LOUD WHISPERS: The Lecture

On behalf of all of us at the University of Menge, I would like to thank Dr Kafria Mentil for honouring us with her presence today and for delivering such an informative and exciting lecture on ‘Preparing for Transformative Leadership’. The floor is now open for questions.

My name is Joseph Karimi. I am a third year student of Economics in this University. Thank you for the exciting lecture ma. I am concerned about the attitude of our older  leaders today. Many of them are doing things they should be ashamed of. They do not pay workers’ salaries on time, they owe pensioners, yet they earn huge allowances and import fancy cars. It is getting so hard to find role models as you suggested. What can be done about this?

I agree with you that we are witnessing things that leave a lot to be desired. What I urge you to do is ask yourselves, from what I have been taught by people I respect, is this the right way of doing things? Or, ten years from now, is this how I would like to behave? If I am given a position of responsibility now, what would I do differently? Transformative leaders are not there for themselves or their egos, their purpose is to serve others. As we have adults behaving badly all around us, there are still a lot who we can be proud of. Seek out role models who have a track record of integrity, discipline and demonstrable achievements. If you choose your role models carefully you will not be disappointed.

My name is Wande Jameson. I am a final year Law student. I am interested in politics, but I hate the way some things happen in the name of politics. For example how can people vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton who was a more qualified candidate? If they can make a mistake like that in the US, what hope do we have?

It is not up to us to say the American voters made a mistake. All we can do is learn from what happened. We have similar political scenarios around us, where the electorate makes strange choices, voting against their own interests. That is why I urged you to be vigilant, engaged and informed. You need to stop agonizing and start organizing. The real world makes decisions and forms opinions on the streets, in drinking joints, market places, and motor parks, not just on Twitter and Facebook. If young people want a difference they should change the game themselves. Register to vote and show up to vote. Take an interest in politics at a local level. Stop chasing after politicians for money. Stop waging proxy wars on their behalf. Make good use of your time in the University, and use cyberspace to explore the world and broaden your horizons.

My name is Alice Chama. In your speech you said if we are not careful, social media will spell doom for our generation. Don’t you think this is a bit harsh?

Thank you Alice. No, I don’t think I am being harsh, I am stating the facts as I see them. This is not something limited to Nigeria or Africa, it is a global problem. Social media, with all its advantages, is fast becoming a scourge. In a bid to take the ideal selfie, people have fallen to their death or been crushed by trains. Teenagers have been trolled till they commit suicide. We use our mobile devices as a crutch to show people how meaningful and glamourous our lives are. We go shopping and post photographs of our purchases so that people are not left in any doubt that we can afford Chanel bags and Jimmy Choo shoes. We do not value our privacy, so we post photographs of ourselves on vacation, and we are shocked when our homes get burgled before we return. When people post seemingly innocuous photographs of themselves, just to feel a sense of community, there is a barrage of criticisms which range from the outright ridiculous to the downright obscene. In what universe is it alright to call someone’s baby ‘Ugly’ or a mother a ‘bush woman’? Even mistresses have now become emboldened, using social media to attack the wives of their man-friends. Employers in many western countries now check out the cyber footprints of potential employees. No one wants to hire a seemingly unbalanced employee, and your social media activities reveal a lot about you. Your generation and mine have been blessed with social media and all the good it can do. Don’t let us be cursed with it.

My name is Danny Chetrin. You spoke about how violence against women and girls has reached alarming levels. What do you think of the way some women and girls dress. Don’t you think their provocative dressing is one of the causes of rape?

I thought I covered that in my lecture. Rape has very little to do with sex. Rape is an act of terror, it is violence perpetrated by someone who wants to exercise control and inflict pain for their own pleasure. The twelve year old boy who was raped to death in Ginger State, what was he wearing? The seven month old baby who was raped by her step father in Kenge State recently, what was she wearing? The Muslim women in Hijabs and the Nuns in their Habits who are raped, were they not wearing appropriate clothing? Who rapes the men who walk around wearing shorts or tight vests? Whilst I acknowledge that some women do wear alarming clothing, it is their choice to do so and we should not project our own sense of morality on others. We are also insulting the vast majority of men when we claim that seeing women in scanty clothing pushes men to rape. Blaming the victim is part of the culture of impunity I spoke about.

