ColumnsGender & EquityOpinionOPINION: Concerning the Slap Incident: What Are Our Values?
The internet has been flooded with tons of reactions from the masses since the public fight between the former first lady, Ebelechukwu Obiano, and Lady Bianca Ojukwu at Gov. Soludo’s Inauguration ceremony in Anambra State. The majority applauded Bianca’s action while a few condemned it.
According to the video circulated, Mrs. Obiano is seen staring at lady Bianca who appeared to have her gaze fixed on the ongoing ceremony while fanning herself with a handheld folding fan. Mrs. Obiano, after some moments of her stare (which seemed pregnant), stands from her seat and treads as elegantly as she could to Bianca’s seat.
Mrs. Obiano, now in front of Bianca, is seen from a distance talking to Bianca and making bodily moves that signal a rift.
After some time, Bianca stands from her seat and raises her hand, her body moving in line as her raised hand descends on Mrs. Obiano’s face- which translates into a slap.  Instantly, a brief tussle transpires before the intervention of external parties.
In another video clip, Mrs. Obiano is seen being led and pacified to sit beside her husband, Willie Obiano, who seemed frozen with the shame of what had just occurred between his wife and Bianca. On her way to the seat, Mrs. Obiano, still in the height of stormy emotions, lashed out at Bianca, “Ashawo”- a Yoruba term meaning prostitute.
She was very close to her seat when cursed, at which point Willie stretched forth his hand to caution her. She resisted before plopping into the seat.
Following this incident, different memes and funny quotes have continued to emerge, especially in praise of Bianca and the caricature of Mrs. Obiano. Names like “Inaugural slap”, “Anambra valedictory slap”, a tomato branded as “La Bianca” but re-displayed online to connote in Igbo “ula Bianca”, meaning Bianca’s slap.
Also, funny comment about how tough the country is to the point of trekking to receive a slap as Ay comedian tweeted: “Nothing is easy in Nigeria. Even to receive a slap, you will still leave your seat to go and get it.” And skits mimicking the inaugural incident.
Even Governor Chukwuma Soludo, whose Inauguration has since been branded after the slap, spoke in an interview with a popular TV station about how he was entertained by the various comedies emerging from the incident.
For clarity’s sake, Bianca narrated her side of the story which summed up to be that the Former first lady whom she alleged was drunk at the time, verbally abused her(Bianca), was touching her shoulders and made to remove her head tie, at which point she (Bianca) stood to defend herself.
An update was also released narrating Mrs. Obiano’s version. The story was that she went to greet Bianca who then shocked her with a slap.
With a close examination of the video and plausibility in Bianca’s narration of the incident, talks have been going on about how Bianca needed to ‘reset Mrs. Obiano’s brain who has a history of being a bully. On the other hand, a few judged that it is not befitting of anyone, especially public figures, to fight as there are other ways to settle disputes amicably.
The conflict between Mrs. Obiano and lady Bianca might seem novel, laughable, or grave probably because female government leaders hardly engage in fisticuffs; but this is not the first time there has been an outburst between people in power, publicly.  We have records of government personnel abusing the very ethics of the position they occupy, for example, Senator Elisha Abbo’s action about two years ago. Still in the “break-the-bias” mode, a Facebook post was made, shushing men to face their business as these women would still be elected into power as has always been the case for men in government.
While this piece does not seek to dwell on who was wrong or who deserved what, or who should mind their business, it seeks to stir a reflection of our values as a nation.
What drives us as a nation? What do we consider funny and worthy of celebration? What are our political values? To what standards are occupants of government positions held? What measures are put in place to ensure conflict between government personnel is settled commendably and exemplarily? If the custodians of the law flout the law, what gut do we have in enforcing the law amongst civilians? Does it now become the case of “do as I say”, not “…as I do”?
It is time to clearly spell out our values as a nation and begin to set our records straight because the longer disorderliness is ignored amongst leaders, the greater its speed at replication.
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