The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has called on the National Assembly to reconsider the bills which aim at providing more access for women to participate in politics and contribute their quota to the development of the country in the ongoing Constitutional amendment.
This was contained in a statement Thursday by the Special Assistant on Media, Crusoe Osagie, titled, ‘Obaseki flays unconscionable denial of women representation in Nigeria’s democracy.
This day had reported yesterday that Scores of Nigerian women protested at the entrance of the National Assembly over the rejection of bills to promote the interest of the female gender in the ongoing constitutional amendment.
The bills which seek to promote the interest of women did not scale through at Tuesday’s exercise. The bills sought to grant special seats for women in the legislature, indigeneship, citizenship, and 35 percent party leadership.
The Governor further blasted the National Assembly for rejecting five bills seeking affirmative action and inclusion for women in politics and other spheres of the society.
He noted that the action by NASS is most regrettable and unsettling. He said: “This is because the legislature is the bastion of democracy and a critical platform for fair representation and inclusion in government.
“It is therefore painful and unconscionable that these bills which provide a fillip for accommodating women who make up more than 50% of the voting population are subjected to such sorry fate.
“In Edo State, we have a healthy mix of women in our cabinet, as they occupy more than 30 percent of positions of commissioners and Special Advisers in government. They provide invaluable service to ensure the proper functioning of the engine of government.
“At the senior cadre of the civil and public service, women make up more than 50 percent of the Permanent Secretaries, which provides them with ample opportunity to serve the people.
“Our experience has proven that women bring a rare knack of commitment and sense of service to drive change and engender progress like never before seen in the civil service.
“Edo people hope that their representatives at the National Assembly did not vote along the lines of disenfranchising their women population because to do so will mean that they do not care about those who sent them to represent them at the Assembly.
Obaseki, who added that NASS had let go a golden opportunity, said: “It is heartbreaking that the National Assembly members missed a golden opportunity to redesign Nigeria’s political landscape by enshrining landmark legislation that promotes inclusion and provides women with the legal backing to gain equitable representation at the apex level of lawmaking and political participation.
“Our administration has continued to provide women with the opportunity to take up important roles in governance and they have proven to be excellent managers of human and material resources.”
“I, therefore, lend my voice in calling on the National Assembly to reconsider its decision and take proactive and affirmative action in providing more opportunities for women to participate in politics, governance and all spheres of human endeavour,” the governor added.