What Igbo women need to do to succeed in Nigerian politics – Senator Joy Emordi

Imanuel Jannah
By Imanuel Jannah May 1, 2017 08:53

Former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on National Assembly Matters and two-time Senator, Joy Emordi, has stated the things Igbo women who aspire to make a mark in Nigerian politics needs to do to succeed.

What Igbo women need to do to succeed in Nigerian politics – Senator Joy Emordi

She gave the advice in a chat with the media penultimate week.

According to her, young Igbo women “who aspire to go into politics is first for them to go for the right reasons. They should not see politics as a means of livelihood, but rather as an avenue to serve humanity and do good to the greatest number of people.”

Emordi urged them “to be focused on the goal and be determined to keep their integrity without compromise. As women in politics, they would face a lot of challenges and hurdles but by being focused and determined to keep their integrity, they would certainly succeed and make an impact.

“Importantly, build grassroots followership. Don’t depend wholly on godfathers. Their conditions for support might lead you astray and on the path of ignominy and compromise. Power lies with the people, the ordinary Nigerians, if you know how to mobilise them. But, first, you have to earn their trust.

“Most importantly, they should not do politics full-time and must have a means of livelihood, a source of income to avoid desperation in politics. Also, they should start from somewhere and learn the ropes. This idea of coming from the blues helps neither the individual nor the society.”

Emordi noted that before she ventured into public service and politics in Nigeria, she had been in the forefront of the effort to change the lot of Igbo women.

On a personal level, she said: “I have always demonstrated by my own life that you can become all you want to be, your being a woman notwithstanding. No doubt, our society and cultures are grossly tilted against women, especially during our own struggle to rise. I nevertheless contested against a man whom the establishment then anointed in the first election I participated in. That was the election to the 1994/95 Constitutional Conference and against all odds I won with a very wide margin. That gave a lot of impetus for more women to venture into politics and elective positions and I personally encouraged and helped to sponsor them.

“I also ran for the governorship of Anambra State against all odds. Again, to even come to the Senate was like the Gulf War. All sorts of missiles were thrown at me, but I persisted. Some said no Igbo state had ever elected a woman as senator. Even when I won, my Certificate of Return was given to somebody who did not even run for the senatorial primary of our party, but I refused to be cowed as a woman. I got back my mandate through the courts.

“That was how I became the first Igbo woman to be elected senator. And you can see that many have followed suit. So, I have tried to lead by example, challenging and daring the status quo and “I have always achieved great results, by God’s grace. I did all these to encourage women to participate and not see gender as an issue.

“In my own personal capacity, I have through my Foundation, Senator Joy Emodi Foundation, initiated many empowerment programmes focused on the less privileged, especially women and the girl-child. I have awarded many scholarships to many less privileged girls to enable them get good education, which I believe is the biggest empowerment you can give a woman because it will help her to find her feet and aspire to be all she can be.

“I have also sponsored skill acquisition programmes for women, especially young widows and given the logistics to help the beneficiaries to start up business.”

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Imanuel Jannah
By Imanuel Jannah May 1, 2017 08:53