Thursday, 29 August 2013

Should We Still Struggle For Gender Equality When Women Given The Chance To Serve Abuse The Opportunity?

Prior to 2012, I used to be dogged and passionate about issues concerning women and the need to ensure gender mainstreaming just so women can have a fairer field of play. Ofcourse i no longer feel that way given that over the years, a good number of women have been given the chance to serve in different capacities both in public and private establishments, how these women are faring, good or bad is another story.

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 for details.

Joy Nurieh-Okunnu
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……..


  1. What a great write up. I beleive not much is known of her but to commit this sin. God will judge everybody. keep it up

  2. Thanks Estelle I really didn't know all this. Like peace said it's only God that will judge and punish these people

  3. No comment. @DrSeby

  4. I had never heard of this woman or of HYPREP before this. i went to the link and read all the contributor had written. it is indeed sad and shameful that this is how political settlement, greed and illusions of grandiose destabilizes noble causes

    Reminds me of the then Savannah bank, when Mrs Nwobodo as CEO (what experience or qualification made it so?), used to call for and hold executive board meetings in her living room, frequently interrupted by housegirl with "Aunty, anu eshichaala, Rice atago mmiri".............when Savannah went down and people said Obj was after Jim, i said that may be so, but based on how his wife was running it, it was inevitable to go down. I have this on good information from someone she wanted to poach for MD role. He was invited to one such meetings (before he could accept/reject offer, breach of etiquette) and after witnessing such, was scandalized to say the least. Also as to the way the woman abused grown men who had more experience than she did in the banking sector. Later, one confirmed to him that that was part of the reason the previous MD quit, cos she countermanded his correct decisions, dished out credits to herself & cronies etc........

    So Estelle, not to sound sexist, some women really do damage the roles for equality and unfortunately, the few that excel are swallowed by the ignominy of the bad majority.

    Thanks for pointing this story out. I must confess at laughing that she survived with half her teeth missing....some European dentist must have made a killing with making dentures for her...

  5. "Women are considered mothers first before anything else, they nurture, they are empathetic and Intuitive"

    In the feminist literature, the above comment is considered sexist, it reduces the capacity of women to be leaders in a male dominated world. That being pointed out, in Nigeria, corruption isn't a function of gender, its endemic, a man in her position would do the same.


  6. This is stupid. Equality is a birthrighjt. Iut is not something you give to someone like a present. It is not even yours to give. If you take the ratio of men to women who have abused their positions, would women come out worse off? The article exposing this wrong is ok, the premise is not!

    1. i agree equality is a birthright but are things equal? NO, our world is unequal and male dorminated, that's why there are gender movements trying to streamline roles. ofcourse there have been successes, everyday more women are being recognized for their positive strides and efforts in making the world a better place and i feel its wrong for a few not to follow the right path. at the end of the day you cant separate the issue you raised