Onyeka Onwenu releases statement on her disengagement from the National Center For Women Development

Read her statement 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.

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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 mor*l 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.

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. 

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.

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

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

Thank you and God bless.

Onyeka Onwenu (MFR)
Former DG NCWD.


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