March 18 Elections: A Chance for Akwa Ibom Women - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Monday 13 March 2023

March 18 Elections: A Chance for Akwa Ibom Women

By Chris AbasiEyo

From the threshold of creation, the place of womanhood in the hierarchy of humanity, has remained controverted. In many cultures and climes; she has been consigned to her primary roles in the kitchen, as bearer of children, and most recently to “the other room” according to Mohammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria.

Many believe that women were made to contribute to home making, not the society, but a question arises, is home or the family, not the basic unit of the society? Indeed, family is.

The Dictionary Of Sociology, cites George Murdock, as describing the family, as a universal human grouping or a social structure. According to him, the family is a 'social group characterised by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. If this is so, therefore, a builder of the family, is invariably a community builder. After all, in the account of creation, when God created Eve, He didn't limit to the home, her role as a helpmate to Adam. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). This shows that, women do have a spiritual command to help in community and political development, and they have not failed either. Therefore, the aggregation here is that, women are by both the laws of nature or man, empaneled to take a plunge at any position under the sun. And the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), remains the best platform for the flowering of feminism in the political firmament of Nigeria.

If there is any Party that has been gender-sensitive in Akwa Ibom State, it is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). For over two decades, the ruling party has effectively protected the political interests of Akwa Ibom women, carrying them along in terms of positions and other forms of political patronage.

Now, the PDP is about to make yet another history in the state. The party is presenting a female running mate, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, to its Gubernatorial Candidate, Pastor Umo Eno, for the March 18, 2023 election. When elected, Senator Eyakenyi would become the first elected female Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State.

Not only that, she would also make history as the second Deputy Governor of Oro extraction, nearly 30 years after Sir Etim Okpoyo left office.

Indeed, Senator Eyakenyi's nomination as Deputy Gubernatorial Candidate is a huge recognition for Akwa Ibom women by the PDP. And it is instructive that, in sharp contrast to all its major opponents, PDP is the only frontline Party to field a woman for the number two position. The other major Parties have simply snubbed Akwa Ibom women, in utter disregard of their huge voting strength.

Aside gender balance, Senator Eyakenyi towers above every other Deputy Gubernatorial Candidate in terms of experience, education, exposure, character, competence and capacity.

She has seen it all politically. Rising from a classroom teacher, she has climbed the political ladder steadily as Board Member, Board Chairman twice, Minister and currently Senator. The Deputy Governorship seat is like an icing on the cake.

Educationally, Senator Eyakenyi is incomparable with her opponents. She is the only one that has read up to a doctorate, and even her Principal, Pastor Umo Eno, holds a PhD (in equity).

Armed with these intimidating political profile and educational laurels in addition to other attributes, the would-be Deputy Governor comes prepared to assist Pastor Eno to take Akwa Ibom State to the golden era.

A very humble woman, notwithstanding her achievements, Senator Eyakenyi has seized every opportunity to assure Akwa Ibom people that she would loyally complement Pastor Eno in the great task ahead.

It is also interesting to note that besides the Deputy Governorship position, the gender-sensitive PDP in Akwa Ibom State is fielding four female candidates for the House of Assembly election holding simultaneously with the governorship election on Saturday. It is a record-breaking number. They are Mrs. Precious Selong (Urueoffong/Oruko), Mrs. Kenim Onofiok (Oron/Udunguko), Mrs. Selina Ukpatu (Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo) and Dr. Itoro Etim (Uruan) State Constituencies, all distinguished personalities.

The same PDP had fielded a female House of Representatives Candidate, Dr. Glory Edet, in the February 25, 2023 elections.

It is completely a different story in the other Parties which still behave in this age and season as if women do not matter politically. Female candidacy remains a taboo to them. To make matters worse, one of the Gubernatorial Candidates is not even married, preferring to frolick with women of easy virtue.

Arising from the foregoing, whatever there is that have been prompting men to participate in community development, the same have been true of women. Besides the biblical Queen Esther, whose intervention saved the Jews from extinction while in exile in Persia, (Esther 4 & 5), the great St. Joan of Arc, who led the French Army to victory against the English during the ‘Hundred Years’ War’, the exploits of the fabled amazons or female warriors of South America, the conquests of the legendary Queen Amina of Zaria, the victorious Golda Meir of Israel, who was the Commander in Chief of the Jewish State’s Armed Forces during the 1973 fourth Arab-Israeli war, called the Yom Kippur War, there abound copious instances of women participation in community development.

In modern history, women of what has now come to be known as Akwa Ibom State, made world news headlines, when they, in 1929, led by the likes of Adiaha Edem Udoma of Ibekwe, the mother of our legendary Sir Udo Udoma, Madam Emah Brown of Eket, Adiaha Ekpo of Utu Etim Ekpo, Ekanem Essien of Itu, all heroins of the 1929 women uprising, and Madam Ewei Ekeoyo of the 1941 Oro women protest against colonialism, all took up all instruments of rejection and fought colonial imperialists to a halt, for attempting to impose direct taxation on women and their entrepreneurial endeavours. In the process, not less than 16 of these women, suffered martyrdom in and around Akwa Ibom.

In similar manner, is Okop-Usem varied history of migrations and settlements, inundated with traces that, during the fratricidal wars of territorial expansions, while men were at the forefront of the battles, women, more often than not, supplied the men with volleys (iyiro), which they cut from sticks for use as missiles during such schisms.

And while their cries continue to rise, seeking for justice, it appears in Akwa Ibom State, it is only the PDP that is lending a listening Ear, to the cries of the deprived womanity like the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun.

Akwa Ibom women, it is the PDP that cares for you. Please support Pastor Umo Eno, Senator Eyakenyi and all PDP candidates including the female ones. Support your own. This is your chance!

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