Anenih, others call for Nigerian Female President
By Yemisi Suleiman
In a bid to attain the nation’s first female president, a former Minister of Women Affairs, Iyom Josephine Anenih called on more Nigerian women to come out and be actively involved in partisan politics, noting that more female state governors should also emerge.
Anenih made this call while delivering the lead paper on the theme, “Women in Leadership and Governance: Promoting Sustainable Economic Prosperity”, at the 2021 MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF) Induction Ceremony held in Lagos recently.
She asserted that Nigeria wouldn’t attain the transformational changes desired by patriots until a female president emerges.
While encouraging women to be more involved in politics, Anineh debunked claims that women lack funds to attain the presidency in the nation.
“The truth is that women can’t be in the homes or the other room and expect to become president. No, it’s not by appointment. We are making money in the private sector, so it’s time to invest it in politics. We have very rich women and the assertion that there is no money isn’t true,” Anineh said.
She noted that women are already actively involved in politics because there is no way women could be on corporate boards as directors without some element of politicking, adding that it is time for them to play politics at the big stage in political parties.
“There is no way you can have the leadership of this country without belonging to a political party. That is what our constitution says. There is no way Nigeria will appoint you President of Nigeria and no one will not appoint you Governor of your state. You have to come out and contest and you cannot contest unless you belong to a political party.”
“So, women, come out, join any political party of your choice, use the power, your energy that you are using to excel in the private sector, in your businesses to excel and come on top in the political party, then you can have a say, then, you can have a ticket to contest, then, you can become a Governor, then, you can become a President.”
According to her, efforts to use legislative means to get more quotas for women would be less effective when compared to active participation by women.
On her part, the BoT Chairperson of MMS Women of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF)Initiative, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi stated that attaining a female president in the country is the dream of the Initiative even as she lauded the Founder of the Initiative, Kingsley Anaroke for celebrating women for more than ten years.
Her words: “Well, the elections are around the corner and it’s time for women. Somebody said in Nigeria, money plays a huge part, but my position is that we have money because we have husbands and we have sons. Money should not be a problem. We should come together, we should identify those women who will take this country to the higher level and we need to.”
“Look at what we are going through in this country, look at our children; drugs are taking over, wickedness, evil taking over. It is our responsibility because a bad child has a mother and as a mother, we are all mothers. So, please, we need to change the narrative, we need to key into Kingsley’s dream and make it possible. Whatever it takes that women take over not just in politics, in commerce, and in everything, that we require to make this nation a great country.”
Orakwusi, however, noted that MMS WoFHoF has been promoting women in commerce, transport, and politics. “It is Kingsley’s dream and I am sure I am right, to have a female President. He has always given us this beautiful platform to excel by identifying women who have done so much, who have excelled in their chosen profession not just in the maritime sector.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the occasion, Princess Dr. Vicky Haastrup observed that Nigerian women had the capacity to provide solutions to the nation’s problems, stressing that male presidents have failed the country since its independence.
“We have got to that point where Nigeria recognizes that men have failed us. Women should take over by becoming President, Governors, and everything possible. We are getting there by the grace of God.”
Haastrup who is also the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) commended Mrs. Josephine Anenih for supporting Mrs. Patience Jonathan amid calls for 30 percent women inclusiveness.
“The moment women in Nigeria become Governors, become Senators, how many women senators do we have in Nigeria? How many of them are in the House of Reps.? Things must change, women in Nigeria, you must rise up to the occasion. You must empower yourselves, you must be ready. We are not going to fight but we will slug it out with men.”
A former Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, ACG Charles Edike stressed that the recent trend which has seen more Nigerian women as Managing Directors of commercial banks and other multinationals could easily spill into politics with the emergence of the first Nigerian female president.
“I’m looking forward to the day Nigeria will have a female president. There are many of them around the world and most of them have been very successful. It’s time to give women the space. If we create an enabling environment for a Nigerian female president, we would be amazed at the wonders God will do with them.”
“Women are being celebrated today because they are achievers and we expect that this celebration will spur them to do better. This will also motivate others to be successful in their respective fields. Women have proven to be better managers of human and financial resources. Purpose-driven women always make judicious use of their resources and they multiply it. God created them like that.” Edike said.
The Founder of the MMS WoFHoF Initiative, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke reiterated that men have failed Nigeria for several generations.
His words: “Can we try women? There may have been cases of one or two disappointments within the female folk. However, when you place them side-by-side with men, we have had more men failures than women. I believe in a woman for the presidency. A woman can lead and let the men guide. What we have done here today is to mainstream women in leadership and governance. A woman who finds herself in a corrupting environment wouldn’t be as corrupt as the men.”
Also speaking with MMS Plus on the sidelines, three of the 2021 inductees; the President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke, President of Jami’yyan Matan Arewa (JMA), Hajia Rabi Musa Saulama, and a Governing Board Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Dr. Mrs. Yetunde Akinluyi affirmed that the time is ripe to achieve a first female Nigerian president.
The 2021 MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF) Induction Ceremony, which was held at the Golden Gate Hotel Ikoyi, was graced by top women in the nation’s transport and finance sectors, as well as eminent female politicians, amongst other dignitaries.