Zenith Bank’s new MD and the burden on successful women - Farooq Kperogi – Newstrends
Connect with us

Opinion

Zenith Bank’s new MD and the burden on successful women – Farooq Kperogi

Published

on

Adaora Umeoji Nwokoye

Zenith Bank’s new MD and the burden on successful women – Farooq Kperogi

It so often happens that whenever a Nigerian woman makes the news as having been appointed to a high position that is, has been or, in the minds of male chauvinists “should be,” the exclusive preserve of men, she becomes the object of (social) media slander, unconscionable belittlement, vile gossip, slut-shaming, and malicious smears.

That is the fate Zenith Bank’s Mrs. Adaora Umeoji Nwokoye has been suffering since her announcement as the first woman Group Managing Director and CEO of the bank. In what is supposed to be her moment of joy, she’s contending with an avalanche of mean, nasty remarks and misogynistic bullying from insecure men with fragile egos who, instead of being happy for her, choose to question her qualifications, obsess over her looks, and ascribe her rise to a reward for sexual favors.

The most egregious of this came from a widely shared Facebook post by one Azalike Nonso who wrote that Mrs. Umeoji-Nwokoye looked “like a hook up [sic] girl” and that he would “NEVER take [Zenith Bank] seriously again” for appointing her its boss.

When he was challenged, he doubled down on his evidence-free moral stigmatization of the woman by insisting that she “knack her way to the top,” a Nigerian Pidgin English expression for she slept her way to the top, a sentiment one  Okoye re-echoed in another widely shared Facebook post.

As the father of three girls, these dreadful patriarchal putdowns and vilifications of a successful, high-flying woman by some idle worthless scum of men hurt me on a personal level. Mrs. Nwokoye embodies what every responsible parent should want their daughter to grow up to be. She got the job because she was more qualified than anybody for the position.

READ ALSO:

She has multiple degrees, including advanced ones, in sociology, accounting, business administration, and law—in addition to three decades of experience in banking. She was, in fact, the Deputy Managing Director of Zenith Bank in the last eight years that preceded her elevation to the status of GMD/CEO of the bank. In other words, she had functioned as the second in command of the bank.

What more does it take to merit her position? Plus, she achieved her career success while married to her husband, Emmanuel Nwokoye, said to be a medical doctor, with whom she has children. And that’s the more reason why the unprovoked besmirching of her moral integrity is in such bad taste. Nigeria is supposed to be a traditional society where the institution of marriage is supposed to shield women from these sorts of calumnies.

I honestly wanted to ignore the social media skunks who cast aspersions on her honor without a shred of evidence because, truth be told, the overwhelming majority of people, both male and female, exulted in Mrs. Nwokoye’s norm-bending, glass-ceiling-breaking elevation as the boss of Zenith Bank.

Nonetheless, when I read Chido Nwakanma’s article titled “Zenith Bank and Managing Dr Umeoji’s PR” on Thursday and sensed suppressed, even benign, but nonetheless significant signs of misogyny in the garb of professional public relations analysis, I felt compelled to intervene.

Nwakanma is a well-regarded journalist and public relations expert for whom I have a great deal of respect. But his article on Mrs. Nwokoye’s promotion to the top of the ladder was a letdown.

He deployed what we call “blame-the-other-technique” to channel and validate patriarchal and misogynistic views of successful women, which basically consists in fixation on women’s dress and appearance, using discriminatory standards to assess women’s performance, and paternalistic condescension.

He said, “An observer noted that Zenith probably needed to prepare for the communication and PR challenge of showcasing an overly beautiful and over-educated female as MD.” “Overly beautiful and over-educated female as MD”! That’s classic patriarchal phraseology.

No serious analyst would ever talk of the handsomeness of a male bank CEO or describe a man with three bachelor’s degrees (in sociology, accounting, and law), two master’s degrees (in business administration and law), and a doctorate in business administration from a for-profit online American university as “over-educated.”

READ ALSO:

He would be described as “well-educated” instead. There is a tone of mild disapproval in the term “over-educated.” Over-education means having more education than is useful or needed. It’s as if she earned degrees above her gender station.

But it gets worse. He talked about concerns over her red dress, why she uses her maiden name as her middle name, and then had this gem: “She is beautiful, no doubt, and parades an exciting Figure 8. Unfortunately, Figure 8 is not corporate. She must sacrifice the vanity of Figure 8 for the corporate essence.”

