The last time we interacted was June. A lot of personal good has happened to me in the period as I hope all has been well with you as well. However, a lot of ills have befallen our society and I did not want to dedicate our rantings to them. So I decided to take a break from writing altogether.
But October is always a good month! Comes with a fresh burst of energy.
It’s the first of October.
Happy Independence Day to Nigeria!
We will go straight to the conclusion of our thoughts on “A woman with no honor”, and I hope you remembered where the journey began. For the benefit of those who would appreciate a recall, you click here https://rantingsnet.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/a-woman-with-no-honor-2-3/
The voice of Aisha Yesufu still reverberates.
“We are all Prostitutes!”
Aisha Yesufu is a popular hijab wearing critic of government, and one of the conveners of #BringBackOurGirls. She has been an activist whose voice against injustice and oppression resounds from the rooftops. Aisha was a renowned activist with a record of activism in the three tertiary institutions she attended. She was brought into a nationwide limelight when over 200 school girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from an all girls school in Chibok. Being of the same northern extraction as the President, she has come under attacks by people who think a northern Muslim woman should not have a voice and should not criticise the present government. Many have insulted her chants for the government to secure the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls as an advocacy for a political compensation. Whilst the campaign started under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, the southern extraction attacked for working towards the ousting of a southern president, the North was happy. When the democratically elected northerner, President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office and her voice did not wane, the North got angry and attacked her with vitriolic statements. The best in their arsenal – prostitute.
Dr. Oby Ezekwesili is a chartered accountant and a two time minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She was a co-founder of Transparency International and popularly tagged “Madam Due Process” in Nigeria for her efforts at ensuring transparency in public procurement and award of contracts. She holds a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was the Vice President of World Bank’s African Division.
In recent Nigeria, Oby is more notorious for her strong activism and advocacy for the release of the Chibok Girls abducted by Boko Haram. Arrested by the DSS, Harassed by sponsored agents, abused and denigrated by faceless trolls, Oby is the voice that can not be silenced. Oby Ezekwesili conveyed the sit out at the Unity fountain which chanted #BringBackOurGirls every single day, while holding press conferences to ensure the girls were not forgotten in the den of Boko haram. She is the renowned activist who staged a one man protest at the Three Armed Zone, demanding accountability from the government. She is the voice that can not be silenced. Oby was a presidential aspirant in the 2019 presidential elections, but later stepped aside. Barely a month ago, Oby Ezekwesili was in South Africa for the Economic Summit, condemning Xenophobia in strong terms, though many Nigerians were offended that she and a few other Nigerians did not protest by boycotting the event altogether.
Oby’s achievements and fierceness didn’t deter her from bagging the prestigious award reserved for women with a voice and a presence – Prostitute.
In fact, she’s the Chief Prostitute.
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (NOI)
NOI is a professor of Economics and an international development expert. She sits on the boards of Standard Chartered Bank, and Twitter among other reputable organizations. A graduate of Harvard University, MIT, and a three time former minister of the federal Republic of Nigeria in the ministries of foreign affairs and finance, respectively. She was the first female minister to occupy both positions and she spearheaded the wiping out of Nigeria’s $30billion debt by the Paris Club. She introduced transparency into governance by publishing the monthly allocation given to states. She helped government manage finance electronically by introducing the TSA (Treasury Single Account) and the IPPIS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System) which resulted in the expulsion of thousands of ghost workers and saved government over a billion dollars. Under her watch in her second appointment as the Minister of Finance, Nigeria emerged as the largest economy in Africa. Her 25 year old career at the World Bank was stellar as she rose through the ranks. Ngozi was born to two professors and her father is an Eze (King). She is married to a neurosurgeon and blessed with four children who are all Harvard graduates. One of which is Uzodinma Iweala, the writer of the award-winning film, Beast of no Nation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UzodinmaIweala
In 2012, NOI ran against Jim Yong Kim in the race for the President of World Bank and would have emerged the first female President of the World Bank, had she been elected. NOI is a recipient of several awards and honorary degrees from over ten universities, including respectable Ivy League School. In 2019, Prof. Okonjo-Iweala was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. It is rather bewildering, that the people who could not get close enough to touch the hem of her garment were bold enough to cap all her achievements with the notorious one they reserve for Nigerian women – Prostitute.
