‘Detractors Went As Far As Issuing A Fatwa Against Me’ – Former...

‘Detractors Went As Far As Issuing A Fatwa Against Me’ – Former DG, NCWD, Onyeka Onwenu (READ) 

By Idoreyin Sampson | Sub-Editor on February 17, 2016
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Onyeka Onwenu
Onyeka Onwenu

Iconic broadcaster and musician, Onyeka Onwenu has revealed the ethnic and religious hatred she suffered while serving as the Director General of the National Centre For Women Development.

In an email delivered to several news media including The Trent, Onwenu revealed how she managed to turn-around the centre in difficult circumstances. She recounted how some Northerners who felt that the centre was their “birthright” resorted to threatening her and even going as far as issuing a Fatwa against her during her tenure claiming she was “working against the interest of the North”.

This is a very disturbing tale in a fragile Nigeria. Onwenu said she was marked simply because she was Igbo and also insisted that staff deliver value to the government.

In the email, which is dated Wednesday, February 17, 2016, Onwenu also accused the Ministry of Women Affairs of abuse of powers and meddling in the affairs of the Women’s Centre.

Onwenu was relieved of her position by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, February 15, 2016 along with 26 other heads of federal government agencies.

Read the full content of her email below:

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

I served for 2years and five 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. 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 we’re just collecting their salary at home.

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.

We got over that incident and trudged on. The rest of our activities and accomplishments, modest as they is public knowledge. 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.

When the call came for me to disengage from the Center, I took it in good faith and with thanksgiving to the Almighty, Yes some stakeholders were upset and tried to make a case for me to continue. Their effort was a testimony of God’s grace on my administration, but I also knew that it was time to go. God who sent me there was taking me to a higher level of service. His infinite wisdom is unassailable. That is my faith. Besides, I was exhausted and had abandoned many personal projects to devote myself, 200% to the Center. The abuses and lack of cooperation from a mother Ministry, from those who felt that the Center overshadowed them, to the extent that they tried to discourage others from working with us, were just a bit much for my comfort. I did not lobby for the job in the first place and I was not going to lobby to keep it. I actually looked forward to leaving. But some people were going to exact their pound of flesh.

They organized some staff, mostly Northerners, invited the Press and set about to disgrace themselves. By mid afternoon, while the Heads of Departments were putting together the handover notes, they seized the keys to my official car, even with my personal items still inside. Threats began to fly. “That Ibo woman must” “we will disgrace her”. Their Chief organizer, the Acting DG, went about whipping up ethnic sentiments against me. Late 2015, the same officer had gone to the Center’s Mosque to ask for the issue of a Fatwa against me, claiming that I was working against the interest of the North. We nipped that in the bud by calling a townhall meeting and asking that proof be provided. The Fatwa was denied and peace reigned for a while.

Police was called in to the Center to escort me out and avoid blood shed as I disengaged. Eventually, in the midst of insults and name calling, with an angry baying crowd, some of whom were brought in from outside, I entered my official car and left. At no time during this melee did I threaten to sue Mr President for asking me to disengage. Why would I? Is it not within his authority. Even if it were not, is the Center my personal property. I had done my best and if it was time to go, it was that simpleLife continues. I had a thriving career before my appointment. The Center did not make me. I have so much to do. I am a multitalented, multifaceted and multitasking child of God. By His grace, the future is greater. So what is the problem?

Let me say here that The Federal Government should really look into the Parastatals and take note of the fact that many people who work on them do not have the requisite qualification. Many contribute nothing and many see their job as personal entitlement. They are owed because Nigeria belongs to them and them alone. Somehow, these people were given the impression that they could attempt to do what they did to me and nothing would happen. That is very sad indeed. The Ministry also has a case to answer. They helped to creat that impression. A situation where the Ministry could invite a Management Staff to a trip abroad without informing the DG and the Staff would only inform her principal via txt message, from the Airport as she is leaving the country, creates an atmosphere of indiscipline and anything goes. The Ministry should restrain itself to its spelt out function and not undermine the authority of the DG.

Finally, I declare that I am a Nigerian citizen who should enjoy the rights attendant to that privileged. 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.

Thank you and God bless.
Onyeka Onwenu (MFR)

Former DG NCWD

10 COMMENTS

  1. Haba Onyeka. That job is at the pleasure of the President of the Republic of Nigeria. There were IBO DGs before you. Why your own cry now? Is the father of your children not a northerner? Your terrain is entertainment ,what took you to administration. You missed the road. You should have gone yo Arts and Culture. Onyeka. you have been compensated enough. Go and play hide and seek with the little ones. You win some. you loose some.

