It is frightening to consider the options facing the Edo girl today. For the last 20 years if an Edo girl is not able to end up in London or America, then the chances that she will have to be involved in the worst kind of promiscuity are very high. The reason is simply to survive. Graduate or not, married or not, talented or not, for an Edo girl, nothing is on the table.
Over the last 20 years we effortlessly reached the point where most Edo girls on reaching the age of 16 start fending for themselves and their families. We just act like it does not happen. If you go to many countries, such as Libya, Kuwait or Russia, you will find groups of Edo girls prostituting themselves just so they can survive and provide some support for their families back in Edo State. Back in Benin when the politicians and everybody are tired, the cab drivers and okada riders will marry who or what is left of our Edo sisters and daughters. I am sorry I tried to be less graphic in my description, also note I used the word “most” and not “all”. We need to accept, however, the painful truth that our Edo sisters and daughters have become our most successful dark export commodity from Edo State.
Today, up to 90% of Edo State Women in the UK and USA diaspora are not interested in Edo activities. They do not believe in Edo things. They have out-developed the community: they cannot find anything of interest in the Edo Community and are tired of the constant flow of horrible stories of suffering and insecurities coming out of Edo every time they look. They do not want to be associated! Can you blame them? Nobody has ever cared for them and nobody cares now. They are wounded. I don’t know what type of infrastructure can fix this. Amid all this pain, maybe up to 10% of interested Edo women in diaspora still rally round via their Alumni to try and do something such as upgrade schools and give scholarships to girls in Edo State. Examples are Maria Goretti Old Girls, Idia College Old Girls and Federal Benin Old Girls, these are a few I know of in the diaspora, there could be more.
Imagine if this 10% of Edo women were encouraged? Imagine if they were noticed? Imagine if they were acknowledged? Supported? Add that figure to the wives of successful Edo men, plus successful Edo women in diaspora. Then the narrative will start changing, immediately improving Edo girls’ futures. This is a matter of priority. To make this happen we need the Edo first lady’s encouragement. Therefore, I am saying the position of “Edo first lady” should no longer be an accident waiting to happen. They should come out and campaign.
Enough of this jamboree of inactivity and misdirection called Edo governance. Enough of this mosquito ambassador crap, these meaningless Armed Forces Day appearances and ineffective orphanage selfies. Let’s put an end to this NAFEST kicking ball, boardroom empowerment and disconnected Edo female programmes, this election offers us the opportunity to tell our leaders what the real issues are. The reality is the inactivity in the function of Edo first lady is seriously reducing growth option opportunities for Edo girls and women. Edo girls would have more options if their first lady was awake.
Prominent Edo women worldwide with resource to help liberate Edo girls cannot make a way because we have accepted dormant “First ladies”. Edo have mothers, many mothers in diaspora. The doctors, the doctors wives, the successful property magnate’s wife, the healthcare professionals, IT professionals, barristers, teachers, the list goes on, in fact, it is safe to say, behind every successful Edo man is almost all cases an Edo mother is by his side. They have resource but cannot put it to work if the Edo First Lady is sleeping.
What are we talking about? How many examples do we need? In the past, most Nigerian men would choose an Edo girl as their first choice to marry, it is not so today. In the diaspora, other tribes and nations still find wives for their children from back home, its legal, I do not know of any Edo man in diaspora who has gone home to bring an Edo bride for his son in diaspora. They have quietly cancelled out that option because they know the problem is deep. How many Edo women are successful in Nigeria today? Who are they and where are they? The first lady's office should find them. Together we must start solving our problems especially when we know we have the resource.
If the Edo first lady needs me to point this out, then frankly her office is not fit for purpose. Edo State wants a first lady that knows their problems. We cannot tell you who to marry but you tell them to make an effort! You tell them to try. Try to know us and understand our problems. They should travel and see what Edo women are going through worldwide, travel to see what Edo women are achieving worldwide, gather them, discuss with them, encourage them, find out their brilliant ideas and resource to help the Edo girl and woman. Acknowledge their emails, give them an open-door policy so that Edo women can contribute their quota to rebuilding Edo state. They want to. Edo women in diaspora want to provide so much for Edo girls including Edo scholarships, incentives, role models, mentorship, businesses and so much, but they cannot do it without the Government. They need an effective first lady.
This is why I say f**k that, Edo first lady is involved in this election. They should start campaigning.