The earth stood still for Abuja at The Conversation held on the 7th of June, 2015 by Joy Isi Bewaji and The Conversation crew. The Abuja edition was sponsored by Nneoma Albert-Benson of the BEFA foundation and was held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
The Heavens kept the rains to herself and the weather made a soothing light for the event to thrive. One of the striking observations of the Abuja participants of The Conversation was the enthusiasm they brought to bear, to listen to a group – whose understanding of the workings of society stretches deeper than the ordinary – share experiences and unravel acceptance limits in relationships. As the event took off, strong walls moved in the minds of men; a relief reminiscent of healing bud out of the expression of women with abused history and the clog of patriarchy was shred open for a new paradigm to take its course.
Joy questioned patriarchy stating that it is a leap into dark waters infested with snakes and dangerous reptiles. She said this event was never intended as a war against men and it is not a gathering of bitter women as it has been wrongfully perceived by some group of persons. Rather it is a gathering of men and women who believe that the imbalances in the ecosystem must be addressed for gender equality to thrive.
Funmi Akinsola, one of the headliners of the event opined that men should take up some of the roles that have been left to women by default to entrench a new society.
Joy thinks the problem is not with the men adding that if only women will act in knowledge, the men will follow. She said patriarchy is unfriendly to the system saying “It’s anti-society. We are stuck in an age defined by prejudices of all sort.”
Nneoma Albert-Benson believes some women’s psyche have become disoriented and patterned for negative realities. She cries out that when women bottled-up their pains alone to themselves which many do, it could lead to cancer. As a lawyer and social worker, she said most of the women she has worked with who stayed in abusive marriages and refused to share their ordeals died of this disease. She called on women in these conditions to speak out, share their experiences and seek help early.
Amanda Chisom said it is delusional to make generalizations on issues of this nature given that our experiences vary in tremendous ways. This uniqueness in our experiences she thinks has shaped our lives such that they form an integral part of our judgment.
Ark Benny believes that whenever a man brags about his status as the man of the house, it shows that he is struggling with a sense of his identity. “He doesn’t know who he is. This battle is the fulcrum in the mantra of patriarchy which men hide under to cover up their inabilities,” he said.
The Conversation has heralded the beginning of the desired change that our society needs to entrench the value system and position us for the next level of human adventure, social discovery, conflict management, gender discrimination and economic justice.
About the Writer: Evans Ufeli is a lawyer and the author of acclaimed novel, ‘Without Face’. He is also an Alumni member of the Writers Bureau, Manchester, a highly sought-after conference speaker with a passion for the concept of change. He lives in Victoria Island, Lagos. You can contact him via Facebook: Evans Ufeli, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @Evansufeli and Phone: 08037712353. He blogs at www.ethicsafrica4u.wordpress.com.