By: Anushiem Chidera
In the African continent, the fabled mantra ‘Women’s education still ends in the kitchen’ is a serenade still chanted by many. However, in the 21st century, a lot of women have come out to prove that wrong. While a lot of women still end in the kitchen (at least in this part of the world), other women still distinguish themselves, towering high among women of their ilk. One of such women is Dr. (Mrs.) Mgbajah Ogadinma, the first female cardio-thoracic surgeon in the whole of West Africa.
Against all odds, Mrs. Ogadinma, a graduate of the University of Ibadan, went through the rigours of seven years of training for her to have achieved such feat— something most ladies of nowadays are loathe to doing under the guise of slaying. However, and surprisingly too, unlike most other trailblazers of her kind, she never had an inkling that she was about to set the record until her lecturers pointed it out during her programme.
It is of great importance to note that she rode on the bootstraps of passion before she could actualize the feat. Of the women population especially in West Africa, very few women may be willing to take on such an Israelite journey without an element of passion. She had the passion and she ensured it was the catalyst to achieving her dream. In a tweet, her burst of excitement would make her passion so palpable for even a blind man to see. In the tweet, she said: “Very long journey, 7 years plus, three continents! #heartsurgery #first female heart surgeon in West Africa!”.
This is an apt message to the feminine and masculine folk alike: society is willing and able to relegate anybody to the backseat of irrelevance and nonentity, but at all times the willpower to stay above waters is what matters in the end. The husband came, no distraction; the children came, yet she remained steadfast to her cause; and now she’s a trailblazer.
Her message to the women is a super-appropriate one: “I think the society has a way of conditioning women to think that there are some areas that do not belong to them. You cannot take away culture from us as Nigerians. We think that there is a limit to what a woman is supposed to do. When you speak to medical students about what they want to do, they start by saying, “well, I’m a woman…” The fact that she is a woman clouds her judgement. She is her own biggest challenge. A woman needs to know that all you need to do is identify a problem and ask yourself if you have the capacity to solve this problem. If you don’t, can you build the capacity? If yes, then you go for it.”