THE POSITIVE SIDE

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Hello all, this month, I will be writing about some positive aspects of our beloved Nigeria. For non-Nigerians who read this column, I promise to focus on other parts of the Continent in other articles. I attended a seminar or lecture a few weeks ago organised by a Nigerian in which topics related to the next elections were discussed. Present at this event were the information Minister Jerry Gana and the lawyer for Amina Lawal, Ms. Hauwa Ibrahim. In addition were two officers of the Dutch government. My focus is not so much on the Dutch party as it is with the Nigerian representatives. It is noteworthy for me that a Nigerian woman from the North, at the risk to her life and without financial support from anyone decided to take up the case of women condemned to death for all sorts of offences and attempt to represent them in a courtroom which is fair and impartial. The point is that Hauwa Ibrahim is also a Muslim albeit a modest one and she follows another school of thought separate from the hard-liners who believe in extreme forms of punishment and she defends her clients based on the rules of the Sharia as well. I think that these types of women reflect the strength of women in our country. It might be a developing country and majority of its citizens might be poor but strength of purpose and determination are commodities, which are not in shortage within its populace. To the question of why the Obasanjo led government did not step in from the start to squash the implementation of the Sharia. Minister Gana said that the country is supposed to be a democracy and a federation. So, whilst separate states had the autonomy of choosing to implement whatever laws they deemed fit, in the end, the court whose ruling holds is the Supreme court. This is the reason why Amina Lawal was able to escape the judgement passed on her to die by stoning. It is this same Supreme Court, which Ms. Lawal hopes to use to get her other clients free. We must all realise however, that this is no mean task since there are radical elements which believe that a sentence passed by a Sharia court is supreme. This in essence means, that these people are still in on the lookout for Amina so that the ´sentence´can be carried out. This in effect should inform us of the enormity of the task that this lone lawyer is carrying out all by herself. African women on the whole are known for their strength, determination, hard work... name it and they've probably got it. Keeping the family together has always and traditionally been their role. Be it, keeping their partners happy, to the extended family and the children, most times, the onus lies on them. In addition is the financial aspect. Apart from the few who are lucky enough to have married ´well´, the average woman on our continent has to work extremely hard to contribute to sup

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