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Ondo “Sexist” Impeachment: Matters Arising

First Bank Nigeria

By Folarin Ademosu

The impeachment of Ondo House of Assembly Speaker Jumoke Akindele, though later reversed, on Tuesday, 8 March, 2016, didn’t come as a surprise. What did amaze me were some specific allegations raised against the female speaker by 18 assemblymen, who initially removed her. Akindele was accused, among other things, of “drunkenness, easy virtue, lack of focus and arrogance”. The accusations are overtly sexist and showed a prejudice by the 18-man gang against the speaker.

First of all, Akindele’s accusers failed to provide us evidences that she sometimes saunter into the parliament drunk and unable to carry out the functions of her office. Had such proofs being supplied, showing that the Akindele’s alleged lifestyle made her official duties suffer, then, no eyebrow would have been raised against her removal. Needless to say a speaker of a parliament is first among equals and he or she must know the limitations to grandiose power show. However, arrogance or high-handedness is idiosyncratic, psychological and value-laden, but likely to become an issue where a woman is the head of an establishment. Still, it requires understanding, adaptation and tolerance from men above who the woman is placed, since same would have been demonstrated towards a male boss with a similar character. Information has it that what underlie the legislators’ move was Akindele and her deputy, Fatai Olotu’s complicity in the continuing pillaging of the state treasury by the imperial state governor Olusegun Mimiko. Regrettably, not that the 18 aggrieved legislators were selfless though, their agitation is primarily to extract a favourable sharing formulae of the state resources. So, it is a case of gender discrimination as it is political vendetta.

Moreover, the legislators claimed Speaker Akindele is a lady of easy virtue. We shouldn’t get it twisted, it means she is sexually “promiscuous”. The Ondo impeachment debacle showed society’s deep bias on gender and how far men are willing to tolerate women in leadership positions. Since Akindele’s accusers have not reported her gay, then, it suggests she must have been copulating with men – the sex of her accusers. If at all, the female speaker is what they claimed she was, shouldn’t these 18 otherwise moralists go her male accomplices, too, in the interest of justice? Would these male chauvinists have made promiscuity an impeachable offence if the speaker was male and known to be as sexually ravenous as “Dauda” – the slapstick character in the rested 1990’s soft-porn magazine, Lollypop. Why must an unmarried lady or single mother be undeservingly labelled a harlot, while a man who sleeps with more than one woman is simply happily hailed as “sharp man”, or nackson“?. Unfortunately, this discriminatory justice occur in a society, where the menfolk produce more candidates of ‘easy virtue’ per square kilometre than women. It is the same society where young girls are raped or forced to satisfy the strange sexual pleasures of pedophiles. It is the same society that continues to limit the girl-child’s access to education under the veneer of religious or primordial beliefs. It is in this same society, where Akindele’s accusers live, that some savages swooped on and shooed away, like chickens, over 200 young school girls.

In his response to the multitude’s prodding to judge an adulterous woman, Lord Jesus, in John 8:7, said: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”. The Holy Qur’an, even, prescribes a harsher penalty for false testifiers in Qur’an 24:4, saying “those who accuse honourable women but bring not four witnesses, scourge them with eight stripes and never accept their testimony – They indeed are evil-doers.”

Since Akindele’s accusers didn’t supply proofs they are evil-doers, anachronistic men with warped minds. Besides, the circumstances of Akindele’s initial removal negated natural justice and fair hearing, as enshrined in Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Wait a second, was it a coincidence that the 18 legislators chose the “International Women’s Day” to demonstrate their gender preconception? What a people!

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