Thursday 30 April 2009

Nigeria: When women rage with the pudenda and the paps

Pictures speak volumes sometimes

I rarely use pictures in my blog because I want to believe that I paint pictures with my words and hopefully appeal to the imagination of my readers as they read my copy and get a sense of what I am conveying without getting confused about the context.

A picture, they say, speaks louder than words, it probably does for some situations but it is never a narrative in itself, it is static it captures a moment in an event that might have occured over an undetermined stretch of time.

The buzz in Nigeria over the last few days has been over the election reruns in Ekiti State where the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) resigned her post, had her resignation rejected and is now back to conclude the inconclusive elections and hopefully produce a result that reflects the express will of the people.

Policing for the nefarious

My blog can only start with the last paragraph of a new story about the REC returning to Ekiti State [1] to conclude her tasks as commissioner, it reads – “the Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro, has put everything in place to avert any lawlessness during and after the election”.

Grandiose Parlor, in his write-up – What went wrong in Ekiti? [2] Has already suggested that the Inspector General of Police should have been relieved of his duties rather than have him harass the dear old commissioner of 74 and any other party that seems not to represent the interests of the ruling party.

I find myself agreeing with him as the picture below courtesy of the NEXT news organ and shows what the Inspector General might not consider lawlessness or what were his underlings doing?

Ekiti State men gathered to vote peacefully
Courtesy of NEXT/

These gentlemen voters were peaceful gathered to vote in the constituency of the candidate of the ruling party.

Ekiti State, small as it might seem is hardly a backwater in Nigeria, it is showing up as tinderbox of protest that has historical significance.

A sex ban for political dialogue

In Kenya, we read yesterday of women imposing a week-long sex ban [3] on their partners as a political weapon to get them to resolve the issues within the national unity government. The received wisdom is that it might just work more effectively that what Kofi Annan was able to cobble together last year.

There is an abstract from a book that talks about Women's Aggressive Use of Genital Power in Africa where it suggests “that African women know very well that they can direct the power that can emanate from their own genitals, and in some extreme situations their threats to loosen this power are strongly persuasive”. I am not ready to test the persuasiveness; I would just take it as a given.

Women well endowed with power

Back in Ekiti State, which is in Yorubaland [5] in Nigeria, the animist tomes of ifa [6] considers the situation where men have failed and mistreated their women such that the Supreme Being granted the women a greater power than that of men which they should use with wisdom and discretion; witchcraft.

Witchcraft, might be a bit farfetched for some, but then in 2002, women gathered at a Chevron-Texaco [7] oil-export terminal in the Niger Delta region demanding things be done whilst threatening nudity and they did get some things going that gung-go banditry, brigands and militants cannot deign to acquire, no matter how violent and malevolent their activities become.

Women protests in Southern Nigeria has brought representative political change as the Igbo Women’s War in 1929 [8] or the oppression of market women [9] in Abeokuta brought on by the atrocious liaison between the traditional king of Egbaland and the colonial administration as spearheaded by Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.

Bare-chested for the bare facts

All put together, it was with surprise, shock and some foreboding that I observed the pictures of women protesting in Ekiti State, bare-chested [10] on Jeremy Weate’s NaijaBlog – the accepted view is that something must give and it would have to be men adjusting their ways so as not to foist a corrupt government on the people who might have chosen another representative.

Ekiti State women in peaceful protest with bare chests
Courtesy of Naijablog

The Resident Electoral Commissioner probably has more safety in the backing of angry Yoruba women than the rotten police hierarchy that is in supine allegiance to the ruling party and its whims.

The will for African women to effect change for the better when the men foul up the political process is there and if it takes the traditionally potent, socially aggressive and disruptive but peaceful show of nudity to actualise that process, men would just have to sit up and listen or be moved out of the way of progress, this kind of protest has unseated kings – it is war and I am not taking bets against the women.


[1] Guardian Newspapers: Ekiti REC, Adebayo, returns, ready to conclude re-run polls

[2] What went wrong in Ekiti? | Grandiose Parlor

[3] BBC NEWS | Africa | Kenyan women hit men with sex ban

[4] Women's Aggressive Use of Genital Power in Africa -- Stevens 43 (4): 592 -- Transcultural Psychiatry

[5] Yoruba people - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[6] Women in the Yoruba religious sphere - Google Book Search

[7] Peacefully, Nigerian women win changes from big oil |

[8] Igbo women and economic transformation in southeastern Nigeria, 1900-1960 - Gloria Chuku

[9] Page 8 [PDF] The Missing Link: Women’s Representation and Participation in Nigeria’s Electoral Politics - Oluwabusayo Adu

[10] naijablog: Scenes from today's naked protest in Ekiti

Related views and comments

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Nigeria: Ekiti INEC Resident Commissioner Resigns Under Pressure | AfricanLoft

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