2023 Elections: Transport Amazons Plot Nigerian Female President

L-R: Chief Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa; Lady Margaret Orakwusi; Dr. Mrs. Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation; Princess Dr. Vicky Haastrup, Chairman of the occasion and ACG Charles Edike (rtd) at the 2021 MMS Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Lagos.

…Men have failed Nigeria – Orakwusi, Haastrup, Anaroke

As the 2023 Nigerian Presidential draws nearer, top women in the nation’s transport and finance sectors, as well as eminent female politicians have resolved to attain a first female president in the country.

These amazons hatched this plan at the 2021 MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF) Induction Ceremony in Lagos, yesterday.

While the move for a female Nigerian president was first mooted by the Chairperson of the event and Executive Vice Chairperson of ENL Consortium, Princess Vicky Haastrup, a former Minister of Women Affairs, Iyom Josephine Anenih and a former Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa had been privately discussing the idea few minutes earlier, at the ceremony.

The Chairperson of MMS WoFHoF Initiative BoT, Barr. Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi; Founder of Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT), Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim; retired Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, ACG Charles Edike; President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria, Barr. (Mrs.) Mfon Usoro; Founder of MMS WoFHoF Initiative, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke called for the attainment of a female president of the nation.

Also speaking with MMS Plus on the sidelines, three of the 2021 inductees; the President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke, President of Jami’yyan Matan Arewa (JMA), Hajia Rabi Musa Saulama and a Governing Board Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Dr. Mrs. Yetunde Akinluyi affirmed that the time is ripe to achieve a first female Nigerian president.

In a bid to attain the nation’s first female president, a former Minister of Women Affairs, Iyom Josephine Anenih called on more Nigeria women to come out and be actively involved in partisan politics, noting that more female state governors should also emerge.

Anenih made this call while delivering the lead paper on the theme, “Women in Leadership and Governance: Promoting Sustainable Economic Prosperity”, asserting that Nigeria wouldn’t attain the transformational changes desired by patriots until a female president emerges.

While encouraging women to be more involved in politics, Anineh debunked claims that women lack funds to attain presidency in the nation.

“The truth is that women can’t be in the homes or the other room and expect to become president. No, it’s not by appointments. We are making money in the private sector, so it’s time to invest it in politics. We have very rich women and the assertion that there is no money isn’t true,” Anineh said.

She noted that women are already actively involved in politics because there is no way women could be on corporate boards as directors without some element of politicking, adding that it is time for them to play politics at the big stage in political parties.

“There is no way you can have leadership of this country without belonging to a political party. That is what our constitution says. There is no way Nigeria will appoint you President of Nigeria and no one will not appoint you Governor of your state. You have to come out and contest and you cannot contest unless you belong to a political party.”

“So, women, come out, join any political party of your choice, use the power, your energy that you are using to excel in the private sector, in your businesses to excel and come on top in the political party, then you can have a say, then, you can have a ticket to contest, then, you can become a Governor, then, you can become a President.”

According to her, efforts to use legislative means to get more quotas for women would be less effective when compared to active participation by women.

On her part, the BoT Chairperson of MMS WoFHoF Initiative, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi stated that attaining a female president in the country is the dream of the Initiative even as she lauded the Founder of the Initiative, Kingsley Anaroke for celebrating women for more than ten years.

Her words: “Well, the elections around the corner and it’s time for women. Somebody said in Nigeria, money plays a huge part, but my position is that we have money because we have husbands and we have sons. Money should not be a problem. We should come together, we should identify those women who will take this country to the higher level and we need to.”

“Look at what we are going through in this country, look at our children; drugs are taking over, wickedness, evil taking over. It is our responsibility because a bad child has a mother and as a mother, we are all mothers. So, please, we need to change the narrative, we need to key into Kingsley’s dream and make it possible. Whatever it takes that women take over not just in politics, in commerce and in everything, that we require to make this nation a great country.”

