By Favour Goodness
Former Minister of Women Affairs, Iyom Josephine Anenih has called on the Nigeria women to come out of their comfort zone to join partisan politics, contest for elective positions so as to be in a position to bring the desired change needed to move the country forward.
Anenih who made this call while delivering a paper titled, “Women in Leadership and Governance: Promoting Sustainable Economic Prosperity”, at the induction ceremony of the 2021 Class of MMS Plus Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame held in Lagos said, that Nigerian women were doing very well in all areas of endeavor especially in the private sector while they were not politicians.
She added that there was no way women could be in a corporate Board and would not play politics adding that if they don’t play politics, they cannot get to that top position where they were now.
“So, you are politician also. So, if you can play politics outside the political parties, why can’t you come into the political parties and play politics? There is no way you can have leadership of this country without belonging to a political party.
“That is what our constitution says. There is no way Nigeria will appoint you President of Nigeria, Nigeria will not appoint you Governor of your state, you have to come out and contest and you cannot contest unless you belong to a political party.
“So, women, come out, join any political party of your choice, use the power, your energy that you are using to excel in the private sector, in your businesses to excel and come on top in the political party, then you can have a say, then, you can have a ticket to contest, then, you can become a Governor, then, you can become a President.
“Rhetoric will not get us there, by us shouting that we must get 50 percent or 100 percent or whatever percent, it will never happen. Even as we are trying to use legislative means to get quota for women, we know what we are encountering, we know the resistance that we are encountering and even ourselves, we have not even been able to figure out how it is going to be.
“Women should take over this country, for this country to get out of the woods, for this country to be redeemed, for this country to become what it ought to be, it must be governed, it must be ruled, it must be led by women at every level because the women know how to do it.
“We are born nurturers, we are born managers, we are born strategists, we are born organizers. It is in our DNA, look at every institution you know where a woman is at the helm of affairs, compare it with a period when it was manned by a man and you will get the answer. The woman’s period is always better, it is always more progressive.
“So, for Nigeria to be redeemed we have to be in the hands of a woman but the caveat is that that woman must be a partisan politician, present herself for election and we will elect you”, she stated.
On her part, the Chairman of the occasion, Princess Vicky Haastrup observed that Nigerian women had the capacity and the answer to the nation’s problem in their hands noting that “until it gets to that point where Nigeria recognizes that men have failed us, we women, we should take over, become President, become Governors, everything. We are getting there by the grace of God.”
Haastrup who is also the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) continued, “Until this nation recognizes that, Mrs. (Josephine) Anenih, you fought for that. Mrs. (Patience) Jonathan was saying 30 per cent, what is 30 per cent? It is 50-50 or nothing more. In fact, we should even be 60 per cent let them be 40 because they have held the show for so long and they have failed us. Please quote me, men have failed.
“The only woman that ever became Governor in Nigeria came by court or by…, it’s an emergency one and that gives me worry; that a nation as great and as big as Nigeria, we are still behind, we are still thinking women belong to the kitchen. I am sorry, we don’t belong to the kitchen not even to the other room, we belong everywhere.
“Women in Nigeria, we are strong, we are intelligent, we are beautiful, it is not only beauty of the face, we are beautiful inside and whether they like it or not, we are going to take over. So, Kingsley, I want to say a big thank you to you for recognizing that, for having that vision that women in Nigeria have come of age. We all have mothers; I know the role my mother play in the village, in the local community. When everything scatters, my mother comes to the rescue. Even the King of my village will send for my mum, he will even leave his palace to come see her and she didn’t have formal education but she knows how to solve problem.
“We are the jinx breakers; we are the solution to the nation’s problem. We women in Nigeria, we should not take no for an answer. This is the time we must get up, we must rise up, we must take our rightful position in the scheme of things in the economy of Nigeria. Women, we are very moderate, we see far ahead, what men don’t see, we see.
“The moment women in Nigeria become Governors, become Senators, how many women senators do we have in Nigeria? How many of them are in the House of Reps.? Things must change, women in Nigeria, you must rise up to the occasion. You must empower yourselves, you must be ready. We are not going to fight but we will slug it out with men.”
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani encouraged Mr. Anaroke to keep encouraging women by what he was doing adding that “when you keep working and you are recognized; it pushes you on to do more.”
“And for the younger people in the profession, particularly the ladies, they have people to look up to and people who they could chose to mentor them in the profession.
“I want to say thank you to the women in marine, there are quite a bit of associations of women in the marine and transport sector. I salute your courage; I thank you for your contributions to the economy of this country and more particularly to the transport sector.
“I wish us all a very great celebration. For the inductees, please, keep doing what you are doing and take it higher than where you are”, she submitted.
Earlier, the Chairman, Shipowners Forum Chairman Board of Trustees, MMS Plus Woman of Fortune Hal of Fame, Barr. Margaret Orakwusi lauded the convener of the event and Publisher of the MMS Plus newspaper, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke for celebrating Nigerian women for more than ten now adding that his love for women had proven that he had a long agenda for women and development.
According to her, “When it comes to commerce, he promotes women, politics, he promotes. It is his dream and I am sure I am right, to have a female President and he has always given us this beautiful platform to excel by identifying women who have done so much, who have excelled in their chosen profession not just in the maritime sector. We thank you Kingsley.
“Well, the elections round the country; somebody said in Nigeria, money plays a huge part. My position is that we have money because we have husbands and we have sons and money should not be a problem. We should come together, we should identify those who will take this country to the higher level and we need to. Look at what we are going through in this country, look at our children; drugs are taking over, wickedness, evil taking over. It is our responsibility because a bad child has a mother and as a mother, we are all mothers.
“So, please, we need to change the narrative, we need to key into Kingsley’s dream and make it possible. Whatever it takes that women take over not just in politics, in commerce and in everything, that we require to make this nation a great country.”