That’s someone’s wife and some people’s mother, not to mention the CEO of one of Nigeria’s top banks, we are talking about. She’s being scrutinized for the shape of her body, not the content of her character (as Martin Luther King, Jr would say) or the quality of her ideas. Would any expert deserving of that name write about the sturdy, six-pack build of a newly appointed male CEO of a bank and then go ahead to dismiss it as “not corporate”?

Nwakanma mentioned “Figure 8” three times in three sentences. That’s extreme, unwarranted, and frankly, disappointing sexualization of a successful woman (not to mention someone’s wife!) who owes her rise in the corporate ladder to her brain, not her so-called Figure 8.

Nwakanma’s piece is merely a more intellectually sophisticated version of the crude misogynistic digs at Mrs. Nwokoye by bitter, no-good social media lowlifes.

Look, I have zero personal or professional familiarity with the woman, but I have a personal investment in how men handle the success of women because I am also raising three potentially successful women. My first daughter is studying engineering at a top-three engineering university in the United States.

I would be concerned if insecure men attribute her success in life to factors other than her brilliance, grit, and her hard work. I would lose it if middle-aged men were to fixate on her figure and choice of dress for analysis—things that are never done for men.

A similar scenario played out in 2017 when Mrs. Aisha Ahmad was appointed as one the deputy governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria. As I wrote in my October 14, 2017, column titled, “CBN’s Aisha Ahmad, Misogynistic Bullying, and Religious Hypocrisy,” two categories of (male) Nigerian social media users were disconcerted by her appointment.

“The first group,” I wrote, “said she is unqualified because her promotion as Executive Director by her bank was suspiciously co-extensive with her appointment as CBN’s deputy governor, suggesting that her promotion was done in anticipation— or as a direct consequence— of her appointment.”

I added: “The second group, made up of mostly northern Muslim men, said she was unworthy of her position—wait for it— because her formal western attire doesn’t conform to the Islamic dress code for Muslim women! One widely shared Facebook status update, in fact, defamed her as a ‘sex worker” on account of her dressing. That’s a prima facie case of libel.”

As is by now apparent, successful women—be they southerners or northerners, Muslims or Christians—can’t catch a break. They are always judged more harshly than men. This culture has to stop!

Zenith Bank’s new MD and the burden on successful women – Farooq Kperogi

Farooq Kperogi is popular Nigerian newspaper columnist and United States-based Professor of Journalism. 

Opinion

Farooq Kperogi: Yahaya Bello’s EFCC comeuppance

Published

on

Farooq Kperogi: Yahaya Bello’s EFCC comeuppance

I am not from Kogi State, but I have strong opinions on former Kogi State governor Yahaya Bello—as most Nigerians do. There is no doubt that few politicians in Nigeria are as universally reviled and despised as Yahaya Bello because of how he turned governance into a violent infant play, denuded it of even the faintest pretense to sanity and respectability, and developed an uncanny capacity to incite raw rage in people.

That’s why there is mass excitement in Nigeria over his current travails with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Most people see his fate as a richly deserved karmic retribution for his eight years of incompetent, anger-arousing, profligate, and terroristic governance in Kogi State, the consequences of which transcended the bounds of Kogi State.

He began his tenure as governor as the symbol of hope for youth inclusion in governance. But he soon became a byword for recklessness, malfeasance, ineptitude, incivility, and the greatest betrayer of the youth constituency. He shouldn’t have been governor—or, for that matter, anything in politics.

He had no guardrails on his tongue. Like a spoiled, over-indulged, ill-bred, and uninhibited child, he blabbered whatever inanities caught his febrile fantasies with no care for consequences. He ridiculed civil servants, and terrorized opponents with full-strength viciousness— as if he would remain the governor of his state forever.

He even nicknamed himself—or was nicknamed by his flunkies—as the “white lion.” But when the EFCC came calling, the “white lion” transmogrified into a pitifully frightened, yellow-bellied chicken. Now the white-lion-turned-chicken is fluttering and hiding like he has gone insane.

READ ALSO:

A wanted notice has been issued for him by the EFCC, the Inspector General of Police has withdrawn all police officers assigned to guard him, and the Nigerian Immigration Service has placed him on its watchlist. I can’t wait to see him brought to justice for all the crimes he committed while he held sway as the governor of Kogi State.

In a 2022 article, I described him as an ignorant, incorrigibly petulant child who was trapped in an adult’s body, who was destroying the littlest semblance of decency left in government in Kogi State, and who thought he could democratize his infantilism nationwide by seeking to be president.

