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CBA FOUNDATION ADVOCATES AGAINST MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN IN IN-LAWS’ DEALINGS WITH WIDOWS 

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AUTHOR: Ony Kachi

 

After Mrs kumbaya (name changed to protect her identity) lost her husband at work in 2005, she was accused of killing him. The accusation did not come from her husband’s brothers but from his sister, who had earlier lost her own husband. It took the combined hard work of the brothers to get their sister off the back of her fellow widow. They told their sister pointedly that she too could face the same accusation she was leveling against their sister-in-law since her husband was deceased too.

 

This real incident underlines one of the greatest puzzles of the twenty-first century: How people who themselves or their mother or children or relatives are victims or could be victims of the dehumanising treatment of widows condone, live with, encourage and perpetuate the horrendous denigration inflicted on widows by their in-laws. The continued existence of this kind of situation of dog eat dog, or rather man’s inhumanity to man, makes one wonder if Aristotle also considered (Nigerian) in-laws when he asserted that man is a rational animal. There is absolutely nothing rational about the dehumanisation widows are subjected to by their in-laws in this clime.

 

A man, who through marriage has become one with the woman he marries, dies, leaving behind his wife and five children (three boys and two girls – this fact is only being added to show that the gender of the children may not even be a factor in how the widow is treated). Almost immediately his siblings and other blood relatives swoop on whatever assets of his they can lay their hands on. If a family meeting is convened, it is not to discuss the welfare of their late brother’s wife and children, who all bear the family name as part of their extended family. No, that is an agenda item for meetings convened by angels, not in-laws of widows. What in-laws of widows convene family meetings for is to make sure they have not missed out any of the assets their late brother could have had. That is how kind in-laws are to a widow.

 

If Mrs Kumbaya thought her case was going to be different because her brothers-in-law defended and protected her from their sister, then she apparently may have ascribed angelic virtues to her husband’s brothers. For, as it turned out, that act of defence and protection from their sister was the only kindness the brothers of Mrs Kumbaya’s late husband extended to her. They never helped or asked after her and her children’s welfare after that. Not even when things became so difficult that she could no longer pay her house rent and ended up on the street.

 

Maybe Mrs Kumbaya should even count herself lucky. Stories abound of widows who had been abused, molested, raped or “shared” by in-laws as part of the property left behind by their late brother. There are stories of widows, falsely accused of killing their husbands, being locked up by in-laws in police cells and the keys thrown into the sea, as it were. What about widows forced to drink the water used to wash the corpse of their husband as proof that they had no hand in their husband’s death. Or the ones forced to spend days and nights in the same room with the corpse of their husband.

 

Nigeria is not exactly a safe haven for women. What with the prevalence of harmful cultural orientations and practices against the female gender, such as preference of the male child to the female child, female circumcision, FGM (female genital mutilation), forced marriage and denial of inheritance, succession and other rights the male gender takes for granted. Generally, Nigeria is not a friendly environment for women, least of all widows considered to be a highly vulnerable group. In fact, Nigeria is said to be one of the least safe places for women in the world with a survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation conducted in 2018 ranking Nigeria as the ninth most dangerous country in the world for women.

 

The dehumanising treatment of widows is part of what the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, passed in 2015, was intended to stop. The Act, more commonly referred to as the VAPP Act or law, 

categorises emotional, verbal and psychological abuse as offences and is considered by many legal experts and advocacy groups to be a comprehensive tool for addressing all forms of violence and abuse against all persons. The law seeks to do so by providing maximum protection from violence of various forms against all persons irrespective of tribe, socio-economic class, religion and gender and offering effective remedies (financial compensation) for victims of violence and appropriate punishment (globally acceptable deterrents) for offenders.

It is not known how much of the general population, including in-laws who routinely dehumanise widows, is aware of the VAPP law. While ignorance of the law offers no excuse in a court of law, it is imperative that more enlightenment be created on the existence of the VAPP Act and all its provisions against many of the inimical practices that in-laws perpetrate against widows in the name of culture. Maybe, just maybe, some in-laws, who are themselves uncomfortable with those practices but take part because of family and community pressure, could be emboldened by knowledge of the Act to become advocates and campaigners against such practices.

