10th Assembly: Coalition demands inclusion of women as principal officers

By EricJames Ochigbo

A coalition of 20 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has urged members-elect to include of women as principal officers in the 10th National Assembly.

The coalition, at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday also demanded that women should occupy top offices, and should  have “Grade A” committees to chair.

The Coordinator, Gender Technical Unit (GTU), Ms Eqy Anazonwu said the coalition would also like a woman to be elected as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, at least.

“At least two women should be elected as main Principal officer in the House of Representatives.

“Women from both chambers should be appointed to chair Grade A committees and more resources be allocated to pursue an equal society,” she said.

Anazonwu said it was vital for legislatures to reflect the rich tapestry of their constituents, by consciously repositioning the few elected women.

She said that the legislature can benefit from a wide range of perspectives and experiences, leading to better decision-making, fairer policies, and a stronger democracy.

Also speaking, the converner of Womenifesto, Dr Abiola Akinyode said women leadership had made a difference in Rwanda,Uganda, Ethopia,  and can make the desired difference in Nigeria.

According to her, there are educated and very qualified women who are ranking in the incoming 10th Assembly, fit to be presiding officers.

She lamented that women are often not given  grade A committees to chair, saying the appropriation and public accounts of the country, for instance,  needed a woman’s eye.

“Nigeria has gotten to a critical stage that we need people that are credible, that have integrity and can take positions that can define our economy space.

“That is why we are pressing for those so called grade A committees, they should fill them up with women,” she said.

According to her, women constituted 44 per cent of voters, and 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population, and must therefore be given a chance to occupy leadership positions, as a matter of right.

Akinyode, however, said that though the coalition had lobbied major stakeholders, it was still open to further negotiations.

NAN reports that the 9th assembly, which was inaugurated on June 11, 2019, is expected to wind down by the first week of June, while the 10th Assembly is billed for inauguration on June 13.

NAN also reports that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) zoned the  positions of the Senate President of the 10th National Assembly to the South-south and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to North-West.

The ruling party has also agreed on a consensus as the former Governor of Akwa Ibom, Sen. Godswill Akpabio has been anointed as the next Senate President of the 10th Assembly, while Rep. Tajudeen Abass from Kaduna State has also been anointed as the Speaker of the House. (NAN)