Nigeria

President Buhari wants Nimi Akinkugbe to be Ambassador but tribalists are not having it

Amongst the several stumbling blocks for women in politics, questions about their state of origin upon marriage is one of them, and a troubling one at that. Such is the situation that greets Mrs. Opunimi Akinkugbe’s nomination as a non-career Ambassador by President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Buhari, selected the indigene of Abonnema local government area of Rivers State, as an ambassadorial nominee for Ondo State and the news was met with an outcry from several individuals and groups; who have declared that she is not an indigene of the state and as such can’t be called on to represent them.

Though from Rivers, Nimi Akinkungbe is married to Yinka Akinkugbe who hails from Ondo State. She also flexes experience in the banking sector with over 23 years of experience under her belt and is currently a non-executive director at Standard Chartered Bank.

In spite of this, her nomination was met with a strong rebuttal as the State Chairman of the Ondo Youth Coalition, Ademario Emmanuel and the President of the Yoruba Anifere Youth Organisation of Nigeria, Eric Oluwole condemned the announcement; labelling it an insult. They claim she is not an Ondo indigene and there are more than enough indigenes capable of filling up the position.

Nigerians had a lot to say about the controversy, stating that it exposed the unseriousness and tribalism of Nigerians. 

Many highlighted that this issue was a persistent one. Upon marriage, women who seek political appointments are disowned by their state of origin for marrying into another state, while her partner’s state would refuse to claim her as well. 

Some others highlighted that Nimi Akinkugbe was more than qualified to lead and that it should be counted as a blessing to have her on board. 

Many also referenced Omoni Oboli’s movie “Love is War” which also had a similar plot and was also set in Ondo State. The movie is centered around a wife who is denied by stakeholders in her husband’s state of origin as well as her own state en route to the office of Governor. People stressed the irony of this situation coming to be, just as it had been portrayed in the movie.

Many Nigerians share the hope that her nomination would not be rescinded despite the antagonism that has risen up. 

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