Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr
The full text a speech by Prof Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr
at The Millennial Women And The Future Of Africa Special Webinar organized by Goldridge Publishing on March 25, 2022 on the topic “Millennial Women and the Future of Africa”.
It is my profound pleasure to be called upon to speak on a subject so dear to my heart and soul as a feminist. When I call myself a feminist people wonder what informs such predilection.
How can such a heavily bearded masculine homo sapien in a predominantly patriarchal world pride in feminism. But my faith in the woman and in the future of the womenfolk is unparalleled.
Who is the millennial woman and what is her place in the emergent Africa. Is she the highly opinionated young woman or the contemporary intellectual who believes in her competency and capacity.
Is she the roadside young feminist at war with her male counterparts or the very erudite young woman that stands for what she believes. Or is she that great believer in the mental equality, competency and capacity of all humans.
I dare to classify the millennial woman as one great specie cast in a highly restless and engaging generation of young people, a young class of erudite, intellectually sagacious, strong willed, visionary and a manifestly engaging generation with great faith in the equality, sagacity and competency of all homo sapiens.
Africa is a continent in dire quest for resurgence and renaissance if you like. The future of our dear continent will be profound when we empower her Young people particularly the women.
Do not forget or undermine that pristine cliche and praxis that says that if you educate/train a man you have educated someone, but when you educate/train a woman you would have trained a society.
We must therefore rise to the urgency of now, we must elect to not only educate the female child but build the requisite blocks that must block the age long biases against the African woman.
We must confront the bias that feeds on religion, culture, tradition and patriarchy. We must challenge the atavistic values that subjugate the girl child. We must resist the epistemology that restricts the ambition of the girl child. And we must broadly push the best of our women to the highest level.
Leadership across Africa, and leaders across different stratas of society be they political, business, religious, academic and ‘what have you’ must rise to the urgency of now.
We must challenge our continent to put proper primacy on the education of the girl child, when we do that, Africa shall grow more Chimamanda Adichies, Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealas, Ellen Sirleaf Johnsons, Amina Mohammeds amongst others. And when we do so, we shall be bringing forward the joyous daybreak of massive gender parity and development in Africa.
As we celebrate the Woman in the month of my birth March, I perhaps think that my feminism is somewhat metaphysical, I also think that it is not a mere coincidence that males born in March are largely liberal and disposed to gender equality.
But beyond the celebration of the International Women’s Day and the Month of March as the month when we celebrate our women, we must commit to empowering the girl child and our young people, for save and except that is done our search for a great Africa will amount to the wait for Godot.
We must push the narrative beyond the frontiers placed by religion, we must challenge African societies and Countries to borrow a leaf from Pakistan a predominantly Muslim country that at some point had a female Prime Minister, and from Saudi Arabia that has outlawed underaged marriage.
African Societies must stop being more Catholic than the Pope and or being more Muslim than Prophet Mohammed peace be unto him. We must rise up against child marriage and bring down the biases that consign our women to the Kitchen and or ‘the other room.’
African Societies and Governments must deliberately integrate and include the woman (womb-man) in all and every strata and or layer of decision making in our nation’s.
We must inspire the African woman to aspire to reach her greatest potentials in a highly progressive world. And we must accept the fact that until we work hand in hand and side by side with the women our growth will be numb and short.
Women must network, corporate and collaborate with fellow women, and in preaching gender parity do so with competency and capacity as the linchpin.
For time I must conclude by challenging our women in the words of a great sage, ‘if you can’t fly run, if you can’t run walk, if you can’t run crawl, but by all means keep moving’. Our women must therefore continue to build capacity and challenge for the soul of Africa for our collective good.
Prof. Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr, a Leadership And Mentorship Instructor, delivered this speech at the Millennial Women And The Future Of Africa Special Webinar on March 25, 2022.