Group commends House of Reps for move to reconsider 3 gender bills, calls for 70% affirmative action

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From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The True Democrats (TTD), a political pressure group, has commended the House of Representatives for living up to their calling by agreeing to reconsider three of the five gender bills that were rejected in the ongoing amendments to the 1999 Constitution by members of the National Assembly.

Convener of the group Bob Ofunne said in a press statement that the TTD was utterly dismayed when the National Assembly threw out the gender bills especially as it’s obvious that women’s representation in governance in Nigeria is at its lowest level and the rights of women are daily trampled upon by some repressive traditional laws that must be changed.

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Ofunne said ‘though women have continued to play very leading political roles dating back to the days of Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Margaret Ekpo and Gambo Sawaba, they have constantly been marginalised in the political arrangements and permutations in the country.’

He added that ‘this is very unfair considering the fact that women constitute more than 50% of the country’s population and should have a fair share at the table”. “If you can get their votes, then you should support them.’

The group while commending the House of Representatives members especially the speaker, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, for spearheading the restoration of justice to the female folk, also urged the Senate to follow suit. It argued that the country’s economic and developmental challenges can be traced to the non-inclusion and involvement of Women in governance. It says the passing of the bills by the two chambers of the National Assembly will be towing the path of not only justice for the women but the much-needed progress the country so desperately yearns for.

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Going further, the group said, though the National Gender Policy encourages a 35% affirmative action, the country should actually go for a 70% affirmative action arguing that the female gender deserves this because their social, economic and political rights have been deprived for so long.

He said cited examples of countries like New Zealand, Germany and Iceland which have female leaders and have made tremendous progress in major spheres of development.

The TTD Convener noted that cases like the widow who was stripped naked in Anambra State would continue to happen if women are not placed in the forefront of governance, laws are not made to stop all these barbaric acts and women are not made to lead in the judicious use of the resources of Nigeria. In his words, ‘any political party that does not push for active women participation in governance should not be taken seriously in 2023.’

He says ‘not a few political parties have shown in their actions the need for active women participation. It has all been mouth and no action. 2023 must be a time to take action and women must show these political parties that their vote is their action.’

He hoped that the 9th National Assembly will do justice to not only three of the bills but all five bills before their lifespan expires.

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