Orakwusi, however, noted that MMS WoFHoF has been promoting women in commerce, transport and politics. “It is Kingsley’s dream and I am sure I am right, to have a female President. He has always given us this beautiful platform to excel by identifying women who have done so much, who have excelled in their chosen profession not just in the maritime sector.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the occasion, Princess Dr. Vicky Haastrup observed that Nigerian women had the capacity to provide solutions to the nation’s problems, stressing that male presidents have failed the country since its independence.

“We have got to that point where Nigeria recognizes that men have failed us. Women should take over by becoming President, Governors and everything possible. We are getting there by the grace of God.”

Haastrup who is also the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) commended Mrs. Josephine Anenih for supporting Mrs. Patience Jonathan amid calls for 30 percent women inclusiveness.

She, however, asserted that the ratio in governance should be 50-50 or more in favour of women. “In fact, women should even be 60 percent let men be 40 because they have led the show for so long and they have failed us. Please quote me, men have failed. I’m worried that a nation as great and as big as Nigeria, is still behind. We are still thinking women belong to the kitchen. I am sorry, we don’t belong to the kitchen, not even to the other room, we belong everywhere.”

“Women in Nigeria are strong, intelligent and beautiful. We are the jinx breakers. We are the solution to the nation’s problem. We should not take no for an answer. This is the time. We must get up, we must rise up, we must take our rightful position in the scheme of things in the economy of Nigeria. Women see far ahead. We see what men don’t see.

“The moment women in Nigeria become Governors, become Senators, how many women senators do we have in Nigeria? How many of them are in the House of Reps.? Things must change, women in Nigeria, you must rise up to the occasion. You must empower yourselves, you must be ready. We are not going to fight but we will slug it out with men.”

On her part, the President of CILT Nigeria, Mfon Usoro encouraged Nigerian women to always recommend women for significant positions in governance and leadership.

Her words: “If you see a lady in a place of leadership, support her. Even if your first encounter with her isn’t what you expected, don’t give up. Don’t immediately say that women don’t like working with women because that’s not true. We have the Permanent Secretary of Transportation here with us today, if it was a male Permanent Secretary he wouldn’t grace this occasion.”

According to her, womenfolk always get to benefit when a woman has a position of leadership. She urged women to always rally support for one another, describing Josephine Anenih as a good model with the establishment of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund to encourage women to get into politics.

“Women in the grassroots have benefitted from the Trust Fund and I encourage all women to always find a way to make a mark on the progress of fellow women. I thank MMS for the consistency in this forum and we will always support you,” she added.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani encouraged younger women particularly in the transport sector to look up to those in the MMS WoFHoF Hall of Fame for leadership and mentorship.

“I want to say thank you to the women in maritime. There are quite a number of associations of women in the marine and transport sector. I salute your courage; I thank you for your contributions to the economy of this country and particularly in the transport sector. I wish us all a very great celebration. For the inductees, please, keep doing what you are doing and take it higher than where you are”, she stated.

A former Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, ACG Charles Edike stressed that the recent trend which has seen more Nigerian women as Managing Directors of commercial banks and other multinationals could easily spill into politics with the emergence of a first Nigerian female president.

“I’m looking forward to the day Nigeria will have a female president. There are many of them around the world and most of them have been very successful. It’s time to give women the space. If we create an enabling environment for a Nigerian female president, we would be amazed at the wonders God will do with them.”

“Women are being celebrated today because they are achievers and we expect that this celebration will spur them to do better. This will also motivate others to be successful in their respective fields. Women have proven to be better managers of human and financial resources. Purpose-driven women always make judicious use of their resources and they multiply it. God created them like that.” Edike said.

The Founder of MMS WoFHoF Initiative, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke reiterated that men have failed Nigeria for several generations.

His words: “Can we try women? There may have been cases of one or two disappointments within the female folk. However, when you place them side-by-side with men, we have had more men failures than women. I believe in a woman for the presidency. A woman can lead and let the men guide. What we have done here today is to mainstream women in leadership and governance. A woman who finds herself in a corrupting environment wouldn’t be as corrupt as the men.”

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