A Governorship contender in Abia State, Prof Gregory Ibe, has decried what he described as “the inability of the National Assembly to support women affirmative action by voting in favor of alterations to some gender related bills during the recent constitution amendment exercise”.
Reacting to the failure of members of the two arms of the national assembly to successfully pass Bill 35, which sought to provide special seats for women in the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly and Bill 37, targeted at ensuring affirmative action for women in political party administration, Prof Ibe bemoaned the missed opportunity of integrating the female folks into the mainstream of Nigerian politics through legislation.
According to him,” While commending members of both floors of the National Assembly for their due diligence in amending some contentious sections of the constitution, I however see their inability to overwhelmingly vote in favour of Bills 35 and 37 respectively as a regrettable missed opportunity that will seriously hurt our politics in future.
“In fact, by this action, the nation missed a great opportunity of handing our daughters, sisters, wives and mothers an early International Women’s Day gift and setting a new agenda with brand new roles for female participation in the forthcoming 2023 general elections”, he noted.
He therefore appealed to the members of the 36 Houses of Assembly to correct the anomaly by voting in support of all gender bills that encourage women affirmative action.
Said he, “While enjoining Nigerian women not to lose hope, I want to urge honorable members of State Houses of Assembly across the country, to as a matter of urgent national importance, rise to the occasion by vetoing the apparent gender-insensitive resolutions of the national assembly when the exercise gets to the floor of their chambers as required by law.
“On our part, we shall continue to work with civil society organizations and other development partners to increase advocacy while mobilizing massively to ensure the enactment of women friendly laws, especially in Abia state”.
Meanwhile many reactions have continued to trail the recent failure of the national assembly to vote in favor of some bills seeking to promote gender balancing by expanding political participation for women in Nigeria during a constitution amendment exercise that took place earlier in the week.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.