From Femi Oyelola
Coalition of Women Leaders in Kaduna State has demanded for special seats for women in the federal and state legislative houses in the proposed amendment of the 1999 Constitution.
Jemilat Abidoye made the demand yesterday, while presenting the position paper of the coalition in Kaduna state in collaboration with UN Women during a round table with media ahead of the constitution review public hearing.
The coalition stated that the global Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the undeniable capacity of women to lead nations through crisis and recovery.
The Group added that global statistics showed that countries that invest in women’s leadership, and social development experience better socio-economic and peace-building outcomes. Countries with women in leadership showed reduced COVID-19-related infection and death.
According to the coalition, creating additional special seats for women in the federal and state legislative houses is long over due.
“In the Senate, one seat for a woman from the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory in the House of Representatives two seats for women from the 36 States and the federal capital in the State Houses of Assembly, one each from the three senatorial districts,” the coalition demanded.
Abidoye said that the vision of the institute in Nigeria is that women representation in government should be at least 35% appointed at the federal and state levels.
“Include gender as a benchmark for Federal character the constitution has already created the Federal character as an affirmative action mechanism that ensures that representation of marginalised groups in the country
“In addition to these constitutional provisions, the National gender policy was also intended to increase the number of women in political office, party organs and public life by setting a goal of 35% affirmative action to support women to all elected and appointed positions by 2015, but our reality in 2021 is that women’s political participation is still below 10% that’s very low,” she added.
The coalition said that it is no longer news that women in Nigeria are yet to benefit from these provisions.
“We will aligned ourselves closely with the women’s political participation working group and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs as well as all the relevant government ministries, departments and agencies as well as civil society organisations and even the private sector that have also contributed and are contributing to the constitutional amendment by engaging the government to see the women’s participation in governance and the political space is addressed, thereby giving room for addressing gender-based violence and other women and girls related issues thank you for listening and I hope that this message get the coverage it deserves longleaf Kaduna State,” she added.
Speaking earlier on the theme, “Advocating For An Inclusive Constitution” a member of the steering committee of the coalition, Emilia Chatta said that the coalition is implementing a three-point agenda to increase visibility of women Leaders in Kaduna State.
Emilia Chatta disclosed that the establishment of the coalition was made possible with the support of the UN women.
They called on the Constitutional Review Committee to increase Women leadership by amending the 1999 Constitution.
They are also demanding adoption of gender-inclusive language in the 1999 Constitution
The Coalition appealed for unbiased representation of groups in the amendment process and to see changes reflected in Nigeria’s Constitution.