‘It’s Tragic’: Baba-Ahmed Slams National Assembly For Rejecting Gender Bills
Hakeem Baba-Ahmed has faulted the rejection of gender bills by the National Assembly in the just-concluded constitutional amendments by the lawmakers.
The spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said this on Wednesday; a day after the federal lawmakers rejected the bills. One of the bills captioned “Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide for Special Seat for Women in the National and State Houses of Assembly; and for Related Matters,” failed after a majority of the lawmakers voted against it.
But the NEF image-maker does not agree with the move, maintaining that some of the bills could have bettered the country.
“There were some key clauses that would have added substantially in terms of improving the quality of the constitution and the leadership selection,” Baba-Ahmed said during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“One of them, tragically, was the rejection of setting aside 35 percent of the elective positions for women. This is not for a country like Nigeria. The level of underrepresentation of women in key positions and decision-making is tragic.
“It is really tragic. We have reduced women only to the role of the voters, basically. The political system has reduced everybody else, except the people that we elect, as spectators who are only relevant for the purposes of elections. After that, the people we elect run away with power and do what they want with it.
“I was particularly saddened by the rejection. Every gender-based amendment was rejected. It was as if we had a legislature that was waging war against women.”
In the wake of the lawmakers’ decision, women groups protested at the National Assembly, accusing the legislators of discriminating against females. They chanted solidarity songs and asked them to take another look at the requests for 111 seats for women, citizenship, 35% representation in party leadership, more appointive positions in government, and vote in favour of these amendments.