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Theresa Omoronyia: Nigerian Women, Rise Against Insecurity!

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I am scared with the dimension our country has taken. Insecurity is very rampant, fear is prevalent and our security outfits are helpless. But beyond all these, is the anger I sense many of us feel with politicians who care more about the coming elections, than us. I want to make a personal appeal to all mothers and future mothers, please let us do something. While the politicians trade blames, jostle for political positions, fight supremacy battles, and over-analyze current events, we owe it to our children to protect them from the looming war.

It is only a woman who understands the pain of losing the child she bore. Long after the father has forgotten about the child he buried, the mother continues to remember the first time she felt him kick in her womb. She remembers his first smile, she remembers when his first tooth appeared. Mothers never forget.

This is why all women, mothers and potential mothers, must stand together, regardless of tribe or religion to say enough is enough! The grief of a mother in Borno should cause us pain, regardless of our location. Imagine if that was your daughter who was abducted or your son slaughtered in his dormitory, would you continue with your parties? Would you carry on as though everything were normal?

Perhaps you feel pained as well, but consider yourself helpless. Well, let me introduce you to a woman who did the impossible. In just under two years, Leyman Gbowee, the Nobel prize winner, alongside other women, ended the brutal Liberian civil war that had been raging for 14 years. She was nobody special, she was not connected to the powerful people, she was not rich, she wasn’t even a graduate! But she was a mother! According to her, “We are now taking this stand, to secure the future of our children. Because we believe, as custodians of society, tomorrow our children will ask us, “Mama, what was your role during the crisis?”

I ask you too, what is your role during this crisis? Are you excusing your complacency making excuses such as “This is not our war.” “I am a woman, I can’t do much.” “It serves them right, after all they killed people from our religion/tribe also.” Etc. These were some of the excuses Rwandan Hutu women who were complicit during the genocide gave when their menfolk killed Tutsis. But they didn’t realize that evil begets evil. They too faced death when they became refugees in other countries and through revenge attacks by the Tutsi militia. In other words, if we don’t stem this tide of violence that is currently in the north, we may wake up one morning to see it on our own streets.

As women, we are more powerful than we believe. Throughout the course of history, women have been instrumental in saving lives. God has often partnered with women to bring about solutions to problems. When Adam suffered loneliness in the Garden of Eden, God made Eve to help him, when the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, God worked with the mother of Moses and Pharaoh’s sister to save the baby Moses who later saved the Israelites. When Hamaan planned a genocide against the Jews in Persia, it was another woman, Queen Esther, with God on her side, who risked her life to avert that disaster. And in the New Testament we see how the Blessed Virgin Mary who through her simple obedience to God, became the mother of Jesus Christ, the Saviour.

In all these cases, these women must have faced fear, yet they had to do something. They could have decided to pray and then wait for the men, after all women in those days were treated like property. But they refused to let this fear of inadequacy or consequences keep them from doing the right thing.

Today, so many of us are waiting for someone to end this carnage in our land. We are looking to politicians, religious leaders, the military, the international community and even other rebel groups to protect us. But again like Leyman Gbowee said “Don’t wait for a Gandhi, don’t wait for a (Martin Luther)King, don’t wait for a Mandela. You are your own Mandela, you are your own Gandhi, you are your own King.” Another female Nobel Peace Prize winner from Yemen, journalist and activist Tawakkol Karman agreed when she said “Women should … become part of the solution. We have been marginalized for a long time, and now is the time for women to stand up and become active without needing to ask for permission or acceptance.”

Coincidentally this year’s theme for the International Women’s day is “Inspiring Change”. What change can we be inspired to make in our country? It will cost us time and may not be very easy at the beginning, but if we will overcome our fears and DO the right thing, instead of praying alone or hoping some hero will deliver us, we will definitely prevail.

In the book of Isaiah 32 verses 9-20 in the Holy Bible, God charges the complacent women of Jerusalem to do something. “Rise up” He commands, “strip off your fine clothes, beat your chest, mourn.” He said this to warn them of the coming disaster that would lead to famines, deaths and refugee crises. I think God is urging us, as women today, to do something about the insecurity in our land.

