight success to the extent that they engage in lifestyles they can’t afford.
“There is a season in life for everything. You’ve just come out of school, you are 26, and for goodness sake, what are you doing by buying a bag that can pay your house rent for a year?” She asked.
“You can’t come out and at 28, you think you are going to have what a 52-year-old has been working for, she has got 30 years of hard work behind her. So if you see her come out with whatever jewellery or whatever bag or shoe, listen, she’s eating the fruit of her labour. You pick up your hoe and your cutlass, start farming and put your seed in.
“Sometimes you have to leave certain things, you can’t afford a lifestyle, don’t attempt to live it. Who are you deceiving? When the bills come, who is not sleeping at night? The money you are owing to look a certain way, to live in a certain part of town you can’t afford, to drive a car you can’t afford, some people don’t even notice your wig, necklace, jewellery or your dress.
“They just see you in church on Sundays, they see you in your office during the week, they don’t know where you live. What do we care if you say I come from Ikeja, I come from VGC? You have a roof over your head. Whether the room is a self-contain and that’s what you can afford or it’s a 10-bedroom mansion and that’s what you can afford, God has blessed you with a roof over your head, be grateful and stop trying to compare yourself to other people.”
The ex-beauty queen also recently spoke against the way some ladies dress indecently to church in an attempt to get husbands. In a series of now-trending videos, the former banker is seen speaking against the way some ladies dress to church and the gimmicks they resort to in their search for husbands.
“Walking up and down cannot get you a husband, if you dress somehow and there’s a guy here you can tempt, the guy will have a fling with you as the toy that you are and fling you when he’s done,” she said in the undated video.
“No man wants somebody that by the time he’s walking, he’s trying to figure out well if this is how she is advertising, how many of us are logging into her website.”
Her admonishment ruffled the feathers of some individuals on Twitter as a segment of users think the preacher’s words were condescending and harsh. Others commended her for delivering the bitter undiluted truth.
“Pastor Ifeanyi’s words were a bit too harsh. Words like the ones she used in this video are capable of killing the spirit of any unmarried young girl who’s just trying to help in the church because she loves God. She needs to step down the tongue lashing a little bit,” a Twitter user said.
“We’ve been silent on indecent dressing, and then, Pastor Ifeanyi talks about it and you call it harsh. How?” Another user said.
A user with the handle @akintonmide said: “I just watched the videos of Pastor Ifeanyi and I can’t see one thing wrong in the message. The problem is still that adults (who should act like one) do not like being reprimanded or told to act right. If you cannot dress appropriately to church, perhaps stay at home.”
“Coughs, see ehn! This Pastor Ifeanyi trending is a church something- Mummy in the Lord for that church wey dem call ‘house on the rock’ shake table- sotay all the girls wey dem pint dey show begin pull dem mini skirt- You all see that I don’t know how to do aproko!” another use @salesandsellers said.
Pastor Paul Adefarasin and his wife, Ifeanyi have constantly been a good ambassador to the unmarried people in the society to enable them to grasp the idea behind being married.
Few months ago, the church hosted singles’ forum, titled ‘Singles Talk’, the event held in Lagos at the House on the Rock Church.
At the event, the couple Pastors-Paul and Ifeanyi Adefarasin said: “Being single in this part of the world can be quite a weight. It feels like living your life with a tag that reads “Something is wrong with me” because people constantly give you that why-are-you-not-yet-married look. Have you been there? Have you developed a phobia for weddings simply because you don’t want to be interrogated on when you are getting hooked?
“It’s impossible to fully grasp the idea behind marriage without deferring to the initiator and designer of the institution. What is the purpose of a man and woman coming together in holy matrimony? What are the ideal characteristics in choosing a spouse? Can you tell if you are ready? When you are ready for marriage?
We chose street children, women’s rights as our focus – Dala
Yahcit Susan Dala is Chief Legal Officer and Coordinator with the National Human Right Commission in Bauchi State. In this interview with ALI GARBA, she says the emphasis is on women who don’t know their rights, she also speaks on the vision of the Commission to end street children
So, tell us about you, tell us about the activities of the human right organisation
The main mandate of the Human Right Commission is to promote and protect of human right in Nigeria. That is what we have been doing since the National Human Right Commission came to be in 1995, established by the National Human Commission Act of 1995 and amended in 2010. The commission started with a vision to bring human right closer to the grassroots- the people.
