As the theme of collaborations ran through the Coral Hall, Idowu Martins Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, venue, of a seemingly quiet public unveiling of the book, Sista Power, the issues thrown up went beyond the book itself to throw up a fundamental challenge confronting the womenfolk in the present Nigerian society.
Written by Bidemi Mark-Mordi, the book Sista Power shoulders the now uncomfortable burden of disquiet burning in the hearts of a few Nigerian women attempting to become catalysts for social change; seeking a redefinition of the female stereotype, who has settled into and assumed indifference to discomforting family, political and culturally issues thrown up in the larger society on a daily basis.
For Bidemi Mark-Mordi who is also Publisher of the Effectual magazine, as well as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Verbatim Communications Limited, among a plethora of other positions and occupations held, the need for women to embrace the concept of collaboration in order to surmount challenges of stereotype, degenerating family, cultural and social values has become even more imperative in the present larger society than ever before.
It is this speed of degeneration that worries Bidemi Mark-Mordi to inspire the book Sista Power, written, according to her, purely by the inspiration of God and without any previous grasp with literary technicalities and being able to lay the foundations or sketch for it in two months.
Such is the passion behind the motivation that Bidemi Mark-Mordi’s debut work as an author in adopting a motivational and inspirational style with Biblical leanings, captures and promotes elements of communality, selfless service, mentoring, while exposing the fake and material lifestyles, self-centredness, pride, greed inherent in some womenfolk as obstacles to collaborations among the larger womenfolk.
Preceded by an open panel discussions featuring the likes of Iheoma Obibi, Executive Director, Ashoka Fellow, Alliances for Africa, Mr. Fagbemi, event’s moderator Unyime-Ivy King, author of Burning Hurt, and the book reviewer, Mr Kayode Akomolafe (Pastor), Principal Counsel, at Olukayode Akomolafe the Law Firm, the quiet unveiling was compeered by Mrs Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, with husband Prof Joe Ezigbo, Managing Director of Falcon Petroleum, as chairman of the occasion.
Moderating, Fagbemi noted that there exists a lot of insularity in the way the values of family, culture, leadership and religion have continued to degenerate in the society as also contained in the book, as he wondered if ‘there is a more concerted effort among culprits to outdo those fighting for positive change,’ as he added that the book has also succeeded in pinpointing this insularity.
For Obibi, the effect of women collaborating is a change agent in itself capable of stemming the tide in the falling standards staring society and family units in the face and by extension has seen corruption and poor leadership on the rise with societal values plummeting.
“Embracing the mentality and culture of collaborations among the womenfolk will begin to impact on the women themselves in the way they think. It means thinking outside the box for those whose opinions are closed,” she said.
According to book reviewer, Mr. Kayode Akomolafe, Esq, Principal Counsel, the Olukayode Akomolafe law firm, Ikeja, Lagos, the very concept of the ‘midwife’ is an interesting one which runs through the entire book, in tandem with the central theme of ‘collaboration’.
“The book succinctly identifies God as the ‘webmaster’ who intricately weaves the fabric of our lives into a delicate connection of destinies. This theme is properly enunciated by the author in Chapter 6.
“The high point of the book, for me, is contained in page171 thereof, where the author discusses: ‘The Master’s Business Requires Haste’. The striking point for me is the staggering realisation that there is a possibility that in one failing to rise up to fulfil one’s part in the divine collaboration to be a midwife to someone else’s destiny, that person’s destiny may be negatively impacted or indeed stultified,” Akomolafe said.
For Mrs. Modupa Ehirim, President of the Christian Booksellers Association of Nigeria (CBAN), the idea of collaborating should involve levels of mentoring such that children who are most vulnerable should be nurtured through a collective effort by the womenfolk.
“If you are merely satisfied with the way your own children are raised while you turn up your noses at other children, then just be sure that you will soon be dealing those same children in no time when they turn up at your doorstep with your own children. This is why the ‘my children’ mentality is anti-collaborative. Women should come together to help each other out too.” Ehirim posited.
Remarking, the author Bidemi Mark-Mordi who was full of gratitude to her family and her group for the support reiterated the imperativeness of collaboration for Nigerian women to pull through in salvaging falling leadership standards, dilapidating family and societal values ‘in order the save the future for the children,’ as she further stressed: “I’ve done my own bit, the ball is in your court now to take your step to collaborate, mentor, motivate and inspire the greater future of the society”
On the possible misconceptions by the public about any feminism agenda fronted by the author with the book, Bidemi Mark-Mordi said it was not true that it was feminist-inspired, but rather motivated by a need to rise up to an expedient challenge facing the womenfolk in the society.
“I’m not even a feminist let alone a woman liberationist I’m not even any of that. The word out there is that women cannot work together. You see it every day especially in Nigeria. In the book I talked about Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Jibril, the PDP presidential aspirant who picked up one vote and the reason why she had just one vote is basically because as women we went around thinking that she can’t do it. Ironically it was not the men that told her she cannot do it, it was the women who told her she cannot do it. I remember immediately after the elections, I was at an event where other women were asking her all sorts of questions like; what was her plans, who she was working with and for. They somehow forgot the fact that this woman has tried her bit.
“The book is directed at women especially but everybody can get into it as well for whatever they can do with it in their lives. And also because it is the women that are told they cannot collaborate with each other and that you cannot work with a woman and also that everywhere women gather there is trouble. You know that’s the word. So I’m saying no to that. I’m just trying to let people know that there is so much that God has deposited into the women and if we keep telling ourselves that we cannot do it or if we keep letting people say to us that we don’t have the power to change anything then nothing is ever going to change.
“Look at our nation, the men they have tried but honestly they are out of ideas because every time you see them now it is what somebody did five years ago that they are redoing and give it another name. Let’s try something else. I don’t even want to be the President but I want to be able to provide my own little quota for that woman who wants to be. I don’t need to be the person at the forefront. I’m saying that my children live here. My children have grown here and they will continue to live here if they choose. Who do I blame if in twenty or thirty years Nigeria disintegrates just because I have refused to work with a gifted woman of change because she’s from somewhere that I’m not. You see it’s the boundaries that we have unnecessarily set up amongst ourselves as women are the problems here. And these boundaries are not even real because we are more alike than we are different,” stressed Bidemi Mark-Mordi.
On plans to promote the book, Bidemi Mark-Mordi revealed: “I have a book tour scheduled for Switzerland in April, and in the United States in May, but all of this March will be dedicated to the promotion of this book in the Lagos metropolis. And it will not just be merely about come buy the book, it will provide the forum for some hard talk about issues, some of which I have already spoken about.
“What I’m talking about in the book honestly is not new. I’m just able to put together in the way that I’ve been taught to put it together and simplify it so that it’s easy to assimilate. So that’s basically what I’ve done.”
Also involved with the Women Act Now, basically a mentoring non-profit organization dedicated to the well bring and nurturing of young women in Africa by way of mentoring through more experienced womenfolk, Bidemi Mark-Mordi expects to take the Sista Power to a brand level.
“We are in the process of distilling Sista Power into a product. We intend to train and collaborate with corporate organizations out there. We are hoping to go into radio and television talkshows in the country. In fact we plan to do the village square fora. And all of these will be such that it is not just the woman in the city but also the woman in the village who recognizes that if ten of us do esusu (thrift) together and allow one person to take and we push that person into the right kind of business then all us can go home and drink garri until it comes to the turn of the next person.
“You see I keep saying this that I’m not a very smart person, I’m infact I don’t even want to be smart. I just know that the little I know and the little you know by the time we all come together to talk you’ll go away gaining more and I’ll go away gaining more. That’s how we build it into a brand.”