Female Parliamentarians yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to concede the number-two position in the country to women during the 2019 general elections.The female state lawmakers also sought the President’s veto pronouncing that of every three senatorial positions in the state, one should be ceded to a woman.They equally demanded that of the nine members of the House of Representatives, at least three should be women.
The lawmakers who made their position known through their leader, Mrs. Elizabeth Ative, who led them on a courtesy visit to President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, noted that “all over the world, the issue of twinning is being advocated.
“Currently, many African and European Nations are daily finding ways to include more women in governance. Some have elected or appointed women as Heads of States, Prime Ministers, Heads of Foreign Ministries and other key positions of decision-making.“It will not be out of place, Your Excellency, for women to be given such opportunities in our dear nation. Even God created them male and female.”
However, President Buhari, while responding, jokingly told the women that their demand meant a threat to the office of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who was not present at the visit.He said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“It is a pity that the Vice President is not here, but I am sure the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will brief him that his position is threatened.”
The President, while noting the support extended to him by women during the four different times he had contested for the office of President, recalled with appreciation how even women in labour queued up to vote for him.He asked the delegation to take the message to their colleagues to extend the same support to enable him actualise his second term ambition in 2019.
On their request to make a pronouncement ceding a number of seats for women in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, the President simply told them that he was not “as powerful as you think.”
President Buhari explained that he lacked the powers to make such pronouncement and that the request could only be made by a military Head-of-State, adding he is now “a civilian who wears agbada.”“I am not all that powerful that when I talk it becomes a decree. As I said, it is only the Vice President that is threatened,” he said.On the fears by the women lawmakers that the men were already regrouping to suppress and marginalize them in the forthcoming elections, the President said there was no such plot.
While noting that women were fairly treated, he argued that if there was such a plot against them as being insinuated, many of them would not have been elected lawmakers.Specifically, Mrs Ative, who had served as a speaker and also deputy speaker in Edo State House of Assembly, told President Buhari that Nigerian women were being marginalised by their male counterparts.She said the country only had one principal officer in each of the two chambers of the National Assembly since the return to democracy in 1999.
“Politically, women account for over 50 per cent of voters in any election. They are very loyal politicians and do not cross-carpet. They wait patiently to cast their votes under the rain and even in the scorching sun,” she added.
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