By MAZI OMIFE I OMIFE (Mbuze Mbaukwu)
I was shocked to the marrow the day I watched a televised press conference by the so-called Leader of Women wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide.
If I heard her correctly which I believe I did, she said that the Ohaneze Women Wing has not taken a decision yet on the presidential candidate to endorse.
In my shock and disbelief, I went through the national dailies to confirm that what I heard was actually what the president said and I was right.
This is exactly the reason why I opposed the idea of Ohaneze women wing ab initio because I foresaw this kind of effrontery and affront on the powers and functions of Ohaneze Ndigbo worldwide.
My reason for opposing such a women wing was that Ohaneze Ndigbo worldwide, led by successive world renowned intellectuals and currently by a world reputed ambassador emeritus,Professor George Obiozor, was enough to serve as the voice of Ndigbo in Nigeria and that the formation of a women wing, in addition to Ohaneze youth wing, was bound to bring a conflict of power and function as well as confusion arising from contradictory statements on the position of Ndigbo on national issues which it is the rightful power of Ohaneze Ndigbo worldwide to make.
I did caution that if such multiplication of Ohaneze groups is allowed to stand, then we are bound to witness a proliferation of Ohaneze groups including Ohaneze students wing, and even Ohaneze traders wing or even Ohaneze motor drivers wing.
Now see what this has brought us to, with Ohaneze Ndigbo and Ohaneze Women wing each deciding on which presidential candidate to endorse.
There is absolutely no way Ohaneze can allow this reckless usurpation of the power and authority of Ohaneze Ndigbo by Igbo women under whatever name, on the issue of which presidential candidate to endorse which is the absolute and exclusive prerogative of Ohaneze Ndigbo to decide and declare after the Ime Obi meeting in conformity with the due process of decision taking in Ohaneze Ndigbo.
It will be a very shameful slap on the image and integrity of Ndigbo both in Nigeria and outside for Ohaneze Ndigbo to allow Igbo women under any guise to sideline or reject any decision or directive of Ohaneze Ndigbo, which is exactly what the Ohaneze women wing is on the way to do, when it should cue behind the decisions and declarations of their men folk in line with Igbo culture and tradition.
Anything outside this amounts to disrespect and affront which, if allowed, portends the imminent end of Ohaneze Ndigbo.
If Ohaneze Ndigbo women wing cannot toe the line of reason and decency in its relationship with Ohaneze Ndigbo, and are not prepared to take instructions from it, then it is time to scrap the damn women wing of a thing with immediate effect before they cause greater havoc to Igbo political cause.
If we must have the Ohaneze women wing, the women should be seen and not heard as far as decisions on Igbo affairs are concerned which should be left for Ohaneze Ndigbo worldwide.
If I may ask, how often if ever have we heard of Arewa Women Wing or Afenifere women wing, much less hear them talk of deciding on the presidential candidate to endorse?
How many times have we heard about Ijaw women wing or Middle Belt women wing addressing a press conference or deciding on a presidential candidate for their geopolitical zones?
During the era of Igbo Union under the leadership of late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and after him, Chief Z. C. Obi, there existed Igbo women Association but not as a subsidiary of Igbo Union. They were very supportive of Igbo union but at no time did they claim, much less exercise the right or power to take rival decision on national issues different from that of Igbo Union.
The point I am making here is that I see no cause in the first place for Ohaneze women wing to hold a press conference on such a serious national issue as presidential election.
It is to avoid this kind of excesses that I was totally against the idea of Ohaneze women wing. My argument then was that ab initio, women were part and parcel of Ohaneze Ndigbo and even held prominent positions in the organization and everything went well.
Even then, I have never understood the criteria for the choice of the current president of Ohaneze Women wing.
Is it just because she is an actress? Is that enough justification for such a position?
Is it because her daughter is married to a billionaire politician?
True to expectation, since her appointment to that position, I have never seen or heard the women wing undertake any tangible project of use to Igbo cause.
Whoever knows her should counsel her to submit herself to the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo under Professor Obiozor and focus on how to mobilize Igbo women towards the coming election in the direction of Ohaneze Ndigbo. Or else step aside or down.
As a matter of fact, the role of Ohaneze Ndigbo women wing should more properly be concerned with:
1. How to create more political awareness of Igbo cause among Igbo women.
2. How to educate them on how to be supportive and submissive to their husbands in family affairs.
3. How to educate them on how to give proper moral training to their children, especially female ones.
4. How to educate their young children on the evils of cultism and other anti-social engagements and other educational issues that will reduce crime and incidence of unknown gun men in Igbo land and other such tutoring on the rules of good conduct.
Not to rub shoulders with Ohaneze Ndigbo.
Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide must not treat this matter with levity or kid gloves; it must cut this sprouting tail of its women wing before it grows into a behemoth of sorts.
MAZI OMIFE I OMIFE