My name is Chetty Small. My Pastor tells us that women who believe in gender equality will go to hell because they are going against God’s will. He also said that any woman who does not hand her salary over to her husband is committing a great sin for not acknowledging her husband as her Lord and Master.

I suggest you look for another church to worship. Any woman who hands over her salary to her husband doesn’t have to worry about going to hell. She will experience the flames here on earth.

My name is Lukman Rati. You told us in your lecture that you and some of your friends hounded a man off your WhatsApp group because he did not agree with your views. What about freedom of expression?

Yes, there is freedom of expression, and I would be the last person to deny anyone that right. However, when a platform is created for people with shared values and interests to pursue a common goal, and there is someone who consistently posts things that are antithetical to the interests of the group, something needs to be done. The WhatsApp group in question was created to share information on women’s rights issues and to strategise. We had this man in the group who kept saying that anyone in support of the proposed Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill in Nigeria is indirectly supporting abortion and homosexuality. We could not understand how someone could consistently make such ridiculous claims. It turned out that he is a part of an ultra-conservative Christian group who have a history of blocking any policies or legislation to improve the status of women, especially when it comes to sexual and reproductive rights. As far as this man is concerned, any discussion of comprehensive sexuality education, contraception, negotiating safe sex and so on equals championing abortion and teaching young people to have sex with each other.

Most of the women on the platform are middle-aged women who have been advocating for women’s rights for a long time, so we know the value of working with good men who share our values. We simply got tired of trying to convince this one man out of the several other men on the platform. The last straw was when we found out that he was passing information about our conversations to the media. We therefore put pressure on the group administrator to remove him. The key lesson here is that you have to protect whatever space you find valuable, whether it is political, academic, professional or social. You don’t have to wear yourself out arguing with the unconvertible. Not every Saul will travel the road to Damascus and become a Paul. Conserve your energy, you don’t have to be everyone’s friend. If you believe in something, stand up for your beliefs and don’t allow yourself to be bullied.

My name is Sonia Metell. I am a Senior Lecturer in the Gender Studies Department. In your lecture, you said that academic institutions are failing not only their students but their lecturers as well. In my department, we have not been able to afford current books or journals and we don’t have any funding to attend international conferences for exposure. What can we do to raise the funding we need?

I think you can start with putting your house in order as academics. These days, from what some University lecturers say and write, it is hard to believe that they are responsible for teaching young minds. I went to a seminar recently, and I read through the abstracts that had been compiled. There was an abstract from a Lecturer who claimed to be in the English Department. His writing was full of grammatical errors, had questionable logic, and was simply awful. You can only imagine what his students would be like. Our government at Federal and State levels should do something about the proliferation of Universities and Polytechnics. Some of these institutions are glorified secondary schools. Why not merge some of them and use a multi-campus system? That way you can maximize the financial, human and infrastructural resources required to run a top-rate tertiary institution, instead of churning out thousands of graduates every year who might find themselves unemployable. I was at a University program recently, and the Vice-Chancellor of the place was consistently referred to as ‘Engineer Professor so and so’. A Vice-Chancellor of a University has to be a Professor of something. Why do we need to be reminded that he is an Engineer? So we will soon see ‘Barrister Professor’, ‘Architect Professor’ and ‘Pharmacist Professor’. A University should be run with the highest ethical and academic standards possible. That is what will attract investments from philanthropists, donor agencies, the private sector and alumni.

Thank you for inviting me. I will put my email address up on the screen. You can visit www.abovewhispers.com, I have a weekly column called Loud Whispers. You can also follow me on Twitter @bisiafayemi. Please note I am not interested in being informed about the birth of your new kittens, neither will I be impressed with photographs of you on a flight to Dubai.

