The Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has called for the inclusion of more women in politics.
While hosting a group called Women in Technical Education and Employment in his office in Ilorin, the state capital on Wednesday, he said there is a need to give women equal rights with their male counterparts.
According to the governor, this is the time to tap into the capacity of women which he believes will allow them to contribute their quota to national economic development.
He also called for a review of technical education which he believes will put Nigeria in the driver’s seat of Africa.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday attended an advocacy summit for female political aspirants.
The summit which took place in Abuja was aimed at enlightening women seeking elective positions in the 2019 election.
In attendance were the Director General of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) Barr. Mary Ekpere-Eta, Wife of the President Aisha Buhari, Wife of the Vice President Dolapo Osinbajo and Wife of Bauchi State Governor Hadiza Mohammed Abubakar.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has become only the second leader to give birth while in office, in another milestone for women in politics.
The 37-year-old took to Instagram to reveal the birth of her daughter Thursday but has downplayed the significance of her pregnancy.
“Plenty of women have multitasked before me, and I want to acknowledge that,” she said in January.
Here are some of the other historic moments for women in government.
– Women get the vote –
New Zealand has a track record of being progressive on women’s issues — in 1893 it became the first country to give women the right to vote. Australia extended the franchise in 1902.
Major powers of the era followed later, with the United States granting women the vote nationally in 1920. Women in Britain had to wait until 1928.
Women in Saudi Arabia voted for the first time in 2015 at municipal elections.
– Elected to parliament –
Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana and leading activist, was the first woman to be elected to the US Congress, in 1916.
Despite being ahead of the curve with universal suffrage, New Zealand didn’t get its first female MP until 1933, while Australia elected two women lawmakers to its national parliament in 1943.
The first woman elected to Britain’s House of Commons was Constance Markievicz in 1918, although as a member of the Irish republican party Sinn Fein, she did not take her seat.
– First female prime minister –
The first female prime minister was Sirima Bandaranaike, who was elected to lead Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1960. She only came into politics after the assassination of her husband, then-premier Solomon Bandaranaike, but became a dominant figure, serving three terms as head of government.
Since then, several women have occupied the biggest job in their respective countries, including Margaret Thatcher of Britain, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, India’s Indira Gandhi, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff and Thailand’s Yingluck Shinawatra.
But yet again, New Zealand is a trailblazer in this respect — Ardern is the third woman to be the country’s prime minister, following in the footsteps of Helen Clark and Jenny Shipley.
– Leaders who have had babies in office –
Ardern is not the first female head of government to give birth in office — that record was claimed by late Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto when she had a baby girl in 1990.
On the campaign trail, Ardern, 37, had pushed back against questions about whether she intended to start a family, saying pregnancy should not affect a woman’s career opportunities.
– Women in the majority –
The number of women lawmakers has increased in recent years and currently stands at 23 per cent of all MPs worldwide — but female MPs make up over half of elected representatives in the lower houses of just two countries.
In Rwanda, 61 per cent of MPs are women, while in Bolivia the figure is 53 per cent, according to Swiss-based Inter-Parliamentary Union, an organisation that collects data from legislatures worldwide.
– Children in parliament –
Italy’s Licia Ronziulli was snapped with her six-week-old child in the European parliament in 2010 and has regularly been accompanied by her little person since then — to the joy of photographers.
Spanish MP Carolina Bescansa breastfed in her national legislature in early 2016, while the issue of juggling children and a political career hit the headlines in Australia last year when senator Larissa Waters became the first woman in the country’s history to breastfeed in the chamber.
That followed new rules introduced in 2016 to create a more “family friendly” parliament in the wake of what was described as a “baby boom” among politicians.
Under previous rules, children were technically banned.
However, in more socially conservative Japan, a female politician was ejected from her chamber in November after bringing her baby into a meeting, sparking heated debate.
Yuka Ogata took her seven-month-old son to join a municipal assembly session in western Kumamoto city, but other lawmakers asked her to leave — ostensibly because rules stipulated that only politicians, staff members and city officials were allowed to take part.
President Muhammadu Buhari says a committee to rehabilitate infrastructure and resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria’s northeast is soon to be formally inaugurated.
The committee, to be led by a frontline statesman, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), would also include Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.
Speaking at the State House, Abuja on Friday, in response to a goodwill message delivered to him by a group, Women In Politics Forum (WIPF), President Buhari announced that all forms of assistance and aid in this respect generated locally and from foreign countries, as promised by the Group of Seven of Industrialised Countries (G7), would be channelled through the committee when it is inaugurated.
A statement by a spokesman for the President, Mr Garba Shehu, said President Buhari had compiled a list of damaged infrastructure, including schools and bridges and handed it to the leaders of the G7 and the United States.
