By Maryam Abubakar, a Girl- Child advocate writes from Kwara North
In the sea of articles that have greeted the nomination and inauguration of Kwara cabinet–most especially about the nine historical women–this one stands out for a reason: crass insensitivity.
The writer, an acclaimed business tycoon from Kaduna, confirmed the truism in the words of Pope Agapet that, “To abandon yourself to rage is often to bring upon yourself the fault of another”, which he did so badly well.
A piece supposedly written with a motive to “air his views” and advise the governor to open his mind to criticism, became a long letter of grief and frustration, unloading pent up anger and rage against him and his appointees –as a friend– (how odd?) and not a “naysayer”. That is a contradiction there. Criticism is different from cynicism. A critic would have congratulated the cabinet members, advise and set agenda for their offices. But rather than set agenda, he was crying over spilt milk.If anything, what Muhammed Tahir displayed are stark traits of a cynic, an unrepentant unbeliever in another person’s sense of judgment and purpose. And of creation: creation of the womenfolk.
Let us look at it this way round, Tahir believes in looking out for “capacity and competence” as a recipe to qualifying for leadership position. He says requisite knowledge prepares one for leadership. Therefore, “except for Barr. Jawondo, Dr. Raji, Agbaje and three others”, which one can safely conclude are men going by the next lines, “every other person you have employed will probably bring nothing to your cabinet”. Now that is a vintage Muhammed, who had just exhibited crass disdain for our women commissioners and the womenfolk. Now we can ask the advocate of knowledge here, are being insensitive, misogynic and cynical traits of men of knowledge? That is Tahir falling short of his own prism to leadership. Shall we say Muhammed Tahir does not merit leadership roles?
Yes, it is normal to have doubts on dreams, vision and victory. But while the wise take informed position based on their doubts, the arrogants trumpet their foolery in certainty of the end; often forgetting the place of God and destiny. We might have to ask how Tahir knew Hon. Mrs. Joanna Kolo would fail. Since God Tahir said Kolo features in the cabinet,” to mark register and move about the streets as the youngest commissioner without bringing any innovation and strategy”, we should rather queue up to beg him since we have nowhere else to go unlike him–sheltering in Kaduna– if our women failed. Remember what I said about the arrogants, here is one already judging the future he is not promised!
I got more convinced it was a piece from a disgruntled element within the ruling party hierarchy immediately he talked about,”those who worked hard to have a place in the cabinet”,but were overlooked by the governor to choose a “sunset worker”. As if the name- calling was not enough, he launched a tirade at her English- speaking abilities despite the woman having a certificate in English Literature. Sadly, he is no better than the Commissioner for Education he sought to denigrate! He was so intent on attacking and bringing down others, he forgot to do proper punctuation and check spelling errors in his vexatious piece. Aside from that fact, a passionate and committed woman, ready to learn but according to Tahir, “struggles with English Language”, is better than a grandstanding fool, misogynic cynic in 21st century.
Tahir asked a question in paragraph 6 supposedly from the governor: “are you just interested in cosmetics achievement or enduring legacy for yourself?”, as he tried hard to justify his displeasure for the appointment of Kolo, and other graceful women. While I am not the governor and do not speak for him, I think he has bequeathed a legacy one like Tahir with all his wealth and riches (if he is not an imaginary tycoon) can never come close to: uncommon leadership empowerment of the African women. Today, AbdulRazaq’s Kwara is on the global map as the first and only state in Africa boasting 56.2% cabinet. I know this will not amount much to Mohammed and his ilks. The governor should have compensated folks that would have given him contracts as their padi padi tycoon.
Well, I wouldn’t have bothered replying to him if he had criticised the government for lack of accomplishment because I knew he would be replied with as many as possible. I might have also looked away if he raised and discussed developmental issues, because criticism is essential to a working democracy. But as bad as rape, child labour and girl trafficking are in a society, so much is mysogyny and misogynic elements. The universal importance of fostering rapid social and economic development– with love, peace, freedom and progress as features–has been identified to be essentially possible only with inclusive gender participation and empowerment. The roles of women are well cut out. And we have no shortage of wonderfully powerful women all around the world, past and present, which people like Mohammed Tahir would want his female children to emulate.Saying a human being brings nothing to the table is an insult to the Creator!
He can idolise the prophet’s wife– Khadijah; Hillary Clinton, Stellah Adedavoh, Grace Alele Williams, Chimamanda Adichie to mention but a few but cannot see a woman becoming ordinary state commissioners because of hate, envy and jealousy a scholar said, blinds and deafens a wise man.
Ask yourself a question: what does the article seek to achieve? Encourage the cabinet to do well and lift Kwara? Put the cabinet down? Denigrate and portray the womenfolk as dull, insensible lots? Discourage the women commissioners and dampen their morale? A patriot does not do the latter, even if his interest isn’t taken care of.
Muhammed Tahir can play his politics all he wants for all I care; but he is no friend of this state neither the governor nor the government, like he claimed. A friend doesn’t hit his friend openly. That is different from advice and criticism.He is a hypocrite. One of the rules of engagement of leader-follower relationship (in Islam) is that you don’t criticise him openly. His friendship is suspect. What tendency has the Governor AbdulRazaq exhibited so far (the one known to you, reader) to suggest that he is a tyrant or so. A leader gets all sorts of advice and he needs to be focused.
Kwarans of conscience should continue advising him accordingly. The state and government need advice and help of everyone more than ever.
May Kwara succeed. May our women excel! May Muhammed Tahir discover himself in 2020: life is evolution. Women are the wheel.