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Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Tuesday, knocked the Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila led Ninth National Assembly over its insistence to drop pro-women bills which members voted on and rejected in the ongoing amendments to the 1999 Constitution.
The group said the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, and the 36 governors’ wives preferred to celebrate the birthday of the First Lady in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, the same day they couldn’t convince the male-dominated National Assembly to pass the pro-women provisions in the ongoing constitution amendment.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, also said the Ninth Assembly has entered the negative side of national history by not giving women equal roles as men in government.
About four-gender related bills failed to pass at the Senate and the House of Representatives last week which has generated condemnations both within and outside the National Assembly.
The rejected proposals include Bill 35 to “provide for special seat for women in the National and state Houses of Assembly;” Bill 37 to “provide for affirmative action for women in political party administration;” and Bill 68 which to give women a quota in the federal and state executive councils or ministerial and commissionership seats.
Reacting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “It is unfortunate that the Ninth Assembly has insisted that it won’t pass the pro-women provisions that would have been included in the yet-to-be amended constitution. The immediate consequence is that the current set of legislators in Abuja have entered the national book of infamy as reactionary elements who are afraid of their shadows because majority of them can’t win in a free and fair contest without bribing voters and the Independent Electoral Commission.
“It is the fear for their political future because their political status now is tainted by corruption and bribery that is why they are scared that if the enabling legislative environment is created for women participation in politics, they do not have any further prospects.
“Their parasitic nature on the political system has made them resort to fighting tooth and nail to prevent the revolutionary laws that would have resulted from the affirmative action and the other pro-women progressive legislations.
“Nigeria must learn from neighbouring Liberia which produced Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as President for 12 unbroken years. Nigeria must learn from Tanzania which currently has Samia Suluhu Hassan as President. Nigeria must learn from the United States which currently has Kamala Harris as Vice-President. Nigeria must learn from world nations providing the atmosphere for women to thrive in politics as well as other areas. The focus should be on capacity and competence and not masculine ego with empty heads.
“HURIWA calls for a repeat of the vote because the last vote was done like a secret cult. However, going forward, there has to be transparent free, fair, accountable and publicly advertised votes so Nigerians can see who voted and who rejected the credible legislation to empower women’s political participation.
“The President’s wife, Aisha Buhari; the Vice-President’s wife, Dolapo Osinbajo; as well as the wives of the 36 state governors now that they must have returned from their birthday ceremony in Dubai, must be vocal at this time to press home their demands. Failure to do this is a betrayal to womanhood.”