NGO Canvasses More Women Inclusion in Governance

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Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

The ActionAid Country Director, Mrs. Ene Obi, has called on Nigerian women to properly organise themselves for the advancement of women rights, adding that women were deceived by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari that they would gain 40 percent affirmative action, a spillover of the 35 percent 1995 Beijing Conference agreement.

Obi said that opportunities given to women to hold positions of power are not favours but human rights being supported by tested abilities, which have not been respected, except through lip service.

She stated this yesterday in Abuja during the validation of the research on women organising and women organising tool kit, which was organised by Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

She said the quality of every decision making must be inclusive and all encompassing, adding that boards and several committees have been set up by the government and with poor representation of women as members.

“In 2018, the president told Nigerian women that once he was voted, he will give 40 percent to women. He had not met it. They have created so many bodies and committees and some don’t even have a single woman as member.

‘The quality of any decision making should be inclusive and when the results come out, it should have the connection of the people. Decision making is done in the boardroom and if you are not there, what comes out of it is what you take.

“You are not doing women a favour when you grant them an opportunity to lead because he who wears the shoes knows where it pinches. We need to unite. We don’t have a tribe. We have no tribe. We have a society. When you impede on women’s rights, you impede on the rights of others that are under her, which she is controlling. Attention to a woman is attention to development.

“Another thing is for the government to be transparent in all that it does and stand up right for all Nigerians and for all citizens.

“Wherever you find yourself, stand up for Nigeria. Nigeria cannot be the same without our contributions” she said.

She lamented that the country is lagging behind in its investment of human capital, saying that as a country with a huge population of young people, labour that cannot be consumed with the shores of the country can be transported to other countries for a robust economy.

Obi said: “The current state we are in is lack of investment of capital in the young ones. Students are in school and the scholarships are almost not there again. We are leaving the stage worse than we met it and I am calling on the government to invest in human capital. The youth we have today is an engine room for development.

“Other countries are looking for young people that we cannot even consume in the economy. What do you do when you have that kind of vault? You qualify them and send them to other countries. We are talking about sage migration. If you cannot consume your labour, then you can take it outside.”

In her remarks, the Executive Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode- Afolabi, said without a movement it would be difficult to achieve a change in the emancipation of women and in ending Gender Based Violence.