*** Plays Host To WANEP
– By Patrick Ochei
The Omu Anioma and Nneoha, HRM Obi Martha Dunkwu while recently playing host to a group under the aegis of the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP), who were on peace advocacy visit to her Palace in commemoration of the World’s Peace Day, took time to analyse to them the reason men in contemporary times oppress women more than what obtained previously.
Omu Dunkwu who went memory lane, described treatment of women in the past as exemplary and exceptional, insisting that men of the old allowed more independence to women than men in contemporary times.
She took time to explain how fathers were revered in those days as real men and true heads of the family. She stated that even when a man married more than one wife, he still allowed each a reasonable percentage of independence in terms of making their own decisions, had what they wanted and could do what they needed to do to support themselves and their direct children.
She affirmed for example, that the forefathers of Anioma Nation kept the seat of the Omu to give the woman independence and uphold her voice in leadership and decision making of her community. She stated that at least, for the past 822 years, the institution of Omu has remained by the decree of those old generation men, having seen that no community or society could move forward without the involvement of women.
Omu categorically affirmed that our forebears had been in the business of women inclusion for tens of centuries ago, while in actual sense the Europeans who truncated the working synergy between our men and women with their idea of gender equality, started women inclusion 100 years ago.
The cultural mother of Anioma Nation said that while African men still remain the best in terms of practicing women inclusion, the problem with the contemporary African men is that they want to be man and woman at the same time. She said man now begins to see woman as competition instead of complementary, thereby not wanting to allow her fulfill her purpose in creation.
She posited that she can never support gender equality because it never existed by God’s ordinances, insisting that by order of creation, man comes first while woman is second.
In proffering solution to all of this in the interest of domesticating, enjoying and sustaining peace in our society, Omu advised that women should be trained and retrained and allowed critical leadership positions to help initiate peace and sustain development in our society.
Her words, “The future of humanity is in the hands of women; and no nation can grow in isolation of women. That is why we must give women a voice and not compartmentalise them instead.
“There will always be light at the end of the tunnel for women if the right things are done. However, women are afraid to take certain actions because they are not socially empowered, not educationally empowered and not economically empowered. This is because an educated person is an incisive, independent and courageous person. African women can enjoy independence more than others in other continents if only they are given education or chance to be educated. I have always said that education is the global key that unlocks all doors.
“If implemented, the United Nations Resolution 1325 had already proffered solution to women inclusion in the scheme of things. To squarely address the issue of oppression against women, we must take critical decision to make laws to give more roles to women in the Constitution and leadership decision making in our dear country and Africa”, Omu Dunkwu advocated.
Earlier in her address to Omu Anioma, the National Coordinator of WANEP, Bridget Osakwe gave a low down of the activities of the group and why they decided to pay advocacy visit to Omu Dunkwu as first pot of call in the line up of Traditional Rulers, Religious Leaders and Youth Bodies they had listed to visit.
She said as women in peace building, they came up with a programme to build the culture of peace amongst the young people of Nigeria and Africa by engaging them to handle their issues at their young age without violence.
According to Osakwe, “We are worried about the spate of insecurity in Nigeria. We have been proffering solutions through our various programmes, and our flagship programme is in early warning and early response. We have a mechanism through which we report our findings from various platforms across the states in the country with clearing house in Lagos and home in Accra, Ghana.
“We are here to find solution to insecurity as a challenge to peace. What can we do as a group and as critical stakeholders? We find Omu Anioma’s Palace as a veritable platform to begin our advocacy being a traditional leader with an honest focus on peace building in our society”, Osakwe explained.