In a society where the quick money syndrome is de rigueur, she could have turned them to a baby-making factory or take advantage of their vulnerabilities and haplessness to enrich herself. She could have also lured them with hard currency into prostitution overseas. After all, our patriarchal society relegates women to the background and regards them as sex objects.
Even government at all levels are guilty of this stereotype; hence their failure to genuinely empower women in skill acquisition. But unlike most of her contemporaries and the agents’ provocateurs (government) she chose altruism over egotism to balance gender roles.
Through her pet project, she has empowered no fewer than 300 women mostly the less privileged in hairdressing, fashion designing, soap making and petty trading.
“I want to bring the women together, especially the less privileged. I found out that women are used in politics and dumped later. I want us to come under one umbrella to change the stereotype of women as sex objects,” she said.
Such a rare gem needs accolades, awards and high opinion from all and sundry. But she was not noticed and her excellence never rewarded by the Abia State government that is notorious for celebrating mediocrity. She was assaulted at gunpoint by a gang of criminals for exercising her right.
Lady Jane Ogbauta, a businesswoman, who owns a boutique in Aba is the founder of Woman for Change Initiative and Equity Organization; an association that has existed for three years. Her name never rang the bell until October 8, 2019, when she led her women to protest the decay of infrastructure in Aba.
Customary to the Ikpeazu’s government that thrives on buck-passing, it swiftly accused the opposition of masterminding the protest. A few hours later, it staged another protest to counter the one that conveyed the thoughts of Abians. Government “E-rats” were adequately deployed to address her pejoratively.
As if the unfair criticism and insults she bore from the “E-rats” were not enough, on October 10, 2019, a group of boys, about five in number, led by one Chijioke Solomon, AKA Dollar invaded her shop.
“I was outside when they entered my shop and asked to see me. My brother-in-law and my aide, Chimaobi Emereole, were in the shop.
“Chijioke asked why I led the protest; I told him it was for the betterment of Abians. He further asked if I knew the consequences of our action; I replied that we only demanded motorable roads, that at no point was the governor insulted.
“But before I could say anything further, he started beating me. When my brother-in-law tried to stop him, one of his boys pulled a gun. My goods were all destroyed,” she said.
Mrs Ogbauta further said that during the assault on her, Chikioke was bragging that the Inspector-General of Police, the AIG in charge of Zone nine and the Abia State Commissioner of Police cannot do anything to him.
“He said that as far as he is concerned that I will no longer stay in Aba and Ogbor Hill, his domain. If in doubt I should ask about him, that he is from Ezinwangwa in the Ogbor Kingdom,” she added.
To be continued…