We have done some sensitisation too with traditional rulers at the Emir’s palace, we have done radio programmes and any opportunity we have we have to talk, it is about human rights.
What are some of the cases that you received complaints about?
There is no aspect of life that doesn’t involve human right, but to make our work easy, we have divided human right issues into three major thematic areas, namely, economic, social and cultural rights, civil, political right and vulnerable groups rights, we have cases of all these three areas.
Which among them was the most pathetic?
All cases of human rights violation are pathetic, but we noticed we had so many cases of sexual abuse especially on minors, children, we had cases on abandonment of parental responsibilities to family, children and we had cases reported against police officers in the mode of arrest, detention and handling of alleged violation of human rights issue, these are some of the cases. We also have labour related matters reported at the Commission.
How has the Commission been protecting the right of women?
Women, they fall under the vulnerable groups, women rights could be in various ways, domestic violence, it could be sexual abuse or exploitation, and it could be discrimination. When the cases come, depending on the nature, some could be criminal in nature like domestic violence and that is responsibilities of the police to investigate. So, when we have cases that are criminal in nature, we usually involve the police to find out from the victims if they have reported it to the police, what steps have they taken. And if the police have already taken proper steps, then that it is alright, we can just watch and monitor but when the police have failed to take proper steps, then the Commission can step in by contacting the police on behalf of the victim or sending the victim to the police. Most time when we get in touch with the police, it makes them sit up and do the proper thing, those are some of the few cases concerning women. But the major challenges we have, is that we don’t get much cases reported because as I said, people do not know that this is actually a ‘violation and where to go-to, to get help’ commission. We keep saying that we need everybody and the media to tell people of Bauchi that there is somewhere they can go for assistant when there is abuse of their rights or violation
Why is it that women, girl-child abuse is on the increase?
Of course, it is and nobody likes that, it affects them physically, emotionally and psychologically as well as when they don’t have a balance life. Women are the ones that take care of the home, children and when a woman is not emotionally, psychologically stable, it affects the children and whole family and it goes on to affecting everything in the society in general. One of the things we hope to achieve is to liase with House of Assembly and relevant stakeholders and senisitise them on human rights and need to pass some laws. Another law that we really want to advocate for, is the child’s right law, I don’t know which name Bauchi State will call it, some state called it Child’s Protection law, some called it Child’s Right Law that is just an example. We are happy that the administration of criminal justice law was passed before the last administration left office.
How do you protect the innocent and criminal as well?
Depends, everybody have rights, the way we say, your rights ends when mine begins. When you say we protect both innocent and criminal, everybody is innocent until you are pronounced guilty by the Court of law so when someone is perceived to be criminal, we call it allegation, that is why in the Commission make use of terms like alleged violator when someone walks in here and makes a complaints, we don’t say the violator or the guilty one but we refer to it as alleged until it is proven otherwise. so anybody that walks into this office,
What about the right of Almajiri, street children?
Talking about Almajiri, we do a lot advocacy and sensitisation, one of the things we noticed when we came to Bauchi is high number of street children and Almajiri. We have already begun talking with the state government and one of the challenges I told you is lack of passage of the child’s right acts law protecting children on the street which we have. As we go on in our sensitisation we will speak concerning those issues. On the issue of Almajiri, I know in the past the Commission was at the fore front of advocating for this children to be protected, we noticed the abuses that those children are exposed to. In doing that, the Federal Government tried to streamline this by building Tsangaya schools during President Goodluck Jonathan administration, he established some Islamic schools in the North for those Almajiri children but it has became a major problem that all hands have to be on deck, the government cannot do it alone, parents have to be involved as well, the local authorities, traditional rulers, Religious body among others.
Right of children is one of our primary focus in the commission.
What is your next line of action?
