IDP Camps in Yenagoa and the Reward of having more Women in Politics

The issue of women in politics is a dicey subject; it keeps going from bad to worse: every political dispensation keeps widening the gap of 35% affirmative action.

In Bayelsa state, for example, since its creation in 1996, there hasn’t been a time we have had more than 3-4 women at a time in the State House of Assembly out of the 24 seats (calculate the percentage.) Every elective and appointive position has such flawed percentile. If I’m correct, only Chief Timipre Sylva scored a little bit above average in this regard when he sacked all the local govt. chairmen and appointed women as caretaker chairpersons in all the LGAs.

Questions: are there no women in politics in Bayelsa state? Affirmatively, there are! Active women! Intelligent women! Women with great leadership capacity!

I have been reading commendation about Hon. Ebiuwou Obiyai, Chief Ayibanengiyefa Egba among others at the Oxbow lake IDP camp, Yenagoa. How these women are volunteering to see to the smooth administration of the camp making it the most popular, coordinated and safe camps.

If people are beginning to make donation to that camp, it is because of the presence of these women there. People have confidence in their motherly gesture seeing their physical commitment; they are assured that whatever is donated will be properly managed.

Have you taken a second to imagine that were there more prominent women manning other camps, the same result would be achieved making it more beneficial to the greater collective?

It is not the primary responsibility of Ebiuwou Obiyai (Chief whip, Bayelsa state House of Assembly) to be at that camp and be doing all the things she’s doing. She could have conveniently towed the path of her male counterparts: buy 10 cartons of indomie, 3 bags of rice, wear rainboot, gather some data boys and go to one “gbene” and share while smiling to the camera.

She is doing what she is doing because of her natural instinct as woman – a nurturer.

Woman is nurturing.

Woman is creative.

Woman is healing.

Woman is peace.

It will do humanity, nay Bayelsa, more good if we have more of them in politics. And no, I am not saying power should be given to women on a platter, undeservingly. No, that is not my point!

The ones who are in politics should not be marginalized and shoved aside when it is time to ‘politick’. I will hate to mention names but there are young Bayelsa women who have tried their best to get involved but are sidelined when the chips are down.

The ugly trend of projecting and other undemocratic cum obnoxious practices at party’s primaries which most times, clip the political wings of women is what this writer is condemning here. How many women purchased forms and how many even made it to the primaries? The list goes on and on!

The flood is here and has wrecked havoc, it will recede in few weeks but it came with great lessons and I hope we learn the lessons.

by Rosemary Utavie-Jerry

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