Nigerians React As Soludo Wants Women To Head Town Unions

Nigerians React As Soludo Wants Women To Head Town Unions

2 years ago
4 mins read

Mixed reactions have begun to trail the proposal by the Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo for electing women as President Generals of town unions across the state.

Soludo made the suggestion during a meeting with the executives of Anambra State Town Unions (ASATU) led by Barrister Titus Akpudo (Ichaka), on Tuesday, where they discussed issues about welfare and development of various communities across the state.

In a post on Facebook, Governor Soludo said he made the suggestion of electing women as President Generals of town unions as a way of deepening women participation in leadership activities across the state especially at community level, asking: “Why can’t we have women as Presidents General of communities?”

In the meeting that focused around making the administration of town unions across the State more functional, the ASATU executives presented their demands to the state government, which the governor promised to review in due time, while also taking them through a detailed analysis of where the state stands economically and the impending fiscal crisis threatening the viability of many subnationals across the country due to non accruition of crude oil revenue to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for some months now.

Mixed Reactions Trail Soludo's Proposal Of Women Heading Town Unions
Soludo with the Chairman Anambra State Association of Town Union (ASATU), Barr.  Titus Akpudo (Ichaka)

The governor stressed that boosting governance infrastructure at the local level is critical to his administration’s mandate of building a liveable and prosperous homeland in the state.

He observed that ending the regime of caretaker committee in town unions and conducting a credible elections would help to reslove leadership tussles and douse political tensions in various communities across the state.

“Our government is committed to ending the spectre of caretaker committees in town union administration. I believe credible elections will bring about transparency and dowse the usual tensions that characterise Town Union leadership in the State.

“We have also set up a committee to look into the issue of proper delineation of roles between Ndị Igwe and the Presidents General. We need to streamline the organs of government at the community level,” Soludo stated.

On the poser he raised about having women as PGs of town unions, the governor said he hopes to have a fruitful conversation on that at an expanded fora. “I am interested in having this conversation even though I got responses from them already captured in an earlier paper I wrote sometime ago. We will sure get back to this as promised,” the governor concluded.

Reacting to the poser, President-General of Ojoto Town Union Chief Donatus Anozie Ezemadike, said it depends on the constitution of each town unions, that of his town, provides for the existence of women wing, an affiliate of the union which women are free to join and contribute in community development matters.

Chief Ezemadike, however, stated that if the state government goes ahead with the decision of electing women as town union PGs, they would have to amend their constitution to expressly reflect that.

“We have women’s wing in my community as stipulated in the constitution. So if the government’s decision is to be taken, amendment and reviews of our constitution must be done because it’s already gazzetted by the same government clamoring for inclusion of women.”

The Ojoto PG said he is fully committed to promoting gender equality.

“Personally, gender equality is good. We follow the moving world,” Ezemadike remarked.

People who commented on the post in the governor’s Facebook page, were divided in their opinion on the matter. While some supported the proposal, others opposed it, giving various reasons they think it shouldn’t be implemented in the state.

Most of them said it shouldn’t be done, arguing that there is an existing women wing in every town union leadership, which represents the interest of women at community level. Some said the governor should focus on other important developmental issues bothering the state.

One of the Facebook users who goes by the name Nnenne Ebele Okafor Nwokike wrote, “Thank you our able governor for job well done so far. Please, this your idea of having women as the PG of a town is totally wrong and unacceptable sir! Please don’t even bring the discussion up again, just focus on your duty as a well deserved governor sir, thanks.”

Another user, named Frank Okika, wrote, “On the issue of women being a president general, I think it’s not necessary as there exist a women wing, an association of all married women in every community. The government may as well reach out to them to form a synergy with the government to help in solving problems in their community.”

On what he considered important, Okika stated that the state government should advise the President-Generals “to work hand in hand with village chairmen and other community leaders to ensure that law and order is maintained.”

He also stressed the need for the government to institute measures aimed at forestalling crises and giving more attention to maintaining security and peaceful co-existence in every community.

Another Facebook user, Ifeanyi Ikeh said, there is nothing politically wrong with the proposal but culturally not acceptable for now in Igbo land. “Coming to the issue of women becoming PGs, there is nothing politically wrong with that but everything seems culturally wrong with it as our cultures and traditions do not accord certain leadership heights to women in our cultural settings.”

Ikeh noted that with the gradual emulation of Western culture in our clime, it may be implemented in the future but certainly not now.

A Facebook user, Amaka Ude who supported the move, stressed that allowing women to assume such position would help in engendering sustainable peace in communities. “With our women officially leading peace building processes and being part of the governance structures at the grassroots, then one of the tenets of UNSCR 1325 (participation) is being implemented. Daalu govano anyi,” Ude commented.

Cajetan Ajanobi wrote that “Having women as PGs may improve service delivery in some cases but culturally it may unsettle the family units.

“When women are made PGs of communities, family units will be the ultimate loser. Dysfunctional families will increase and crime rates rise. Separation and divorce rates are likely to heighten.

“Instead, pick men with examplary families to lead communities as PGs.”

Some asked why didn’t the governor appoint a woman as deputy governor during selection of running mate prior to the governorship election.

An economist who asked not to be named said, “Why did he not start by appointing a woman as his deputy or why didn’t he choose to be a deputy and make a woman the Governor. He should let them elect based on merit and ensure free and fair election. Let woman be given a level playing ground and if women win, men should support them. He should not cause discord between men and women with unneccessary debates…he has so much work to do than to toy with sensitive matters that would be of no value to anybody.”

Another who wants to remain anonymous asked: “How can Soludo be proposing this in a patriarchal and patrilineal society? He claims to be a Christian but he wants to go against the tenets of the Bible and strip men of their God-given status as the image and glory of God.”


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