One thing the Commission identify is the need to reach the grassroots with this message, we need to do more sensitization to let the people know what human rights are. Sometimes, people are surprised at what are their rights! They are not really aware of what their rights are, like in the administration of criminal justice law there is a way that a police can arrest you, can handle you at the point of arrest so many things can be put in place before arrest. They have to inform but people don’t know these things, so we need education in human rights education. The commission cannot do it alone because it may not have the resources to go all the places, which we need to go to so if we can get collaboration, partnership with people that can access these places, our job would be easy.
Intention, not love, sustains marriage, says Adefuye
Omolola Adefuye prefers to be called ‘Omolola Natural.’ Her latest enthusiasm apart from her field of career-Insurance, is about marital affairs and lecturing homes on how to sustain lovemaking sparkles in marriages. Oluwatosin Omoniyi writes
What is your latest passion all about?
Presently, I talk about sex in marriages because I’m concerned about couples enjoying sex to the fullest. So what we do basically is do research on marriages, how things can work out between couples. We notice eating the same kind of food all the time could be boring so what we do is teach couples how to eat the same food differently, to reduce monotony and main focus on enjoyable sex in marriages.
What prompted the passion?
The rate of divorce in marriages lately and infidelity in marriages nowadays is alarming. Now when you look at the rate of divorce and you ask why, a larger percentage of the reasons usually go down to sexual issue, or money issue which is why we decided to look at the sex aspect as a move to reduce broken marriages. So on this sex and marriage issues, we post writings but majorly we post videos on YouTube.
I know you as insurance personnel, so what prompted you to go into sex and sexuality in marriages?
Over time, I have had to work with teenagers and I have also been privileged to work with teens from broken homes and then I had to look at them and people that come from homes where both parents are still together and I realised that there was a remarkable difference. Children who come from broken homes usually have insecurity challenges, feeling and sense of not belonging in a setting and most of them are not as confident as their peers who come from homes where their parents are together. Some of them carry on to the homes they build in future, whereby every little misunderstanding, they think of separating with their spouses because that is the way they were brought up, this set of children are exposed to many atrocities.
I feel this issue of the parents staying differently has more negative effect on children than their parents and this prompted me to venture into what I now do.
Apart from the idea of stealing culture imbibed by these children, some of them are exposed to sexual harassment when the parents are not there. There was a particular case we treated last, three children staying with their father and he was always out to work, the mum was not living with them and they were always alone. Along the way, the youngest one started getting harassed by a neighbour and there was nobody to tell. A girl cannot grow up normal if she does not have a father figure in her life. Consequently, she begins to look for a father figure in every man because father love for girls is equivalent to the air she breathes and when it is absent, she seeks it anywhere possible.
If you look at the percentage of girls that are exposed to pregnancy at a teenage age and all, majorly it comes from girls that lack fatherly love. Mark it, fatherly love could be that the father maybe present at home but physically absented. So, if a father is present in the home, at least he could learn to show her affection. It is usually the same thing to the male child but theirs is not only when they lack mother love, it is also that of the father. I have been opportune to have worked with a male child and I realised that when a male child lacks fatherly love, it affects his self esteem.
How long have you been married now?
Five years now,
What makes you think you are matured enough to talk about sex in marriages?
What I tell people is that it does not matter how old your marriage is, as long as I have taken time to do the necessary research, I take time to do necessary research, hence, it makes me qualified because these days, people believe marriage is something you can jump into and jump out. Before you go into marriage, you should read books on marriages, on relating with people, how to handle different people.
It amazes me when you go to university to study any course and you are not refreshing your school of thought with research and books to help you grow in such field you have chosen therefore I have done and am still doing what needs to be done to be well grounded in the school of marriage and sexual relationship.
Why do couples lose the spark of excitement and love in marriage after a long time of being together?
It is normal, some do not even last up to five years. Let me be practical now, you know when you meet someone for the first time, like there is this novelty, the way you handle it with so much care and you do not want it to fall or crack but after a while you no longer pay so much attention to it, this is the same thing with marriage which is why I say love is not always enough, it’s not all about the chemistry.
