The Woman Champion

Mrs Efuru Nzeribe-Uwaezuoke had just finished telling her husband how fantastically idiotic he was.

Fancy him getting ahead of himself like that. Not only was her body hers and hers alone to decide what went on it and what did not, but she had purchased the lotion in question for good money – her own hard-earned cash, thankyouverymuch.

And there he was sprawled out on the bed like a lord, telling her that he didn’t like the fragrance. The impunity! Just because she was married to him.

That was the typical Igbo man for you. Being married to the only female Director General in the state civil service was probably too daunting; he had to find ways to assert himself.

“Nonsense,” she hissed. “I might be your wife, but I’m not, and will never be, yours to control!”

But she must not let him distract her. There were more important matters than a husband who had issues with the fragrance of his wife’s body lotion. She strapped on her Piaget.

Mr Uwaezuoke crawled out of bed and walked towards his wife. He placed his hands around her waist and whispered.

“I didn’t mean…”

“Leave me alone!” she barked, slapping him away. “I have a busy day ahead and the last thing I want is to spend time bickering with a man.”

She grabbed her Prada briefcase and stormed out.

Mrs Nzeribe-Uwaezuoke did indeed have a busy day ahead of her.

A senator had recently proposed a bill that could see Nigerian women jailed for up to six months if found guilty of “indecent dressing”, and she was meeting with leaders of the Higher Life for Nigerian Women this morning to finalise plans for tomorrow’s protest march.

After that, she was chairing a forum on violence against women, and meeting with the chairwoman of the Sub-Saharan Feminist Coalition to discuss the annual Woman Arise! event.

But before all that, she had to attend a parents’ meeting at her children’s school to plan the Christmas concert.

“Hurry up!” Mrs Nzeribe-Uwaezuoke said to her driver. “You’re too sluggish.”

“Yes, Madam,” the man replied, hitting the accelerator and beating a traffic light.

The driver was already turning into the school gates when Mrs Nzeribe-Uwaezuoke remembered: today was the deadline for an article on Nigerian Women in Leadership she was writing for the Liberation Digest.

“Oh dear,” she groaned aloud.

“Madam, is everything OK?” the driver asked.

She ignored him and whipped out the draft document. Long after he had parked the BMW, she was still inside making corrections to the article.

Sometimes, she wondered why the school authorities had to be so inconsiderate. Pity that most of the other mothers were career homemakers, content with living off wealthy husbands; otherwise they might have all jointly petitioned the school for calling a parents’ meeting at this prime time.

Come to think of it, women foolishly living off men instead of acquiring economic power for themselves was yet another point with which to buffer her article. Mrs Nzeribe-Uwaezuoke launched a fresh paragraph.

By the time the only female Director General in the state civil service eventually made it into the meeting hall, the headmistress was moderating a vote on which of the 11 fathers who had volunteered would be this year’s Father Christmas.

“Excuse me!” Mrs Nzeribe-Uwaezuoke howled.

“Yes, Madam?” the headmistress replied.

“I don’t believe that, in this day and age, we’re discussing Father Christmas.”

All eyes in the room turned to her.

“Is there a problem?” the headmistress asked.

“His image is an attack on women! Father Christmas was created to make it look as if men are the ones who provide and distribute, as if women have nothing to do with it.”

Mrs Nzeribe-Uwaezuoke paused and swept her eyes around the room. “That’s why the male chauvinists behind the concept make sure his gift bag is always shaped like a scrotum.”

Total silence fell upon the hall. Here and there, a few mouths gaped.

Finally, one mother dared to speak.

“This is just some fun for our kids. There’s no… ”

“Fun at the expense of whom?” Mrs Nzeribe-Uwaezuoke glared. “Women!” She puffed out her chest. “Our society sees us as objects to be used, controlled… and now our children are to have some fun at our expense.” She bellowed on for 15 minutes.

Thereafter, the meeting carried on with no further mention of Father Christmas.

Much later in the day, the only female Director General in the state civil service leaned back in her executive chair and took her first relaxed breath of the day. “So far, so good,” she thought. All her meetings had gone very well. The future was indeed looking much brighter for women in Nigeria.

A brief knock on the door interrupted her musings. Her secretary entered and presented Mrs Nzeribe-Uwaezuoke with a document marked “Confidential”.

It was a list of Directors recommended for promotion to Executive Director.

“The Governor would like to have your approved names before the end of today,” the secretary said, and left.

Mrs Nzeribe-Uwaezuoke looked at the list. Then she stared at the wall in fear. Executive Director was just one level below Director General.

Anyone she approved for promotion could soon be on the same level with her.

Carefully, she went through the list and struck out all the four women, one after the other. Then she typed out the remaining names on a fresh sheet of paper, printed it and signed the new document.

Sign up for Updates

4 Responses to The Woman Champion

  1. Femi Diipo May 30, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    As a corper serving in a primary school, I wondered why I had to choose a class Rep for my young pupils, why must there be a leader in a class of equals? The man being the head in the family I think is not an issue of equality but orderliness and happiness in homes.

  2. Utibe June 4, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Truly being a woman champion is about creating spaces for other women, not being threatened by other women.

  3. Ibukun June 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    So true @ Utibe. Humans are selfish beings, plain and simple, regardless of sex. I think people should be treated with equity without gender bias. I’m a woman and I’m tired of all these women’s rights actions, many just keep propagating the movement to suit their own ideologies.

  4. Olukemi Robinson July 9, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    First…lwkmd (Laff wan kill me die).
    Second being a feminist should not mean pretending to be a man.
    Turning one’s back on gentleness, empathy, sweetness.
    Sorry to have to admit, we are often our own worst enemy.
    But lovely funny piece.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of new posts by email.