In recent times women have chosen to be free from age-old traditions, beliefs and sentiments which have inhibited their self-expression and have been a barrier to their possibilities and their will. Truly, the trend is a healthy one. No gender can make a claim to monopoly of abilities and capabilities. We need a healthy environment where all, irrespective of gender, social class, ethnic group or professional belonging will contribute their best for our collective progress.
It is good that our women are taking up important positions in our political, social and economic scheme of things. The trend must be encouraged. The New world of our dream is one where excellence will be our general philosophy. Women must strive to excel and be counted among our best and brightest.
However, our women must know that there is no gender war in Nigeria. The argument is no longer that men are stronger and brighter but that women too have equally great capacities for great achievements.
Nigerian women must not abandon their families. They must be able to combine excellence in their career and profession with their home management ability. The home front needs them most. Their ability to combine the two fronts effectively will give them leverage over women in other places. A nation without great women is yet to arrive. That nation delays her great strides.
Mothers are among a nation’s most important groups. The new Nigerian women must be good career women as well as good mothers and good wives. Since the beginning of the world, women have been for great importance; they have nurtured-children who have grown to be the world’s greatest and brightest; they have been good wives by providing emotional security and support for the greatest men in human history. Some have come out from behind the scene to make tremendous contributions to society’s greatness and progress. Women have indeed done the world great service. Nigerian women are making their mark. The new Nigerian youth must stand by them. Nigerian women must not seek sympathy, they must earn our respect. They must not demand lowering of standards to help them come up. They must prove themselves by competing on the same standards with men. They must give a lie to the contention that women get to high places by undue influences on the men. They must insist on excellence as the criterion for their promotion and achievement.
The history of the great achievements of Nigerian women dates back to the empire days. There were great women of substance in the Benin Empire, the Oyo Empire, among other organized societies of precolonial times. There was Queen Idia of Benin and Queen Amina of Zaria. In recent history, we have Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. The Aba women riot of 1929 was another proof of the strength of Nigerian women. Today, there is a new breed of Nigerian women who are making waves in the social, political and economic spheres of activities in Nigeria. The up-and-coming Nigerian women must derive inspiration from these women with a difference. They are among Nigeria’s brightest stars.