#WomenYouCanRun 2: Memoirs From International Women’s Day Celebration: A Charge to All Women and Those who Want to Take up Leadership Positions #Nigeria

I was part of`the Press crew who Interviewed Honorable Mulikat Adeola after a special International Women’s day lecture organized by NAWOJ Oyo State chapter. I thought her thoughts were worth sharing here and not just via the radio and television.

Honorable Mulikat: As we are today in Nigeria there is still a lot more women who don’t have their voters card; a lot of women who are of voting age and they don’t have their card. I will implore them to go and get their voters registration card. Once they do that, they will be able to participate, it’s a process. After that, they should support women.

What we are trying to do right now is to mobilize women to support women. And so if we have a substantial number of women with the voter’s card and they are able to support women there will be a difference in the results as opposed to what we had the last time in 2015.

And for those who are going to contest elections, I think they should have started campaigning because politics is not something you just jump in and expect a result. So they should have started to begin to know their environment very well, you need to ensure that you have all it takes to participate. Because by the time you will be going for screening, they will be asking you for some necessary qualification. You must have all that and you must be able to carry the people around you along, it depends on where you want to go to.

If you want to go to the house of Assembly definitely you will know your constituency; begin to work with them; work with the leaders; work with the party members. And be yourself, for me, I don’t believe in pretending. You need to let people know who you are and what you are there for. I pray that women will stand for women. We are out to mobilize, sensitize and also encourage a lot more women to participate come 2019.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama. Communication4Development
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

GUEST POST: MY FGM STORY by Omoye Oriaghan

This piece was sent to me a few days ago to share and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is a personal experience of Omoye Oriaghan. Great insights to her fears about Female Circumcision and her journey into discovering whether she had been cut or not. I was held spelt bound and couldn’t stop until I came to the end of this story. Enjoy it and feel free to share with others.

“How do you feel, if I cut that sensitive nub above your privates
Cut the lips to your womanly haven
And then stitch close the opening to leave only a urinary passageway
I do not stop there,
But when you get married, I tear you back open for sexual relations with your husband (as in some cases)
Can you imagine how you would feel?
Well, that is the gore of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Tolarnee

I have always heard of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), its ills and the various calls for an end to its practice in our society. Before my final year at the university, I knew little or nothing about this awful practice, maybe because I was too lazy to google its meaning and prevalence in Nigeria and Africa as a whole or maybe because I just wasn’t interested in knowing what it meant. However, during my last days at school, we had this course taught by the only professor in our department at the time, Prof Akinfeleye, on campaign messages and design (I can’t remember the exact course title now).

As part of assessments for the course, the class was divided into different groups, given different health challenges and asked to design campaign messages for them. This was to be presented in subsequent classes. I remember a particular group was to design campaign messages for FGM. As against other presentations that I didn’t accord much interest, this campaign against FGM caught my attention, maybe because the medical practitioner took his time to explain with a slide presentation its prevalence in some parts of Nigeria. The gory pictures of the different types of cuts and the girls (children) made to undergo such, aroused so much anger within that later gave birth to the hatred I now nurse for it.

Also in my final year on campus, I had a friend who when we had a discussion on FGM told me in confidence that she and her sisters were mutilated after birth by their mother. However, what was more shocking in her revelation was that her mother told her while she much older not to let her would-be husband know she had been circumcised so as not to ‘drive him away’. According to her mum, no man or most men do not love the idea of marrying a ‘circumcised’ woman because of the lack of satisfaction during sex.
I must confess that while listening to her revelation I got a bit scared because I wasn’t sure of my own status. Who knows, I may have been circumcised too! However, the fears subsided…….

I met Tunde (real name withheld) and we got really close and someday I hoped I would settle down with him (didn’t happen though *winks*) and into our relationship the talk of circumcision (FGM) came up and the fears came back in full force. I was not ready to drive my man away, or so I thought. I think it’s time I had a tete-a-tete with my mother, I concluded, but somehow I didn’t know how to bring up the conversation because my mum and I never really had such conversations. And so again, I managed to keep it in until…….

