Princess Udunna Nwafor-Orizu, daughter of second Senate President cum former Acting President of Nigeria, Hon. Dr Akwaeke Abyssinia Nwafor Orizu, is a social critic, researcher, writer and publisher.
Born into the Orizu royal family of Nnewi in Anambra State, the PhD in Literature holder bares her mind on women’s political status, President Buhari’s anti-graft war which she insists isn’t revenge, and more.
BY JOSEPHINE AGBONKHESE
The number of women in President Buhari’s cabinet is abysmally low compared to his predecessor, why are women like you silent on the near extinction of women in key strategic positions?
We might consider the fact that different governments have different administrative and leadership style. Again, it may not be needful to employ unreasoned criticism against a government saddled with serious political, economic, and security challenges threatening to completely destabilize the entire country. We may actually need to refocus on the issues that are making our collective destiny as a nation almost questionable. I believe some key and strategic positions are being manned by women and I also want to believe that better times are coming in this regard.
Society sees women as less influential in politics; are you of same opinion?
There are issues of cause and effect playing out here. Women can actually be very influential in politics all things being equal. I want to see political influence here as ability to change the cause of political events in the society and that includes voting rights during elections. Today women all over the world (Nigeria inclusive) are no more pawns in the hands of politicians. Whatever makes it look like there are not enough women in either elective or appointive positions does not have to do with political influence or political will on the part of women per se. There is always the issue of family in the life of every nation. Women generally play more roles in the training of children, especially in character formation. If you look at most men players in the political scene, you will, in most of the cases, observe the strategic roles of women (mothers, wives, sisters, or daughters). These humble women of valour generally prefer to operate from behind the scenes; not because they lack the political sagacity or whatever else it takes to openly engage in the politics of the day, but in other to concentrate in the management of the family so that the society will be a better place.
Every person is a political animal. On the other hand, there are women who have decided to be part of all political processes. They have also done very well in terms of influence and contributions like their male counterparts. However, the dearth of credible leadership in this country makes it almost difficult for me to make reference to power players as leaders even though they might be in leadership position.
The anti-corruption fight of the President is perceived to be a vendetta against the opposition, do you agree?
I do not see why the idea of fighting corruption should be seen as any kind of vendetta. If there are people who are proven to be corrupt and the arms of the law have not caught them, it is the duty of those who have those proofs to reach the government through the proper channels and give out those proofs. When that is done, and nothing happens, then they should cry loud so that the world will hear those proofs and how the government has decided to sweep those pieces of information under the carpet. Today, it is very easy to communicate these facts to different agencies that can take them up without exposing the sources of information.
Again, anybody who is accused and feels unjustly vilified can actually prove his or her innocence through the legal processes. But wait a minute; are we trying to say that the president should stop fighting corruption and actually condone it so that it won’t be perceived as vendetta?
It’s very ironical that the same Nigerians who were crying foul at what was perceived as the toxic level of corruption and impunity of the immediate past administration(s), are now crying foul against the fight against corruption and impunity.
Again, who perceives what?
Is it that the leadership is bad or that the followership is complacent? I suspect a whole lot of insincerity. I also suspect that those who are kicking against this fight are directly or indirectly beneficiaries of this rapacious abuse of our economy. If we are patriotic and sincere, the question on every lip should be: How do we recover all these stupendous loots? How do we close in on those who are yet to be caught, possibly including those in this present government? How do we quickly and permanently affect the lives of common Nigerians with the recovered and yet to be recovered loot? By the time we constructively contribute to these solutions, we won’t be in a position to talk about vendetta.
Coming from a different angle, there is an area of corruption that we all seem to avoid and that is the corruption in the electoral process in Nigeria. But let us leave that for another day.
How do balance work with family life?
To me family is number one work. We need to give more time to family in order to produce seasoned and responsible generation. Most people are very aloof from their families and this aloofness establishes unhealthy distance among family members. Originally, families have character for which they are known, and which they guide jealously. It appears family values don’t count anymore. Maybe it shouldn’t, but to me, it counts, and that is why I make my family issues part of my daily assignment because I believe it will eventually count as part of my destiny and spill over into the destiny of the nation.