by Adeniyi Abdul
Is Nigeria ready for a female president?
Ambassador Ebun Oyagbola, who happens to be Nigeria’s first female minister, certainly thinks it’s time. Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a workshop on “Effective Leadership Through Attitudinal Healing” organized by the Centre for Attitudinal Healing, Oyagbola pointed to herself as an example of how women could do great things when placed in positions of responsibility, even amidst doubt from others.
“Because I had been a civil servant, an auditor, this man knew what it meant and he said yes you must do very well here,” she said. “I worked to the best of my knowledge, and other ministers started saying ‘Oh, where is this woman coming from? She is always thinking about work, work and work.’ And I said: ‘Yes, that is the way I am made.'”
“I have mentioned Alhaji Shehu Shagari because I want my fellow women here today to remember Shehu Shagari as the first president to consider women as worthy for any position because in Nigeria when a woman gets a position she is looked at as somebody who had been in bed with the man. It is not so. So, please, men, our fathers, our brothers, our husbands, begin to think better about women; they have a lot to offer. The moment you give Nigeria the chance to have a female President everything in this country will change.”
She acknowledged the existence of corrupt women but according to her, women in general have a dedication to their work which cannot be shaken. “Well, it may be difficult for me to say what I used to say because now we have started having some very corrupt women,” she said. “That notwithstanding, you will agree with me that when a woman is dedicated to doing something nothing can stop her, not even the break up of her wedding or marriage can stop her because when you are dedicated, you are dedicated and you want to do what your mind has told you to do.”
“Yesterday, I said something somewhere that women must change their attitude more quickly than men in the sense that I believe, and I accused them of being the cause of all the problems confronting Nigeria. That is because we have abandoned our responsibilities and we started running after men to get money the way they have and it is wrong. So, we are developing ourselves in preparation for the best presidency, best leadership.”