By Samuel .A. Ogungbemi
THIS year’s International Women’s Day took place on March 8. To God be the glory. As usual, the world celebrated and jubilated with the womenfolk nationwide and worldwide. An African adage says, “It’s yearly we see the bitter cola;it’s yearly we see the walnut; and it is yearly that we see the kolanut.” Truly International women’s Day comes once in a year. This writer is however not attracted to the usual jamboree, parade and all other social or peripheral events usually attached to International Women’s Day. Instead, I am calling on the womenfolk to rise up and make their impact felt in the society by correcting and stopping many of the ills and vices permeating our societal systems. Nigeria today needs to be saved from its present predicaments. It lacks the right leadership. The role of the womenfolk is inevitable and even overdue. We need a change from the system dominated by the menfolk for many decades without much impact. Therefore, this is a clarion call on Nigerian women to rise up and rescue our nation from its present precarious state.
It is imperative to say Nigeria needs a rebirth and rejuvenation at this critical time when social vices have penetrated all nooks and crannies of the nation. Therefore, women are needed at a time as this. It is no longer an exaggeration that the values and principles that previously bound the country together have been eroded, and this is part of the reasons women should make frantic efforts to ameliorate these vices. This necessitates the role, ideas and proactive actions of people like Deborah as recorded in the Holy Bible,or like Funmilayo Ransom Kuti and Margret-Thatcher in our recent human history. In response to the state of this nation, there is a dire need for Nigerian women both home and in the Diaspora to rescue Nigeria from its present predicament. Deborah, Funmilayo Ransom-Kuti and Margret Thatcher are women who duly accepted responsibilities to faithfully serve their nations without minding the cost and they should be good examples for every woman leader in Nigeria.
To this writer, the International Women’s Day should go far beyond jamboree and celebrations. Instead,it should be a platform for mobilising women of high repute, using their ingenuity for the advancement of our nation and to salvage its ship from capsizing. Our women should equally determine to be patriotic j. They should emulate matriarchs in their efforts at re-building the nation despite the stiff oppositions they may face. In the same vein, they should rise and condemn the social evils that have permeated our society, imcluding kidnapping, ransom payment, child abuse, gay-marriage, sexual perversion, injustice, corruption, rape and others that have become endemic in our society. Other social evils women should fight against include trafficking of children from one community to another forthe purpose of slavery, child abuse, rape and others.
The International Women’s Day should be celebrated to promote and inculcate moral values in our children and youth in the quest for nation building, knowing that moral decadence in our society is at its highest. The rate of Yahoo and other get-rich-quick financial crimes among our youth is alarming, worrisome and immediately calls for stoppage. The celebration of the International Women’s Day should be with a view to finding a lasting solution to the issue of insecurity, bedeviling Nigeria state, the weakening of nation-building efforts, especially in the area of unity particularly among the minority ethnic groups; domestic problems confronting common people in our society such as hyper- inflation on food items, gas, kerosene, petrol, epileptic power supply, high cost of transportation, among others; misconceptions and lack of interest in harnessing the full potentials of knowledge for the benefit of nation-building so that the society will fall in line with the object of boys brigade’ which is ‘the advancement of nation building among boys.” This you can be translated into ‘the advancement of nation building among women. There should be solutions to negative socio-economic life of common people. Lives and property are not safe due to bad governance for decade of years, and for this reason, women are needed to buttress the slogan that “what a man can do, a woman can do even better.”
Some believe the notion that women are weaker vessels, but is it in all cases? No! Women have something vital to offer if they are given the same opportunities as men to serve without any iota of prejudice. There should be synergy between women’s organisations and the government. Morel virtues must be imbibed by the younger generation with the aim of being useful vessels for national and global development For the International Women’s Day to be worth its salt, it should strongly aim at contributing immensely to discussions of nation-building economically, socially, and in healthcare delivery, among others. The government should ensure that any policy or legislation that can have a negative effect on women such as transfer of married women, gender inequality, female genital mutilation or incision, etc., should be avoided. It is the role of women in government to ensure that women’s rights are jealously guarded and protected.
Women are becoming liberated; so they are no longer playing second fiddle. This recognition is long overdue. They have equalpotentials, ingenuity and skills to aid national growth and development. They can exploit their natural ability and talents. Women constitute more than half of Nigeria’s population. This is not just women’s rights issue; it is an integral part of contemporary human rights!
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