BY EMMANUEL AZIKEN
The beauties that have become the cynosure of cameramen covering the weekly meetings of the Federal Executive Council, FEC is one indication of the increasing prominence of the female gender in the polity.
Newspaper editors aiming to give their pages some lustiness or fresh air easily resort to the pictures of these radiant women who grace President Goodluck Jonathan’s executive chambers every Wednesday.
It is not surprising then that some male ministers mutter now and then about being blacked out by the press photographers and television cameramen.
More ingenious male ministers craving for reckoning or projection by the cameramen have picked up the habit of perching themselves to the female ministers during the photo opportunities preceding the FEC meetings.
Whether the females are discussing those feminine things or their latest acquisitions or whatever, it is no bother for some of the desperate male ministers who interject, if only, that they could be captured by the lenses of the newspaper photographers and television cameramen.
From a mere two women in 1979, that is Mrs. Janet Akinrinande and Mrs. Ebun Oyagbola, the number of women in the federal cabinet has risen to 13 today, giving the female gender an estimated 30% of the federal cabinet.
It is at least one area where the president and his minders can robustly claim to have wholly delivered on a pre-election promise.
Even more strategic is the positioning of the women in the Jonathan cabinet. A woman, in the person of the delectable Mrs. Dizeani Allison-Madueke is in charge of oil accruals into the treasury through her stewardship of the petroleum sector. Another woman in the person of the intellectually gifted Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is in charge of finance.
So, on both sides of the country’s balance sheet, you have women fully in charge of receipts and disbursements! Any challenge to the ascendancy of women would be crushed by another woman in the person of the politically hardened Erelu Olusola Obada who is minister of state for defence.
Strategically too, President Jonathan has also positioned one of the finest products of the legislature in the person of Senator Joy Emodi to fine tune relations with hawkish legislators so that even with alleged malfeasances by the presidency, the legislators are continually soothed by his likeable Special Adviser on National Assembly matters.
Many women also hold very crucial positions in the Jonathan presidency sometimes formally and sometimes informally.
No doubt, the tilt of the administration towards the female gender could not have come without the push of one woman, who remarkably, many Nigerians had in the past believed would be an inconsequential passage through the presidential villa.
Without a formal position in government, Dame Patience Jonathan has arguably dwarfed the influence of previous presidential spouses.
With a husky voice that one would stretch to hear, Mrs. Jonathan has become the biggest gift to women empowerment, cudgeling to submission, the many critics of her style. Of course she may not have pleased many people and especially the male population, but she has in her period redefined the position and placement of women in governance.
Of course a number of the women came to office because of their sex. There were times when some of them who appeared for senate screening were managed through the ministerial clearance, but a good portion of the women as cited above have held their own in office.
Given this latent capacity of Mrs. Jonathan it is not surprising that speculation is gaining ground about the first lady gunning for the governorship of Bayelsa which is her husband’s birthplace or Rivers State which is her birthplace. Ahahaa!
What a sight in 2015 to behold Governor Chibuke Amaechi handing over to Governor Patience Jonathan!
That will be it.