Like some other parts of the world which have embraced gender equality, Nigerian women have indeed made significant strides in their chosen endeavors. Positively, the natural law of change has continued to manifest in that direction. In public office as well as in the private sector, they have done well, removing the anxiety commonly associated with change in the minds of the rest of their country men.
Basking in the recent professional successes and global recognition of Oby Ezekwesili, Nenadi Usman, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dora Akunyili, the Nigerian women folk have certainly not been at ease with the dent of fraud associated with Patricia Olubunmi-Ette. At a time when it seemed that they have the moral key to unlock the deepening immorality in public office, there comes another disgrace; Prof. Adenike Grange.
Grange’s inability to refund the sum of N300 Million Naira which was an unspent fund from the ministry’s 2007 budget has the hallmarks of financial misappropriation. That said, the dimming image of women public office holders in this dispensation have neither daunted the performances of some nor kept their contributions unnoticed. Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke, the Minister of transport, and Nigeria’s Head of Civil Service, Mrs. Ebele Okeke have so far proven to be conscious of the trappings of their offices.
Quite disturbing it is that a woman of Grange’s academic stature could not read the sign of the present times; an era of rapid changing political psychology in the land. Is it not her contemporaries who have long been waging a battle to bring political, moral and financial sanity into the nation’s body politic? Descending so low to the extent of sharing the budget made for the health sector with her subordinates was homicidal. A nation whose public health-care system is in shambles.
Grange’s inability to project sound moral judgment calls a lot into question. At a time the Former Speaker, Olubunmi-Ette’s crime was linked by some pundits to her questionable, or rather insufficient academic background.
However, In a male dominated world, the urge by the opposite sex to prove their mettle has not gone unnoticed. From the great legacies of the late Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and Margarethe Ekpo to the steely image of Margareth Thatcher, female public figures have had their contributions to humanity positively frozen in history. The world over they continue to break new grounds as can be seen in the able leadership of the current Liberian President, Helen Johnson-Sir-leaf, the U.S House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi and the Argentine President, Cristina Fernandez to mention but a few.
Against what may be a perceived negative public opinion, It is in the interest of the Nigerian woman to remain focused in her determination to be what she wished herself. Across the gender lines, the truth is that there is the unspoken wide held confidence in the Nigerian women to manage public offices better, especially when public funds were concerned. Something that may have to do with the behavioral nature of the both sexes. I don’t mean to say that men are thieves anyway.
Thus, the reported case of financial misdemeanor on the part of Prof. Grange need to be handled swiftly. Like Patricia Olubunmi-Ette, Adenike Grange is on her own. They neither represent the best of the Nigerian women public office holders nor their demography. At best, they are detractors that are commonly found in the course of progress.
The onus is now on the Nigerian authorities to deal with the situation without fear or favor. Her sack by the President was a good step in the right direction. It is left for the prosecuting authorities to arraign her before a court of competent jurisdiction before she runs away it.