You can actually marry someone you do not really love and the marriage will last forever, marriage is about being intentional. As long as I am intentional, that this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with and I am ready and willing to work out every flaw and every ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ , it will work. But if you are waiting for the chemistry to always happen, you are in for a very long ride because the chemistry will leave.
You can actually work on love, and how do we work on love, by knowing the temperament of the person, love language of the person you are married to as we all have different love languages.
When one partner’s love language is attention but you are showering the person with gifts, it will mean nothing, as you have got it wrong, if you had stayed with her in the kitchen for five minutes, you would have given her the world. So it is why we say people must learn in marriage and be intentional. If you are intentional you would have figured the right love language of your partner and whether in a bad or good mood, you will still please them.
So LOVE does not sustain marriage?
Yes, the only thing that can sustain it is being intentional. Long ago, before I got married, I had this mentality that if my husband does anything, I will divorce him first thing and I was told Christianity does not allow divorce. Luckily for me, I was living with a couple whose marriage was heaven on earth with over 50 years of being married. Through them, I was able to have the belief that marriage does not have to be bitter, it should be sweet. That was when I mapped out a list of characteristics my future husband must have.
First he has to be someone that will make marriage heaven for me, number two was that if anything went wrong, I must be willing to satisfy everything it takes to work it out, so I was intentional about those two goals. So my thought was that whatever went wrong, we are both going to work it out whether you like it or not.
Now, how do you sustain sex sparkles in marriages?
Sex spark differs because we all have different libido. Some have it high, and some, low. So if my libido is high and my husband’s own is high, there is no option other than me finding a way to match his libido which is what we do, we run research to help women meet up, there are fruits to do that, there are medicinal drugs, there are balls to be inserted and other things too.
To sustain sex spark, a woman must be ready always, and sometimes a woman can satisfy her husband without sex, it doesn’t have to be penis to vagina always, they both should learn how to satisfy themselves even without penetration.
Some husbands like their wives to give them blow job but they cannot reciprocate the act, therefore couples should be able to sit and talk about all these which is why communication is key for sex spark to be sustained in marriage.
As a Christian, do you support oral sex in marriage?
Oral sex in marriage, if both couples agree, then I am in support. It has to be an agreement; there is nothing wrong with it.
One of the reasons we started this is because of divorce, this issue of divorce happen in Christian marriages more because of the issue of oral sex and the belief that the holy sex position is the missionary style, it’s very boring that is why Christian men are the ones who cheat most because they do not get sexual satisfaction in their homes. There is a passage in the bible that says a woman’s breast should continue to satisfy her husband.
Therefore, there are different angles to these things, not just the refusal from the woman but also the ignorance from the man. The bible says your body belongs to your husband and you body belongs to your wife therefore as long as there is consent from both parties, it’s alright and if its oral sex, then fantastic.
You say you write, how many testimonies have you got from consultants?
I remember the first testimony I got from a man, he did not even know he can ever give his wife plate (blow job) as the slogan goes. The day he did it finally, he sent me a text the second day, he said “she really loved it.” Finally, for a woman to achieve orgasm and not fill used in bed, ask her what she wants and how to please her.
Infidelity: Women as guilty as men – Gbadebo
Olumide Gbadebo, a physiotherapist, may be termed as odd among her fellow women. She may not even be liked by some for propagating the belief that monogamy is not natural especially for men. In a chat with Oluwatosin Omoniyi, the skin care expert was frank to say the philosophy only works due to choices of individuals
Why do you believe Monogamy is not natural?
I believe monogamy is not natural. Reason is that everybody likes the newest, brightest thing. Everybody would want to jump unto whoever they find attractive. I mean to say no one is born with attraction to just one person. We all experience attraction to different people over the course of our lives, starting from the age your hormone start raging till literarily you get too old, there are always different people you find attractive and there is a reason for that. Your body is design to be attracted to the opposite sex and in the case of some people, same sex but generally your body is designed for attraction, so we are social animals. Monogamy is not natural, its civilization, religion, society that designed monogamy. What I now believe is that monogamy is a choice. Should you choose to marry somebody, then you owed it to the person based on expectations, norms to be faithful but if you are not married or in a committed relationship, it is a free market.
