Unopposed, Premium Fraud

By Frank Meke.

March 8th, was lnternational Womens’ Day and trust Nigerians , there were plenty affirmations , promises and parades, all identifying with women, particularly on the need to make them key partners to socioeconomic and political development in Nigeria.

The women themselves in various facets of life were audacious and from their well guided positions, willing to take their future in their hands.

They probably knew that the men were lying and were just being nice. The statistics of men domination and intent to run women out of the national developmental picture is there for all to see.

It is glaring that men won’t give women head up easily in any competitive environment even where women play dominant roles like in banking, entertainment travel trade business, commerce and general trading.

Even in legal practice, there has been an upsurge of more female lawyers in recent years, yet we hardly acknowledge the profound presence and contributions of the female wigs and silks.

In Nigeria tourism and travel industry, the presence and pressure of women in these areas of business are tellingly reversed, unappreciated and counted as unworthy of national affirmation and importance.

At every national productivity award, men takes all the medals of honour while women takes the backstage, only seen as the beautiful escorts or annoyingly positioned as ushers of the day. What a fraud!

And of the two hundred million Nigerians, no one needs to tell us that the demographics scale tills more to more women/ girl child in our country than men yet dominance, indeed wholesale dominance of men against women reigns.

I sometimes wonder at the spirit, the audacious spirit of few women who wish to break from the strangulating slavery by men and cause a change, and break ceilings.

In politics, at all strata, women campaign the most, sometimes miamed, beaten and outrightly harassed by men. Yet when the spoils are shared, they are only good for serving the table and where, they are lucky, left to femininenise male dominance and winners take all advantage.

I speak as one who has seen women, strong willed and audacious women lead battles from the front. In our field, I have seen women break forth, willing, cerebral outspoken, and determinated to make hay.

I am tempted to mention names but I know it’s a long one and I don’t want to offend anyone. At least, this is about women of repute, those who dared where others squmishishly gave up.

Last year and in a long haul two ways bus ride from Johannesburg to Durban , I witnessed first hand the power of women in National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies ( Nanta).

It was a great count testimony to what these ladies, inclusively and sacrificially can bring to Nigerian tourism promotion nay of the continent of Africa.

It was marvelous, the vibes, the daring against odds and the hunger to change narratives and open refreshing Vistas of opportunities to others, even to the oppressive community of men.

Next month, Nanta goes to the poll to elect its leaders. The women in Nanta will have to surmount the oppressive walls of their male colleagues, some who believe that women are a mere count to the numbers.

Pastor Chinyere umeasiegbu an investment banker turned travel trade operator and immediate past Vice president, eastern zone of nanta, is flying the flag to the center, the national body of the biggest multi sectorial association as first deputy president .

Undaunted she counts on the sensibilities and vote of men of good will, gender sensitive and influencers of open inclusivity of women to places of leadership in the association.

Usually great and inspiring women don’t depend on sympathetic shoulders but are gutful and daring to confront challenges with solutions. Subterfuge does not count with women of substance.

Mrs Chinyere umeasiegbu told me that she is willing to compete and not campaign as a sole and unopposed candidate which she described as a weak pole and fraudulent, so she will determinely take her availability, gift and asset to the Nanta stakeholders.

When Nanta goes to the poll in late April, would the women pull their strength for one of their own, or allow male chauvinists who are afraid to stand for election but would prefer to benefit from questionable and debatable electorial windows to brag ?

Women therefore should join hands to change narratives and introduce change. Those of them who are not petty or envious, should stand up to be counted as there are still men who sees women as equal and intelligent enough to bring about societal change. So when next you hear men, particularly those troubled by power of delivery by women and are quick to describe them as playing god, just know that brave women can discomfort male dominance anywhere if they are willing to take their own destinies in their own hands.

The high moral takeaways from the celebration of International Women’s Day in Nigeria, is that women in Nanta are no longer back benchers and kitchen mates but partners in progress, Willing to sacrifice selves for the good of all. This essentially does not presuppose and predispose that men, good men in Nanta are not important but a telling signal that women in Nanta will partner with progressive male colleagues who will not only see them as partners in progress but will openly encourage their presence and contributions as nanta marches ahead to the next century.

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