    • @Diran
      Your reply is senseless and sounds like you are a 10yr old. Administrative role does not necessarily require a professional career. She could have done some courses to qualify her for the role. We should pray the God should change the leaders in the country.

  2. This is Gallantry in my opinion and reward will surely trail your efforts. My concern is not who is sacked but the preoccupation of the present administration on vendetta. It makes me look at the whole system as rotten and directionally derailed
    At the end of the day, they wil say ‘they know what they are doing ‘.im waiting for the magic that will revive the economy. Don’t know if what relevance is sacking of DGs to Nigerians that voted only to be greeted with falling Naira, increase in Electricity tariff and co , knowing fully well that no price of commodity goes up in Nigeria and comes down again. May God help us

  3. What do you expect.?I hear that cut off mark differ @ 29 for the North and 129 for the South for both Jamb, quota system employment etc. There is a lot of junk every where.

  4. @ Diran, doesn’t it affect you that your fellow northerners have held this country down for decades. Why do you people enthrone mediocrity for the sake of tribalism. Work, you’re not interested, but you want the job under your foot. You guys are too incompetent because you see no reason to improve yourselves when you get everything you dream of without qualifications and requisite capabilities. Each time I try supporting One Nigeria, I’m pained that nothing will ever make you people change for the better. But one day, the solution will come.

    • Only insane fools keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different result!
      The spell that many people from South especially Biafra area suffer is what we continue to ask God to deliver them quickly from, because many will soon perish in that insanity of yoking themselves with the backward, bloodthirsty savages whose only preoccupation is is to Islamise or annihilate!
      Those still in the insanity of ‘one nigeria’, must ask themselves why the slogan ‘one nigeria’ if anything is there to bind it together. Have heard ‘one Togo’, ‘one America’, ‘one Spain’ even when many parts like Catalonia and Basque regions is in the process of declaring their independent from Spain.
      ‘One nigeria’ is a Satanic bondage created to destroy the industrious people of Biafra in particular and rest of so-called Southerners including the treacherous Yorubas that is busy thwarting Biafrans effort to free every group from British bondage called ‘nigeria’!

    • Only insane fools keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different result! Over 100 wasted years of trying to serve Satanic creation of British in so-called nigeria, has only brought about every unimaginable evil with no single benefit to the people of Biafra the supply everything that sustained the Hell, rather get in return Genocides, Terrorism, Hatred, and abuses of all manner.
      The ‘nigeria’ spell/curse that many people from South especially Biafra area suffer is what we continue to ask God to deliver them quickly from, because many if not all will soon perish in that insanity of yoking themselves with the backward, bloodthirsty savages whose only preoccupation is to Islamise or annihilate all!
      Those still in the insanity of ‘one nigeria’ spiral, must ask themselves why the slogan ‘one nigeria’ in the first place if anything at all is there to bind the over 350 distinct nations forced against their will together. Have you heard ‘one Togo’, ‘one America’, ‘one Britain’ even as Scotland is still pushing to leave the union they joined willingly, or ‘one Spain’ even when many parts like Catalonia and Basque regions is in the process of declaring their independent?
      ‘One nigeria’ is pure Satanic bondage created to destroy the industrious people of Biafra in particular and rest of so-called Southerners including the treacherous Yorubas that is busy thwarting Biafrans effort to free every group from British bondage called ‘nigeria’!
      Our message if for Freedom for all and not Hatred to any group but those who choose to serve Satan through ‘one nigeria’ only to keep destroying innocent lives!

  5. God can only do so much through his true servants to warn those Biafrans who blindly insist on perishing with the British evil colony called ‘nigeria’. Nothing about any argument from such ignorant and often very selfish and myopic people justifies defending the evil creation of British called ‘one nigeria’ that was created with sole intention of destroying Igbo/Biafrans, and put the under the feet of those that are not even qualified to serve them.
    Hearing the foolish lamentations of fools like Onyekachi Onwelu who refuse to learn from history but instead love chasing shadow, knowing the truth but want to complain later should make to seriously sympathise with such fools.
    Without focusing on Restoring Biafra sovereignty and cutting off from the bloodthirsty Islamists that contribute nothing but expect to lord over those who feed them, the cases like Onyekachi will continue until the fools wake up or perish.
    We never feel sorry for any Biafran that foolishly call him or herself ‘nigerian’… It is a sign of ignorance, foolishness, shortsightedness or selfishness or all of them.

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