President Buhari’s other room response to his wife comments on current administration triggers many emotions of Nigerians. This led to debates on gender equality and woman right. I am one of those Nigerians who believe in gender equality and woman right. This belief was borne out of what I witnessed with our neighbor in mid 2000s who turn his wife to a punching bag.
My friend and I stood up to this neighbor; I was just 22 years old then. This man continue in this unacceptable act and even sees it as man privilege thing. However, on a particular Sunday afternoon, we got him arrested and made him to stay behind the bar throughout that night.
Consequently, this man stopped beating his wife after his experience with the police. This outcome reinforced my believe for gender equality and woman right. The fact is that nations do not develop when there is any form of gender inequality.
Buhari’s other room comment unacceptable
However, Mr. President response that “my wife belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” limits the role of women to housekeeping and childbearing. Definitely, this cannot improve the living conditions of Nigerian women and Nigeria.
Apparently, some people think Mr. Buhari was trying to be humorous but his comment did not share in the kind of world current generation appreciates.
From Beijing resolution to other resolutions on gender equality and woman right, Nigeria is signatory to them. Besides, the country is in pack with different international resolutions and conventions that drive to achieve gender equality. We cannot afford to see women as tools in carrying out their husbands’ works or careers.
This type of thinking should not be welcome by any sustainable development minded individuals. Because any gain make without seeing women as central to solving Nigeria’s challenges will be wiped out in no time.
The role of Nigerian women in development
The leadership of this country cannot afford to make such comment in front of international press in Germany. It is contrary to Nigeria principle on gender equality at least by what we have signed with other nations.
In all societies, the roles of women go beyond that of housekeeping and childbearing. It is no longer news that female presidential candidate in the United States is comfortably leading her male counterpart as indicated by various polls.
Nigeria has great women who have duties beyond domestic relevance, too. The likes of Queen Amina and Funmilayo Kuti and the roles women played in unfair colonial tax regime in Nigeria especially in the old eastern region cannot be overestimated.
That said, the current generation should not forget contributions women made in the time past to national development. And more importantly, the contributions women could still make to national discourse today.
Not just other room but support system
In addition to contribution of women to developing Nigeria, they have salient role in actualizing their husbands and sons dreams. Virtually all men who have climbed the ladder of success accredit such achievement to their wives and mothers.
However, if every Nigerian sees Nigerian women as mere domestic relevance as Mr. President Remark implies, then how would these women vital role in national development would play out.
Women are supportive not only at the family level but also in governance. When in leadership position, a woman thinks beyond the face value of a policy or programme. She think on it will affect the well-being of people because of her sensible nature. And this characteristic is valuable to Nigerian development agenda.
Understanding Buhari’s other room comment
It seems that President Buhari was trying to be humorous as many of his close allies have suggested. But those words of his response did not suggest anything close to their insulations.
One can even say that Mr. president response to his wife criticism of not being charge of his administration is a myth by portraying himself as a strong man that dictate where his wife belong and where she does not belong. In other words, the president wife is not relevant in anything other than domestic matters.
This view would retard development in our country and no one should support it for any reason. This kind of statement can only be tolerated as a “locker room talk” as in case of Donald Trump but to make such remark on a global stage is “demarketing” Nigeria Project.
I believe that wife of Nigerian president is a concerned citizen; moreover, not everyone that disagree with the government is an opposition. Rather most Nigerians are just concerned about the state of the country’s affairs.
Nigeria is doing badly with respect to gender equality and woman right, which is a major gap that needs to be bridged. As many studies have indicated, no nation can be on a sustainable path without closing gender inequality gap; on this note, we are not favoring female by promoting gender equality in Nigeria but we are progressing towards becoming a developed country by doing such.