“I didn’t ask for a Kobo (in cash). It is up to them to choose what they will undertake. Already, some of them have sent teams to verify our assertions,” the President, however, stated.
Source Of Concern
President Buhari decried the impact of the Boko Haram violence on women and children, declaring that they were its worst victims.
“In the North-East, what I saw for myself and on those clips is a source of concern for people with conscience.
“They are mostly women, and children who are orphaned. Some of them don’t even know where they come from. This is the pathetic situation in which the country has found itself,” The President told the women.
He said that the fight for the return of the Chibok girls is ongoing and “continues to be a most worrying issue” to his government, emphasising that the administration would do all within its powers in making the best efforts to secure their freedom.
The President acknowledged the case made by the WIPF for better representation of women in his government and assured them that women would fare well in the composition of parastatals and their boards in the first quarter of this year.
He also defended the records of the administration in response to criticism that it is slow, arguing that steps must be taken with caution to avoid mistakes.
“People say we are slow. We are trying to change structures put in place by our predecessors in office for 16 years. If we hurry it, we will make mistakes. That will be a disaster.”
President Buhari assured them that the country had a budget proposal for the New Year that is good for employment and manufacturing.
“By the end of the second quarter, the full impact of these positive measures will be felt,” he told the visiting women.
The WIPF, made up of women leaders from 26 registered political parties led by Mrs Ebere Ifendu of the Labour Party expressed their full support for the government’s war on corruption and insecurity.
They asked the administration to usher in laws to promote gender equity as well as action towards the implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act.
The Women’s group made the record of being the first organisation to be received by the President in the New Year.
More emphasis have been laid on the need for Women Empowerment and Service to Humanity, as the world marks the 2015 International Women’s Day.
Globally, March 8 has been set aside to celebrate women who have contributed to the development of the world as well as serve as a reminder to government to canvass for policies that would advance the course of women.
This year’s celebration, with the theme, Women Empowerment, Service to Humanity has drawn so many reactions from people as governments across the globe try bridge the gap that exists in making the women folk bring their expertise to the fore.
Nigerian woman started striving for empowerment with little or no support from relevant authorities in 1995 in Beijing, China when thousands of women across the globe gathered to seek the protection of the rights of women and inclusion in socio-economic development.
Twenty years later, the day is still being celebrated globally to awaken the consciousness of those in authority to up their games in championing their course.
Efforts by government in Nigeria to ensure the inclusion of women in governance is said to have yielded success with about 35 per cent of women occupying key positions in various Ministries,department and Agencies, leaving the men folk vying for more positions in politics.
Besides active involvement in politics,the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development,Mrs Zainab Maina, sort the passage of bills that would protect the Nigerian women.
According to experts, closing the gaps that exist in making women bring their potentials to the fore also begins with a commitment to improving budgetary allocations for issues that affect women.
With more than 70 per cent of the nations women still living with rural areas and unable to get medical, educational or economic empowerment, many said that harnessing the potentials of women should be seen as a top priority at the Global,National and Local levels.
The girls were abducted on April 14, 2014 and have not been rescued.
At its meeting in Abuja on Sunday, the group members expressed concerns that two weeks into the six weeks heightened counter-terrorism operation to tackle insurgency in the north-east, the government had not offered any status update on efforts specific to the rescue of the 219 Chibok girls.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has fixed March 19 for hearing of the Sovereign Wealth Fund suit before it to enable the parties – the Federal Government and the 36 State Governors – file all relevant documents.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, counsel to the 36 states, Mr Yusuf Ali, accused the Federal Government of frustrating all attempts to settle the matter out of court.
The representative of the Federal Government, Ahmed Abdulmalik, told the court that there is no money called excess crude fund in the account of the states.
Having listened to both parties , the Chief Justice of Nigeria, who presided over the case, urged the counsels to advise the parties to settle out of court.
The 36 states had gone to the Supreme Court seeking for an order declaring the proposed creation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund illegal and unconstitutional.
The states are also praying that the court would issue an order to the effect that all sums standing to the credit of the excess crude account be paid to court or be otherwise secured as the court may deem fit pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors have expressed concern over the threat of violence by politicians and their supporters during the forthcoming general elections.
The National President of the Association, Dr Prince Dan-Jumbo, shared the resident doctors’ worries while reading out the communique reached at the just concluded National Executive Council Meeting of the association in Owerri the Imo State capital.
He said that the association of resident doctors nationwide amidst all the threat of violence during the election have resolved to willingly render prompt and proficient medical services to all citizens during the election.
He also advised Nigerians to sue for peace during the election.
