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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Friday, September 07, 2007

On Madam Speaker

I have been inundated with requests to comment on the ETTEH wahala having been reticent because l wanted to read between the lines of often-politicized reports and perhaps to speak with madam speaker through her media rep who is a friend. I admit, I am prepared to give women the extra benefit of the doubt because l know they are often pawns in high stake political horse trading. What "the boys" (newsroom and male politician parlour gists) had told me about Etteh was not flattering but then the boys hardly have anything good to say about most women, you should have heard what they told me about Iwealla and Ezekwesili whom I personally found to be fabulous ladies.

As I began to make up my mind on the Etteh issue, I ran into my friend Ibim Semenitari publisher and editor in chief of the new investigative business magazine BUSINESS EYE. An 18-year veteran, Ibim is one of the most highly qualified, feared and respected business journalists in Nigeria. For her new magazine, she choose not to accept support or partnership with corporate, private or government moneybags so she can have editorial control and not be used as a mouthpiece or tool to fight dirty battles. Ibim has my affliction, an unwillingness to use what ya mama gave you, a tendency to air strong unpopular opinions and facts and a refusal to be cowed into conformist, butt scratchingly irritating default, "good women choir" respectable woman mode. Her path is naturally tough, she is a strong intelligent woman, and she will crack it. So it was that we began talking about madam speaker and Ibim showed me this article she wrote for her magazine. I read it and end of discussion, Ibim says my mind.

Still on the topic, this is Yeni Kuti's take on it during her NEW DAWN appearance.

10 comments:

Oyibo! said...

so let me get this straight, your opinion of the Etteh thing is its ok for someone to spend millions of dollars of public money on themselves, just because everyone else is doing it? How is the corruption ever going to end?

catwalq said...

1. I need to research and figure out exactly what the Etteh issue is.

2. Yeni on New Dawn...feisty woman but I did not feel her thoughts were well articulated. I was much more intune with the younger woman and

3. Adding my two cents: It is no wonder women are not respected. The ones in the public eye are not known for much productivity. Why do we have no laws against domestic abuse and sexual abuse? Why do we have widows still being victimized at the hands of their inlaws? Why is the girl child still being underappreciated and undervalued? Why is the woman still a second class citizen?
Answer: Because women that should have used their positions to push forward reforms are more concerned being featured in a spread in Ovation, keeping up false appearances of perfect marriages and perfect children and wearing whatever imported apparel/ accessory they can lay their hands on.
I could spit.

TT said...

On the Channels TV program "SUNRISE" this morning the issue of madam speaker came up again with the normal accusations and counter accusation. Funmi your friend Ibim was there.

Something that struck me in d conversation was the claim by the Honorable of the house of reps(can't remember his name)that Mrs Speaker should be commended for refusing to stay in the presidential suite of NICON which costs N500,000 per day(Is this true"N500,000" per day, sounds crazy"). Apparently she was entitled to this temp accomodation while the renovation was in progress.

My washman who earns N5000 per month could not believe his ears.And we wonder why people will do anything to get a political appointment...to borrow ur phrase Funmi.."WE DON CRASE PATAPATA"

Iyaeto said...

Yeni? talking about women sleeping aorund with "Big Big men" na wa o. (Comment reserved!). The other lady made sense.CErAMIcS

adewunmi said...

On a completely diff issue - i clicked on the poetry recital on the youtube link the little girl receiting "what if i am a black woman" - fantastic.

on the Madam speaker issue - she may be a pawn - if yes? I hope this works out to reveal the truth. If not - she has fallen below expectation.

jjc girl said...

@ Oyibo. My reading of it is that the article says the very opposite. The tone of the first three paras is ironic, ie saying the opposite of what you really mean, for greater effect. Pretty clever writing.

Funmi Iyanda said...

@oyibo, did you read the entire article? l think not as the 1st part is pure irony and sacasm whilst the second part nails the discourse. read it ALL again.

@catwalq, Etteh, madam speaker of the house of rep is alledged to have awarded a contract to renovate her official residence and that of her deputy for over 600 million naira, yes you heard me 600 million wackers!

@tt, yes o it is true, not sure how much the presidential suite is but last year l fell out with some "change agents" friends of mine who under the guise of reworking some policies with a highly respected minister, stayed DAILY in N50,000 a nite Nicon rooms for over EIGHT MONTHS! dat one is "mormal" ke.

@iyaeto, me l no know book o.

Iyaeto said...

N628 million or N238 million . These amounts are too much for renovation of buildings ke. When d last public officials left, did they tak e the whole buildings away? Besides I would like to know where Madam Etteh used to live b4 she became a politician not to talk of been a speaker. More so Funmi would it be possible for u to invite the former speaker and Deputy speaker come on your program and ask them if they took the whole buildings away when they left office. Also I believe there was an inventory when they moved in and when they moved out of these so called "quarters". That hotel story could be true as I used to know a public official during the Abubakar regime who refused to stay at the hotel. He ordered his protocol officer to use the imprest money for renovation besides he discovered that there was no renovation required so he moved into his official quarters in Maitama. His protocol officer was not happy 'cos oga has blocked his "ije".Would this woman spend her own money like that?Before she became Speaker, how many times has she travelled to the US to celebrate birthday? I'm a feminist but I don't like people taking us for a ride. Madam Speaker owes Nigerians an explanation!!

Funmi Iyanda said...

@iyaeto, brilliant idea, will start working on it. As per madam speaker, l dont care the gender, once the allegation is proven, she should be impeached, corruption is mad murder, isint murder a capital crime in Nigeria?

nijaombudsman said...

A sense of anger initially welled within me, until I read the whole piece linked to your article (written by Ibim). The piece was well articulated.
There are those like the "Speaker" who have been given the golden opportunity to make a difference in the midst of the madness and abysmal failure that abound among our political class but its sad that "its difficult to sing a tune different from those who have tutored you".

I am yet to understand the greed that continue to enslave our so called leaders (save for a few). How can one justify spending 620 million on two houses and 12 cars! Haba, that's enough money to set up a mini estate or build more than 10 public schools.

Its a pity that those who are supposed to set the pace for development continue to hold our collective progress to ransom as a result of their stupidity and heartlessness. "There is no life as empty as a self-centered life and there is no life as centered as the self-empty life." People like Etteh continue to equate their success with how much material things they have acquired even at the expense of the suffering masses.

We shall progress when we collectively hold our office holders accountable for their conduct rather than exalt them after they have looted to enrich themselves. But we'd rather celebrate thieves and mediocres at the expense of our collective welfare. We as a people are a part of the problem. The "Speaker" and all involved should ideally be on suspension pending the outcome of all investigations but...

Unfortunately the issue is not about a leader's sex but rather the MIND...we need to change our mentality