Even in a committed relationship, you don’t think the monogamy philosophy works.
It is not because you do not want to or because your body does not want to but you have decided to stay with the person for reasons. It could be financial, emotional, practical reasons or for the sake of children. Fortunately our society tend to favour men more than women, the expectations of men are less, lower. Men are held to lower standards than women in our society. The home depends on the woman, children’s upbringing is the woman, and everything literarily regarding the family is resting on the woman’s shoulders. So, should the woman outside her marriage have sex with somebody else, it becomes a huge offence.
Is it that women do not cheat because of their circumstances?
Not true at all! If you are on social media these days, the truth is women are probably cheating as much as, if not more than men these days, because these days the rate at which marriages are breaking up is high. Women are financially dependent, all those things that used to hold women down that make women pretend to be holy are gradually fading away. So, people are showing their true colours now. The truth is women are probably cheating just as much as men.
What danger does that portend for women to be gaining upper hand or having economic power?
First of all the home suffers. I was raised by a working woman, I am a working woman, so I know this may sound funny but if we are to be objective, the home suffers. The man is not going to sit down to take care of the children. Women are now doing the men’s job and women’s job. It is not easy to do two things well at the same time. So, what happen these days is that, we are having domestic workers to help raise our kids. Definitely, one or two things will drop along the way. Children are no longer raised as perfectly as they were decades ago. If you look at the 20 year old we have today, fresh graduates we have now, home training is lacking, the typical Nigerian youth.
The question now is what we do? Should women go back to be second class citizens? Is that the solution, where do we find balance? Men need to take more responsibility, there is nothing wrong with been a stay-at-home-dad. There is nothing wrong with it, if daddy cook stew today, there is nothing wrong with it, if a woman can go to work, a man can enter the kitchen too once in a while, nobody will die. We need to have a more blended society.
Now that women are gaining upper hand economically, how can they continue to find their voices without having to pay a price for it?
Men need to begin to take more responsibility in the areas where it has initially been said it is a woman’s role. These generations of women, who are raising boys now, needs to raise our boys differently. We need to raise our sons differently from the way our mothers raised our husbands and brothers. We need to teach them the fact that a woman is earning a lot does not mean she’s your lord and master; it doesn’t mean that she’s trying to suppress your position. The role of man and woman is not about monetary terms or academic qualifications, the approach we take those roles from is what our problem is. Somehow, we believe man is the money earner, woman is the home keeper and that is that-we need to reverse that mindset. I don’t understand it because men find it very easy to take money from women and it is not a thing that started now. In the days of our parents, the mum that has small change use to raise the dad when there was no money. I mean nobody is buoyant for a long period of 30, 40 years that a marriage happens, everybody has ups and down.
Many women have been known to hold the house together while the man is going through a rough time, so if you can collect that cover from your wife, when you are broke, she’s okay, why can’t you cover for her when she too wants to build a career, and you have. Life and marriage is about give and take, when you say that this is who cooks and this is who drops money, its too rigid and that’s when problem comes in because there is fiction. Another thing that is killing us is social media, it is too easy for us to expose our lives, we want everybody to know what is going on, we want to tell everybody what is happening in our secret lives.
Why do you think the economy is more favourable to the women’s folk?
My tought on this might be little controversial. Our society pushes women more than the men. You must be this, you must be well behave, you must be diligent, you must be discipline, you must be this, you must be that. Meanwhile our society tends to pamper men, as far as you are born a man, you are perfect. If a boy is failing at school, people just assume that he will adjust, he will adapt but if it is a girl, your mother will break your head. Women are more disciplined by nature. Because of the way we are raised, the burden is shifting more on us, unfortunately, we are having more responsible women, fewer responsible men.
Typically from time memorial, women are responsible for the children anyway. Gradually, and perhaps, more by circumstances, women started finding out that they are good at businesses, you see them as owners of chain of stores, eateries, pharmacies. Women are doing amazing things and it all started as let’s see how this will go but because of that discipline and because they have been held back for so long. Give a woman a small opportunity and she will do it to the best of her ability, so it is just normal now that women are on the forefront of everything and the society is responsible for that as far as I’m concerned.
