Married But Stateless

Posted: November 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

By Pini Jason
On Monday, 5 November, 2012, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Maryam Aloma Mukhtar refused to administer the oath of office on Justice Ifeoma Jombo-Ofo as a Judge of the Court of Appeal because of a petition that she was not from Abia state.

Justice Jombo-Ofo, born in Anambra state, is married in Abia. She subsequently transferred her service to Abia State where she had served for 14 years. Now she cannot enjoy any benefit due Abia, including the fulfillment of her professional dream, just because she married across the state!

The irony of it all is that it happened as the world, including Nigeria, celebrated the re-election for a second term as the President of the United States of America, a man born of a father from Kogelo Kenya. Perhaps, if America was Nigeria, Barack Obama would never be President!

Of course, as usual, Jombo-Ofo’s predicament elicited the right noise. But Abia is not the only problem she has.

Anambra would also have protested and petitioned against her were she to be appointed as an indigene of Anambra State!

They would have agued vociferously that she was no longer one of them, having married in Abia. So, effectively Jombo-Ofo  is stateless by virtue of marriage and some of the silly policies we put in place.

So are all Nigerian women who married across state lines! And this mockery on citizenship is in a country that spends time and good money dishing out ridiculous jingles about being one nation! Now you can understand it when we say that the Nigerian woman does not exist in, and is not protected by our constitution.

Forget all the talk about whether her appointment was approved by the National Judicial Council, NJC chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
All of that may not help her or any other woman in similar predicament.

I am sure that Justice Jombo-Ofo must have wept on that sad day! The tears must be for a country that lies to itself! Nigeria can be likened to a man who walks backwards all day just because he found out that he was wearing his pant the other way round!

Recall that when President Olusegun Obasanjo nominated Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu as an ambassador under Lagos state slot, it was met with a huge protest by some people who claimed they owned Lagos.

They protested to the then Senate President, Dr Chuba Okadigbo that it was a travesty for her, originally from Ogun State, to take the Lagos slot. These were people who had built their lives mouthing the Awo mantra!

Some were even audacious to ask her to drop the Awolowo from her compound surname! Imagine!

The daughter of Awolowo was not even entitled to use her father’s name, whereas sycophants were making a living with the name! It took Okadigbo’s sagacity to override the protests against Tokunbo. Ironically, non-Lagosians later descend on the State like locusts and made fortunes in the state and left to pursue higher political careers in their states of origin! And these were men, not married women!

  1. DottaRaphels says:

    It’s senseless and rather unpatriotic of the GREAT CHIEF JUSTICE….THE LAW if this is one, is wrong! it’s funny how we can’t all be NIGERIANS!
    Here in the U.S though, you are not from where your parents originate from or born…you are rather from the state you are born. You are not limited by these …you still can move,live or shuttle between and still run for electoral office as long as you reside and pay taxes in that region.
    why would such a bigoted and stupid reason prevent an able qualified person form a job or office.
    As if we don’t have too much to deal with already as a nation…Tribalism or discrimination is primitive and dangerous. These are so-called devout Christians and Muslims; SHAME!

    BTW, oh women should marry only in the state of origin? and WTF? when will women stop being viewed as property of their husbands in marriage…. there’s no progressiveness in this inane prejudice. It’s lso coming from …hello! a WOMAN.

  2. pat ocheogbu says:

    I am happy this stateless lines are being discussed, maybe because it has found its way into the justice system. We have been crying about the same issues in the education sector (quota) where children born in zaria of igbo decent have to have the same points with their mates in the east to gain addmision into federal schools etc. Thank God! Now they courts will do something.

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