The month of March is globally dedicated to the celebration of women around the world. In commemoration of this, various events are usually organised to honour outstanding women who have succeeded in their different works and vocations and also to call the attention of decision makers around the world to lessen the burden on women for a more productive and equitable society.
However, this year, the Member representing Kazaure/ Roni/Gwiwa Yankwashi federal constituency in Jigawa state, Mohammed Gudaji took the cake off whatever events were organised elsewhere in Nigeria, at least in the social media. A video of his contribution in the house has been trending since March 8th – International Women’s day.
He had excitedly stood up to make his contribution to the hottest topic in town, but my dear Mohammed had other worries. He let out his worries to the world. But first, as citizens, let us look at the bio-data of a member of our House of Representative, one arm of the highest legislative body in Nigeria, the National Assembly;
In his bio-data, he has a WASSCE from Government Secondary School, Kano. He graduated in 1994. He is into clearing and forwarding, borehole drilling, Nigerian Police Force (DSP) Special Surveillance Security Equipment, Printing Press, Transportation and Warehousing.
His legislative interests (sic) is to “make Justice in the National Assembly” (sic) His Target achievements are …”to bring change in the National Assembly where Justice must be done among legislators and to make sure dividends of democracy reaches my constituency.”
His awards are; “…awarded as best customs clearing agent of the year 2005 in Tin can Island port, Best borehole driller by Sabon Gari Birni Local Government in Sokoto state”. He is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party in his state, Jigawa.
So, Mohammed is now more popular not by his aforementioned awards or even field of expertise professionally but for all he said in his contribution on the floor of the house on the day in question.
Mohammed was honest to himself, he was laughing all through his contribution as he almost ‘royally’ adjusted the symbol of indolence of the political class – the agbada attire which, in my view, is all shades of hindrance to smartness in carrying out any form of official duties; but hey, this is Nigeria and for a people that put everything else before productivity in the political space, we will let the agbada be, clumsy as it may appear as an official apparel.
So our dear legislator lives in Kano but is representing some four combined constituencies in Jigawa state. He lives in Abuja and his family lives in Kano. Yes, in Nigeria, constituencies give or are assumed to give the votes but the elected live it out in Abuja or Lagos, just anywhere but not in the constituency. I would really want to know how many times a Mohammed had visited his constituency in Jigawa since 2015.
Because the video of Mohammed’s contribution is everywhere on social media, it would be totally irrelevant and repetitive to recount them here. But suffice it to say that comedic as his thoughts appear, his articulation and muddled tenses and structural incoherence should not diminish his basic points.
To Mohammed, even though he appreciates and loves women and confesses that 70% of his votes came from women, he does not want women to be given more opportunities. Then he says, “…it is good to give women opportunities but not too much because they will capture the votes and vote him and his ilk out”.
So to Mohammed, women should be empowered but not too much so that they would not be too aware of the male incompetence and decide to vote them out. This, dear readers, was the bottom line of Mohammed’s contribution to what he termed ‘debate about women’ (sic) was that men should be wary of giving too much opportunities to women (read, education and all forms of empowerment).
So a wide range of men have called him out and literarily thrown the biblical first stones, but truth be told, is the thought line exclusive to Mohammed from Kazaure in Jigawa state? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Today, Nigeria is down the ladder in the empowerment of women in politics and economy in Africa, because 98% of men make it impossible for women to participate in politics and contribute to policy formulations and executions.
How many men in Nigeria vote for women in elections or even give the opportunities to excel or even get an education? To have come from a region that has a mere 3% girl child high school completion rate says a lot about what Mohammed has said. The child brides we have all over that disable productive women and development is a way men in the North are acquiescing to what Mohammed is articulating.
Down South, a single, widowed, separated, divorced woman automatically becomes incomplete because she is not appended to a man. Married ones are tossed between their ancestral home and the husband’s village to get a shot in politics. Women are the greatest voters in Nigeria and men become the beneficiaries and make decisions that affect women and girls negatively.
Mohammed might have inarticulately presented his points but the validity of his thoughts as a Nigerian man cannot be faulted. Some men might want to be socially correct by criticising him; but in different ways they act out his thoughts socially, economically, physically and politically and quickly use culture and religion as alibi.
So Mohammed becomes the proverbial dog that left excreta on his mouth giving itself out as the only dog that indulges in such act. There must be a reorientation by men in Nigeria especially the Northern region with high illiteracy and poverty that the Emir of Kano, Sanusi decried at the second Kaduna economic Summit last time.
So dear friends, let’s not throw away the baby with the bath water. (read Mohammed and his clownish English constructions) He is a metaphor for the average Nigerian man/politician. Fault me with statistics… By the way, his bio-data is so interesting.