Recently, reports emerged regarding the former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi’s opposition to a female governor in Anambra State. Mr Obi and another political figure, Humpfrey Nwosu had been quoted as being against the idea. This revelation of Mr Obi and co’s stance, undoubtedly deserves the outright condemnation of all right-thinking indigenes of Anambra State, and in fact, Nigeria.
It is noteworthy that since the creation of Anambra, the state’s affairs have been run 99% of the time by men, and till date, there’s no laudable development to show for it, as the principal actors have spent most of the time immersed in lingering political squabbles. Even the short period spent by Mrs Etiaba as governor following the impeachment of Peter Obi cannot be properly regarded as a period of female governorship, as she was removed before her leadership could be tested.
Thus, it follows that we cannot continue to do things the same way and expect a different result. Anambra State is the state with the highest potential in Nigeria, especially in terms of human resources, and as such ought to be on the forefront of meaningful development in the country. But the negation has been the case. This unfortunate, and indeed ironic, reality must be reversed now or we all live to regret at, as our children would inherit a messed up and backward state.
And one of the feasible ways to reverse this negative trend is to try what has never been done before — give a woman the mantle of leadership of the state through the ballot. But, it’s exactly this notion that Mr Peter Obi and Humpfrey Nwosu have been quoted as being vehemently opposed to. And this makes one ask the question: what exactly are they afraid of? Could Mr. Obi’s oppositional stance on having a female governor be informed by his grievances towards his former deputy, Mrs Etiaba, for accepting the governorship portfolio, following his impeachment? If so, the political class must understand that Anambra State is far bigger than any one man’s grievances. He must be reminded that the world is rapidly changing and just like on the home front, women are stepping in, all over the world, to clean up the mess left by men. And Anambra should not be an exception.
And what’s more, Anambra State has been abundantly blessed with women who have proven to be quite effective and formidable in whatever position they’re placed in, whether by way of appointment or through the ballots. Notable women like Stella Odua, Uche Ekwunife and Hon. Linda Ikpeazu deserve a chance to prove their mettle on the state’s highest office.
One will not forget in a hurry some of these women’s exemplary leadership in recent years in public offices they’ve handled, despite some politicised controversies. For instance, not too long ago, Mrs Uche Ekwunife, as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum, shook that industry, and was clearly on her way to effecting major positive changes before her unfortunate judicial removal from office.
Stella Odua, on the other hand, despite the propaganda and politicised controversies that have trailed her, has left no one in doubt as to her ability to perform excellently when thrusted with a public office. It is on record that she remains, so far, the highest ever performing Minister of Aviation in the history of Nigeria, as she transformed the nation’s aviation sector within the short period of time she spent in office, turning around the fortunes of many airports, and by extension states and regions, like the Enugu airport which she transformed rapidly to an international status.
Also highlighting their strength, Hon. Linda Ikpeazu Is the current serving member of the house, that has been performing well and actively representing her constituency and the nation in general
Today, Stella Odua remains a voice to reckon with at the Nigerian Senate. Women like Stella Odua reminds one of the Hillary Clinton’s, Angela Merkel’s, and Theresa May’s of this world.
It is, therefore, utterly distasteful that someone like Peter Obi, who has been advocating for change in the style of governance across the nation would now turn around to appoint himself a stumbling block to a long-needed paradigm shift in his own home state.
All reasonable indigenes of Anambra State must play their own role to ensure we get it right this time, come November 18th. And to ensure we don’t keep doing things the same way while expecting a different result, we must encourage our women to come forward for a chance to steer the ship of the state. And if the candidacy of people like Stella Oduah, Uche Ekwunife and Hon. Linda Ikpeazu scare the hell out of political class …well, they must be reminded that Anambra State is not their private business, nor was it created to massage their male ego.