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Tuesday 11 October 2016

IPOB: The False Assumptions Made by Barr Emeka Ugwuonye in the Post “Why We Must Defend Women Against Gender-Motivated Injustice”.

IPOB: The False Assumptions Made by Barr Emeka Ugwuonye in the Post “Why We Must Defend Women Against Gender-Motivated Injustice”.

Barr Emeka Ugwuonye

By Chima Chibueze
For Family Writers

Before I continue, I must state here that: I'm against any form of gender-based injustice; and there should be laws, made and duly enforced, to protect the rights of women in our society.

Now, here are the faulty assumptions made by Barr Emeka Ugwuonye.

1. Igbo Men Hate Women And Are The Worst In The Country.

Barrister Ugwuonye (an Igbo man too) stated that "My Igbo brothers", an obvious reference to all Igbo men minus Barr Ugwuonye, "in the country" who make up a certain percentage of the "more than reasonable proportion of Nigerian men" that hate women. But that's not true. According to the Barrister, he came to this conclusion just by “listening to many women and hearing firsthand the horrendous injustices they suffer” and a male-chauvinistic Facebook post by a certain Igbo man. These two methods are not by any way statistical analysis and cannot prove that Igbo men hate women or that the worst 'woman-haters' in "the country" are Igbo men.

However, traditionally, before an Igbo man marries a woman, two major things he, his family and the woman's family consider are:

(1) If he is socially responsible and emotionally stable.

(2) If he is financially capable of TAKING GOOD CARE of the woman.

In most marriages the husband literally showers his wealth on his wife and daughters. The men even call their women "Ori Aku m" (Owner of My Wealth), "Odozi Aku m" (Keeper of My Wealth), "Akwa Ugo" (Precious, but literally An Eagle's Egg), "Ola Mma" (Jewel of Beauty) and "Odu Agu" (Lion's Pride); and name their daughters "Adaeze" (Princess), “Ngozi” (Blessing), "Adamma" (Beautiful Daughter) and many other sweet names. The men or society that makes the welfare of their women a high priority before marrying them, certainly, do not hate their women. Men that hate their women and daughters cannot have the sanity of mind to give them such philosophically beautiful names.

That there are customs, whether in a patricentric or matricentric society that hurt women (or men) does not necessarily mean that the men hate women (or that the women hate men) It means that society isn't perfect and needs improvement.

2. Igbo Men Are The Only Ones Asking For Biafra.

In the first sentence of the third paragraph of the said post, Barr Ugwuonye said "If you think I am just raising a false alarm". The "you" refers to the reader. He then used "they", afterwards, to refer to his "Igbo brothers". To understand why there was a change of tone from "they" to "you" where he said "And you say you want Biafra", go to the last statement on that same paragraph. There, he made clear the intent of the post that he wants to offend some Igbo men. Now, bear in mind that members of the DPA Facebook group reading his post include Biafrans, Nigerians and non-Nigerians. So, who is this "you" in that paragraph, who is reading the post that says he wants Biafra? Igbo men—Barr Emeka Ugwuonye's Igbo brothers (all of whom he accused in the previous statements of being haters of women, suppressing the women and are the worst in the country). This is an unfortunate assumption as it's the very litmus test for identifying people, especially Biafrans, who are not in tune with the Biafran struggle. And it is even worse when one assumes that the Ndi Igbo who want Biafra are the men only.

Firstly, the people who want Biafra are Biafrans and are not Ndi Igbo alone. For instance, Asari Dokubo is a Biafran and he wants Biafra but he's not Onye Igbo. Secondly, the Biafrans agitating for Biafra are not limited to any singular gender (or age). Many of the prominent activists are women. I won't name names here but if you pay close attention to the agitation, you will notice them.

3. A Free Biafra Means A Continuation Of Oppression Of Women, Therefore, Biafra Should Not Be.

This is what he said:

“My Igbo brothers are the worst in the whole country when it comes to injustice against women. They use bible, (which they don't really follow) they use customs (which they don't have any real respect for) to suppress women. It is shameful. It took a Yoruba Supreme Court justice to accord women equal right of inheritance against an Igbo custom that deprived women of inheritance rights. And you say you want Biafra. No, we need the Yoruba Judges to ensure justice for the Igbo women.”

What he means is that the people agitating for Biafra, who are Igbo men only, use the Noble and customs to oppress women, therefore must not get Biafra. Now, note that in the above quote he didn't make any conditional statement at all. He just stated it point blank that, "no", we do not need Biafra, and then gave an alternative that is the need for Yoruba judges. So, any condition made elsewhere with regards to the above quote and to moderate it is only an afterthought.

