“YOU THINK BEST WHEN YOU USE YOUR HEAD”
“EXCELLENCE HAS NO COLOUR, SEX OR RACE”
This week, I remember the first woman to hold the office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Margaret Thatcher won three consecutive general elections and served as Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Thatcher lives in history, for the present, I say the emergence of the first female speaker, at the Students’ Representative Council in-house election, is a great development!
Perhaps the all-time sickness of the Nigerian society is the inability of the citizens to change their thought process. One of the products of the faulty thoughts is a continuous attempt to lock some folks in psychological prisons. For the political circles, “I have your type at home, you can’t lead me” is one judgement that some male politicians have constantly employ in sending their female counterparts to such obscure prisons. Mrs. Sarah Jubril, a one-time presidential aspirant is one of those women who have served in such prisons; she is in a better state to narrate the events that led her there. If she read “Things Fall Apart” for GES, she should know that the narrative on how she got only two votes, at the primary election of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), is a chapter she must not skip!
Without prevaricating, my lord, the emergence of a female speaker at the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) level of the UISU, is, perhaps, one of the best things that has happened to the Union in recent times. Being a subset of the Nigerian society, the Union has also witnessed the application of the marginalization theory, a philosophy that ensures that only certain set of persons get to lead in some quarters. A good number of persons should remember the propaganda that came up against Ms. Gbemisola Osadua, when she contested for the No 1 position of the Union.
We must understand that seasons have changed. We cannot afford to keep travelling through some intellectual wilderness, stating unproved ideas that centre on the inability of females to lead at the Student Union level. The pessimists among us could take a day off and see through the windows of possibility, not forgetting that an untried suspect is never guilty! Some may want to cite the failure of some women who held top positions, as enough reason to fault the emergence. However, the achievements of Late Prof. Dora Akunyili, as head of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), proved that where men have failed, women could become champions. She did so well that she got nominated for a ministerial position. She indeed proved to all that excellence has no gender.
My lords, the emergence of a female speaker should go a long way in motivating female students to participate actively in the activities of the union. They could learn that there is no end to possibilities, knowing that the Speaker defeated two male contenders. One could look forward to having more female aspirants in subsequent elections. They have already set the stage; the impressive number of female aspirants in the last election is a pointer. They could decide to disagree with the award-winning Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie who said “the higher you go, the fewer the women there are”. They could decide to go beyond the traditional role of modelling election publicity shirts, being campaigners, and other background roles.
Finally, my lords, the emergence of the first female speaker is a step away from the shores of mediocrity, a development that is worth celebrating. It will go long way in improving the representation of women in strategic positions, and encourage greater participation. Excellence has no sex, colour or race!
I rest my case.
“IF THERE ARE NO REASONS, A WOMAN DOES NOT GO BY THE NAME ‘DEATH-HAS-TAKEN-ALL-THE-BREAD-WINNERS’”- YORUBA PROVERB
From time immemorial, a certain topic has been hotly debated by humanity. It started with our ancestors even before the very first century, where the Semitic Religions told us that Adam, as a man was created first and Eve; the woman was created out of him to be his helper. Well, the topic is none other than ‘the equality of women with men and their capability in leadership positions’. There has been an argument advanced by a part of humanity that women are the weaker sex and are meant to lend a helping hand to men, not to rule where men are. This position is further buttressed by a Yoruba proverb that states, “Bi o ba ni ‘di, Obinrin Kii je ‘Kumolu” (If there’s no reason, a woman does not go by the name “Death-has-taken-all-the-Bread-winners”). This is without any form of prejudice to the newly elected first female Speaker of the Students’ Representative Council, University of Ibadan, Rt. Hon. Egunjobi Ifeoluwa.
As a student of logic, I am aware of different errors in reasoning and I know that supporting the school of thought above that Women don’t make good leaders will obviously amount to hasty conclusion or better still what the logicians term as argumentum non sequitur. Nevertheless as a relativist, I believe that each case should be addressed and judged, bearing in mind its peculiar circumstances. And on this note, my Lords, I appear before this honourable court to argue against the expediency of the emergence of a female Speaker in the S.R.C chambers.
I must state categorically at this junction, my Lords, that I am aware of the Millennium Development Goal three (To promote gender equality and empower women) and sincerely, I am not trying to frustrate that noble effort. More so, University of Ibadan Gender Policy vision will not even allow me to do such. But truth be told, my lords, having a female Speaker at this crucial stage of our Union is something that may not be beneficial after all. It is clear from all indications that the ship of our Union is still being bedeviled by a terrible tempest. And you will readily agree with me that we need a vibrant Students’ Representative Council to check the excesses of these unpredictable executive members. The council we need is one that will be headed by an audacious, strong-spirited radical and not some lily-livered middle-of-the-road fellow. My Lords, we cannot deny the fact that women are like shea butter that easily melt away under the pressure of the blazing sun.
Furthermore, the emergence of a female speaker at this present moment may jeopardize the dignity of our dearest union. Looking at UI’s political terrain, it’s obvious that the issue of godfatherism is becoming a great concern. The cancer is undoubtedly running deep. The conflicts generated as a result of this godfatherism cancer may not have been solved by our past male Speakers, however, there is nothing stopping the cancer in reaching its acute stage at the emergence of a female Speaker. And need I tell this honourable court of how some unscrupulous puppeteers were so desperate of making out a puppet out of Madam Speaker even at the expense of deserting their own candidates! Though, the deed has been done and Madam Speaker has been elected but what I foresee, my Lords, is a weakened council fretted by egotistical entreaties orchestrated by faceless godfathers.
My Lords, if we are to look at the election that made Madam Speaker the head of the hallowed chambers, we will be able to see that the majority in the house is not in favour of a female speaker. While 48 members voted for Madam Speaker, 53 members voted against her!
Finally, to say that the emergence of a female Speaker is expedient is like taking the Nano-Silver pesticide to cure the deadly Ebola virus!
I rest my case.
CONCLUSION: This column is about you, it presents the two sides of a case courtesy of two writers from different schools of thought. “Audi alteram partem” means hear the other side before passing your judgment. Take the gavel, make your decision and slam because you are the judge in this courtroom.
EMERGENCE OF A FEMALE SRC SPEAKER: EXPEDIENT?
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