Lawan harps on need for more women participation in governance
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has again stressed on the need for more participation of women in governance and other spheres of life.
He spoke in Abuja on Wednesday while receiving in the audience a delegation of the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians(ECOFEPA) led by Hon Memounatou Ibrahima 3rd Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament and Senator Abiodun Olujimi who is newly elected Vice President of ECOFEPA.
The Senate President said the ongoing review of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution would take into account of the need to encourage more representation of women in parliament.
“At the moment, we are amending our 1999 Constitution and we hope by the time the constitution review is concluded, we would have provided affirmative action for women to be in the National Assembly.
“Honestly, I believe that Nigeria and indeed most of the countries where women are not participating fully in governance, it’s showing weakness in what we do because you cannot have a population of 50 per cent, or more than 50 per cent and yet the representation is just less than 10 per cent in what we do. Definitely, there will be a disconnect.
“Even for our national development, we should encourage more women participation not only in politics but in the economy and other spheres of development. That will require that we work hard on our constitution review and other legislations that will give women the affirmative action that they require,” Lawan said.
The Senate President, in response to an earlier comment by his guests, also spoke on the relevance of girl child education.
“You mentioned girl child education, I’m happy to hear that because whether we have women parliamentarians or women in businesses and economy, we need, first, to give them education. Because that gives them a head start.
“Once they are educated, it becomes much easier for them to enter into politics and succeed easily. Once they have some level of education, it becomes easier for them to also compete in the economy and another sphere of life. So I believe the girl child must be given education. This is one challenge in Nigeria, particularly in the northern part of the country,” Lawan said.
The Senate President also suggested how ECOWAS Parliament could be made more relevant to the member-states in the West African subregion.
“We believe that the ECOWAS parliament should be such parliament that will have its resolutions better respected by our national governments across the subregion.
“What that means is maybe we need to come up with a better way of who represents us in the ECOWAS parliament. To some extent, I think we should liberalize it to allow people to be elected so that they have a better standing in representation.
“Those of us who are in ECOWAS parliament, we should continue to work hard and then in our national parliaments, the resolutions that we have passed here in the ECOWAS parliament should be presented to our national parliaments so that the resolutions are domesticated, done in such a way that our governments will listen and implement those resolutions. At the moment, maybe that is not the process.
“In the sub-region, we are challenged by insecurity. Some of these countries in ECOWAS have security challenges. We really have to come together. We have to work together in bilateral and multilateral versions so that we cooperate with each other to defeat the insecurity that we face,” Lawan said.
Earlier, Hon. Memounatou Ibrahima told the Senate President of the plan by ECOFEPA to host a conference of ECOWAS female Parliamentarians with a view to exploring areas of development and cooperation of women parliamentarians within the subregion.
She also spoke on the plan by ECOFEPA to monitor, support and encourage female representations in parliaments within the ECOWAS region and also embark on projects that has bearing on the girl child.