Women Protest, Demand 50% Representation in Government

Women of different backgrounds thronged the entrance gate of the Ogun State Governor’s Office in protest demanding equal representation in the government of the state. The coalition of women organisations in the Gateway State on Thursday said they expect action from the governor as he puts finishing touches to his cabinet

The women drawn from Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Justice Development and Peace Centre (JDPC), among others, said they elected to storm the Governor’s Office and make their position known early enough before Abiodun summits his Commissioner-nominees to the Ogun State House of Assembly (OGHA).

Presenting their case to the Deputy Governor, Engr. Noimot Oyedele – Salako and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, who received them on behalf of Governor, Dr. Biola Akiode (WARDC), lamented the “appealing low representation of women in government” in Nigeria and across the states of the federation.

Akioded noted that of the 43 ministerial nominees presented to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari, only seven were women, citing the States like Oyo, Edo, Anambra among numerous others where women representation is terribly low.

She drew the attention of Abiodun – led administration to what obtained in the past in Ogun state where women received up 42 percent representation, warning that the minimum they could accept from the current state government is 35 percent representation.

She said: “We are here to make some request; we have sent formal letters across ahead of time, we have done what we call an open letter which we have circulated in the media. We know that we are in the season where governors from different state sending their nomination to the state Assemblies across the country.

“As at today by record, there were just seven women among the 43 ministerial nominees the president sent to the National Assembly.

“We are very worried and we are concerned because of the trend that we can see around us. Beyond Lagos that sent a 32 per cent to the Assembly, the low representation of women I occurring in other places. We don’t want to react rather to be proactive to make our request clear and by empirical evidence of this state that we know.

“About eight years ago, there were about 42 percent woman representation in the state governance and it was also sustained in 2015. We believe that this present government would consider that to have the people’s representation in this coming cabinet.

“We are here with the youth, people with disability and we are more than 160 organizations that endorsed the protest of today. This is a warning request and that is why we are demanding for a representation of women and we are demanding for inclusive of women in Abiodun’s cabinet.

“We are coalition leaders, we can mobilize hundred, thousands, but, we feel that we should come here today to let you know that if the nomination that goes to the state House of Assembly and it is not representative, women in Ogun will not agree with it.

“The minimum is 35 per cent and it can be as high as 50 per cent, we know that the governor of the state is gender sensitive and that is why we are here today to make our request known before the list is sent to the assembly.”

Responding, the Deputy Governor, Noimot Oyedele – Salako, assured them that women would not only get fair representation but also sit where they would make significant impact on the society.

“Our governor is very gender sensitive, but, our government is not concerned about your gender, but, your ability and the fact is that when it comes to performance, women do better than men.

“I am confident that women will get a very good seat in this government and the truth is that there is more to just numerical representation. We don’t even want token nuisance, what we want is having women in proactive representation where they will be and make difference on behalf of us.

“I can assure you that the governor is very committed to having women and not just token women, but, women in impactive positions.

“The policies of Prince Dapo Abiodun are policies that are going to help women. We must bear in mind not only to talk about representation, but, also to have policies that is going to impact in women’ lives positively.”

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