Meet another woman who like Dora, showcased herself as a Teflon way back during one of Nigeria’s worst military regimes.

I’m beginning to believe that a pretty face can equally brace the same storms as a stony face. Bespectacled Chris Anyanwu in those days of Abacha and his cohorts faced the danger of telling the truth and paying dearly for it.
At a time when women were not even considered seriously in holding positions in leadership or allowed to make much impact in the public (unless they were wives of leaders running better life programmes), this woman operated under one of the dangerous professions of that time – Journalism.

Journalists have always been ‘beefed’ by the big wigs in power simply because they always aim to expose their dirty dealings to the curious public. Chris’ arrival on the scene made matters worse for the Khaki boys because she wasn’t just out to report happenings but to tell the naked truth.

She told it and they arrested her and put her in the dreaded dark cells that nearly made her go blind. I remembered when I heard the news that day that she was nearly going blind, it was a terrifying thought. The Khaki boys thought they had things under control until Chris received an International courage award that made them realize that the global community was following the trend of things. They thus decided to be careful because of the possibility that things could blow up in their face.

In a deep article that she wrote for the World Freedom Day may 3rd 1999, Chris highlighted the limits placed on women in the Nigerian society; a limit of which she braved all odds to break through:

“I fully realize that my incarceration was a well-calculated plan by General Abacha and a certain misogynist clique in the ruling circle to force me out of the profession and by it send a strong signal to the female elite that there are limits for women in this society. The tragic demise of the only other female publisher and the gory murder of three outstanding and outspoken women in the country during this same period all fit into this pattern of behavior.

Without doubt, Abacha and his clique aimed to cause a reversal in the strides made by women in Nigerian society. He wanted to reshape woman according to his primitive mental picture of the world.

The extent to which he succeeded is becoming more evident in the dimished visibility of women and especially their low involvement in Nigeria's transition politics. Few women are running for elected office and even fewer are willing to get involved publicly in any form of assertive affair.even fewer are willing to get involved publicly in any form of assertive affair.”

We can really thank God that things are gradually changing and people are beginning to realize that women have something to offer society that men don’t seem to possess.

Chris Anyanwu has set milestones that will place her in Nigeria’s history books. Apart from braving the odds of a treacherous regime, she also happened to be Nigeria’s first broadcast entrepreneur when she set up her media company; Spectrum Broadcasting.

Sometimes it takes the outside world to really make us realize how we should appreciate our women and stop marginalizing them by limiting their leadership potentials to just the position of First Lady. And Chris makes the point when she states it clearly in an interview;
“It’s interesting – but we’re not a people or a society that makes sacrifices. You’re not appreciated for it. But the fact that foreigners took a special interest … it struck home to [Nigerians] that this person did something right, that it was something admirable and it earned quite a bit of respect.”

From the above statement you can see a reflection of how the global community views the women we fail to appreciate and give a chance to prove their mettle. Its clear and evident across the nation. We’ve seen how the Okonjo-Iwealas, the Ezekwesilis and a host of other have fared and struggled in a society clouded by the domineering force of men.
Many have come to the conclusion that a woman president will make a lot of difference in Nigeria if given the chance. I strongly agree. There’s just something that women will always have that men will never have and we must never underestimate them. The Nigerian political terrain is changing; more women are joining the race; more women are coming out to make impact. It's time to pay attention to them, it's time to empower our women and appreciate them.

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