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Appraising The Success Of 2015 Elections

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Perceptive observers have been acknowledging the success of the 2015 general elections of Nigeria which were conducted on March 28 and April 11.
Their acclamation is understandable, as international and local election observers have unanimously described the elections as peaceful and generally credible.
Specifically, political pundits applauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for insisting on the use of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and the Smart Card Reader, designed to facilitate the authentication of voters’ eligibility and consequently reduce election malpractices.
Available records indicate that in spite of the initial controversies generated by the rescheduling of the elections, the polls elicited large voter turnouts across the country.
Specifically, the Presidential and National Assembly elections were rescheduled from Feb. 14 to March 28, while the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections were shifted from Feb. 28 to April 11.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, who was the Chief Returning Officer for the presidential election, declared retired Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner after polling 15,424,921 votes to defeat all other candidates.
In the election, President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP garnered 12,853,162 votes to place second.
Acknowledging the success of the election, election observation missions of the Commonwealth, the AU and ECOWAS unanimously agreed that the elections were peaceful, transparent and credible.
The election observers particularly applauded Nigerian voters for their maturity, orderliness and commitment towards the success of the polls.
Speaking on behalf of the election observers after a visit to President Goodluck Jonathan, former Ghanaian President and Head, ECOWAS Election Observer Mission, John Kufuor, said that Nigeria’s feat with regard to the elections was a pride to Africa.
“The Nigerian elections are a pride, not only to Nigerians, but also to West Africa and the whole of the African continent; we are  all proud of the success of the Nigerian elections,’’ he said.
The ex-Ghanaian president particularly lauded Jonathan for creating an appropriate environment for peaceful polls.
Sharing similar sentiments,  former Head of State and Chairman of the National Peace Committee, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar,commended Jonathan for his “statesmanship“ in conceding defeat, and congratulated Buhari for his victory in the presidential election.
Describing the election as “very peaceful’’, Abubakar thanked Nigerians and the international community for their support during the election.
“The election has been very peaceful despite the hitches there.
“At the end of the election, at the counting (stage), a lot of upheavals cropped up but thankfully, they were contained.
“We were in the middle of a meeting with the international observers to try to see how we can water the tension down when I called Gen. Buhari to tell him that we were going to see him.
“He (Buhari) told me Mr President had called him at about 5.15 p.m., congratulated him and conceded defeat. We were spellbound.
“And the reason we have come here is to thank President Jonathan for this statesmanship.
“In the political history of Nigeria, I think this is the first time where a contestant has called his rival to congratulate him.
“And through this point, President Jonathan has always maintained a point that the blood of a Nigerian is not worth his presidency and by his action, he has demonstrated that.
“He has proved that he is a man of his words because during our interaction on this peace committee, he has always maintained that he is going to accept the result of the election whichever way it has gone; and he has proved it.
“He has proved that he is a statesman and that he has the love of this country in his heart,’’ he said.
Expressing a similar viewpoint, the U.S. Government said that the peaceful conduct of the election had demonstrated to the world the strength of Nigeria’s commitment to democratic principles.
“By turning out in large numbers, and sometimes waiting all day to cast their votes, Nigerians have come together to decide the future of their country peacefully.
“I commend President Goodluck Jonathan and President-elect Muhammadu Buhari for their public commitments to non-violence throughout the campaign.
“President Jonathan has placed his country’s interests first by conceding defeat in the election and congratulating President-elect Buhari on his victory,’’ U.S. President Barack Obama said in his message to Nigerians.
Obama particularly praised INEC and Jega for what independent international observers deemed largely peaceful and orderly elections.
Echoing similar sentiments, the European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission to Nigeria described Jonathan’s concession of defeat, prior to the announcement of the election’s result, as an extraordinary example to the world.
Mr Santiago Fisas, the EU Chief Observer, told journalists, after his team submitted an interim report on the elections to Jonathan, that the example was worthy of emulation.
“I congratulate President Jonathan because he conceded defeat in the election, even before he knew the official result.
“That I feel is a very important thing; that is an extraordinary example for many countries in Africa and all over the world.
“I congratulate him for that. Of course, we talked a little bit about the elections and I took the opportunity to give to him our preliminary statement about the elections and he was very happy to accept it,’’ Fisas said.
Acknowledging that some die-hard cynics never expected the elections to be peaceful, Fisas stressed that the government and the people of Nigeria had proved such sceptics wrong.
“You know many people didn’t expect this kind of elections; they expected a lot of problems after the elections, which did not happen,’’ he said.
The EU chief election observer, nonetheless, urged Buhari to tackle some of the problems that were noticed during the elections when he assumed office.
Also speaking, the Deputy Head of Delegation of the EU observers, Mr Richard Young, said that the degree of patience which Nigerian voters exhibited during voter accreditation and voting was quite exemplary.
“I must congratulate the commitment and patience of all Nigerians, who have come out in very large numbers to vote, and they did it with so much patience.
“We want to appeal to all the political leaders to show the same degree of patience and dedication that I have seen in voters, in terms of waiting for the official announcement of the results and waiting without any intemperate comments or remarks.’’
Young commended the efforts of INEC, security personnel and members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who served as INEC’s ad-hoc staff, saying that everyone contributed to the success of the polls.
Similarly, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, said that the conduct of the March 28 presidential election had put the “prophets of doom’’, who had predicted Nigeria’s downfall, to shame.
Gowon told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos that “no one will ever repeat that wild and arrogant prediction that Nigeria will go under; those doomsayers have been shamed and Nigeria will grow from strength to strength.
“Nigeria has always had the mechanism to tackle its concerns; this election and its peaceful outcome have proved that a united and focused nation would always survive and move toward greatness.”
Also speaking, former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlingsi described Buhari as “a man whose integrity is extremely high.
“Nigerians have taken the lead in the rejection of corruption. The election result is a manifestation of the people’s resolve to confront corruption, dishonesty and exploitation.
“This is a clear message to the new leadership. A bold step has been taken towards a new Nigeria and the incoming leader cannot be unaware of what is expected of him.
“Nigerians did not vote for just anyone. They voted for a man whose integrity is extremely high. Nigeria is tired of corruption and the choice of this leader is a clear indication of where she wants to go.
“I hope Gen. Buhari will put together a team whose understanding of the power of the people recognises and respects the will of the people.
“Gen. Buhari owes it to his people and to Black Africans; the restoration of our pride and the black man’s dignity,’’ Rawlings said his congratulatory message to Buhari.
While thanking Nigerians for the trust they reposed in him, the president-elect has pledged to make judicious use of the nation’s resources, declaring that he would never condone any act of corruption.
Buhari, who made the declaration during a town hall meeting in Yola, said that he would give priority attention to fighting corruption and insecurity, while boosting the development of the education sector in particular.
He specifically bemoaned the high level of corruption in the country, which he blamed for the years of decay that led to massive unemployment in the country.
As a way out, Buhari pledged to invest massively in the agriculture and mineral resources sectors in order to create employment.
Calling for the citizens’ perseverance in the coming nation-building efforts, Buhari noted that Nigeria was endowed with vast human and natural resources “but unfortunately, the resources were mismanaged and squandered, leading to the present situation in the land’’.
He, nonetheless, expressed that hope that with the support, sacrifice and resolve of all Nigerians to effect a positive change, the country will be the better for all.
“We will run a transparent government and in doing so; I will not even favour my family,’’ he said.
Commenting on the role of the international community in the election, Buhari commended Italy and other members of the EU for standing by Nigeria in the lead-up to the elections.
The president-elect, who spoke while receiving Amb. Fulvio Rustico, the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, at his residence in Abuja, said that European nations and the U.S. played key roles in the stabilisation of Nigeria during the challenging period.
President Jonathan, the new hero in Nigeria’s democracy, justified his decision to concede defeat, prior to the official release of the results by INEC, insisting that his action was purely in obedience to the laws of the country.
“I am a Nigerian and I am Goodluck Jonathan.  I feel that as a nation we are all bound to respect our laws; I am quite pleased to respect the laws of the land.
“As a nation, we are quite happy we are consolidating our democratic efforts; the key thing is that citizens must be ready to change government properly.
“We must hold elections every four years,’’ Jonathan said, while fielding questions from newsmen at Otuoke, shortly after casting his vote in the state assembly polls.
Nevertheless, the nation-building tasks before the incoming government are obviously quite enormous, judging from the sentiments of a cross-section of Nigerians.
Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos Central Senatorial District), nonetheless, emphasised that the new Nigeria of the people’s expectations would be created if all Nigerians partook in the new, emerging movement.
“A new Nigeria is possible, this is the reality; it is possible but it will take the effort of everybody.
“So, all hands have to be on the deck because we are the government; the people constitute the government.
“I am looking forward to the time that we will have Nigerian Airways back at airports around the world,’’ said Tinubu, who recently secured a re-election into the Senate.
Nevertheless, observers are quick to draw the attention of the president-elect to the high expectations of Nigerians and the need for him to start thinking seriously on how to justify the confidence which the citizenry reposed in him.
All the same, the general consensus of opinion is that the president-elect, going by his antecedents, will have a zero tolerance for corruption and indiscipline.
Observers, nonetheless, urge the incoming Buhari-administration to launch pragmatic initiatives that will improve the living standards of all Nigerians.
The incoming government must necessarily evolve realistic measures to boost Nigeria’s economy and enhance the standard of living of its citizens, says one of the observers. (NANFeatures)
**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