Dora Nkem Akunyili
Picture from zodml.org https://www.pulse.ng/bi/lifestyle/did-you-know-dora-nkem-akunyili-has-the-highest-number-of-awards-in-nigeria/3bm1xh7
My darling Dora of blessed memory (tear drops).
Prof Dora Akunyili is a pharmacist whose academic path from childhood has been characterised by distinction. A professor of pharmacology, having shown excellent leadership qualities in various positions, she was appointed the Director General of NAFDAC (National Agency for Food And Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Was the country sanitized? Dora reduced the fake drugs by a whooping 90%.
Were we sensitized? I asked my brother to return a pack of ribena to the seller because it was past the expiry date. We became conscious of the validity of cosmetics. Bakeries were not only shut down over the presence of bromate in bread, water factories were not spared. Dora was the great spirit to be feared. Dora worked hard, driven by the loss of her dear sister to fake medicines, she left no stone unturned. In not caring whose Ox was gored, Dora escaped death by the whiskers when assassins shot at her head but narrowly missed. Did she relent? Of course, not! The fear of NAFDAC became the beginning of wisdom. If NAFDAC cancelled anything, we cancelled it.
A certain tertiary hospital was reluctant in reporting mortality in their pediatric population owing to a suspected drug to NAFDAC. When word got to Dora, she flung into action, and found the paracetamol suspension guilty upon investigation. Justice was swift and opposition voices were hushed. At some point, we had concerns about the nation’s preferred brand of noodles and avoided it. Dora went on TV, cooked it and ate it. Fiam! We all went back to eating. At some other point, we were concerned if the aviation flu was a plague in Nigeria, Dora ate fried chicken on TV, reassuring us that our cooking methods were powerful enough to destroy the virus if at all it was present, and so we resumed crunching chicken legs. If Dora could eat it, you can eat it. Truly, she safeguarded the health of the nation.
Dora was the face of NAFDAC, so much that when she was appointed the Federal Minister of Information, the nation revolted, tagging the appointment “a round peg in a square hole”. Yet, as a minister, Prof. Akunyili worked hard to amend the country’s failing reputation with the “Good People, Great Nation”campaign.
Dora holds the highest number of awards a Nigerian has ever held- officially 930 awards, but reports has it that she has over a thousand awards.
Of all the enormous awards Dora – the nation’s darling, held, it did not deter miscreants from crowning her efforts with the awards specially reserved for Nigerian women mostly by insecure men – Prostitute.
We eventually lost Dora to cancer and she is greatly missed. May her soul continue to rest in peace.
What does this teach us? The raid and brutal abuse of the police on Abuja women had nothing to do with prostitution. In the past weeks, the city of PortHarcourt has witnessed a serial killer activity leaving women dead in the same pattern. There was a public outcry. An inglorious NGO marched out, demanding justice while advising women to shun prostitution (automatically labeling the victims “prostitutes”), a video of the alleged killer was released on the internet (he suddenly broke character and decided to use a hotel with cameras, ensuring his face was well captured by looking up to the cameras), police arrested the alleged killer and conducted a shoddy interview where words were basically put in his mouth, police served the alleged killer jollof rice and had a photo session with him as though he was some celebrity, police concluded that the victims were prostitutes and there has been no update on the matter. Nigerians are furious that the actual killer is still out there. Nigerians are furious that two of the victims found in a particular hotel were staff and not prostitutes. Anyway, the arrested alleged serial killer begged for forgiveness and mercy.
What sayeth us to these things?
Does it then matter if you are a prostitute or not? Provided you are a woman with some achievement, a car, a voice, it is important to know that whatever you are is easily reduced to you being a prostitute by the insecure Nigerian man whose space you threatened. He desperately desires to put you in your place. The police is not interested in getting justice for you. A rapist was arrested and he was asked why he did not choose a prostitute. So yeah, it’s somewhat unofficially “legal” to rape a prostitute in Nigeria.
So does it matter if you are the first Nigerian to be the first female President of the United States of America or a prostitute hanging at Wuse 2 at 11pm? No, in as much as our culture does not respect the rights and protect the dignity of the weakest link, even the strongest is an incident away from imminent disaster.
Going by the above hall of fame of prostitutes in Nigeria, I resonate with my unrepentant Aisha Yesufu that we are all Prostitutes. If you, a Nigerian woman, has never been tagged a “prostitute”, then you have not “arrived”. Work harder to bag the prestigious award. The list is not yet complete because my name is not yet on the hall.
I am an aspiring prostitute.