According to several Kogi State civil servants, Bello didn’t pay full salaries for most civil servants for most of his tenure as governor, yet he is being hunted by the EFCC for allegedly laundering up to 80.2 billion naira, presumably the money he should have used to pay the salaries of workers.

In less than one week after he was sworn in as Kogi State governor on January 27, 2016, according to a May 13, 2016, Premium Times’ investigation, Bello approved N250 million naira for himself as “security vote” and another N148 million to “furnish” and “renovate” his office. At that time, Kogi State workers hadn’t been paid their salaries for months.

Bello’s spokesman at the time said the raiding of the state’s treasury in the name of security was justified because Kogi had become the seedbed of crime as a result of its location.

“It is public knowledge that Kogi State has been contending with serious security breach for the past 10 years,” he said. “As a result of the location of the state as gateway to many states of the federation, the state drifted into a criminal hotbed. Also, years of gross maladministration and blinding embezzlement has left the youth bare, exposing them to all sorts of criminal activities to survive. Kogi became a haven of robbers and kidnappers.”

That was the start, which most people ignored. Everything went downhill from there. The man didn’t even pretend to govern.

In 2020 when COVID-19 raged and most people were caught in a complex web of uncertainties and anxieties about the new infectious disease, Bello chose to become a abhorrent, ignorant conspiracist and the conduit for all sorts of wild, crazed, dangerous, fringe chatter about the disease.

READ ALSO:

Yet, although he openly questioned the existence of COVID-19, he fed fat on it like the vampire that he is. The Premium Times of March 26, 2021, reported that Bello spent 90 million naira in 2020 to purchase COVID-19-tracking software that cost only 30 million naira.

“The software, approved by a COVID-19 sceptic, Governor Yahaya Bello, was for tracking coronavirus cases in the state,” Premium Times reported. “However, the software is no longer functioning as the developers said they had a contract to host it for only one year.”

It’s impossible to chronicle Bello’s in-your-face financial malfeasance in a newspaper column. Not even a book-length narrative is sufficient to do justice to how much Bello financially bled and sucked the blood of Kogi State.

The man’s daring electoral terrorism is another issue that has earned him well-deserved loathing in Nigeria. This is a man who commanded his toadies to dig deep ditches on roads (that were built with billions of naira) just to stop voters from a part of the state he knew won’t vote for his candidate from being able to cast their votes.

According to Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, at the time the senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Kogi central, “We woke up this morning to the news that Yahaya Bello has instructed the excavation of all access roads to my hometown. My hometown is cut off from Obangede community; it is also cut off from Eika. And right now, I am in front of another road which was just excavated, thereby cutting me out of travelling out of my hometown.

“What this means is INEC would not be able to [access] certain communities, especially my hometown. What this also means is if Yahaya Bello and his APC goons decide to attack me and the good people of Kogi central in Ihima community, it will be impossible for the DPO to get across to this place. That means I, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, my fellow candidates, and supporters are trapped. We have no way out because Yahaya Bello has dug gullies.”

This is a vile and detestable vermin who should never have been allowed to get anywhere close to governance, much less be a governor. He is an excellent specimen of how not to be a governor—or, in fact, a human. I have not the littlest drop of sympathy for him.

Given the peculiarities of the Nigerian political environment, it seems likely that he is in trouble with the EFCC only because he has fallen out of favor with the president or his henchmen. I honestly don’t care.

More than anything, though, Bello’s troubles exemplify the transience of power and the imperative for humility when you wield it.

Farooq Kperogi is a renowned Nigerian newspaper columnist and United States-based Professor of Journalism.

Farooq Kperogi: Yahaya Bello’s EFCC comeuppance

Continue Reading

Opinion

Bobrisky, Cubana Chief Priest and Indabosky Bahose

Published

on

Tunde Odesola

Bobrisky, Cubana Chief Priest and Indabosky Bahose

Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, April 19, 2024)

Abido Shaker! Life is a widening gyre where women fear cockroaches, cockroaches fear cocks, cocks fear men, and men fear women. A few years ago, Chukwemeka Cyril Ohanaemere was an ordinary name in Nigeria until fakery kissed bombast and vainglory took materialism to bed, birthing ‘The Lion Himself’, ‘The War’. ‘The Fight’, ‘Dabus Kabash’, ‘The Indabosky Bahose’.

Ohanaemere, the unlettered Anambra indigene, more famous for his comic displays than his cleric claims, also calls himself ‘The Liquid Metal’, which is another name for mercury. Ohanaemere aka Odumeje doesn’t call himself ‘The Liquid Metal’ because he understands that mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature. He calls himself ‘The Liquid Metal’ because of the fancy the name carries.