I sat comfortably as my hair stylist braided my hair one fateful day when a woman from the next shop walked in to loosen her own braids and then ‘the conversation’ began. My hair stylist (Woman A) started the conversation:

“This circumcision thing, everyone seems to be talking about it like it’s a bad thing o she said
The woman from the next shop (Woman B) replied,
“Yes o….In the olden days it was not a big deal but these days, women are discouraged from circumcising their girl-child………My mother says my sisters and I were circumcised, however, she warned us not to tell our husbands (here’s the warning again), so they don’t leave us and sleep with other women”
Woman A: “Hmmmm”
Woman B continues
“When I have sex with my husband, I pretend sometimes to enjoy it even when I don’t, so I don’t push him away………Well, my mum warned me not to circumcise my daughter so she doesn’t go through the same problem and so I didn’t circumcise her”

Now, while this conversation ensued, I was paying rapt attention, picking every detail, and of course, they didn’t know I listened. They thought I didn’t understand what they were saying because they were not having the conversation in English.
And so the conversation continued,
Woman A: “Well for me, my mother circumcised all of her female children o and me, I circumcise all of mine ( now, Woman A has three daughters)…….Not long after I give birth to my girls, I always tell my husband that I want to go and visit my mother in the village (She was Igbo and her husband Yoruba) and when I get there I circumcise them without his knowledge”
“It is good to circumcise girls so they will not become wayward” she continued “I will continue to circumcise my female children o”.
That ended the conversation and also ended my delay in asking my mum the big question.

I got home that evening and immediately put a call through to my mother, “Hello Mama, this circumcision thing, do they do it in our village?” I questioned curiously. “Well they did it a long time ago, but your grandmother did not circumcise me or my other siblings” She replied. That was all I needed to hear to have a beautiful sleep that night {smiles).

Last year, I was also privileged to watch an edition of BBC’s HardTalk with Stephen Sackur on FGM. On the show that day, Stephen had two African women with British citizenship. One was for and the other against FGM. Now, I was more particular about the lady who supported the practice because I wanted to know why anyone would support such a barbaric practice. However, after listening to her point of view, I didn’t entirely condemn her.

The lady (from Ivory Coast, if I remember correctly) explained that female circumcision was a huge ceremony in her village for women who had come of age, girls who were 18 years and above. It was a Coming out Ceremony of some sort. She further explained that she was convinced at the age of about 20 years by her aunt who had a paid a visit to her family in the UK to participate in the ceremony. Her aunt and mother told her a little about the pain associated with the procedure and some of the health risks. With this knowledge, she agreed to travel to Ivory Coast to be circumcised. She concluded by saying the procedure, though painful, was healthy and that years after it she had enjoyed sexual relations with her partner.

So for her, FGM should only be carried out on girls who are well aware of the health risks and others risks and should also be done on their consent. However, she was against the complex stages of mutilation.

As my story winds up, let me conclude by saying, I am against FGM practiced on a girl-child who has absolutely no idea what is being done to her. If when she is well of age weighs all the risk factors involved and still decides to be mutilated, then I bid her Godspeed, but again, I don’t think any girl would love to go through such pain from a very unhealthy procedure for whatever gain.
As I drop my pen, or this time, my keyboard (winks), let me say #IStandAgainstFGM and #FGMMustBeStopped #EndFGMNow

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development.
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

#WomenYouCanRun 1: What You Must Know If You Want to Join Politics

This morning listening to Oluwaseun Omoakinola, a dear colleague, and brother on his program, “The Conversation”, on Splash FM 105.5 I was richly informed about practical things women who intend to join politics must know. I will be sharing a few interesting down to earth points from one of the guests he featured on the program. It has inspired a title for a series I have been working on and hope to begin to share here. My own small contribution to encouraging more women to be bold in taking up leadership and political positions once they have what it takes.

There is all lot of discussions about women’s participation in leadership and particularly on increasing involvement in politics. And so I hope to be sharing practical points of view of notable women and men leaders and also profile women we can all be inspired by their success in leadership positions and in the political arena. And so welcome to the first post in the series of #WomenYouCanRun 1.

Hon. Nnena Ukeje Elendu on the floor of the House of Representatives. Credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq7gqj6ypsA

Honorable Nnena Ukeje Elendu has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2007. She is a third term member representing Bende Federal constituency in Abia State under the People’s Democratic party.