By understanding that:

(1) Injustice against women has nothing to do with Biafra agitation;

(2) the agitation for Biafra, which is self determination, is also the human right of all Biafrans and is not by any way opposed to the human right of women to equal status in the society; and

(3) Both men and women are directly and actively involved in the struggle, you see that saying that since some Igbo men hate women, all Biafrans don't deserve a free Biafra is unreasonable and outrageous.

Many of the prominent individuals involved in the Biafran struggle are human rights activists, and the women are the tough kind of women that may be referred to as feminists. This implies that in a free Biafra, where the Biafran people can and will decide their own destiny without the encumbrances and constant incursive intrigues of other people who are not socially, culturally and politically compatible with them, these individuals will have a greater opportunity to ensure that the human rights of all the people are enshrined in the constitution.

4. “No, We Need The Yoruba Judges To Ensure Justice For The Igbo Women.”

The implication of that statement is that without Yoruba judges, Igbo women cannot have justice. Firstly, this is actually an indictment on Barr Emeka Ugwuonye and the Due Process Advocates, one of whose stated objectives is to stop discrimination against women, that they have failed that mission already.

Secondly, let's agree for a moment with the barrister that DPA has failed in that objective, that a Supreme Court justice overturned a Customary Court's decision by giving some Igbo women equal right of inheritance is good news but doesn't necessarily imply it must be a Yoruba or Igbo judge; unless Barr Ugwuonye is saying, as a fact, that all Igbo judges make their judgments based on sentiments.

For clarification purposes, what I'm about to say is not a justification of any customary injustice against women. It is to inform anyone that didn't know that Igbo customs don't totally deprive women of inheritance rights as opposed to what Barr Emeka Ugwuonye claims. The particular custom Barr Ugwuonye is talking about is an inheritance-sharing formula—an imperfect creation just like other human creations.

In most communities, that custom doesn't allot paternal properties to women; and, in some cases, doesn't allot maternal properties to men either.

In recent times, there have been instances where Igbo fathers bequeathed some of their properties to their daughters. I've also witnessed where a congress of Umunna (not a Customary or Supreme Court) adjudged that, as the sons of a decedent man have rights to their father's properties, the surviving wife has a right to her husband's properties too.

Edited by Okonkwo Isaac Somto For Family writers


  1. Are you sure Barrister Emeka Ugwuonye is really a learnered colleague? I don't think so. He is an educated illiterate, he must have cornered his way through university. As he wrote, he argued unintelligently, he can not decifer between freedom fighting and gender inequality. I am so ashamed of him, his family should be ashamed of him, the society should be ashamed of him. He never made an indepth research on Igbo clans, never asked questions from intellects and came up with his emperical assumptions. Igbos are the people who treat their wives with dignity the most, they take care of their wives, never allowed them to lack. Unless Barr. Emeka's mother wasn't a woman the father could be proud of and inturn, the father bullied her and he is here generalising every Igbo man hates their wife. How about the northerners who locks their wives indoors, not giving them freedom to participate in any public matters, is their rights not trampled on? How about the Yorubas who will abandon their wives and children and stay with their concubines. Have you thought of that before pouring out that your unintelligent brain. See, for you to be a scholar, you must balance your findings before making it known or else, people will challenge you, if they find out that you are shadow, forget it you are gone. I don't think you can practice, because you can not win any case brought to you. Please, let the message get to Barr. Emeka, let him do an indepth research, not a shallow one and let me remind him, nothing can stop Biafra from having their freedom, if he like, he can write whatever he feels like on Igbos and Biafra, at the end, we will surely have Biafra Infependence.

  2. I have just one word for Barr. Ugwuonye. He is a bundle of ignorance. The only tribe that value their women and treasure them is the Igbo race. An Igbo man will work and toil all day to bring food to the table for his family contrary to a Yoruba man who will sit at home or waste his day at a gambling house waiting for his wife to hawk wares from bus stop to bus stop in order to provide food for the family. Ugwuonye is comprehensively bankrupt of the knowledge of the characteristics of a true Igbo men when it comes to taking care of their families, which is, "my wife and children" before himself. An Igbo man will always say...."I want to work hard to take care of my, (1st), "wife" and (2nd) "children". So what rubbish is he saying then? That his father is a "wife abuser" doesn't make all Igbo men same.

    And come to think of it, what concerns "wife abuse or battering" with Biafra restoration. Must you expose the fact that probably your mother may have been wayward and your true father may have been another man? Because only those whose fathers are not Igbo come against Biafra restoration. So your biological father may be in question, because no true Igbo man man does not need Biafra. And Barr. Ugwuonye must remember that Biafrans are not only Igbos. If Igbos doesn't deserve Biafra because they abuse their wives, how about the other tribes that make up Biafra? I thought that by answering a Barrister, you are a learned man, but I was wrong, because, as I said at the on set, YOU ARE A BUNDLE OF IGNORANCE.


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