Following the abduction of the nearly 300 School girls at Chibok by Boko Haram and their lily livered Shecow, sorry Shekau, women largely in Nigeria and all over the world have been consistently gathering and marching to various Embassies and Government Houses demanding action . in this piece Elvis-Wura Towolawi shares his thoughts on women, protest and marching……
Whenever women march know that humanity is in dire need of rescue; when women march know that mankind is on the precipice of self-destruction and it takes the motherly courage of women to guard it back to sanity and safety. Women men folk are home-builders– nation-builders and are generally loath to destroy what they’ve built; but when society is sliding into anarchy, bigotry, oppression, death and insensitivity, women march-either in colour or buck naked.
Nigeria is a nation of strong women. From ancient times through the colonial epoch to the present era, we have paraded an admirable and inspiring galaxy of amazons: Princess Moremi, Mary Slessor, Funmilayo Kuti, Margaret Ekpo, Kudirat Abiola, Oby Ezekwezili, Naomi Mutah etc who stood up and looked power in the face when power becomes exacting and unfeeling. And yes there are millions of women in Nigeria still willing to say ENOUGH to the monsters eating up our people, peace and progress.
The massive #BringBackOurGirls demonstration across the nation: from Maidugiri to Calabar, Abuja to Lagos – Ogun have really shown that our women have not lost their place, power, conscience and compassion. Now, what woman will tarry in silence, safety and sidon– when 200+ nubile girls are still captives of psychopathic hoodlums? Certainly, like a mother bear whose cub has been snatched will such women/parents react-defying power and politics.
However, it violates reason, compassion and womanity to observe that some power-intoxicated women are trying to make light and a game of the #BringBackOurGirls march as a political ploy. Foremost amongst this clique of unwomanly women is Kema Chikwe (PDP Women Leader) who instead of expressing empathy and solidarity with the aggrieved women chose to make annoying insinuations that the schoolgirls were not actually missing. And what’s more, ‘Her Royal Majesty’ Dame Patience Jonathan has grossly disappointed Nigerian women and women all over the world by her puerile political gimmicks towards the abducted schoolgirls. The First Lady must first be looked upon as the Mother of the Federation; of the high and low; not only of the Villa, Bayelsa and Rivers. This unsavory incident presented an ample opportunity for her to demonstrate her much-vaunted womanism and compassion; rather she turned it into a melodrama where she as protagonist made a villain of Borno women who were at the very eye of the storm. In fact, by ordering for the arrest of Naomi Mutah, one of the leaders of the #BringBackOurGirls Movement (BBOGM) in Abuja, she has shown how inconsiderate, unwomanly, and despotic she could get when the heat is on the Presidency. Did she ever imagine that leadership is all about siren-driven convoy, exotic trips, large allowances, praise and clannishness? A true leader must feel the pains and passion of the people led. To be frank, Mrs. Jonathan has failed Nigerian women when they needed her most and deserves to be confined to the dustbin of women leaders in the history of Nigeria who gloried in calling for meetings in Aso Rock while our daughters languished in the den of blood merchants, sex-slavers and dream- snatchers. History can not be re-written, what is done is written. Perhaps, she needs lessons in the courage file of Princess Moremi, Mary Slessor (Scot-Efik) and the irrepressible Aba women.
However, some sycophantic cynics, typical of lily-livered Nigerians may wonder what these marching women hope to change. Well, we’d say a lot-even if they fail. History shows us that in many clime and countries of the world, a marching people can effect any desirable change. During the height of Britain’s imperialism, Mahatma Gandhi, a lean man in loincloth led a thousand miles march to the sea and changed an obnoxious salt policy which enriched unjustly the British Empire and in turn impoverished Indians and strangulated their industry. Later, within a century, a preacher man from Georgia, Martin Luther King Jnr. marched on Washington with his Dream and demanded for the right of equality for all human race in America; this subsequently resulted in Obama’s election and reign. What do we say about the Aba Women Riot? Have we forgotten so soon the Arab Awakening?
Conclusively, we’d say that our women are marching because they cannot eat, sleep, keep mum and fold their arms while our daughters and citizens are decimated by an insurgency which the federal government is fiddling with. And since these women are united by common concerns and grief, it’d be unwomanly, unpatriotic and unacceptable for some tiny faction of women untouched by the loss, goaded by power bent on mischief and materialism attempt to mock and muffle their voices. Women rarely marched in vain, and this time they are not marching alone – the world is marching with them until our girls, social justice, peace and progress flourish in our land ………….