James Emejo in Abuja
Nigerian Women Groups have commended the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, for ceding 56 per cent of slot of state’s executive cabinet to women include youths.
The women said the governor had set a precedence for other state chief executives, including the federal executive and corporate bodies to emulate.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on gender inclusion in the state, National President, Women in Politics Forum, Mr. Ebere Ifendu, alongside other women groups said they considered Abdulrasaq’s gesture as a “great achievement not only for the people of Kwara State but for Nigerians as a whole and the world at large.”
She said the development was a demonstration of the will to fasttrack the deepening of democracy in the country as well as to close the gender gap in order to achieve the much required and desired development.
Ifendu, further stressed that the political will of the governor was an acknowledgment of the need for the experience and expertise of women and men working together in the development of the state and the country in general.
While particularly commending the efforts of the governor in Kwara, they women also urged “other state governors and leaders to demonstrate their commitment to fast tracking the development of their states by mainstreaming gender in their administration.”
She said:”No doubt this is a historical moment. We congratulate the women and urge them to strive for excellence in all endeavours, particularly in the delivery of their assignments.
“We are proud that from the state level Nigerian women can smile; that all the international conventions signed by the federal government of Nigeria on gender such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women (CEDAW), the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Beijing Platform for Action and the Regional Optional Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights as well as the Nigerian National Gender Policy can actually be a lived reality.
“We applaud the Governor and people of Kwara state for making history as Nigeria’s most gender friendly government. We congratulate all nominees.”
Also present at the briefing was the one of the women commissioner-nominees in the cabinet, Aisha Ahman Pategi.
In an interview with journalists, she said the governor’s action was about gender balance.
According to her:”It’s all about gender equality and when you talk about gender equality, we are not talking about what a man can do a woman can do better but we are talking about governance, we are talking about sustainable development and we are talking about nature in itself because anywhere you have a balance, you definitely have progress -and that’s what this is all about.’
Describing the governor as an “amazing and visionary leader,” she implored every individual, not just governors, to follow suit.
She also vowed to deliver if eventually appointed commissioner.
“Nigeria has been going backwards so this is the time for us to start facing the reality and for us to get out of the hole that we have been,”she said.
Also, Chief Executive, Women Radio, Toun Okewale Sonaiya said the governor had done something that is unprecedented in gender inclusion, adding that he had also brought the young people on board.
She said:”Obviously, the governor is a smart governor and that is what smart people do. He appreciates, he understands the importance of women in nation building and that is what he has done. We are not interested in the party that the governor comes from but we are interested in what he has done.”
Also, leader of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Mufuuat Fijabi assured the Kwara State governor of the group’s support.
She said:”I am also assuring you that we would make Kwara State one if our destinations because we believe in accountability and for governors who are accountable to their promises, we would always beam the light.
“So we just want to encourage you for what you have started. Be rest assured that the Nigerian women in their entirety are with you and we will support you to achieve your aim.”
Other participants who spoke at the conference also said going forward, politicians who do not include women in their agenda will no longer have their support.