In this publication
Monday, July 11, 2016
America and Britain open the world to ladies
It had always been natural or, at least, normal, since the beginning of humanity, for men not only to monopolise but also dominate in all spheres of life. While women eventually made inroads, such were always spasmodic if not nominal. Politics is a specific example. Hardly does the observing world bother who was the first male head of state or male head of government. That might be okay. But it took the assassination of an incumbent male prime minister of an Asian country to give the world the first female prime minister in 1960.
Since then, there had been a few other female heads of governments but who, at any given time, never aggregated to an appreciable number. They more or less came as others left through scheming or unfortunate circumstances. So far, at least, two female serving or former heads of governments had been assassinated while, at least, three others had been betrayed by supposed colleagues, either vice president or deputy prime minister. However, virtually all the female heads of state or government concerned made world headlines. What is now remarkable about their respective tenure is that more by design than accident, there is the immediate prospect of increase in the number of female heads of state and government in various parts of the world.
Only God can deprive United States its first most powerful woman in the world later this year. Britain is also in the same position of electing the second female prime minister anytime from now, following the resignation of outgoing incumbent David Cameron. America's Hilary Clinton is, in fact, going for a double, as additionally, the first ex-first lady to return to government as the elected president. In the race to fill the vacancy of British prime minister created by the verdict of the electorate in the referendum on Britain's continued membership of the European Union, two female ministers – Home Secretary, Thereza May, and Energy Secretary, Andrea Leadstorm, are in the lead. Only tactical voting initially by their ministerial colleagues can stop one for the other. And the ruling Tory party is notorious for that. Incumbent male heads of state and government throughout the world must, therefore, be ready for the invasion of their female challengers. The record of the previous ones ensures that.
A Buddhist made what proved to be a costly mistake by assassinating the Ceylonese (later Sri Lankan) prime minister, Solomon Bandaranaike, in 1959. Against all calculations, the widow, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, took over leadership of the ruling Freedom Party and ten months later, won overwhelming majority in the general elections to become the first woman prime minister in the world, a post in which she served three terms from 1960-65, 1970-77, and 1994-2000. Needless to emphasise that her long rule marked suppression of political terrorism. Even as foreign minister, Israel's Golda Meir was a hard nut to crack in all peace negotiations with the Arabs. Ms. Meir was, therefore, on a familiar seat when, in 1969, she, by acclamation of ministerial colleagues, succeeded Levi Eshkol, who died in office as prime minister, the third female in the world.
Indira Gandhi took her time to become India's prime minister. When her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, died in 1964, Indira Gandhi tactfully gave way to Lal Shastri, who himself died in office in 1966. In the consequent party leadership election, Indira Gandhi defeated rival aspirant, Moraji Desai, to become the new and world's second female prime minister in the world. Since (East and West) Pakistan opted out of any federal status with India at independence in 1947, it was merely routine for India's prime minister Gandhi to throw military might in support of Sheikh Mujib Rahman in East Pakistan's secession war with West Pakistan in 1971, a collapse of another British created federation. On the eruption of Punjab insurgency, Prime Minister Gandhi declared state of emergency and ruled by decree from 1975-1977. She was assassinated as revenge in 1984.
Isabella Peron apparently as vice president to her ageing husband, President Juan Peron, was an incumbent in-waiting, a substantive post she assumed on her husband's death in 1976. Under the guise of cracking down on terrorists, President Isabela Peron issued a decree, authorising the army to arrest suspects, most of whom disappeared forever.
Benazir Bhutto was twice prime minister of Pakistan 1988-90 and 1993-96. Oxford-educated, she was nonetheless elected into office in the wave of public protest against her father's execution by the army for alleged political crimes. Voted out of office, she staged a come-back in another election victory. During her tenure, she faced up against traditional enemy, India and opposition elements. Died in controversial circumstances during a political motorcade.
Corazon Aquino became President of Philippines after leading a People's Power revolution against ruthless President Ferdinand Marcos under whose regime her (Corazon Aquino's) husband, Benigno Aquino, was assassinated in 1983 at the country's main airport. Faced with rigging of her election victory, Corazon Aquino triggered civil disobedience to which even members of the armed forces positively responded and forced President Marcos to flee into exile.