What can you do as a Nigerian woman to end this carnage? Will you listen to the voice in your heart that tells you to sacrifice time, effort and even resources to make a difference, or will you make excuses to deflect the responsibility?

In Leyman Gbowee’s case, she organised inter-faith prayers for all women. Market women, executives, students, both Christian and Muslim, joined hands and prayed for peace. They walked side by side to stage peaceful protests. They went on sex strikes to let their husbands and boyfriends know they were not happy with the current situation. Their efforts though simple, were profound and led to the end of the war.

Dear Nigerian woman, will you arise and DO something, no matter how small or simple, regardless of where you are? I dare you to start something and see if God will not use it profoundly. Like the German philosopher Goethe said “the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

As for me, even though I am not in Nigeria currently, I am going to use the internet to search for and write to as many people as I can, both Muslims and Christians to foster peace and unity. It won’t be easy, but I will do it and I trust God to bless my efforts. What about you, what will you DO besides prayers?

Photo Credit: madamenoire.com

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Theresa Omoronyia is a trained business analyst and has degrees in Management Science and Computer Science. She lives with her husband and son. Theresa enjoys being with people and her passion is to help those who are hurting. Please visit her blog for inspiration and motivation at http://thesisterskeeper.blogspot.co.uk

I think everyone has unique attributes to make a positive impact in this world. I hope my articles encourage people to "think right, feel right and do right". Professionally I am a trained business analyst with degrees in Management Science and Computer Science. I am happily married with children. I blog at http://thesisterskeeper.blogspot.co.uk

9 Comments

  1. Tincan

    April 29, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you for this wake up call. I have felt so helpless yet so troubled since this news broke. There must be something I can do, there has to be.

  2. Quirky

    April 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    “In Leyman Gbowee’s case, she organised inter-faith prayers for all women. Market women, executives, students, both Christian and Muslim, joined hands and prayed for peace. They walked side by side to stage peaceful protests. They went on sex strikes to let their husbands and boyfriends know they were not happy with the current situation. Their efforts though simple, were profound and led to the end of the war”.
    This will be my starting point. WHERE ARE ALL THE BN FEMALE COMMENTATORS, LET’s do this!

    • jcsgrl

      April 29, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      Gosh I’m soo happy I read this. I’ve been praying but hoping to do more. Not sure what next…God pls give us wisdom on how to turn our prayers into action.

  3. Miss Mo

    April 29, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Well said Quirky, if Nigerians can unite to do anything tho’.

  4. Teal

    April 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I dey wait,hmmmmmm

  5. dp

    April 29, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    When i read about the fact that the students might have been sold for 2k as wives to the terrorist, i was so heart broken and really moved to tears. I recently became a mother and i know how these mothers will be feeling. I have been praying for this country but i want to do more than to pray, just need God to led me on how to go about it, i don’t have much confidence in this particular government to protect its citizens

  6. Kiks

    April 29, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    I keep on thinking about the situation and my mind wanders as to where these girls have been taken. I feel they are so near but so caged to yell, may be hypnotised so much that they have forgotten themselves and the predicament which they are faced with. Their mothers are wailing and people are doing whatever they can to save these girls. I cannot stand a minute without thinking about how many have been involved sexually, if they have contracted STDs, if they are given good food, potable water to drink and bath. Evidently, security is lacking but i know that the prayers of these people will be heard by God, Allah and they would all be rescued in due time.
    God have mercy

  7. Zansi

    April 30, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Hello Theresa, This write up is beautiful. I agree 1000% that women need to rise and use our voice.So how do we get the word off Facebook,twitter, blogs etc and onto the street? because Women are on the street, hustling every single day, in the home, in the markets and boardrooms.

    • TheresaO

      May 1, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      Hello Zansi, thnaks for your comment. To get involved, here are protests that we can join to bring back the abducted girls if we are in Nigeria. For those not in Nigeria, keep re-posting messages on your social media links and of course join your voice to pray.
      2. Also try and reach out to people of other faiths and from other religions who are your neighbors, colleagues or customers. Let’s form little inter-religious and inter-tribal networks.
      3. Discourage tribalistic comments and conversations around you.
      etc

      It may sound simple, but peace and unity starts from small acts of love and empathy.

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