Women like Oby Ezekwesili, Dora Akunyili and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala have had their share of accolades while others like Deziani Allison, Stella Oduah and now Joy Nurieh-Okunnu have been embroiled in a good number of back talks. How good or bad these women have done goes a long way in determing how serious women will be taken and considered for leadership roles and if others will be given bigger roles to play in future.
Women are considered mothers first before anything else, they nurture, they are empathetic and Intuitive. Deciphering problems and finding solutions to these problems is like second nature; more reason why organizations and individuals push for women to fill up sensitive positions in a bid to finding lasting solutions to issues.
What happens when these women don’t do their jobs well? It sets back the gender cause back and closes the way for other women who have more to offer the world. I’m going to focus on Joy Nurieh-Okunnu, not everyone knows her because of the nature of her role and office but I chose her because of that reason and also because she’s enmeshed in a scandal at the moment, check allafrica.com for details.
Joy Nurieh-Okunnu is the National Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP), an organization created in July 2012 by the Jonathan Administration to effect the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a venture which the UN earmarked 1 Billion Dollars for, with the sole purpose of restoring public health, socio-economic development, awareness, land and shoreline cleanup, remediation and restoration of Ogoniland, the very thing Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 9 fought and died for. Madam Joy Is not just an Ogoni Indigene, she was also Ken Saro-Wiwa’s lawyer, factors I believe helped in landing her in that position.
When a people identify their problems, next is to find credible people who would be their eyes and voice at the federal level and also ensure that these needs are met; they are somewhat comfortable in the believe that they have picked one of their own who also feels their pain and not just a bystander who has no real clue of what is at stake. The painful part usually is when the chosen one ends up not delivering and it becomes a case of sabotaging one's heritage which I feel is the case of Madam Joy considering what’s on ground.
I skimmed through HYPREP’s website and the tasks before them includes but not limited to:
- Providing Alternative safe drinking water to impacted communities, identify, qualify and quantify ground water for restoration.
- Determine hydraulic characteristics of surface and ground water and develop comprehensive safe water supply master plan.
- Managing Centers of Excellence in Restoration train and provide competence and skills to support environmental monitoring and restoration activities.
- Review existing legislation and standards related to hydrocarbon pollution. Click here to read more.
People have said HYPREP is just a diversionary tactic by the federal government to remove attention from UNEP, how true is that claim? Or are we dealing with an inept coordinator who lacks the requisite skills to do the job? Because no single cleanup has been done, what you have are empty Gee-Pee tanks placed in the four councils that make up Ogoni land, namely Gokana, Khana, Eleme and Tai. Anti- Crude Oil theft billboards and signposts warning the communities not to swim, fish, bath in or drink from the river without providing actual alternative sources of water. HYPREP has no working budget, fraud is the order of the day where you have her doubling her salary where else her staff have not been paid for months. She’s been in a battle of wills with Deziani Allison who actually created the project and remind me to tell you she’s not even an environmentalist (that, I’m going to blame Deziani and Jonathan). She has reduced the organization to a security agency, standing in guard to shell pipelines and NNPC facilities in Ogoniland and doing PR Jobs for the said corporations.
When I read through the litany of her sins, it became clear to me that corruption is definitely a sacred turf where men are the MASTERS, for the women? They sure have a lot to learn. What men can do, not every woman can……..