Amongst the several stumbling blocks for women in politics, questions about their state of origin upon marriage is one of them, and a troubling one at that. Such is the situation that greets Mrs. Opunimi Akinkugbe’s nomination as a non-career Ambassador by President Muhammadu Buhari.
One day, we'll address this issue of a married woman's ACTUAL state of origin. Ondo people say Nimi Akinkugbe isn't one of them https://t.co/XSKvQP6BgX
— Bíbíire ò ṣé fowó rà (@yew1e) July 2, 2020
President Buhari, selected the indigene of Abonnema local government area of Rivers State, as an ambassadorial nominee for Ondo State and the news was met with an outcry from several individuals and groups; who have declared that she is not an indigene of the state and as such can’t be called on to represent them.
Though from Rivers, Nimi Akinkungbe is married to Yinka Akinkugbe who hails from Ondo State. She also flexes experience in the banking sector with over 23 years of experience under her belt and is currently a non-executive director at Standard Chartered Bank.
In spite of this, her nomination was met with a strong rebuttal as the State Chairman of the Ondo Youth Coalition, Ademario Emmanuel and the President of the Yoruba Anifere Youth Organisation of Nigeria, Eric Oluwole condemned the announcement; labelling it an insult. They claim she is not an Ondo indigene and there are more than enough indigenes capable of filling up the position.
Nigerians had a lot to say about the controversy, stating that it exposed the unseriousness and tribalism of Nigerians.
Mrs Nimi Akinkugbe, married to an Ondo man and recently nominated as an Ambassador. Some persons are opposed to her normination because ‘she is not an indigene of Ondo State but that of Rivers.’ We discriminate against a Nigerian woman married to a Nigerian man? What a shame!
— kkubani (@kkubani1) July 2, 2020
The issue of Nimi Akinkugbe's state of origin is unpleasant. Nigeria needs to get over tribalism.
The Chief Judge of Rivers state,
Adama Iyayi-Lamikanra is from Edo state. Her husband, Oladejo Lamikanra is from Osun state.
Is time Nigeria abolishes state of origin.
— Christian C. Ozor (@ozor_cc) July 2, 2020
The protests against Nimi Akinkugbe Nomination is heartbreaking because it high time we stopped being tribalistic. Also, women married to another tribe outside your tribe should also take the responsibility to embrace the new tribe and it's culture…
— Johnson Maxwell (@JohnsonMaxwel48) July 2, 2020
Many highlighted that this issue was a persistent one. Upon marriage, women who seek political appointments are disowned by their state of origin for marrying into another state, while her partner’s state would refuse to claim her as well.
People from Rivers State will tell her "You're married to an Ondo man. Go & meet your husband's people."
People from Ondo State are telling her "You're a Rivers indigene. Go back home."
— Igala Alan Shore (@I_Am_Ilemona) July 2, 2020
My mum ran for political office in Nasarawa State and found it hard because ‘they’ said she’s originally from Plateau State. NOTE: Nasarawa State was CARVED OUT of Plateau state, and by marriage she is from Nasarawa. She sha didn’t win.
— BEZ (@BEZidakula) July 2, 2020
Some others highlighted that Nimi Akinkugbe was more than qualified to lead and that it should be counted as a blessing to have her on board.
Imagine having a problem with Nimi Akinkugbe representing you. This country is not ready to move forward in any tangible way.
— Jola (@Jollz) July 2, 2020
“Our wife, our wife” until it really matters. A shame. Nimi Akinkugbe will make an excellent Ambassador for Nigeria, that should be what is being considered not her indigene status.
— idiareno ✈️ (@id49ja) July 2, 2020
If your state gets THE Nimi Akinkugbe as an ambassadorial nominee, you better throw a freaking party! She’s brilliant, over qualified and has integrity. She definitely will be doing the damn work and not stealing money or sleep at meetings. This is one of the best women ever! pic.twitter.com/uU56jhI1jH
— Omawumi O (@ormainy) July 2, 2020
Many also referenced Omoni Oboli’s movie “Love is War” which also had a similar plot and was also set in Ondo State. The movie is centered around a wife who is denied by stakeholders in her husband’s state of origin as well as her own state en route to the office of Governor. People stressed the irony of this situation coming to be, just as it had been portrayed in the movie.
It's like @Omonioboli predicted this thing just like in the movie "Love is War".
And it was also Ondo State!
Nimi Akinkugbe will do great!! https://t.co/TzNAKQMSys
— Oluwa Bukunmi (@Bukhunmie) July 2, 2020
The story of Nimi Akinkugbe and Ambassadorial slot is something @Omonioboli and @RMofeDamijo can relate to, as they played the roles in the movie #LOVEISWAR I swear Nollywood don dey see future o! Follow me o! Na me link this drama and the movie first.
— WhoisRafiki (SPE) 🇳🇬 (@ROjaokomo) July 2, 2020
Nimi Akinkugbe situation potrayed Omoni's movie 'Love is War' in reality. However, the State in question in the movie and in our society today is Ondo… This means the Ondos' tribalistic ideology has been perceived before they showcase it…
— Johnson Maxwell (@JohnsonMaxwel48) July 2, 2020
A real life "Love is War" is brewing in Ondo State over Nimi Akinkugbe's ambassadorial nomination. Sad folks are saying she can't be given the slot of her husband's state. This is just ridiculous | https://t.co/VQ4Fq5a022
— Lolade Adewuyi (@Jololade) July 2, 2020
Many Nigerians share the hope that her nomination would not be rescinded despite the antagonism that has risen up.
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks