Argentina, which became independent in 1816, 40 years after the United States attained the status, has had two women Presidents in Mrs. Isabel Martinez de Peron (1974 to 1976, which was 42 to 46 years ago) and Mrs. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was in office from 2007 to 2015. Indonesia, which got its freedom 72 years ago (on August 17, 1945), 15 years ago elected Mrs. Megawati Sukarnoputri as Head of State. She served for three years, which ended in 2004, while Mrs. Dilma Vana Roussef was at the helm of affairs in Brazil from January 1, 2011 to August 31, 2016. Mrs. Michelle Bachelet, the incumbent President of Chile, has been in charge of the nation since March 11, 2014. And, remarkably Liberia, a colony founded by the U.S. in 1822 and which has been on its own since Sunday, July 26, 1847, has had Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as the First Citizen in the last 11 years.
So, how come the U.S., the second oldest parliamentary democracy in the world after Britain, which blazed the trail in 1756 (260 years ago) and 33 years before her, has not had a woman leader in the 227 years the presidential system has been on? And how come that when the opportunity arose this year, the Americans rejected Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first female candidate of a political party in a U.S. presidential poll? The answer is in the gender discrimination the overwhelming majority of American men at the national level have had for women in politics since the 1788 election.
Inasmuch as White Americans have hated Africans, discriminating and ill-treating them since their ancestors arrived as slaves in the 17th Century, beginning from 1619, they still rate them higher than women in political matters. This is borne out by the fact that while African-Americans were granted voting rights on Tuesday, March 30, 1870, through Amendment 15, it took 50 years before the privilege was extended to women by Amendment 19 of Tuesday, August 26, 1920.
So, it was not a surprise to me that the Democrats during their primaries in 2008 chose Barack Obama, an African-American whose late father migrated from Kenya, as their party’s candidate instead of Mrs. Clinton. The repulsion American men still have for a woman being their President explains why the male-dominated Electoral College of 538 members elected Donald Trump and not Mrs. Clinton during the November 8, 2016, poll.
Only God knows when America will have a woman President. The earliest will be in eight years’ time, but it may take decades. I only hope it won’t take 50 years to a century.
The contempt the men in America have for their women and the ridicule they put them to was first demonstrated when New Jersey, which in 1800 made history as the first state to grant the female voting rights, revoked it seven years later when, in 1807, it passed a law that limited the privilege to the male. It took 62 years before joy came the way of the womenfolk when, on Thursday, December 10, 1869, the state of Wyoming gave them the right to vote and hold public office. Leading the states in 1924 to produce the first female Governor in the U.S. But before then, the state of Montana had in 1916 elected the first woman to the U.S. Congress with Maine providing the pioneer woman in the U.S. Senate in 1948.
Another reason I see for Mrs. Clinton’s losing the election to Trump is in the fact that in the last 23 years (since 1993), no party whose President served two terms of eight years, has produced the succeeding First Citizen. The last time it happened was in 1989 when Vice President George Bush of the Republican Party won the poll and succeeded his boss, President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989). But the party lost the 1992 election to Bill Clinton of the Democratic Party while George Bush Jr. of the Republican Party succeeded him in 2001. Obama of the Democratic Party won the election in 2008 and after eight years will hand over to Trump of the Republican Party on Friday, January 20, 2017.
It was in the first 72 years of the U.S. presidency (1789 to 1861) that it was common for a party to produce the Head of State for 12 or more years. But the era ended 131 years ago in 1885, after the Republican Party produced all the six presidents in the 24 years from 1861. It started with Abraham Lincoln, who assumed office that year and was assassinated in 1865, through Andrew Johnson his VP, who completed his second tenure (1865 – 69), Ulysses Grant (1869 – 77), Rutherford Hayes (1877 – 81), James Garfield (March – September 1881) and his VP, Chester Arthur, who took over after he was killed six months into their administration and served from 1881 – 85.
8 history-making Juju bandleaders (7)
The spotlight today is on Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi, whose inventory contribution was introducing parables and philosophical lyrics into juju music. He was also the first to project the image of the principal towns in Yorubaland in records when singing the praise of someone from such a community, telling the story of the origin of the towns, their attributes and the achievements of some of their prominent citizens. He did this for Lagosians, Egbas, Ijebus, Ibadans, Ifes, Ijesas, Oyos, Akures, Ondos, Osogbos, Ogbomosos, Owos and Ekitis. And this was one of the reasons for his popularity over other juju musicians of that generation.
I am happy that this series on juju bandleaders has been well-received by not only the Yoruba, but by people of other ethnic groups as well. Like Akwa Ibom State-born Mr. Ekpeyong of Abuja (081-7559-3755) who phoned on Wednesday to appreciate last week’s article. When he first came on the line, I thought he was a Yoruba man because he started singing from King Sunny Ade’s Syncro System album, waxed in the 1980s. The series on juju bandleaders, he told me, is the first he reads before the main article in the column, which he says he has been enjoying for years now. I was enraptured to know that an Ibibio man has such highly engrossing interest in Yoruba music and in my column, which he described as one of uncommon write-ups that enlightens people with facts that one may not get to read elsewhere.
Next week: The story of the innovations King Sunny Ade brought to juju music