Her Political Aim: To leave a much better country than I met it.

Honorable Nnena’s Lecture at an event organized by Women in Business and Public Service(WIMBIZ) an NGO for women on 22 March at Eko Hotel and Suites. It is in commemoration of the 2018 International Women’s Day.
Theme: Women, Politics and Nation Building (Press4Progress)

If you are running for office as a woman you must answer these questions:

1) Self- Evaluation: Why do I want to run? Find an answer to that question because people will ask. Men are not psychoanalyzed when running for elected office. They believe that every woman who wants to run has a blind ambition to control everyone. Determine also what office you want to run for. Is it a senatorial position, Governor, House of Representatives etc.
2) Are you Prepared? What are you bringing from your present life into office? I was in the hospitality business and found out that my strength was in hold anyone spellbound in a five minutes conversation. And so I was able to convince people easily, this I brought into office when I was elected.
3) Emotionally are you prepared? You are not allowed to have an emotional meltdown; you are not allowed to cry in public. In politics Might is right. You need to be strong.
4) Physically are you prepared? Campaigns are tough. You are up from 5am – 6pm. You must be physically strong and ready to give it the time it takes.
5) What is your cultural view about women in leadership? Family questions must be answered. What is your family’s take on a strong woman? Break the idea that you are either married or be in politics. A woman who can run both the home and be a good politician.

Having answered these questions you are ready to move on to the next level.

A few more points to note:

  • You must understand that competence, CV doesn’t win elections; emotions win elections. The aim of your opponent is fake news, emotional scam and alternative fact.
  • The most important persons in your party is the chairman, the National Organizing chairman, and the secretary, make friends with them. They are the ones in charge of sending your name to INEC.
  • Develop very thick skin…keep your children and family out of social media. You can read stuff about you that you will never believe in the media. Prepare your family for this.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral change Radio Drama. Communication4Development
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Guest Interview: A Political Scientist Clicking Away with Her Camera

My eyes, ears, and heart are always tuned to catch real-life stories at events, training or workshops. So here was I trying to take a few photos at a Management and Leadership conference for Female Journalists; this lady kept bumping into me or was it me interfering with her professional photography work. And look at me holding a simple Android phone trying to take my amateur pictures😀 After bumping into her a few times the light in my head turned on! 🌞🌞 The writer in me asked, “what’s her story? So here I am ready to bring this beautiful damsel’s story to you. An interesting, down to earth chat it was. Enjoy meeting this talent. 

Interview :
Me: What is your name? Any brand or pet name?

Tiwa: My name is Tiwatope Badmus… My brand name is Tiwa Badmus Photography.

Me: Could you share the schools you attended?

Tiwa: I had my secondary school at Adesina College, Ibadan.
Then I proceeded to the University of Ibadan where I studied Political Science.

Me: What was growing up like for you

Tiwa: Growing up for me was two-sided… We used to leave somewhere that I termed as a ghetto. I learned a whole lot as a young girl of 5. Street fights and drinking was the order of the day.  so I learned a lot of self-defense. I was a really gentle kid growing up.Then by age 6, we moved to a new environment where our movement was restricted then I became the ‘get inside’ kinda kid. I was a very shy girl throughout my secondary school days. But as soon as I entered the university I began to build up the courage to meet and approach people.

Me: Photography! How did you get into photography, what was your motivation?

Tiwa: Photography has always been in me. I remembered as a secondary school student how I used to save my lunch money so I can go take pictures with my friends… How I used to capture the sun moon and stars with my First camera phone which was a Nokia C1.
My Motivation: When I was in 300L at the university there was this very long ASUU strike that broke out and I decided to learn Photography as a passion and then it became my career path.

Me: Do you do anything else besides photography?

Tiwa: Right now, I don’t do any side jobs… I only do photography.

Me: Is it lucrative, I mean pay your bills?

Tiwa: Photography is a very lucrative job.. Especially when it comes to events. I have met several people I would have never imagined if I was on other jobs within a short span of time.

Me: What has been your challenge following this career path?