Of much concern to the association, however, is the welfare of the members of the association.
They advised the Federal Government and the authorities of all federal medical centres in the country to put in place adequate machinery that will effect the uniformity and quality of the residency training programme in the country.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has called on political parties to implement 30 percent women representation during their primaries.
Professor Jega made the call at a meeting with a group of female politicians and civil society groups in Abuja.
According to the INEC Chairman, the first step towards the involvement of women in elective positions is for political parties to ensure that women seeking elective positions are encouraged to win party primaries.
Currently, women account for less than eight percent of all elective positions in Nigeria; a situation some believe must start to change with party primaries coming up ahead of next years elections.
Wife of the President of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan has called out to women in the south western part of Nigeria.
The first lady made the call in a message sent through the National Coordinator of Women for Change Initiative, Hajia Rabi Ibrahim, who was in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, to address women leaders across the south west and to look for ways of building capacity and empowering them.
Hajia Ibrahim, who was accompanied by Mrs Edwin Clark and other women leaders under the initiative, also visited the south west campaign and mobilisation office of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) .
The South West Coordinator of Women for Change Initiative, Mrs. Abosede Ogunleye, explained that the initiative has been able to assist women especially those in rural areas to start small businesses and work their way to self-reliance.
She added that the meeting with the national coordinator of women for change initiative will first address women in Oyo state and then move to Ogun state for further consultations on ways of achieving more women participation in politics as well as foster greater harmony among and more target specific capacity building within the south west and the country at large.
Participants at a forum on how to increase women’s participation in politics and electoral processes have emphasised that increasing women’s access in decision making is a smart economic decision Nigeria is yet to make
At the forum held on Monday in Abuja, the women focused on ensuring the entrenchment of a gender policy through a gender based enlightenment campaign.
Women activists at the gathering stated that gender representation was still far short of the 35% affirmative action, insisting that many women are still disenfranchised at many levels.
It is not the first of such gathering but with the 2015 general elections less than 12 months away, women activists say there is much work to be done.
The Director, Ministry of Women Affairs, Iran Ajufo, pointed out the need for women to rise up and be involved in politics as much as men were.
“Our aspiration is improved participation for women in politics. We aspire, as women both in government, associations and women all over Nigeria, that our participation in politics will be improved and increase the number of women in decision making, in governance and the private sector by the year 2015,” she said.
Based on registration statistics, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told the gathering that women’s population in Nigeria was higher than that of the men.
“It is not just a matter of numbers; it is also a matter of the resourcefulness that this huge group represent for the development of any country.
“And regrettably, in Nigeria, we have not fully explored the vast potentially that women can bring to bear in the development process of our country,” the chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega.
The women stressed that issues bordering on security and violence, illiteracy, especially at the rural level, funding and most especially getting the men to support such causes must be addressed, before adequate representation could be afforded women in the politics.
The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has attributed the outstanding performance of the Federal Government in various sectors of the economy to the input of women in the cabinet. Mrs Jonathan said this in a short remark at a dinner organised for women in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day in Abuja.
She commended them for making Nigerian women proud in the mid-term report released on Thursday by the Presidency on the first half of the administration’s four-year tenure.
“Two days ago, the President read his mid-term report to Nigerians. He and his team have done very well. Women are the powerful people in that cabinet.”
She singled out the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for her efforts to reposition the nation’s economy and the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, for the facelift in several of the nation’s airports.
While noting that women were well represented in governance, the first lady thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for giving Nigerian women the opportunity to prove themselves.
“We thank God and Mr President for giving women a chance. Since independence, this is the first time women can walk tall and talk where men are talking.
“So, we thank this administration. We will continue to support this administration and make it succeed,’’
The President’s wife urged women to take up the challenge of bringing peace back to the country.
“On the issue of security, women are more affected. The soldiers being killed are our children, members of Boko haram are our children, and the militants are our children.
“Let us, as women, urge them to shun evil behaviours and desist from anything that can bring the country down. We should be proud of our country.
“We should preach peace and be peaceful in our homes, local governments, states and the country. Our watchword should be peace. We should move from door to door to preach peace.
“Without peace, there will be no development and we need development. Women are saying enough is enough. We don’t want our children to die again.’’
Other dignitaries at the occasion were the former First Lady, Ajoke Muhammed, the wife of the governor of Anambra, Margret Obi; Majority Leader, House of Representatives, Mulikat Adeola-Akande and wife of the PDP National Chairman, Fatima Tukur.
Others were the PDP National Women Leader, Kema Chikwe; female members of the Federal Executive Council, female presidential aides, female lawmakers and wives of service chiefs, among others.