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Published On: Mon, Mar 10th, 2014

Women’s Day: Foundation advocates 50% affirmative action

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Women's DayBy Stanley Onyekwere

As Nigerians join the rest of the world to celebrate another Women’s Day, Helpline Foundation for the needy, a non-governmental organisation based in the nation’s capital has called for 50 percent affirmative action in the next political dispensation.

President of the Foundation, Mrs. Jumai Ahmadu, who made this point, while speaking to journalists at the weekend, in commemoration of this year Women’s Day celebration, in Abuja, noted that the women have performed creditably well that they deserved equal percentage with their male counterparts.

She said the call for 50 percent affirmative action was hinged on the performance of women folks in President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet, stressing that there is need to upscale the percentage from 35 to 50.

She noted with satisfaction the achievements recorded in the aviation industry by the former minister of aviation, Mrs. Stella Odua; and the serving Finance minister, Mrs. Ogozi Okonji-Iweala and state minister for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide among others as factor that prompted the foundation to advocate for 50 percent affirmative action.

“We in the FCT have seen the tremendous work in the satellite towns and the social housing scheme for the poor under the FCT minister of state, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide.

“We are equally proud of other amazons like Dr. Ogozi Okonje-Iwanla for turning the economy around. The international community like Fetch has rated Nigerian economy as one of the most stable economies of the world. Given these laudable achievements by our female ministers, I don’t see any reason why the women should not be given equal representation in the cabinet,” she argued.

Peoples Daily reports that the Day is celebrated annually on March 8, with the theme for 2014 as “Equality for Women is Progress for All”.

Speaking on this year theme: “Equality for Women is Progress for All,” Mrs. Ahmadu, said women empowerment and gender equality must be given priority in order to achieve sustainable development.

“I want to align myself with the position of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan when she said that “the time has come to further strengthen and broaden the opportunities to women for rapid national transformation. “she noted.

Equally, Ahmadu, called for the involvement of women in rural agriculture, noting that such move by various tiers of government would go a long way of boosting food production in the country.

According to her, “women especially widows and those orphaned by HIV/AIDs should be encouraged by government at all levels to go into farming. I mean, government should support these vulnerable groups with soft loan, farm implements to boost their food production. If these steps are taken by various tiers of government, Nigeria will achieve greater height in food production.”

It would be recalled that Helpline Foundation had embarked on various programmes aimed at alleviating the plight of the vulnerable group in the society especially widows and those orphaned by HIV/AIDs.

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