Tiwa: The first challenge was procuring all the necessary equipment… OMG!!! Photography can be a very expensive biz to start with. Getting clients too was another challenge but when you know what you are doing and they see your work, they will eventually want you to work for them. As a female photographer, I have had experiences of some sexually related insults like a guy was trying to hit me on my back(bum) the other day.

Me: When you feel like giving up, stressed out, what keeps you going?

Tiwa: My passion for the job keeps me going. Most of the time I don’t look at the money. I work because I enjoy what I do which is why I am into so many voluntary groups.

Me: So if I want to become a photographer like you *wink, what do I need to do?

Tiwa: What you need to be a good photographer is in You. You need just your eyes to see something picture worthy of your environment. And then you need to be creative with that you can get behind the cameras and shoot your shot!!! It doesn’t take long to learn if you put your mind to it. In the space of 2 weeks, you can start shooting!

Me: You must have a favorite food…

Tiwa: My favorite food will always be Amala with Abula as a core Yoruba girl that I am 😃

Me: What is your parting word for young people like yourself especially ladies?

Tiwa: Believe in yourself, believe you can do it… Birth your dreams in Prayers. Don’t ever let anyone talk you down from following your passion.
You are strong
You are powerful
You are beautiful!!!

Me: I am so having fun and enjoying your story but hey we to wrap it up somehow😀. On a final note, what else would you like to share about yourself?

Tiwa: I am a Christian and I love God with all my heart.

Me: Don’t go away without giving out your social media handles

Tiwa: Instagram @tiwabadmus_photography
Facebook page @tiwabadmus_photography
Twitter @i_am_tiwatope
Thank you very much for the opportunity, ma’am. I do not take this for granted… I am so very grateful🙏🙏🙏

Hope you enjoyed meeting Tiwa? Go leave your dream, don’t let anything stop you!

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Radio Drama.
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

105 Dapchi School Girls Kidnapped Released #Nigeria – Who is Playing Games with the Lives of Our Children, Our Girls?!

On February 19, 2018 about 110 Dapchi School Girls were kidnapped during school hours by gun men who came in a number of vehicles. I haven’t been able to wrap my head around the incident. It was simply heartbreaking to hear that another set of school girls had been abducted. This was coming in the wake of the Chibok girls whom we are yet to recover from the clutches of the terrorists group for 4 years now.  Yes some have been reportedly found but I doubt if we will ever recover all of them. So for me hearing about the Dapchi School Girls abduction was just too much…. I haven’t been able to put pen to paper to talk about the issue. But hearing about their release some minutes ago….. I have to say something!

This morning we received the news that the suspected Boko Hiram terrorist who abducted the girls came driving into Dapchi town in nine vehicles with 105 girls out of 110 girls earlier abducted. These are girls from JSS 1-SSS 3 and between ages 11& 19. I can’t imagine the horror of it for the girls and their parents.

It is a relief to hear that these girls are back home and will be reunited with their families. However I wonder again who is really behind this kidnapping. Is it just the Boko Haram group or we are actually acting a political drama at the expense of the lives of our young school girls.

Who knows what the abductors must have done to these girls! Possibly many if not all have been sexually abused 😖 And we are also hearing that 5 of the girls may be dead!!

This is totally unacceptable! Who is playing a dirty game with the lives of our children? Who is playing an evil game with our girls?! Something needs to be done to prevent a repeat of this horrible act. 

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development. 
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

How will you serve the world? — OBA- TheKingsoracle.

How can you and I better serve our world? This dear lady found an answer for herself… This gets me thinking… What about you? Life is more beautiful and meaningful when we serve others.

Sometimes Last year, I was having a personal conversation with God, I was at that point where I was asking questions about life, and the fact that there is more to it .what role should I be playing at that particular phase of life that I had found myself? At some point, I began to […]

via How will you serve the world? — OBA- TheKingsoracle.

Is There More To WordPress Than Just Blogging? — Dream Big, Dream Often

There is more to blogging here on WordPress, it’s a community where you get to connect and make new friends. Don’t just sit and wait for others to come read your fabulous posts, get out there and reach out… Like, comment and encourage other bloggers like Danny said in this post. I am really enjoying myself here on WordPress.

An observation of the world around me intended to provoke thought in you.

via Is There More To WordPress Than Just Blogging? — Dream Big, Dream Often