From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said the rejection of five gender bills by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled National Assembly is a major setback for Nigeria’s democratic advancement.
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Governor Wike wondered the kind of humanity that the leadership of APC and its members have to deny women desirable roles in politics.
The Rivers State governor made the assertion at the inauguration of Ahoada -Odiemerenyi -Ihugbogo -Odieke road project in Ahoada-East Local Government Area on Friday.
He said women, including the wives of the President and Vice President,
Mrs. Aisha Buhari and Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo respectively, had approached, lobbied and secured the promise from members of the National Assembly for affirmative action for them.
Governor Wike stated that it is rather baffling that the lawmakers voted to frustrate the bill requesting such legislative rights.
He said: “Look at what happened in the National Assembly. I watched it and I laughed when I saw our wives, and women were disgraced. It has never happened anywhere. I saw wives of the president and vice president go to plenary session of the National Assembly to lobby them, to please help them.
“They (National Assembly) promised them. The party (APC) promised them. The same party that promised them, failed them.”
Governor Wike said such thing will not be allowed to happen in progressive societies that have continued to harness the potentials of women in the advancement of their countries.
He blamed the rejection of the bills on President Muhammadu Buhari’s lack of interest in allowing for affirmative action for women in political administration in the country.
“APC controls the National Assembly. If Mr. President was in support of this, there is no way they will disgrace women in the National Assembly. Such shameful thing.”
Governor Wike said the situation in Rivers State is different because women were an integral part of the process of political administration of the state.
He explained that there are 23 female vice chairmen of local governments in the Rivers State, and at least five female councillors in each local government area.
According to him, this is as a result of deliberate policy implemented by the People’s Democratic Party leadership in the state.
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“Look at in this State, as a matter of policy, we said we are going to do this and we agreed that if women cannot be chairman of councils, they cannot be refused the position of vice chairmen.
“Today, in this State, all 23 vice chairmen are women. Today, in this State, we said we must have five women as councillors in each local government. It is a matter of policy and It is leadership.”
Speaking further Governor Wike said he has used politics and governance to better the socioeconomic conditions of communities and made the people happy.
Rivers State governor said sustaining national development and providing a thriving economy for Nigerians is not difficult to attain across the country.
He said a lack of passion in leadership to improve the life of the people, and tendency of the APC to inflict pains on Nigerians, inadvertently, create the impression that governance is difficult.
Governor Wike said what is important to him in governance is to solve societal problem and to see to it that the people are happy because of the improved social services that include development projects, delivered to them.
“There is nothing difficult in Nigeria. It is just because they want to punish the people. When people talk about Nigeria is lacking this, Nigeria is lacking that, I say it is because of the leadership.
“There is no passion for this country. They (APC) are not committed to the development of this country.”
Performing the inauguration of the 10.2 kilometres long road Ahoada -Odiemerenyi-Ihugbogo-Odieke Road project, former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi said Rivers State has a truly difficult terrain, and it takes courage and love to invest in such development endeavour to better life of rural dwellers.
He opined that it is imperative for the PDP to take over power at the national level so that Nigerians will enjoy passionate leadership that is committed to their welfare.
Senator Makarfi, however, sued for greater unity in the PDP and undivided focus towards return to power at the national level to reverse the failure of the APC.
Providing the description of the road, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi said the Ahoada -Odiemerenyi -Ihugbogo -Odieke Road project is 10.2 kilometres long and 7.3 metres wide.
Tasie-Amadi explained that the road, which will benefit the many communities in Ahoada as it opens them up to three local government areas of the state.