How they ganged up against me because I’m Igbo – sacked Onyeka Onwenu writes open letter

Singer and actress, Onyeka Onwenu, who was fired
this week as Director General of the National Centre for Women
Development has released a disturbing allegation of how tribalism held
sway in the agency and how she was persecuted because she is Igbo.

Read her story below:

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.

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
moral 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 were just
collecting their salary at home.

My 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.

There 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.

got over that incident and trudged on. The rest of our activities and
accomplishments, modest as there 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.

When 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.

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 simple. Life 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 problem?

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 create 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 text 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.

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

Kemisola Adeyemi

Kemisola Adeyemi is the Assistant Editor of KemiFilaniBlog. She loves to write and write and write and hopes to own a publishing firm someday!Email: [email protected]


  1. Mummy Onyeka, ordinarily you belong in the class of King Sunny Ade, Oliver de coque, Ebenezer Obey, etc. Because truly you are a veteran in the industry but unfortunately today, due to your greed and wanton desire for easy wealth, you have sold your integrity to the highest bidder and lost all respect that should be accorded a woman of your calibre. Today, I wouldn't even place you in the class of people like Vic-O, because at least, those people have something they stand for, for you madam, I'm yet to see exactly what your values are.

    From supporting Babangida's tyrranical rule, to spearheading Abacha's "President for life" ambition, to licking Obasanjo's butt, Yaradua didn't have your time but you eventually wriggled your way into power again with GEJ and carried his failed reelection bid on your head like a pure water seller.

    Right now you should just bow your head in shame please, and stop trying to whip up tribal sentiments because you lost a job given to you as compensation. Because if I ask you now, since you got into office, how have you been able to touch the life of the average Nigerian? You go dey look me like luqmon.

    Please be gone! Nothing you or say willbchange the fact that you were disgraced out of office.


    1. Wait oh!!! So it's ok for the president to sack someone out of injustice coz she didn't campaign for him???? Wow what a show of DEMOCRACY

    1. Let's put aside all the rigmaroling and propaganda…The position of a DG is a political one. Such a person is only in position cos he/she understands and is able to help articulate policies of the appointing government. Hence, I strongly believe that all of them including madam Onyeka, should have done the honourable thing of resigning their appointments b4 it came to the point of being sacked…my 2 cents

  2. I stil haven't seen a yoruba man or hausa man come publicly and complain of tribal injustice, it's like the igbo people see only themselves, if you do them wrong it has to be because they are igbos and nothing else, no because of their attitude or something they've done, why such mentality. And igbo man will wanna converse with you, he'll ask first if you are igbo before even ask for your name. You people just believe it's you against the whole world when no one is out to get you. Please calm down and live.

  3. The difference between Igbo and IPOB is their mentality and speech.
    Onyeka Onwenu sounds like an ipob woman in high place, always blaming other people for their woes.
    Come to think that she is not the only one relieved of her DG duty makes her rambling pathetic, shameless, ludicrous, lugubrious and ungrateful.
    I just discovered she's a senseless woman!
    I stop loving people immediately they bring ethnic coloration into issues.

    1. Onyeka Onwenu was going through supposed insubordination, threat to life, hostile workplace et al but did not deem it apprioriate to resign. Reading through (and if all claims are correct), she should have exited that parastatal before the sweeping disengagement and then make public detailed recount of what she went through. That's how it's done in climes where self-honour and pride rule. Not coming out to seek Nigerians' sympathy after she got sacked.

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