Meet another woman who like Dora, showcased herself as a Teflon way back during one of Nigeria’s worst military regimes.

I’m beginning to believe that a pretty face can equally brace the same storms as a stony face. Bespectacled Chris Anyanwu in those days of Abacha and his cohorts faced the danger of telling the truth and paying dearly for it.
At a time when women were not even considered seriously in holding positions in leadership or allowed to make much impact in the public (unless they were wives of leaders running better life programmes), this woman operated under one of the dangerous professions of that time – Journalism.

Journalists have always been ‘beefed’ by the big wigs in power simply because they always aim to expose their dirty dealings to the curious public. Chris’ arrival on the scene made matters worse for the Khaki boys because she wasn’t just out to report happenings but to tell the naked truth.

She told it and they arrested her and put her in the dreaded dark cells that nearly made her go blind. I remembered when I heard the news that day that she was nearly going blind, it was a terrifying thought. The Khaki boys thought they had things under control until Chris received an International courage award that made them realize that the global community was following the trend of things. They thus decided to be careful because of the possibility that things could blow up in their face.

In a deep article that she wrote for the World Freedom Day may 3rd 1999, Chris highlighted the limits placed on women in the Nigerian society; a limit of which she braved all odds to break through:

“I fully realize that my incarceration was a well-calculated plan by General Abacha and a certain misogynist clique in the ruling circle to force me out of the profession and by it send a strong signal to the female elite that there are limits for women in this society. The tragic demise of the only other female publisher and the gory murder of three outstanding and outspoken women in the country during this same period all fit into this pattern of behavior.

Without doubt, Abacha and his clique aimed to cause a reversal in the strides made by women in Nigerian society. He wanted to reshape woman according to his primitive mental picture of the world.

The extent to which he succeeded is becoming more evident in the dimished visibility of women and especially their low involvement in Nigeria's transition politics. Few women are running for elected office and even fewer are willing to get involved publicly in any form of assertive affair.even fewer are willing to get involved publicly in any form of assertive affair.”

We can really thank God that things are gradually changing and people are beginning to realize that women have something to offer society that men don’t seem to possess.

Chris Anyanwu has set milestones that will place her in Nigeria’s history books. Apart from braving the odds of a treacherous regime, she also happened to be Nigeria’s first broadcast entrepreneur when she set up her media company; Spectrum Broadcasting.

Sometimes it takes the outside world to really make us realize how we should appreciate our women and stop marginalizing them by limiting their leadership potentials to just the position of First Lady. And Chris makes the point when she states it clearly in an interview;
“It’s interesting – but we’re not a people or a society that makes sacrifices. You’re not appreciated for it. But the fact that foreigners took a special interest … it struck home to [Nigerians] that this person did something right, that it was something admirable and it earned quite a bit of respect.”

From the above statement you can see a reflection of how the global community views the women we fail to appreciate and give a chance to prove their mettle. Its clear and evident across the nation. We’ve seen how the Okonjo-Iwealas, the Ezekwesilis and a host of other have fared and struggled in a society clouded by the domineering force of men.
Many have come to the conclusion that a woman president will make a lot of difference in Nigeria if given the chance. I strongly agree. There’s just something that women will always have that men will never have and we must never underestimate them. The Nigerian political terrain is changing; more women are joining the race; more women are coming out to make impact. It's time to pay attention to them, it's time to empower our women and appreciate them.

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I remember the first time I actually got to properly see the picture of the enigma of a woman called Dora Akunyili, my first reaction was, “So its this beautiful woman that’s showing all these fake drug peddlers serious pepper?”

I had thought it would be some-stone-faced vicious fire breathing Madame that would scare kids away with just a stare.
I was dead wrong. The strongwoman of NAFDAC has this sweet smile and lively eyes such that if you saw her for the first time, quizzical musings would bombard your mind left, right, centre.
In a country that is bedeviled with all manner and forms of corruption in high places with all manner of national treasury pilfers parading themselves as our leaders, its surprising and shocking that a member of the womenfolk can rise up and do things properly.

I will transparently say that I am ashamed of almost all the men that have occupied seats of leadership in Nigeria. There are minutely very few men that I can stand up for and acclaim that they are people I admire.
I have the gut feeling that if a man had been in the hot seat of leadership of NAFDAC, he would have masqueraded about throughout his tenure eating up from the coffers of funds he could get his hands on while promising Nigerians that they would ‘bring culprits to book’(Culprits of whom would have been caught earlier but ‘settled’ their way out of being brought to justice).

Dora Akunyili came on the Job and didn’t just do her Job but took it way beyond the expectations of Nigerians. Not even a close brush with death when an assassination attempt was made on her life could deter her from continuing her job. Her defiance in getting the Job done was reflected when she once quoted in an interview;

"My coming here and not doing the work is greater than any sin in the ten commandments. I just leave it to God and put in the effort that is humanly possible. I refuse to be intimidated. My life is in the hand of God. They forget that so many people have died because of fake drugs, even my own sister. If she had had the right insulin, she wouldn't have died.”

Dora has become so popular and beloved by many that she has taken the place of the ultimate role model in the lives of many Nigerians. Today more women are beginning to contemplate trying out the political terrain.

Dora’s performance has ultimately proven that women should never be taken for granted when it comes to handling the mantle of leadership. In a society that is undoubtedly patriarchal in nature, she has succeeded in breaking the jinx that women can’t do it like the men. Unfortunately, she even does it better than most men. That was actually proven when she bagged the Silverbird Television man of the year award. It’s funny that it was meant to be ‘man of the year’ but a woman ended up clinching it!

I needn’t mention that Dr Dora Akunyili is well read and has pedigrees that have equally proven that they are not a waste of accolades since her performance has paid off. It’s quite unusual in a society where there are people fronting pedigrees and achieving no noteworthy exploits in leadership. I strongly believe that until the world has noticed your efforts, then you are really a great person. Dora has drawn global attention and will remain a veritable point of reference in Nigerian history.

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Unemployed? Try This!

I came across this recording from a Nigerian TV talk show - New Dawn. It was an interview with Deolu Akinyemi.
In the interview, he makes a very valid point on an idea that could help reduce unemployment in Nigeria. Its basically the act of volunteering. You'll be surprised what you can achieve by taking such a step. In fact it relates to subject that I'll be talking on in a few weeks time at LASU.
I seriously believe that if many unemployed youths could take such step, they would achieve a lot and get employed easily.

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First Post Ever

Okay. This is just to test start this weblog that I just created.

The name is Kush. Work with an Advertising firm based in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa.

I used to blog on xanga but lost interest and got discouraged when the site 'washed' away all i had uploaded and blogged over a couple of years.

Boy, was I furious! I had a load of serious information on there that was useful for me to always refer to. I guess my mistake was that I trusted too much in the website I never thought I'd need a back-up.

I've really missed blogging and now I've decided to get back to it. So if you're visiting my page for the first time, it wont be bad for you to say hi.

I've always been a writer right from the primary school days and its always been with me 'cause its where my gifting lies.

I'm a crazy writer. I usually go against norms 'cause i always believe in a maxim I quote a lot..that normal is boring.

Well...I gotta stop here cuz I know the attention span to read is very brief.

I'll be back to start blogging.

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