Back to Mrs Kumbaya, for those concerned about her and what must have happened to her after she ended up on the street. They can heave a sigh of relief that the good Lord sent his angel in the form of the Chinwe Bode-Akinwande Foundation (CBA Foundation) and they took her off the street. Mrs Kumbaya now lives in an apartment rented for her by the Foundation, which also supplied her a mattress, other household items and food stuff.

 

The CBA Foundation, founded in 2015, the same year the VAPP Act was enacted, is a strong advocate for the enforcement of the Act. Along other civil society groups, it is pushing for the domestication of the Act in states of the federation that are yet to enact a similar act. Rigorous enforcement of the VAPP law across the federation will undoubtedly accelerate the mission of the Foundation, which is to promote “the protection of [underprivileged] widows and their vulnerable children in Nigeria, to promote immediate and lasting hope, confidence and courage in their lives.” The Foundation pursues its mission under its 5-point agenda of women empowerment/capacity building, health intervention, nutrition, quality basic education and a self-employment scheme.

 

This piece is not intended to demonise in-laws. The writer is himself an in-law by multiples. It is to call for a change of heart and attitude in society, particularly among in-laws, towards widows, knowing that we, our mothers, daughters, neighbours, friends are or could become widows. In-laws should join public-spirited people across the country in supporting the CBA Foundation in its advocacy for enforcement of the VAPP law and in providing succour for underprivileged widows and their vulnerable children. 

 

There are many Mrs Kumbayas out there but the resources and reach of angels such as CBA Foundation are limited. Men and women of goodwill, including in-laws who have now seen the light, can extend the Foundation’s resources and reach by supporting it in its mission. Contact the Foundation today by sending an email to them at: [email protected].

 

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Opinion

Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu Clarifies Accusation Leveled Against Him by Dr. Salihu

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Orji Uzor Kalu

 

 

 

The Chief Whip Of the Senate and former Governor of Abia State, Distinguished Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has cleared the air over accusations leveled against him by leadership of the All Progressive Congress APC over the current crisis rocking the party and hosting its forthcoming Convention.

 

Addressing his own side of the story, the respected Politician disclosed via a statements that;  “The unfortunate accusations leveled against me by a former Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu. In a statement credited to Lukman , he alleged that some party leaders are working with the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Mai Mala Buni to undermine the March 26 national convention of the party.

He specifically noted  that “there are other party leaders, including Sen Uzor Kalu who have actively supported His Excellency Mai Mala to undermine the decision to organise the National Convention of the party.”

 

It is on this note that I consider it necessary to correct the wrong impressions Lukman must be making efforts to create.

 

There has been no time I participated in any collaboration or collusion to ensure that attempts to organise the APC National Convention are blocked.

It will be recalled that on the December 15, 2021 , I made an appeal to the party and the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee members to consider postponing the national convention earlier slated for February.

I had warned that holding the convention in February without sorting out the minor disagreements that arose during the Congress would lead to implosion .

 

I was worried that , the creation of factions which  denied the party victory in so many states in the past elections may repeat itself. I  therefore called  for a peaceful resolution of the crisis before holding the Convention. No  peaceful and tactful leader, would support a terrible scenario to reoccur.

 

It is important to note that I have always stood for and supported the party and Gov Mai Mala Buni only  happened to be the Chairman of the  party. Aside serving as the Chairman of the party , Buni is my old family friend and I cannot deny him because he is facing challenges today. We have been friends and family for the past 25 years  .

 

It  is imperative to state that Buni has done very  well for the party . His sterling leadership quality is what helped  stabilise our great party across the six geopolitical zones, with high profile defections in our favour .

 

In this time of challenge and misunderstandings, I am calling on the party leaders and stakeholders to guard  their utterances to avoid creating more disharmony . Even in a nuclear family,  disagreements and quarrels exist .

 

 

The APC is a very big party with several caucuses . We have the Governors, National Assembly,  Businessmen , Youths and Women among other caucuses. The directions and concerns of these caucuses should be taken into consideration at all times .

