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Onyeka Onwenu: I was Abused in Government For Being an Igbo woman


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“When the call came on September 13, 2013 to serve Nigeria as DG, National Center For Women Development, I took it as a call from God and I answered in the affirmative.

“I served for 2 years and 5 months and did my best under very difficult conditions. We hardly had money to operate and the place was badly run down. Worst, there was low moral and lack of commitment among the staff as most spent the day loitering and gossiping.

“Many would not show up for work or arrive 11 am, only to leave before 3 pm. Some were absent for months and were just collecting their salary at home.

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“My administration changed all that. Most Staff were turned around and became passionate about the work, appreciating also the changes they thought were not possible but were happening right before them.

“There remained though, a remnant who felt that the Center was their personal preserve and that the position of Director General should only go to someone from their part of the country. I was initially dismissed as just a Musician.

“When that did not work, I was targeted and abused for being an Igbo woman who came to give jobs to and elevate my people while sidelining them. When these detractors could not provide answers to the spate of improvement we were bringing, they resorted to sabotage and blackmail. The first such salvo was fired when a Senate Committee visited on an oversight mission a few months after my arrival. All three Generators at the Center were cannibalized, overnight, just hours to the visit.

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“I have never in my life been an unfair person. I never favored any group I carried everybody along. But I did not put up with deliberate incompetence and a refusal to learn, an attitude of entitlement which some people displayed. We brought back a level of professionalism and commitment to deliver on our mandate. Without these attributes, the Center would have fallen apart.

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“I am Onyigbo and proud of it. I respect myself and I love and respect all for who they are. We are all God’s children. No one has the right to insult or abuse me or deprive me of my rights. Nigeria will not hold unless and until we all come to that realization.

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