“I want to be a president.” 10 year old Ironua screamed from the top of the balcony with eyes closed, arms spread out and a big smile on her face.
“Durrrrh! Girls cannot be president.” Her twin brother screamed back at her.
Ironua looked at him, pointed her right pinky finger at him, and with the most defiant look ever on her face she said,
Ironua’s father who had been watching them from the other side of the balcony laughed.
‘Kids,’ he thought.
“Daddy, please, I need extra money to buy the campaign form for my department’s presidential election.” 17 year old Ironua said to her father on one of the holidays back home from school. Her father looked at her and chuckled, and then he went on to ask if her twin brother was not interested in politics since they were in the same department.
“He is running for treasurer, dad” Ironua said smiling gleefully. Ihuoma smiled as he nodded in affirmation.
Their father had a stoic expression that soon graduated into an angry one as he turned to Ihuoma, “What do you mean you are running for treasurer?” He bellowed.
Shocked, both Ironua and her brother stood up immediately and huddled close to each other.
“What happened to president?” He demanded angrily.
“But dad, Ironua is already running for president,” Ihuoma said, wondering if their father suddenly had hearing impairment.
“Eh en, why should that stop you? Is not like she’s going to win anyway”
Ironua’s expressions changed rapidly from anger to betrayal and settled at sadness.
“Why would you say that?” She asked her father in a shaky voice, tears falling down her cheeks.
“Because it is the truth. You are just a woman.”
Ironua’s mouth fell open in unbelief. She wished her mother was alive, maybe she wouldn’t feel so alone. Streams of tears were dropping from her face to her slowly heaving chest.
“Okay fine,” Their father said, not liking the look on her face. “I will give you the money, but your brother must also run for president. And even if you have more fans, you must make sure he wins, women cannot be president.”
Ironua, shaking and unable to control herself from crying, slowly raised her right pinky finger to her father, and through a tear-cracked voice, she said
The race was not a tough one, as Ironua had already won the hearts of a lot of people in the department, and her course-mates simply adored her. So she won by a landslide. Her brother got just three votes. No one quite understood his reason to drop his unrivaled run as the treasurer to contest against his twin sister for the presidency.
The twins did not tell their father the truth when he called on the phone to ask who won the election. They simply told him neither of them had won. He seemed satisfied with the results and told them other things would come.
Ironua fought back angry tears, as her friend and brother held her hand tight to stop her from lashing out at the patriarchy king at the other end of the phone.
She held her heart and waited until the call ended before screaming out her pain.
Ihuoma did not understand why it was such a big deal to his sister that their father did not support her. This was just the departmental presidency, it was not like she was going to use it for anything major, except bragging rights, he thought.
But in Ironua’s heart, she saw how difficult her future would be.
How she would never get any support from her family members because she made the mistake of being born female. She saw her dreams hit the floor with a thud.
Ironua said nothing more after that scream. She just turned her back and slowly walked away, leaving her brother and her friend behind.
Her twin brother grimly stared at her as she walked away. He was scared.
He was right to be scared, something had changed.
The person walking away was no longer Ironua.