In a viral video, 41-year-old Odumeje boasted to some fans about his numerous spiritual powers that he hasn’t used yet, saying, “…Indabosky Bahose is power, Lebadusi Prelamande is power, Abido Shaker is power, Dabus Kabash is power, Lipase Parrel is power, Gandukah Gandusah is power; those powers, I have not touched them, I’ve never used them, I’m still on Indabosky Bahose!” All na wash (in Nyesome Wike’s voice)

Odumeje’s gung-ho powers are like the sands of the beach. When angry, he can make people go deaf and dumb because he’s the ‘Warlord’, which he pronounces as ‘Worrod’. In 2022, however, when the men of the Anambra State Environmental Task Force pulled down his illegal church in Onitsha, the all-conquering God that Odumeje serves refused to rescue him. Odumeje’s God was probably snoring when the officials of the environmental task force rained slaps on him and kicked him around like a graven image.

Because of their unique adaptability nature, the female gender deserves the ‘Liquid Metal’ title much more than the jester of Onitsha. But the female gender shouldn’t undermine their flexibility and overlook a worrisome development that the case of popular cross-dresser, Idris Olanrewaju Okuneye, presents.

READ ALSO:

Ever since Okuneye aka Bobrisky confessed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, to possessing a cock, the calm in the women’s rights community nationwide has been disturbing.

By his confession, it’s not out of place to imply that Bobrisky had seen the nakedness of women in public restrooms. In this light, I had expected Nigerian women’s rights advocacy groups to test the (in)elasticity of our laws by pressing against Bobrisky charges such as invasion capable of causing breach of law and order, intrusion of privacy, and potential sexual threat against children and women, among others. Or, how else can you explain the dangers posed when a man in a woman’s clothing uses the same restroom with unsuspecting females?

In the US, a man or woman who wishes to change their sex must first live the gender they want to change to for a year before undergoing sex-change surgery. They must also undergo a series of psychological and psychotherapy care before they can change their gender. This is to test their resolve.

Both Odumeje and Bobrisky are the creations of a society whose gaping vacuum for icons has been filled by Mammon-seeking pranksters. They are the products of a crippling economy and morally shattered nation unfurling as Paradise Lost. This is why you see the millions of Nigerians seeking guidance from yeyebrities, who themselves are lacking-thought broken spirits.

Many see the prosecution and conviction of Bobrisky for naira mutilation as scapegoating, coupled with the ongoing prosecution of a former shoemaker, Pascal Okechukwukwu aka Cubana Chief Priest, for the same offence. The position of people who hold this belief can’t be impeached because scapegoating, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is ‘a goat upon whose head are symbolically placed the sins of the people after which he is sent into the wilderness…’. This is the same reason why the Yoruba say the fellow on whose head the community coconut is broken won’t wait to partake in it, ‘eniti won fi ori re fo agbon, ko ni duro je ni be’.

It was former President Goodluck Jonathan who defined the lack of shoes as an index of poverty. I don’t know whether to categorise shoemaking as a mirror reflecting poverty or affluence. But a background search describes Odumeje as a hustler who ‘had his humble days as a struggling leather designer on the streets of buzzing and busy Onitsha City in Anambra State’. I’m not unaware that the dazzle in razzmatazz can polish a shoemaker into a leather designer on the streets of Onitsha. Cubana Chief Priest wasn’t ashamed to reveal life on the streets of Aba, Abia State, as a shoemaker.

READ ALSO:

Valid questions are being raised as to the parameters used in singling out Bobrisky and Cubana Chief Priest for prosecution when the children of former President Muhammadu Buhari and their powerful guests ‘sprayed’ and trampled on naira during the wedding of Hanan, one of Buhari’s daughters. I’ll offer free consultation here: the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission can pin the prosecution of the two citizens on their serial abuse of the naira, but for Christ’s sake, Nigerians need an explanation on why a musician like Wasiu Ayinde, who was garlanded by an Ogun State monarch, Oba Kolawole Sowemimo, with taped naira notes, is left of the EFCC hook. Sowemimi, who’s the Olu of Owode, was suspended by the Ogun State Council of Traditional Rulers but Wasiu was not even questioned by the EFCC for his consistent abuse of the naira. Is it because Ayinde is the bard of the ruling All Progressives Congress? For the integrity of its brand, the EFCC should explain lest the crackdown be seen as a witch-hunt.