 

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

 

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18 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: The Lecture

  1. Femi Diipo April 10, 2017 at 5:37 am

    As much as I can imagine the contents of this lecture based on the questions and answers, I wish we could get the content of the whole lecture. Amazing and insightful as always

    Reply
  2. Dom Dom April 10, 2017 at 5:41 am

    I read through this article more than once, the answers are so striking and thoughtful. Ma, I want the whole speech

    Reply
  3. Princess April 10, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Ma’am I love the response you gave to chetty small, no one will go to hell cuz of gender equality. God used men, children and the likes in the bible for all. There’s nothing like sex in the kingdom, we are all equal. And for giving all your hard earned money to your hubby, Oyo will not only be your case but zamfara will be. And please do change your Church as momma advised cuz that sermon is heretical.

    Reply
  4. Julie April 10, 2017 at 7:29 am

    This article is a very nice one and the response you gave are very clear and unbiased. God bless you momma.

    Reply
  5. Ebonychyqui2 April 10, 2017 at 7:47 am

    As for issues pertaining to politics, we all should learn to set priorities right and check their motives. Any one who feels politics is in a state of discombobulation and messy should go there and clean up the mess, and stop complaining. We all have a right to cast our votes and involve in politics because its our civic responsibility. Its time to act and that starts with us!

    Reply
  6. faramade Olushoga April 10, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I always say this, Rape is not about the dressing, I am pleased with the answer you gave the other lady who asked that question. My dress is not your concern it means you are just mentally insane! I hate it when you tell someone about rape and the next question is what was that person wearing?

    Really? even police officers are fun of that and when they see the cloth they decide if they should take it up or not? Thanks for saying such a valid statement.

    Reply
  7. Evelyn Ejiro April 10, 2017 at 11:48 am

    This is great. I am amazed at such intellectual and wise responses. I don’t mind having the speech, this is what should really go viral not crazy pictures of nudity and insanity.

    Reply
  8. Tolulope Adefemi April 10, 2017 at 11:53 am

    You know, I read this over and over again. God bless you ma’am. I don’t mind the speech either. I will still keep saying this, I wonder why the federal government hasn’t thought about making you a minister. Women affairs/Youth/Education. These are the kinds of people we need.

    Reply
  9. Olushola Aderanti April 10, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Loud whispers is here again! I am glad to know this site because I get transformed everytime i’m here. You know, just like others wrote, I want this speech and after reading, I was ashamed that Ekiti state missed transformation for thuggery.

    Reply
  10. Maureen Adams April 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    This speech should be uploaded and we should make efforts at making it go viral. This pastor issue, it’s a big case in Nigeria. I have a friend who is married to a violent man and has refused to leave because her pastor told her that the bible doesn’t accept divorce, so she must carry her cross and wait for her husband’s salvation.

    It’s irksome, i will share this and I hope this will really help her.

    Reply
  11. Oluwatosino April 10, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you ma for sharing this insightful questions and answers with us… Am also requesting for the full Lecture to be uploaded for us to disgest more.
    I concur with the answer concerning social media spelling doom for our generation.No more privacy. Social media has been abused with the way our generation handles it.
    Thanks you ma, Rape is not about the dressing, it’s just wickedness from the pit of hell. Abi what has dressing got to do with a year old baby. When the government and police are meant to address the issue, they will be attacking the victim first by asking stupid question of what she was putting on.
    Thank You ma for always blessing us with educative information.

    Reply
  12. Toluene April 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Educative and insightful questions and answers. God bless you for us ma. Pls ma, can we get the full Lecture. I Love abovewhispers.com.

    Reply
  13. Olakunle Olajide April 10, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    So many vital points addressed from the question and answer segment, and i cannot​ but imagine what the “Lecture” would have addressed as a whole. I just hope the educational sector won’t become obsolete in the nearest future.

    Reply
  14. Samuel April 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Very precise answers to the questions above, that i must say. But on a lighter mood, can’t our political leaders​ be selfless for once and not selfish. Just a thought.

    Reply
  15. Modupeoluwa April 11, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Such a great lecture. The questions are on point and the answers giving to them are superb.

    Reply
  16. olakitan April 11, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    This article is is innovative, educative, accurate and full of insights.

    Reply
  17. DSEED April 11, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    I think this questions has been pondering my mind, now I have right answers for them.

    Reply
  18. Legzycool April 13, 2017 at 11:02 am

    This is a lecture worth sitting down for..Very incisive response to the questions. More grace ma’am.

    Reply

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