By Donu Kogbara
I RECENTLY heard a rumour that triggered off a thought that made me smile. And I reckon that anything that makes me smile at a time when Nigerians are staggering under the weight of myriad problems – economic woes, prolonged power outages, marauding Fulani herdsmen, mass abductions of vulnerable schoolgirls, etc – may be worth sharing with Vanguard readers (many of whom have contacted me in the past few months to tell me that they are depressed).
The gossip that has reached my ears is that President Muhammadu Buhari will not seek re-election next year and intends to ask his party, the APC, to make his kinsman, Hadi Sirika, the Minister of State for Aviation, its presidential candidate.
This rumour may be totally false; but I can’t resist the temptation to at least try to lighten up the sombre atmosphere in our grim pressure cooker of a nation by making a frivolous observation that may cheer some of you up:
Sirika, a former pilot, is so handsome and debonair that if he runs, he will probably have an electrifying Pied Piper effect on Nigerian womanhood and capture 95 per cent of the female votes!…unless Donald Duke, the equally dashing and decorative ex-Governor of Cross River State, also throws his hat in the ring!
THE “#MeToo” movement took off worldwide on social media platforms last year in the wake of the public shaming of Harvey Weinstein, the now notorious Hollywood movie mogul who has been accused of exploiting his powerful position by sexually assaulting or harassing several women, including now-famous actresses who needed his patronage when they were starting out.
Weinstein was disgraced and financially ruined by these allegations (over 50 so far and counting); and the fact that a man as important as he could be dragged off his pedestal gave millions of silent-until-then female victims in other settings the confidence to finally complain about traumatic experiences.
Many different types of women doing many different types of jobs in many different countries have rushed to point out online via Twitter that They Too have been subjected to violence or unwanted amorous advances at work.
Having myself suffered at the hands of influential predatory males who think that they are entitled to not only hit on any woman who takes their fancy (even when it is blindingly obvious that the woman is not interested) but to punish you if you dare to say “no”, I do not wish to undermine the “#Me Too” movement.
It is not funny to be cornered by a lecherous Oga you didn’t encourage – and to then be coldly deprived of opportunities simply because you had the temerity to politely turn him down. And it’s great that the voices of often ordinary women who have hitherto been too afraid to talk about such bullying (and about being actually raped in extreme cases) are now being heard loud and clear.
However, at a time when bad men are being quite rightly demonised, we need to remember that there are also quite a few good guys on the planet – as in perfect gents who never make females around them feel uncomfortable and have helped me and many other women without demanding anything in return.
And, by the way, let us also admit that some young girls and older women are also very calculating and predatory!…and will go out of their way to seduce potentially useful men, most of whom happen to be married.
A Vanguard reader recently wrote to me, to somewhat sourly express the view that Nigeria is full of rapaciously ambitious females who “joyfully sponsor thanksgiving prayers in church or mosque when they meet sex pests.”
And it’s certainly true that some women are ruthless temptresses who relish the advantages they gain from such transactional relationships, don’t even try to rely on their (frequently scanty) talents and qualifications when they’re seeking professional promotions or business benefits and aggressively target essentially decent men, who usually feebly succumb (and sometimes regret it).
With this reality in mind, I am beginning to think that there should also be a “#HE Too” movement, comprising men who have been lured by ladies who lust!
Leave them alone!
AUSTYN Ogannah, the President of the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, just sent me a press release expressing concern over claims by the Police that two OPAN members – Timothy and Daniel Elombah – committed terrorism offences and cybercrimes because they approved an opinion article on their website that the police regard as uncomplimentary.
The Publishers of Elombah News have been accused of cyber stalking Ibrahim Kpotum Idris, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP and “championing Biafra terrorism”.
OPAN has demanded the withdrawal of these “spurious…and ridiculous…charges without delay” and the cessation of harassment of reputable journalists “for doing their constitutionally-backed assignments…and carrying out their social responsibility. “ The press release then – UNDERSTANDABLY! – points out that it is “laughable that the police force under whose watch 110 female teenage students were kidnapped from their dormitory at the Government Girls Technical Science College, Dapchi, Yobe State, can shamelessly descend so low to the extent of filing fabricated charges against the two journalists…”
This kind of Naija drama really irritates me because it is SO Third World. I don’t know why the IGP is wasting his precious time and limited resources on picking unnecessary fights with media personnel.
He should leave the Elombah brothers alone and focus, with immediate effect, on more pressing law-and-order issues like the kidnapping epidemic that is terrifying Nigerian citizens and making us look terrible internationally!
Responses to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to 0802 747 6458 OR 0811 675 9752 (texts only). PLEASE KINDLY NOTE THAT UNLESS YOU REQUEST ANONYMITY, YOUR COMMENTS MAY BE PUBLISHED, WITH YOUR NAMES AND CONTACT DETAILS ATTACHED.