Going forward,  Whether it is Gov Mai Mala Buni  or  Gov Abubakar Sani Bello , I would always give the party my maximum support and drive for stronger growth. There is always a danger with single story and I encourage Mr President to hear the two sides of the story so that the party can win together .

 

Signed : Senator Orji Uzor Kalu
Chief whip of the 9th Senate
National Assembly

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Oil Giant Oando Plc: Ensuring Gender Parity

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Globalization has led to a discourse on leadership and management having different perspectives. Today, one of the discourses includes gender diversity in leadership positions across organizations. While the African continent comes third after the United States and Europe, and first amongst other emerging regions in terms of women’s representation on boardrooms of top listed companies, some sectors are doing better than others. In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, the banking sector is leading the pack. In what many observers have described as a paradigm shift, the Nigerian banking sector is currently seeing a surge in the number of women at its top echelon. Presently, eight women serve as Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)/Managing Directors (MDs) of the country’s leading banks.

Other sectors, especially the energy sector, hitherto a male dominated sector, is towing the line.  Shell Nigeria unveiled its first female Managing Director for deep-water Nigeria, last year. Most recently, Oando Plc, Nigeria’s leading indigenous energy solutions provider appointed two seasoned professional women to its board of Directors, Mrs. Ronke Sokefun and Mrs. Nana Fatima Mede.

A review of Oando’s culture shows that it’s been conscious of the imbalance within the sector and as such, has always prioritized two things: strengthening indigenous capacity and ensuring gender parity wherever possible. Today 43 per cent of the company’s workforce is female, compared to 22 per cent across the industry. Of this, 33% of executive-level employees are female with the hope that its female representation on its board continues to grow.

In an interview published in 2020 for Africa Oil Week, an Oando Executive said “As leaders, our focus is on building the most desirable company in which to work and invest. To do that, not only do you require vision, ambition, and passionate people, you need a balance of ideas and characters – which you get by prioritizing gender parity. Our desire to see a more gender-balanced company and in turn sector via proactive action has fuelled our commitment to making gender diversity a priority. This commitment is effected in every part of our business, from the offering of benefits that encourage women to return to work after maternity leave to our charity, Oando Foundation focusing on educating the girl child; reverberations that can be felt not only within our business but also the community at large. We have seen and reaped the benefits of a more inclusive business environment and thus inclusivity will always be a priority, one that we will champion until the industry achieves gender balance.”

Mrs. Sokefun, an Alumni of Oando, has over 35 years of work experience. In 2002, she moved to the Oando Group, where within a few years she rose to the position of Chief Legal Officer. During this period, she also sat on the Board of the telecom’s giant – Celtel/Zain (now Airtel) as an alternate Director. She served in this position until 2011 when she was called to public service in Ogun State and proceeded to serve as a 2-term Commissioner – holding diverse portfolios – under Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s 2-term administration as Ogun State Governor.

As conversations on climate change and harnessing sustainable energy sources continue to intensify, oil and gas companies are looking for ways to improve on their operations in line with global standards and requirements. In line with this, Oando appointed Mrs. Nana Fatima Mede, who has served as a Federal Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment where she coordinated the formulation of the Nigerian Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) document on Greenhouse Gases (GHG) in relation to Climate Change – a document which was presented by the President at the Conference of Party (COP 21) in Paris, 2015. She will showcased her expertise on clean energy to support the company’s ambitions.

The growth of female representation across corporate boards shows that unlocking the potential of Africa’s successful transformation requires concurrently removing barriers to women’s leadership and participation.

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Opinion

THE MAKING OF AN OLUBADAN

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By: Mogaji Wole Arisekola

 

 

Every family and clan in Ibadanland has a Mogaji. Mogajis are family heads. They control the affairs of their family and ensure law and order. They are made Mogajis by the Olubadan after they have been so appointed and the family written to formally inform the Olubadan and the Council. In Ibadan, there are over 2,500 Mogajis or family heads at present. The installation ceremony of Mogajis is often performed at the palace of the Olubadan with pomp and fanfare. A Mogaji is a potential Olubadan in waiting if he eventually succeeds to join the ladder. It takes a whole lot for a Mogaji to become Jagun, the lowest rung of the Olubadan ladder, as there are competitions from other Mogajis.

