Lois Auta, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cedar Seed Foundation,speaks on gender issues in an interview with Taiwo Adeleye of Women Radio.Excerpts:
Why is there a need to push Towards Inclusive Governance in Nigeria (TGIN )?
ANSWER—My thought on this is that it is a very great, welcome idea, it is a goodwill for women and I believe that if this is done gender equality that we’ve been clamouring for gender equity that we’ve been advocating for will come to pass. Senate should be serious on this issue, they should make sure that what they have started is completed, finally and they should also make sure that this issue is taken seriously from the levels of the senate and house of representative to the presidency and to the signing of the bill to an act.
What are your thoughts on the statement made by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan on the International Women’s day?
ANSWER— In all the provisions provided in the constitution, I want to see inclusion of issues of women, women with disabilities, young girls, issues of the elderly, the pregnant women, the vulnerable groups are captured accordingly. I want to see the 35% affirmative action that the women groups are advocating for given to them. When government is setting up committees there should be representatives of women, when they are appointing board members women should be included. Women groups through federal ministry of Women affairs are advocating for 35%, women with disabilities are asking for 5%, I want to see Inclusion of the vulnerable groups in the constitution we are amending, our issues should be well documented in the constitution.
How do you think women should react to this statement?
ANSWER—Areas of deep concerns that members of the parliament should include in this constitution they are amending is economic empowerment, political Inclusion, political will and the appointment or electing of women on both elective and appointive positions because when you empower a woman you empower nations, when you empower a woman resources are managed accordingly, when you empower a woman any country’s GDP will improve. The senate should concentrate on investing in the lives of women, young girls and women with disabilities, they should come up with ideas and programmes on empowering them economically.
Why are female Political aspirants measured on a different yardstick?
ANSWER—As it is women have not achieved 5%, when will we achieve 35%, I want to see women being supported and encouraged to run for offices without any barrier or hindrances that will stop her, I want to see women being carried along in every government agenda, policies and programmes, when the president is a man, the vice should be a woman, when governors of Nigeria states are men, the deputies should be women, Local government chairman are men, vice should be women, our councillors should be 50% of female candidates, doing that will ensure the achievement of the 35%(Affirmative Action).
Your take on women participation and being able to make a change for 2023 election?
ANSWER—If the 35% affirmative action or 50% quota system is achieved in Nigeria for women, it will increase Nigeria’s GDP, it will improve the lives of Nigeria’s citizens, it will bring development and progress in every aspect and sector of the economy in this country because women know how to manage resources, women are the best managers and leaders because they have the character, capacity and they are competent. Nigeria should begin to search for ways of ensuring that women are given the same opportunity, the same rights as a man. Leadership does not have gender, it doesn’t know status, what leadership needs is a compassionate woman and man that is ready to serve his or her people. When 35% or 50% of elective and appointive positions are given equally to women, many good things will happen to Nigeria. We are going to have inclusivity, accessibility, and affordability in all our endeavours and I hope to see this being achieved very soon.