President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday jokingly alerted Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that his position as vice president was being “threatened’’ by Nigerian women in politics.
The president stated this while reacting to a request by Nigerian women who asked for the slot of Vice President of Nigeria in subsequent elections in the country.
The women under the auspices of the Nigerian Female Parliamentarians made the request when they paid a courtesy call on Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The chairperson of organisation, Mrs Elizabeth Ativie, who spoke on behalf of the delegation, lamented that Nigerian women were being marginalised by their male counterparts in the nation’s body politics.
“Since 1999 we only have one principal officer each in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“And in the State Houses of Assembly we have only just five per cent, women are five per cent of the total population of elected members of the State Houses of Assembly and we feel that this is not good enough for all the efforts we women had put in the development of this country particularly in politics.
“We feel the trend now needs to be reversed and we feel you are the only one who can do it now.
“The implementation strategy is simple. Any statement you make today is a policy statement and is a law.
“Now your Excellency is twinning. Many African countries have imbibed that culture of twinning and is working – in Rwanda, in South Africa, it’s working and we believe it will work in Nigeria.
“Where a man is a president we expect that the vice president should be a woman; where a man is speaker, we expect that the deputy speaker should be a woman and vice versa,’’ she said.
Besides, Ativie called on the Buhari administration to invest more in women’s participation in politics by creating an enabling environment for women to thrive and tackle perceived systematic and cultural hindrances to women’s inclusion.
She commended the president for the recent approval given to the Inspector-General of Police to employ youths into the Nigeria Police Force and expressed the optimism that at least 35 per cent of those to be recruited would be female police.
She also called on the president to urgently intervene in the protracted industrial action embarked upon by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).
She said: “Indeed, this strike action bites harder on women and children who are the most vulnerable in our society.
“We humbly appeal to Your Excellency to graciously look into the issues as the father of the nation in order for the health sector to bounce back and ameliorate the plight of the citizens.’’
Responding, Buhari noted the efforts of women in ensuring political stability in the country and for the support given to him during the 2015 presidential elections.
On their demands including the VP slot in future elections in the country, Buhari regretted that he was not “as powerful as you think I’m”.
“It is a pity the Vice President is not here. But I believe the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will tell him that his position is threatened,’’ he jokingly told the visiting female parliamentarians. (NAN)