To become Jagun, however, Baale Ayorinde said there are three things to consider. A prospective candidate could be from an historical Ibadan warrior family or having done valiantly to save the land in one form or another. The candidate might also have done something worthwhile for his community or Ibadanland as a whole, while his wealth, which he had used for the uplift of the downtrodden, could be another consideration.

When there is vacancy for the Jagun position, the Olubadan-in-council would consider the prospective candidates and hereby appoint one to the Olubadan line or another to the Balogun line, depending on where there is vacancy. The appointees would now become Jagun on either and or both lines. The promotions of such Jaguns are not, however, random, as they are promoted in a sequential and orderly procedure. Upon vacancy in any of the lines, the title holder of a lower rung is promoted to the next rung of the ladder. The Balogun line has 23 rungs while the Olubadan line has 22 rungs. The next Olubadan alternates between the Balogun and the Otun

 

Mogaji Wole Arisekola

The promotion in the line of Balogun follows this pattern: From Jagun – Ajia – Bada – Are-Onibon – Gbonnka – Aare Egbe Omo – Oota – Lagunna – Are-Ago – Ayingun – Asaju – Ikolaba – Aare-Alasa – Agba-Akin – Ekefa – Maye –Abese – Ekarun Balogun – Ekerin Balogun – Ashipa Balogun – Osi Balogun – Otun Balogun and eventually to Balogun. The journey from Jagun to Balogun will take a prospective candidate through a 23-rung ladder, and, having reached the top of the ladder, he becomes Balogun and would, therefore, wait for his turn to emerge the Olubadan of Ibadanland.

The promotion in the line of Olubadan follows the same pattern, but is 22 rungs : From Jagun – Ajia – Bada – Aare Onibon – Gbonnka – Aare-Egbe Omo – Oota – Lagunna – Are-Ago – Ayingun – Asaju – Ikolaba – Aare-Alasa – Agba-Akin – Ekefa – Maye – Abese – Ekarun Olubadan – Ekerin Olubadan – Ashipa Olubadan – Osi Olubadan and finally to Otun Olubadan. The nomenclature looks the same with that of Balogun, until when the prospective candidate finally gets to the Ekarun Olubadan. Upon emergence as the Otun Olubadan, the candidate is set to emerge the next Olubadan of Ibadan land on his turn.

Baale Ayorinde gave English meanings of some of the titles thus: Otun – second in command/Commander of the right wing; Osi – third in command/Commander of the left wing; Asipa – Leader of the Vanguard; Ekerin – Fourth in Command; Ekarun – Fifth in Command; Abese – Superintendent of foot soldiers; Maye – Stationary Veteran Soldiers; Ekefa – Sixth in command; Agba-Akin – Chief of the Brave; Aare-Alasa – Chief of the Squire; Ikolaba – Sango’s apron man; Asaaju – Front ranker (front liner); Ayingun – Official war wager; Aare-Ago – Overseer of Blood Relations; Laguna – Swivel Lance Comptroller General; Oota – Sharp Shooter; Aare-Egbe-Omo – General of the Youth Wing; Gbonka – Dignified war wager; Aare-Onibon – Brigadier-General of Gun Combatant Shooter; Bada – Chief Spy; Ajia – Commissioner; Jagun – Warrior/Defender of the ruler.

When death occurs of any member on the ladder, there has to be installation ceremony to the next rank for affected candidates not less than 21 days after the burial of the last occupant. The Olubadan, upon notification of such death, will approve the promotion of others and perform installation ceremony for them at the palace. This is one of the reasons Ibadan chiefs are called Agbotikuyo (someone who rejoices at the death of another candidate).
Ori mi Dara,pe Ibadan ,ni won bi mi ooo eeee.Ibadan,ilu alaafe ilu oloye ti wa ni,ori mi dara,pe Ibadan ,ni won bi mi oóooo eeeee.

 

 

 

 

©️ Mogaji Wole Arisekola

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