The light cuts out, the lights blink, the inverter kicks in with a muted click. I still wonder how we went from zero electricity to 60 x 60 mins straight so fast. Its not possible. So it was there all the time. Withheld while Good Jonathan was president.
I’ve heard so often thats the reason he had to go. No one was scared of him. He wasn’t ‘strong’ enough. Nigerians like men with balls, ‘big men’ with really big cahoona’s you know what i mean? Strong men. GEJ was too timid and retiring to impress us. He was too ‘feminine’ – like a woman. or at least how they want a woman to be.
His wife on the other hand was just too forward and outspoken, despite the quaint parochialism of her accent and syntax. That couple seriously challenged hyper-masculine Nigeria’s image of how it should be. It was an affront! Who was this uncouth ill bred woman! How could she! Women should be ‘quietly’ strong. In the background. Not making ripples.
Now the arrest of Deziani has suddenly become a gender issue. ‘What kind of woman is this?’ they ask. Already the story is being twisted to teach women a moral lesson about who they should be. Greed is not feminine we are told. A disingenuous attempt is made to disguise this blatant prejudice by blaming men for infecting women with this terrible virus.
So because she is a woman she isn’t allowed to be greedy and ambitious and Machiavellian? Really? Or is it against her nature? What exactly is it in a woman’s nature that would exclude greed, ambition and cunning from her character? Or bad governance, corruption and graft?
I have been waning my sisters for a very long time not to perpetuate this myth that female leadership is somehow ‘better’, kinder or more compassionate than male leadership. Because when we come on that platform every instance where a woman in leadership fucks up becomes an excuse to judge ALL women and justify their exclusion.
Being a woman does not automatically make a good leader. We know that gender is a social construct. Yet some sisters find it politically, economically and socially convenient to perpetuate that myth and reinforce traditional gender stereotypes. It is a double edged sword, a poisoned chalice. Women are just flawed human beings with tits and a vagina. They’re not really a better breed of human which is really hard to say because hey – if you insist – I’ll take it.
Male leaders fuck up all the time. Maybe the problem is that no one tells them its not ‘masculine’ to be greedy, ambitious and cunning. As a matter of fact we tell men the exact opposite. We are all secretly proud when our sons display those traits – a real hustler, a real Nigerian. And relived knowing they will survive anywhere in the world.
If you’re questioning Deziani because she is a woman you’re really not gender neutral at all.
Equal to fuck up.