… As Vanessa Mitchell Of TCI Global Visits Her To Talk Family Life
By Patrick Ochei
As blunt as she could be on knotty issues most times, the Omu Anioma, HRM Obi Martha Dunkwu without mincing words but by swift communication, told Ms Vanessa Mitchell, Senior Program Officer of The Challenge Initiative, TCI Global, Baltimore, USA, that the African woman is resilient and multi sectorally result oriented.
The Omu Anioma praised the African woman at the visit of the representative of the International NGO – TCI Global, stressing that everything about the black is not always negative as usually painted by the Western world.
In most of the arguments engaged by the Omu during the interactive session with her visitors, Ms Vanessa Mitchell concurred.
According to the Omu while answering most of the probing questions of the foreign visitor, “I am not an advocate of reduction in population. It pleases God to see us populated; population is not a sin or danger to development, if properly harnessed. Why is it that the Asian countries are populated, yet doing well economically and politically?
From your concern on Family Planning, my key interest is in the health of women and the value they add to family life. Because she must be allowed to realise her purpose in creation and be able to actualize her potential.
But in trying to get the women to adopt family planning by using contraceptives, we must also carry the men along.
Our men easily get jealous when they are being deprived of certain marital rights. The goal you are trying to achieve must centre around the man’s approval. You must be able to disabuse the mindset of the men that their wives would go out to other men when they seek certain preventive and precautionary measures that would keep them healthy and happy in marriage”, Omu stated.
Meanwhile, the Omu noted that there are misconceptions among the women about family planning. She however, posited that with proper education of the woman, the misconceptions would not stand.
“My role is to advocate for girl child education and women involvement in programmes that help develop their capacity and widen their horizon.
We must let the men know that changes in women with regards to family planning is good for the family. They must be able to understand that using contraceptives is not a threat to men.
That is why we must have an informed woman; it is necessary for economic and social growth and development of the society.
While we advocate for these rights and privileges of women, they must also operate within their limits. They must be good wives to their husbands, they must be able to inculcate sound societal values in their children and be positive friends of society. The woman must live a life of chaste in marriage; and where she chooses not to marry, she must live a decent unmarried life “, Omu lectured.
However, Obi Martha Dunkwu disagreed with Mitchell on the issues of gender equality, stating that that is not the will of God for humanity.
She said she would not go with the agitation for parity in gender ratings, because there was no equality yesterday, there is no equality today and there will never be equality tomorrow.
“God has made man first and woman second. While man is the fire that burns, woman is the water that quenches the fire.
If there is gender equality in the US or UK, while are there not 50/50 membership of the American Congress or the House of Lords?
Let me tell you, the African woman is that masterpiece of God’s creation. Because she is submissive, resilient, good wife, responsible mother, confidant to the husband and friend of all.
And that is why we must also praise the African man. In my place, the Anioma nation, our men give reasonable independence to the women. That is why our forefathers kept the seat of the Omu as a mother, to help sustain peace, unity and love in the community.
And here too, when a man farms and it is time for harvest, he shares a portion to the wife for her personal upkeep, and if he has many wives, he shares portions to all of them and manage them in such a way that there is no division or quarrel in the home.
This is unlike the West where everything is jointly owned. In my place, if the woman is richer, she doesn’t expose the husband’s weakness, instead it is the man that takes the glory.
In the West you do serial polygamy. When a marriage is broken, children are lost. The man could even pull out a gun to kill the woman just for separating from him or divorcing him.
We don’t do it here. I like our polygamy, because we don’t kill ourselves. When a marriage packs up, the man calls the wife and says, pack your things and go to your parents’ house. He doesn’t kill her.
So, our own polygamy is decently done. We also do not do artificial equality here, we only support our women to actualize their purpose in life.
I’m an advocate of girl child education, responsible womanhood and good motherhood. There is no equality of man and woman. The only thing I preach is that a woman must be allowed to fulfill her purpose in creation and actualize her potential as a modern woman. This is because, God has given woman that scope to cope with multiplicity of tasks.
So, here in Africa, in Nigeria and in Anioma, our women are resilient, highly industrious and submissive. It is only here that a woman loses the husband and she has six children; she goes ahead to train those children and still train grandchildren. She does multiplicity of tasks at the same time and she is not complaining. That is what God has created her to do; a help mate, a wife, a mother, a value builder, an inspiration and more.
All she needs is love, support and encouragement. And that is why your program for family planning is germane in helping women fulfil destiny. I am not going to advocate for reduction in population, because population could be a blessing to us if only we can harness the potentials of our population. But I am going to advocate for the health of the women, especially the rural women; their survival during and after pregnancy.
However, in advising them to use contraceptives for their own safety and security of health, the men must be carried along. Please, include the men in your program, so as to achieve the result that you desire in your global campaign for family planning and maternal mortality.
So, I thank you all from the TCI for what you are doing globally. And so, may God continue to bless the Bill and Melinda Gates for using their God given wealth to do humanitarian services and advance the course of humanity.
Earlier, in stating her mission to the Omu Anioma palace, the Senior Program Officer, TCI Global, Baltimore, USA, from The Challenge Initiative – Johns Hopkins Centre, supported by Bill and Melinda Gates, Vanessa Mitchell had engaged Obi Martha Dunkwu in an interactive session.
She stated that she came around to know what is happening in Nigeria and Delta State; and part of her mission is to interact with stakeholders and take assessment of what needs to be done.
Mitchell acknowledged that feedbacks from the affiliate groups suggested that Omu Anioma is a champion when it comes to women advocacy and leadership.
Having concurred to most of the positions of Omu Anioma while she responded to her questions, Vanessa Mitchell maintained that some of the benefits women would gain from the family planning programs, includes learning spacing in child bearing, dispelling some sort of misconceptions associated with family planning.
Expressing her gratitude not only as a guest of the Omu Anioma, but also being tutored on certain racial peculiarities; Vanessa appreciated Omu Dunkwu for the leadership role she is playing among women and basically on issues of advocacy as it relates to girl child education, stoppage of Female Genital Mutilation, women capacity development and empowerment.
The TCI Global expertise, affirmed that what she had noticed about the Nigerian people is that community living, unlike in the West which is more individualistic; adding that the Omu Anioma had even exemplified that communal virtue and trait with the way she (Vanessa) was warmly received and further intellectually exposed.