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Speaker Abbas promises that the 10th House would guarantee that women are properly represented in government

Aug 25, 2023 | Politics | 0 comments

Abuja (Sundiata Post) Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen stated the 10th House will do all to ensure women are represented in politics and administration.

Speaker Abbas also said improving women’s governance involvement is crucial to national development.

The Special Advisor on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Musa Abdullahi Krishi, told Sundiata Post that Abbas offered the guarantee in Abuja on Wednesday while addressing attendees at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies’ International Conference on Women in Government (NILDS).

Speaker Abbas lamented the sluggish pace of female mainstreaming in politics and government but warned that Nigeria risks losing out on growth if it doesn’t catch up.

Speaker Abbas indicated the 10th House will resurrect the 9th Assembly’s failed gender bills.

The Speaker assured Nigerians, especially women, that the 10th House of Representatives would work within its legislative capabilities to guarantee women’s representation.

“I understand women’s anguish when the 9th House of Representatives rejected the Gender Bill. The law failed because it took time to find ways to pass. But, the 10th House will examine the Bill as part of our Legislative Agenda, and by working with women and stakeholders, we can create legislation that benefits women and all Nigerians and improves governance.

The Speaker worried that Nigeria might lose out on this crucial development component with merely six years and one more general election cycle before 2030 (when the SDGs should have been met).

Nigeria’s political inclusion of women is unsettling. Nigeria needs to catch up in this area, whereas other nations have made tremendous progress. It’s even more shameful knowing that other African nations have overcome comparable obstacles and traditions.

“Gender equality, particularly political inclusion of women, is a global problem, and Nigeria is no exception. Despite recent advances, gender gaps in society are still large. Women and girls confront barriers to education, healthcare, economic opportunity, and political representation. Violence against women, discriminatory cultural norms, and restricted access to resources and decision-making processes contribute to these inequalities.”

When it developed the Millennium Development Goals, subsequently renamed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN recognised the need to address these issues and empower women and girls as essential to sustainable development.

Although we have committed to achieving the SDGs via national policies and programmes, women and girls in Nigeria still need major impediments to participation in decision-making processes across sectors, including politics and the economy. This despite their large voter and demographic base, he remarked.

Speaker Abbas, however, commended both the last and current administrations for laying a policy foundation by approving a new gender policy that would span 2021 to 2026 and set new minimum standards for the Nigerian government to meet the mandate for gender equality, which the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration has adopted and is implementing.

It is gratifying that the new administration under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is making conscious efforts to align with the new gender policy, especially with the number of women appointed to the new Executive Council. Future appointments should take further steps to expand women’s participation in governance.

Speaker Abbas further criticised the low level of voter support for women, noting that women held 3.91 percent of 469 National Assembly members.

The Speaker encouraged males to open doors to increase women’s involvement in politics and government as they normally close them.

Men must lead the push for women’s participation in government because they close the door. Open it so ladies may enter. This is the result of global knowledge that males must lead the way in expanding governance, political, and development space for women.

As lawmakers, the 10th House of Representatives created a Legislative Agenda Committee that prioritised women’s issues. The House will study the Constitution and electoral regulations and consider boosting women’s legislative seats in future elections.

“The legislature will collaborate with political party leaders to identify a model, looking at other nations with high women’s participation, that would best fit Nigerian political culture and guarantee that women are appropriately represented in the legislature and other branches of government.”

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