Julia Gillard became the first Australian female prime minister in 2010 after staging a palace coup against her sitting predecessor, Kevin Rudd. She lasted only three years, as the man she couped staged a revenge by instigating a counter coup in a leadership challenge in 2013.
Mary Robinson was elected the first female ceremonial President of Irish Republic and served for seven years to become United Nations High Commissioner for human rights. In the elections to the Irish presidency, she defeated two male rivals. Proving uncontrollable to United States, Mary Robinson resigned in 2002, a year into her second term of four years.
As vice president, Malawi's Joyce Banda bared her fangs years in advance against the attempted dynasty of ailing President Bingu Wa Mutharika to be succeeded by his brother and foreign minister, Peter Mutharika. Unfortunately, the incumbent president died in 2012, after only three years in office and Joyce Banda became the second female president in Africa. Continuing disagreement forced her to form a new People's Party on which platform she sought a personal mandate, but she lost the election to outgoing foreign minister and brother of her deceased predecessor, President Peter Mutharika.
In British political history, only the presumed ceremonial monarch, Queen Victoria, and a 19th century prime minister, Lord Palmerston, would match the toughness of Margaret Thatcher, especially in exercising authority for firm control of her government and protection of British interests anywhere in the world. She defied doubting Thomases and confronted Argentina in a war over Falkland's islands to preserve it, as a British protectorate.
Brazil's Dilma Rouseff was elected first female president in 2010 but was suspended in May 2016, pending removal from office even though she vowed to return. All these are ladies of yesteryears either in terms of power wielding or being alive.
However, in their places, there are up to ten others either already in office or potentially imminent to steal the show from male leaders all over the world, be it the Commonwealth, G7, G20, NATO or the United Nations.
Hung San Suu Kyi is not the head of government in Myanmar, formerly Burma, thanks to the delusion of the armed forces forced out of power by world powers after uninterrupted forty-nine year rule. Even then while departing, the army rulers imposed a constitution barring the lady from heading the country or the government. But with the loyalty of her supporters in government, she is the head of government except in name.
With the reputation and influence of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, not much needs to be said about her status at home, Europe and indeed the world. She is the third post-war German leader (next to Conrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl) to win three national elections in a row.
Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected first woman head of government in Africa in 2006 and has since won a second term. Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh in 2008 joined the rank of female elected heads of government in different parts of the world. Tough on crimes past or present, culprits of past war crimes in the country were tried and executed and only recently authorised the police to end a violent hostage drama in which all the terrorists were killed.
Youthful 36-year old Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland's First Secretary (euphemism for head of government) is more radically nationalistic than her predecessor, who resigned after losing the referendum for Scottish independence in 2014. She since served notice of a repeat referendum for sovereignty from United Kingdom. In the recent referendum, which asserted Britain's exit from European Union, Scotland voted over ninety per cent to remain in Europe. European Union's stand is that membership was impossible for Scotland, as part of United Kingdom. Nicola Sturgeon is, therefore, determined for Scotland's secession from United Kingdom.
Dalia Grybauskaite was elected Lithuania's first female head of government in May 2009 and was re-elected in July 2014. She is Russia's noisy neighbour, who labelled the country a terrorist state for annexing Crimea from Ukraine
When America's Hilary Clinton and one of Britain's Thereza May or Andrea Leadstom join the club of the iron ladies, it will surely no longer be business as usual for world leaders. Depending on developments in sensitive areas anywhere in the world, the typical American assertion of authority and leadership will not dwindle. Neither can Thereza May or Andrea Leadstom afford falling below the Margaret Thatcher standard.
Last line: We just are not serious as a nation. Virtually one week public holidays to mark a religious festival? What is the situation in offices on Fridays, even in a religious festival-free week?
THE IGBO RANT
BIBLICAL TRADITIONS OF NDI IGBO BEFORE THE MISSIONARIES CAME TO AFRICA* IGBO 101.
THE IGBO TRIBE AND ITS FEAR OF EXTINCTION
The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities
Written by Emeka Maduewesi
~on fb. 28th September, 2016.
The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.
The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.
In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.
Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.
In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.
The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.
Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.
The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.
The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.
The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.
This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.
RT. HON. DR. NNAMDI AZIKIWE TO DR. CHUBA OKADIGBO (1981)
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