Do you think that an intelligent and assertive lady can really make a happy home according to our tradition?
I think she can. It depends on the man. Again it is up to the men to rise up. Women have changed, the world has changed. Men need to wake up. They need to accept it. Unfortunately, men are in denial, they need to accept that we are not going back to that time where a woman must be a humble servant. Even these men, do they want their daughters to be like that? They don’t want, they are the ones that will shout if anybody touches their daughter, so it is okay to do it to another person’s daughter. Men need to wake up and embrace the reality of a changing world, women have moved and her taking over.
‘Why I abandoned banking for kid mentoring’
For Mrs. Charity Babatunde, the Chief Executive Officer of AltAssist Limited, the passion to equip younger generation is all what her life revolves around. To this end, she abandoned her banking job in 2003 to set up a multifaceted company which gives a veritable platform to kids for reinforcement of values, attitudes, creativity, and life skills. She also pioneered digital intelligence quotient for kids in the country. WALE ELEGBEDE speaks with her
Babatunde, is the pioneer authorized DQ Ambassador in Nigeria by virtue of RAVE et AL’s, certification (the first in Africa) by the DQ (Digital Intelligence Quotient) Institute, an institution which aims to empower children between 8 and 12 years around the world with DQ digital citizenship skills.
Globally, internet safety is an issue of concern for both adults and children. While adults usually find a way around it, children appear vulnerable to the vices and intrusions daily bestriding the cyberspace.
With the advent and exposure to social media, children are increasingly getting stuck to various negative cyber behaviour. Notable among these cyber confrontations include, but not limited to cyber bullying and threats, online trolling, sexual solicitation, hurtful and low-esteem comments, scams, rumors, gossip, hurtful, identity theft, cyber deficiency, stalking and inordinate adventure.
According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 1 in 5 children receive a sexual solicitation or approach via the internet in a one-year period. The report further states that 70 per cent of children have encountered pornography on the Web accidentally.
Similarly, an NOP Research Group report says more than 29 per cent of internet-using children freely give out their home address, e-mail address and other personal information online when asked.
Also, statistics show that nearly 43 per cent of kids have been bullied online and 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once. Shockingly, a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Cox Communications Parental Internet Monitoring Survey, states that 95 per cent of parents could not identify common chat room lingo phrases such as POS “Parents Over Shoulder” and P911 “Parent Alert,” which are used to warn people with whom they are chatting their parents are watching.
Given the wide array of dangers posing as a harmless buddy on the cyberspace to children, the need to comprehensively safeguard kids from inappropriate advances and contacts, and orientate their usage of the cyberspace, clearly becomes inevitable.
Leading the vanguard for this caution and cyber ethics familiarization for children in Nigeria and Africa, is Mrs. Charity Babatunde, a certified life coach. For Babatunde, to reinforce values, attitudes and life skills in children, either online or offline, parents and guardians can rely on a global initiative, Digital Intelligence Quotient (DQ).
The initiative, christened ‘DQEveryChild,’ is piloted by Babatunde’s social enterprise firm, RAVE et Al Limited. The invectiveness is a digital intelligence education programme, which can be ‘plugged and played’ into Nigeria’s education system, for free.
With the scheme, DQ Institute, said children in Nigeria will be able to measure their ability and command of digital media, thereby helping to combat their exposure to dangers such as fake news, cyber bullying, online grooming and radicalisation. The certified Senior Professional in Human Resources espouses further on the initiative.
Digital Intelligence Quotient and the Nigerian child
Digital Intelligence Quotient measures the ability to use digital technology and media in safe, responsible and effective ways, in the same way as IQ and EQ measure the general and emotional intelligence. #DQEveryChild is a combination of online education tools and real-time assessment which is free to every child 8-12 globally, and can be easily ‘plugged and played’ into any national or school curriculum via the DQWorld.net platform, paving the way for a healthier, safer and more prosperous digital economy, for all. Children in Nigeria will now be able to measure their ability and command of digital media – helping to combat their exposure to dangers such as fake news, cyber bullying, online grooming and radicalization.
