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Feminists attack Omokri over controversial ‘bleached divorcee’ comment

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By Chinelo Nwangene

Former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, and author of bestselling book, Pastor Bemigho, Reno Omokri, has come under attack by feminists on social media who consider his controversial comments on divorced women as offensive.

Omokri, an influential lawyer and gospel preacher with over 870,000 followers on twitter had stirred the hornet’s nest on November 23 when he advised his disciples to consider public figures like the late Nigerian first lady, Maryam Babangida as their role models rather than bleached and divorced women.

“Maryam Babangida was one of the world’s most beautiful women ever. We need the media to project more natural beauties like Maryam, instead of force-feeding youths ‘stunning’ photos of bleached divorcee slay queens, with surgically enhanced bodies!” he tweeted.

He later used Agbani Darego to underscore the importance of retaining natural colour and staying committed to marriage. “See @AgbaniDarego__ the first and only Nigerian to win the Miss World Pageant. She did not bleach or surgically enhance herself. Yet, she is married, has a child, and is a thing of joy to herself and her race. Say it with me – I’m Black and proud!

“When you bleach and surgically enhance your body, you are not just saying, ‘I hate myself’, you also teach young dark-skinned girls to likewise hate themselves. No matter how many rich old men date you, you remain a danger to yourself and society!”, he stressed.

Barely hours after dropping the tweets, the preacher and founder of a multimedia project, came under firing range of Nigerian feminists who considered the comments a hate speech directed at divorced women in the society. Leading the line was Toke Makinwa, an influential media girl with over 900,000 fans on social media. Makinwa, a divorcee, wasted no time in slamming the ex-presidential media aide for what she called shaming divorced women. She fired back at Omokri in a series of tweets posted via her Twitter page @tokstarr on November 24, 2020.

She wrote: @renoomokri: “Wow, at your age? Your wife and kids must be cringing for you, such an embarrassment. “Divorced” is nothing to shame anyone for, life happens. People like you are the reasons why a lot of people stay in unhealthy situations and lose their dignity and in some cases their lives,” she tweeted.

“You can celebrate a version of beauty without putting another down. You don’t have to meddle in women’s business too. If you have a daughter I hope she gets the courage to never deal with a man as uncouth as you, stop with the misogyny.

“I don’t care about shots intended my way, what I do care about is the group of women you singlehandedly insulted with your “divorcee” comment. To divorce is not a crime. Every divorced person has survived something, and sometimes getting a divorce is the only option they have.

“Enough with the divorce shaming of anyone, I don’t see a divorced man being shamed for living his life after his failed marriage. People like that clown are probably in unhealthy marriages too. God forbid I marry a man who tweets that kind of garbage, sighhh.”

Toke, who is in the category of women being carpeted by Reno, insists that she is proud of her divorcee status and surgeries as she signed off with a tweet: “Dragging my divorced slay queen naked ass back to my holiday and waking up to the most beautiful view, in my bed and outside my room, love and light xx clinking glasses, clinking glasses.”

Expectedly, other feminists joined the fray, taking their own pound of flesh from Omokri for crossing their path. Ugorji Esther Ugochi, wrote: “I have said it before and am still saying it again, Reno will always open his mouth and let anything just pour out without thinking it through. Because he gets applause from some people that makes him think he’s always sensible. He always sounds insensitive in most of the things he posts. His problem and topic always revolve around women, yet he claims to love his wife.

Anwulika Udanoh, also reacted angrily.I hate nonsense.The type of nonsense exhibited by Reno!”, she wrote, stressing: “Reno acts like he hates liberty for women. If he’s not attacking single mothers, he’s attacking divorced women or single girls. You will hardly read him address the issues that lead women into making this hard decision to stay divorced.”

@Abagi_Avesejoy also hit back at him, stressing that divorce isn’t a crime. “Women go through a lot, that is why they ask for divorce”.

@OlaoluwaloseyiA queried: “What’s wrong with being a divorcee?” “Sometimes, too much knowledge can be overwhelming. You had a point untill you got to the divorce bit sir”.

Sorosokeywere counseled: “Bros, leave them to bleach their bleach.. is it your bleach? I am neither in support of bleaching nor against it. Do what makes you feel good as long as it doesn’t rub negatively on anybody. You cannot live your life trying to be everybody’s role model. Na dem you find come earth?”

Despite widespread criticisms that trailed the controversial tweets, Omokri’s hardcore fans also backed him, insisting that he spoke the truth. The Nigerian Democratic Youth [email protected] supported the attack on cosmetic lifestyle of divorcees, arguing that even though every wife is a woman, not every woman is a wife.

The group wrote in defence of Omokri: “People fail to understand that to be a wife is like being in the office of a prophet! The bible doesn’t say: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and receives favor from the Lord” for nothing! Society has painted a picture of what women should look like today and have indirectly used reverse psychology to ‘body shame’ anyone who doesn’t look like that without them realizing. They praise those who look like that and keep our girls distracted and trapped in this vicious cycle!

Onoru [email protected] also backed the preacher arguing that some ladies have died in the course of surgical enhancement yet no lesson learnt. “As we speak, a lot of women are hustling to gather money to catch up with the next airplane heading to India for surgery.

On the divorce argument, he adds: “If divorce gives you the peace you desire so be it, but marketing a trend that’s does not add value to humanity is my concern, if adding contour to your body is the only way to prove self high esteem, then a check is required”.

However, Imam Ibibo responded via @ImamIbibo: “Some have also died in unhealthy relationships. Being divorced shouldn’t be a criteria for shaming people. You have no idea what they’ve been through and sometimes divorce is the only way out”.

Another respondent, Rychiee @Rachael76067820 however stressed that Omokri crossed the line. According to her, what he said was “true to some point only that the divorcee tag doesn’t add up.  People can’t remain in abusive or threatening relationships just to be good. “Regards the body, self-confidence is key. Some persons aren’t confident in the bodies they have which is why they make changes”, she adds.

David-Leo [email protected] also wrote: “the problem I have with those celebrities that bleach and enhance their body is they make it out to the young ones who look up to them like doing that is the only way to make you feel ok with your body which is false. Just do you and be cool, don’t try to influence others.

Felicity Chinaza agrees: “I keep wondering what they keep indirectly teaching the young generations coming up. one thing I advice young growing teens especially girls to have is “SELF LOVE”.There is nothing superior to that.

Gideon Sokanlu also adds:“What we don’t know is, those who bleach actually have a low self-esteem of their previous skin. But what they forget is that they will still embrace that skin they reject in the future on another person. And that will be a sad one. We have many people who make wrong decisions simply because they don’t get someone to give them courage to embrace who they’re. I am brown skin and proud of it and you should be also proud of your beautiful skin.”

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