Instead of picking on Bobrisky for naira abuse, numerous online videos of Bobrisky showing Bobrisky claiming to be a woman and having boyfriends abound. Her nickname name, ‘Mummy of Lagos’, points at homosexual allegations trailing her. In an online video, Bobrisky said, “If you dump me, na another man go kari me. Do you get what I’m saying? If you dump me, if you think you’re done with me, na another man wey dey cherish me, wey wan nack me, go kari me.”

On account of this video alone, and in the light of his confession before a court, to being a man, Bobrisky is guilty of the anti-homosexual laws of the country. Also, the EFCC should know the dangers inherent in leaving Bobrisky’s five million online followers, mostly youths, to manipulation and indoctrination.

If Nigeria had laws against homosexuality, the country should man up to defend the laws and stop hiding behind the naira-spraying fingers of Bobrisky – US position on homosexuality notwithstanding. Nigeria and the US both need each other. The ‘not guilty’ plea of Cubana Chief Priest is expected to expand the frontiers of the laws against naira abuse, and I wait to see how the case unfolds. C-o-u-r-t!

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @Tunde Odesola
X: @Tunde_Odesola

Bobrisky, Cubana Chief Priest and Indabosky Bahose

Continue Reading

Opinion

The real reason government went after Bobrisky – Reno Omokri

Published

on

Idris Okuneye, better known as Bobrisky

The real reason government went after Bobrisky – Reno Omokri

What happened with Bobrisky just shows you the savviness of Nigeria compared to other nations and the intellectual response to governing on display by the current administration.

The Nigerian government obviously wanted to clamp down on the trending cross-dressing culture in Nigeria. But the government was also aware of the fact that any direct move in that regard would earn it the whip of the Western powers.

And being that our economy is only just improving after eight years of General Buhari’s wasteful locust years, Nigeria could not place itself in the position that Ghana now is.

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, Ghana’s parliament passed legislation cracking down on LGBTQ rights, of which a significant aspect of that law addresses the issue of cross-dressing.

Perhaps the most powerful bloc in liberal America and the UK is the LGBTQ community, and their pushback against Ghana was quick and with a stick. The alacrity of response was not treated with temerity in Ghana. Within days, it was announced that if the Ghanaian President signed that law, the World Bank would have to reconsider a $3.8 billion loan to Ghana.

That announcement made the Ghanaian President turn blind, as Nana Akufo-Addo was quoted as saying that he had not yet seen the law on his desk, therefore, he could not sign it.

Three months after its passage, President Nana Akufo-Addo still has not seen the law. Maybe JAMB sent a Nigerian snake to eat the law!

READ ALSO:

In case you ever wondered why President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron moved against then-President Jonathan and, in an unprecedented manner, worked against his re-election in 2015, do note that it was because, on Monday, January 13, 2014, Dr. Jonathan signed a law criminalising same-sex relationships and its appurtenances.

General Buhari’s handlers were competent. They immediately hired the same guy advising both Obama and the LGBTQ movement in America-David Axelrod. They passed the word that if Buhari were supported to be President by the Western powers, he would frustrate the anti gay marriage las that their enemy, Jonathan, signed.

In my book, Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years, I provide proof of this.

So, the Tinubu administration was in a dilemma. How to deal with Bobrisky for being a cross-dresser but not to make it about his being a cross-dresser. And this is where you have to respect the subtlety of the Tinubu administration. They found a way, a creative genius way.

Bobrisky violated a law against the abuse of the Naira. That is why a first-time offender committed an offence that even government officials engaged in during Buhari’s son’s wedding, and, despite pleading guilty, was sentenced to six months in prison.

In fact, there is more video evidence of Naira abuse via spraying at the wedding of no less a person than Abdul Aziz Malami, the son of Abubakar Malami (SAN), Nigeria’s Former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

And the scapegoating of Bobrisky has worked. Since his arrest, have you seen any of his ‘colleagues’ prancing about?

We used to see them almost daily on blogs and social media. The traditional media, too, could not have enough of them. They got the memo. They have run for cover since Chairwoman answered to the gender of male in court, when asked to state ‘her’ gender.

The Tinubu administration has just shown that there are more ways than one to skin a cat. And you can choose a way that will not bring you negative attention.

Now, cross-dressing will be on the wane, and Nigeria will not suffer any economic sanctions or diplomatic repercussions, as has happened to Uganda and Hungary.

The real reason government went after Bobrisky – Reno Omokri

Reno Omokri

Continue Reading

Trending

Skip to content