Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), 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.
Besides, HURIWA said the Wife of the President Aisha Buhari reportedly flew out of Abuja to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates to go organise birthday party the same day they couldn’t convince the male chauvinistic National Assembly to pass the 6 pro-women provisions to be inserted in the Constitution that is about to be altered.
The Rights group argued that were those bills so important to these elitist women, they could have cancelled the frivolous birthday party in Dubai for the Wife of the President and dedicate their time, Channel their energies and focus towards galvanising Nigerian women to massively protest the rejection of those bills. For these Women of high political advantages and unmerited privileges, those landmark legislations won’t change any figures from their huge bank accounts as wives of politically exposed persons.
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 role as men in government.
Onwubiko said the federal lawmakers are afraid that if the enabling legislative environment is created for women participation in politics, they would not have any future in government, hence, their insistence to drop the pro-women bills.
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 Deputy Minority Whip of the House, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, particularly expressed her disappointment over the non-passage of the bills.
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 have made them to 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 a transparent free, fair, accountable and publicly advertised votes so Nigerians can see who voted and who rejected the credible legislations 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.”
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA)
March 08, 2022