The above quotation by Clare Boothe, a US Congresswoman aptly captured what happened at the last Presidential Primary of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja. There were three presidential aspirants: President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and a respected Nigerian woman politician Mrs. Sarah Jibril.
Though there were allegations of manipulation of the electoral processes and the intimidation of some delegates to the convention, the insolent solitary (one) vote for Mrs. Jibril out about 4000 delegates comprising males and females, means that Sarah Jibril was the only person that voted for the womenfolk in Nigeria; invariably she was the only person that voted for herself.
The question that continues to disturb me and which will continue to haunt Nigerian women is; where are the women activists, the feminists and the women politicians who were lousily disturbing the airwave with their so-called women liberation when they could have influenced their husbands, fathers, brothers, man-friends and boyfriends to vote for the woman?
The Nigerian First Lady Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of women Affairs, Josephine Anenih, were obviously visible, before the PDP’s primary, calling for women empowerment and the need to support women in the next elections. It could be recalled that while launching one of the state chapters of her Pet Project; Women For change Initiative (W4CI) in Yola, the First Lady challenged Nigerians to believe in the immense capacity and capability of the women folk in nation building in order to bring about the much needed positive change the country is yearning for. She said her initiative was created to bring about a change in the lives of women through giving women soft loans for small scale businesses, provide support for those seeking political offices and generally changing the lives of women for the better.
On her part, the Minister of women Affairs, Mrs. Josephine Anenih was reported to have endorsed two- time Presidential aspirant Mrs. Sarah Jibril for elections at a Ministerial Press Conference in Abuja. She said the endorsement was to achieve the 35 per cent affirmative action come 2011 general elections and beyond provided for in the national gender policy so as to increase the number of women in appointive and elective positions come 2011. She added that the political empowerment of women is one of the ministry’s highest priorities.
They made promises of providing logistics and material supports, but the awful outing of a woman aiming for the highest political level with one-single vote calls to question the sincerity and commitment of feminine campaigners for gender equality in the polity.
Could there be some conspiracy by women against women or did they just demonstrate sheer jealousy against a woman of courage and determination who has courage to have consistently come forward to prove that a woman has a right to aspire to any position of authority.
Sarah Jibril herself asked a rhetoric question she put forward to womenfolk when she said: “What offence have I committed against the women of Nigeria? They should tell me so that I will know? They should check my records right from when I was a commissioner right from when I was chairman governing council and all other positions I have held in the past.” She added that: “Nigerian women should tell me what I have done wrong and how I have misrepresented them that made them afraid to vote for me.”
While only the Nigerian women should respond to her emotional outburst, it is necessary to point out that it seems they are not ready for real socio-political challenges as exemplified by this singular act of selfishness and selfishness against their own.
Why should men for instance, who have noticed how women politicians betrayed a female aspirant at the last PDP primary, have trust in voting for female candidates in the next elections when womenfolk themselves are in conspiracy against themselves?
I wonder what could befall other women seeking top public offices like governors of states. I just imagine the miracle Senator Gbemisola Saraki, a gubernatorial aspirant under Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) in Kwara State can deploy to defeat formidable male opponents like Barrister Muhammad Dele Belgore, a philanthropic lawyer dearly loved by the masses under Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Alhaji Fatai Ahmed an unassuming former Commissioner of Finance who is supported by the governor of the state under People Democratic Party.
Going by this action against the only respected and recognisable woman politician of substance in the country, Nigerian men must have seen the writing on the wall and take appropriate actions accordingly by advising their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters to be wary of politics or they might embarrass the entire family through woeful defeats in elections.
By the way, has Sarah Jubril’s failure at the PDP Primary gone to further reiterate the old adage that a woman’s role ends in the kitchen and at home to take good care of the family while the men take charge of external forces? Where are all the money and other resources set aside to support women’s cause in politics go to? It is appropriate to constitute a panel, excluding women in membership, to prove how those resources voted to champion the cause of women were utilised or diverted for other purposes. Exclusion of women in the committee is to guard against their conspiratorial antics against themselves.
This article by Yushau A. Shuaib originally appeared in February 2011 in some print media including Daily trust, People’s Daily, Thisday, Vanguard, Sunday Tribune and National Mirror.