Meet Professor Emily Alemika First Female Professor From Kogi State. - TREAT P WORLD

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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Meet Professor Emily Alemika First Female Professor From Kogi State.

That Professor Emily Alemika of the Department of Public
Law, Faculty of Law, University of Jos (UNIJOS), is the first
female law professor to have come out of the entire Kogi
State is an act of fate. A victim of child labour who
registered for primary education at 13, she was undaunted
in her drive to the top. Little wonder she is an apostle of
encouragement, not only to women, but all she comes
across.

Prof Emily is the wife of Professor Etanibi Alemika, also of
UNIJOS. Emily gives all credit to her husband.
Being the first female professor of law in the whole of Kogi
State

Being the first female professor of law in the whole of Kogi
State

I did not know I was the first in my state until I started
receiving congratulatory messages. In fact, it was my senior
colleague that drew my attention to it and I told him I have
not thought of that because I did not set a pace for myself
to be there before any other person. But in all, I thank God
for the grace because that also includes the old Kwara State
from which Kogi was carved out.
This position was further confirmed at the recent
conference in Afe Babalola University. So, we are not just
making the statement, it is a fact. At least, we are sure of
the whole Kogi State and I come from a community called
Kabba Bunu where also I was known for my struggle and
determination to become somebody.

How background impacted her career

My background was very interesting. You can imagine
starting primary school between the ages of 13 and 14
years. Before primary school, I had stayed with more than
12 people but none of them sent me to school. All I was
known for was the fact that I was hardworking and very
good at helping people. So, I was always asked to help
either an aged person or a young woman giving birth or
someone that has business to do and felt I would be of help.
Coming from a broken home, it was difficult to have a feel of
what happened. So, those times I was being taken from one
home to another, I never had the privilege of knowing my
mother or father. I was dashing from the hands of relatives
to the friends of relatives but wherever I was taken, I did my
best diligently. There was never a time I knew myself to be
a child. I was doing things like adults; walking distances,
quickly taking a tin of oil to the market before rushing to the
farm. If I have to tell you how my background impacted me,
I will tell you that it made me rugged.

Late enrollment in school

Talking about my primary education, I can tell you that all
hope was lost until 1968 in Lokoja when I was in the 12th
home and coincidentally, the last place I was taken to. I was
there as a local restaurant attendant and I was receiving six
pence per month. One day, the lady said my father wanted
me back so I could enroll in school but I refused because
whenever they did that, it meant they wanted to give me to
another hand. So, I pleaded with the woman not to allow me
leave her because that was the only place I was treated like
a human being and also had the privilege to earn income.
I told her I would rather die with her. Once she agreed, I was
happy and went about to hawk pounded yam but after few
days, she said, ‘Look, you have to go back to the village
because your father has threatened to arrest me with police
if I do not send you back.’ I went back December of that
year. That was the time I started being able to pick years
and I knew that it was in 1968. Eventually, January 1969
came and I was enrolled in Primary One. Within these years,
I had moved round the 33 Bunu villages, serving people. But
one thing on my mind was that I wanted to go back to
school. So, in the farm, I would be marching to the tune of
school drum’s beat.

Journey to the top

As I have been saying, there was a spirit in me – the spirit
of determination, the spirit of ‘I can do it’ and the spirit of
‘what you are assigned to do, do it to the best of your
knowledge.’ Even though I was the fourth in my family, I
was the only one that was able to scale the hurdle. It was
tough though, but I was not looking back. I kept moving
along, trying to fit in with those younger schoolmates. I
never knew where my mother was and I never lived with my
father.

It was not as if there was anybody around to encourage me.
It was a hopeless situation. Even the day I saw my mother,
they just called me and said ‘that is your mother’ and before
I knew, they asked me what I was still doing there with her
and that was all, she disappeared again. So, I continued
with my life the way I found it. Any stage I got to was where
God wanted me to be. In my trying to know how to read and
write, I excelled.
It was my performances rather than my career choices that
were taking me to the next level. For instance, at the end of
my primary education, I was among the best three. Aside
the Common Entrance examination held in my locality, I was
taken to Lokoja for another interview and that was how I got
admission into a secondary school.
When I finished secondary school, I chose to go to
Teachers’ Training College because it was free. I was
moving towards teaching but because I love people, I
wanted instead to go into nursing. It was at that point that
my husband came into my life. I was the talk of the entire
village because of my academic performances and he
changed my idea of becoming a nurse.
It was not as if I sat down to choose Law. I read Law by
default and also in my husband’s house. That is the reason
I tell people that it is God first and my husband second. If he
tells me to put my hand in fire, I am not going to think
whether it will burn me. I will rather obey him first. He has
been my guardian angel. Our marriage was very new when I
gained admission to study diploma in Law at Ahmadu Bello
University, Zaria. When I was through with the programme, I
went to join him in the United States. When I got there, he
bought form for me to do Masters in Criminal Justice. I
could not understand how he expected me to do Masters
with Diploma in Law but he encouraged me by reminding
me that I was brilliant enough to do it. Behold, by the time I
was through with the first stage, I passed very well and I
continued till I finished it.

When we returned to Nigeria, he worked hard to see that I
was enlisted for National Youth Service Corps. Again, he
came back to tell me that it would be nice if I go for Law so I
could practice. I earlier told him I was tired but he pressed
on and I accepted. That was how I came to read Law.

Why women are unable to able to break even in politics

It is still the problem of men. I wish everybody will be like
my husband who sees women first as human beings before
thinking of gender. If all men should see women as human
beings first, the world will be a better place for all. There is
the fear of insecurity in men that sometimes make them
hinder women from aspiring in some areas of their lives.

There are all sorts of unfounded fears that are not originally
there. But as women, we should also allay men’s fears
because sometimes, they are acting out of past experience
– there were few women that God used men to bless who
took advantage of the men and at times, bolt out of the
union, stubborn or uncontrollable.
Addressing broken marriages and impact on female children

I will say that it is going to be very difficult curbing the wave
of broken marriages in our society. Traditionally, before a
woman abandons her home and children, it would have been
a matter of life and death, a situation where people advise
her to either run away so that she can live to see her
children in future, or stay in the marriage and die. So, you
discover the matter was less in the past but with
pragmatism of the society, education and other issues, I do
not see the problem of broken homes reducing. It will rather
be on the increase.

There are so many factors or parameters now than before
that are responsible for broken homes the greatest of which
is the economy. Women are out seeking ways of keeping
the family together but the man has given up. Yet, he is still
at the helm of affairs, dictating the way things are to be
done and because the woman is economically empowered,
she tells the man to get to hell. The only thing I can say is
that we should start thinking of how to manage the children
born into such homes. There should be a law that permits
the mother to take care of the children in their formative
years while the man assists financially.
Being in an academic environment

Academic environment is what you make out of it. For
socialisation, you have more than enough. If you are the
hard working type who wants to excel, you have more than
enough work to go by. To become a professor is not about
acquiring more certificates but about researching and
bringing up new things. So, while doing all these, preparing
students and be relevant to them, I create social interactions
in that setting. You can get enough interaction with
students. One thing that is good about academic
environment is that it gives you the freedom to express
yourself and use your time judiciously

Credit: Sunday Trust

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