The nature of assessment
The curriculum of 20 lessons over 10 hours is delivered through storytelling and gamified design, which makes learning interactive and fun and encourages a positive attitude shift and behavior. At the end of each lesson, children take an online real-time assessment that will provide DQ scores for each of the skills acquired. Children are ‘scored’ against a range of criteria – such as sharing personal data; meeting online strangers; online sexual behaviors; exposure to violent content; cyber bullying and game addiction – with the average DQ score for each set at 100. For example, with an average score of 100 against the criteria of sharing personal data, the risk of a child sharing personal data is a 17 per cent risk. However, increasing their DQ score to 110 reduces that risk to 12 per cent , raising their score to 120 reduces it to 8 per cent , and increasing it to 130 reduces it to 6 per cent.
Why DQ in Nigeria?
“Our children are digital natives, born into a world that offers them incredible opportunities but not without its own fair share of dangers. The 8 core digital citizenship skills that DQWorld.net empowers our children with, is a vital necessity for helping them make informed choices and navigate the digital world safely. Our organization RAVE et-al Limited, is a social enterprise that partners with parents, schools, government and other stakeholders, to equip the younger generation for the future, using education and other creative & vibrant tools to reinforce values, attitudes and life skills that are imperative for successful & safely navigating the various phases of life online, offline and impacting the society positively. It is, therefore, a great honor for me to serve as the pioneer DQ Ambassador in Nigeria (first in Africa) and to be a part of this laudable, award-winning initiative. I encourage parents, schools, government and all other stakeholders to join the #DQEveryChild movement. Let’s make the necessary investment today, in preparing our children for the digital future,” Babatunde said.
Eight Core Value Base
The DQ mechanism is holistic and covers eight citizenship skills, namely, Digital Citizen Identity, Screen Time Management, Cyber Bullying Management, Cyber Security Management, Privacy Management, Digital Empathy, Critical Thinking and Digital Footprint Management.
A pilot programme was undertaken last year in Singapore involving more than 2,200 children aged 9-12 years old, to understand the efficacy and impact of the online program in enhancing the children’s DQ skills and in changing their attitudes and behavior against cyber risks. The study showed that the programme improved children’s DQ score, on average, by 14 per cent, minimizing the impact of risky behaviors online and maximizing their personal strengths.
The DQ Institute believes there is an acute urgency to equip children with DQ. DQ ( Digital Intelligence Quotient) – the technical, social and mental skills to be informed and discerning users of digital media and good digital citizens – is the must-have competency for all children beyond IQ and EQ in order to thrive in the digital age.
Empowering Children is Important
According to Babatunde, empowering children is an important key to building a healthy digital ecosystem that connects school-family-community-ICT companies- government.
The DQ will teach children how to make better life choices and reduce potential online risks. It helps children develop necessary skills and digital ethics. The device also empowers students to comprehensively deepen their DQ skills and enables schools to effectively identify children at risk and facilitate timely and effective intervention. For parents, the mechanism empowers them by highlighting their child’s improvement of DQ, identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses in digital competencies and offering practical suggestions to help parents better mediate their child’s usage of digital technologies.
In a fast growing digital world, it is clear that DQ is children’s most critical life skill against cyber-dangers.
Global urgency for digital citizen education
There is a global urgency for Digital Citizenship Education. This is imperative to empower our children to become future-ready, smart and responsible digital citizens who can responsibly use digital technology for the benefit of themselves and others while avoiding the cyber-dangers. DQ is our children’s most critical life skill. DQ, or Digital Intelligence Quotient, is the sum of social, emotional, and cognitive abilities essential to safely navigate the digital world and thrive. It is about having the necessary knowledge, skills, attitude and values to deal with the challenges and demands of the digital era. In the digital world, and with fast-growing, digital- oriented economy, our children need to learn digital skills for their future. The Mission of DQ is to ensure every child acquires the technical, social and mental skills to be informed and discerning users of digital media and technology and good digital citizens.
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