When Nigeria senate refused to take gender equality bill seriously the other month, many people were surprised. Many Nigerians take to social media to voice their opinion, I did too. However, I was not a bit surprised and in a way our women reactions especially those in public offices, celebrities and influential signalled that some have not lived real Nigerian life.
While gender inequality is a huge global problem, in Nigeria it is common that we don’t always pursue common interests. This is what I mean, for the most part, we have not been able to work on common goals that cut across our biases, pretty much our actions seem to be based on political affiliations, class, education, tribe and of course the mother of it all, religion.
A couple of days ago a Nigerian MP Onyemaechi Mrakpor was slapped in public for all to see how much she was ‘out of line’. The said lawmaker is 49. Her offence was that she overtook the motorcade carrying the Comptroller General Dr. Peter Ezenwa Ekpendu at the exit gate of the National Assembly.
Because of this, the Comptroller General orders his aide to deliver the dirty slap to the woman as a matter of how dare she?
I was expecting to see Nigerians reactions to be in support of this woman, not because she is a lawmaker but mostly because she is a woman, she could have been illiterate woman like my mother or me for that matter – why on earth should we have public officers disrespect their peers like this simply because they are women?
Many of our women and indeed men who are always on the side of gender equity didn’t think much of this.
Here is a comment I copied from a Nigeria popular site, nairaland, it was the only one that received ’60 likes’ (the highest by far on that post).
”I wonder why there is an uproar because a member of the House of Reps received a dirty slap,if the woman had being up and doing in her legislative duties in time past,she might have saved herself from this national embarrassment,was she not aware of the daily abuse of human rights by security agents?,what bill did she sponsor to that effect?,now she is a victim and wants the entire Nigeria to sympathise with her.
She had better accept the slap in good faith,next time she might not be so lucky,it could be an accidental discharge,how many Nigerians get slapped daily?,how many innocent Nigerians get killed?,how many times was any security chief summoned?.
This is just a tip of the iceberg,you can never eat what belongs to the masses and go scot free,a time of reckoning and the inevitable law of karma is coming,it might not be now,but it will eventually come.”
The above sums up the mentality of many Nigerians today, the person who posted this has many people listening to him/her. Actually, many comments on the issue have similar opinion.
I’d admit that as a woman, it is hard to understand reasoning of some of our women leaders especially when all their values have been reduced to bling-bling and Owambe (non value added parties).
However, this is a perfect example to show how well ingrained disrespect for women is in our society is. This is very similar to the one I witnessed where a professor boasted about slapping a school headteacher because it was just too beneath him to have proper adult conversation to resolve the matter civilly.
And again, in order to stop this attitude from reoccurring, education on the importance of discouraging violence must start from home, school and this will reflect in society.
In this case, both the aide who delivered the job and the Oga at the Top Comptroller General are clearly not good role models to the public so why should they stay at the job they suck at?
People don’t just change unless they knew their actions will insure consequences.
For now, we wait for what will happen in the next week or so.