By Olasunkanmi Akoni, James Ezema & Monsur Olowoopejo
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Monday, called for criminal proceedings against the First Lady, Turai, for kidnapping and falsely imprisoning ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Soyinka said this when he and convener of Save Nigeria Group, SNG, Pastor Tunde Bakare; President, Campaign for Democracy, CD, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin and former presidential aspirant, Prof. Pat Utomi,Â led thousands of women under the umbrella ofÂ â€œWomen Ariseâ€ in commemoration of the 2010 International Women Day celebration in Lagos.
The peaceful match was staged to condemn all forms of discrimination against women and the First Lady, Mrs. Turai Yarâ€™Adua, for concealing the true state of her husband’s health from Nigerians.
Soyinka, in his short remarks, said the move by the women was a demonstration that they have realised that there are spousal abuse, and called for criminal proceedings against Turai for falsely imprisoning the president.
According to him:Â â€œFrom the panel I see here, some of you realise that spousal abuse is not one way. It is not just men to women. But, sometimes it can be spousal abuse of women to men.
“And, we have that example going on today in which the President of this nation is being abused physically by a woman. He has been hidden by a woman who is keeping him under false imprisonment.
â€œ In a refined society, such women should be in the courts by now for kidnapping and false imprisonment. But, even worse than abusing a spouse is abusing a nation, abusing and insulting the intelligence of the nation. I think what all of you are asking today is, release this man so that he can speak to the nation about his condition,â€ Soyinka said.
While urging the First Lady to release the president to speak to the nation on his health, Soyinka stated: â€œRelease him, stop insulting and belittling his family. â€œI understand that even his mother was not allowed to see him.
“To me, it is sacrilege; it is absolute sacrilege. And, I think we should begin criminal proceedings against Turai for kidnapping, for husband abuse, for false imprisonment and for nation abuse. But, I leave you, the women gender, to deal with them. I think you are very capable.â€
On his part, Utomi said: â€œWhat is unfortunately happing is the failure to realise that what is at stake is fundamentals of institutions that make for nation-building. It is very sad that we have political actors who are absorbed by their personal benefits that we are unable to deal with the longer term challenges that might grow from these challenges that we are having now.â€
He maintained that no society that short changes itself by giving less than 50 percent of its population opportunity to contribute as much as they could can favourably compete with societies that have robust citizen participation.
Spotting white branded T- shirts and jeans, the women began their demonstration from Allen Avenue and proceded to Lagos House, Ikeja, where they presented a letter through Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.
Placards emblazoned with inscriptions such as â€œTurai, stop defaming womanhood, women right are right, time to act in defence of womenâ€ were displayed by the women who accused the First Lady of not being factual with the situation that has led to the hijack of power by someÂ cabals.
Speaking, Okei-Odumakin stated; â€œwomen should be truthful, honest and upright but Turai has not done this. As the wife she is in a position to know the situation of her husband whatever she is covering up is affecting the womanhood.â€