 

Sani Adamu

INEC Chairman, Atahiru Jega

INEC Chairman, Atahiru Jega

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NUJ: Gleanings Of PH National Confab

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Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, recently served as the host city for the Third National Conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Declaring the two-day event open at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, said he considered the theme of the Conference “The Media, Insecurity And National Unity” very apt in view of the perilous security challenges that have continued to plague the country unabated which he believed would address the issues of insecurity in Nigeria and positively impact on the nation’s unity.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the Governor said that the country was threatened as a result of self-destructive tendencies like ethnic chauvinism, religious intolerance, brazen disregard for the rule of law and nepotism and that it appeared the Federal Government of Nigeria was fanning these embers of disunity through its perceived actions and inactions.
“For instance, how could we explain a situation where almost all the heads of security agencies as well as critical national institutions are headed by people from a particular ethnic nationality and religious faith in a country which prides itself as a secular state and believes in federal character when it comes to the appropriation of positions?” Wike wondered.
He urged journalists, who are said to constitute the Fourth Estate of the Realm, to brainstorm and come up with a workable solution to save the country from imminent collapse.
NUJ President, Chief Chris Isiguzo, while speaking, called on journalists in Nigeria to avoid allowing politicians to dictate news angles for them. He also spoke on the theme: ‘The Media, Insecurity And National Unity’ at the event which held from June 7th – 8th, 2021.
Isiguzo added that it is unethical for journalists to allow politicians take over their responsibilities and dictate media content at the expense of public interest. He warned journalists to de-escalate news capable of causing fear and panic, especially now that the country is facing the challenge of insecurity.
In one of the other presentations at the conference, the Head of Mass Communication Department, Renaissance University, Enugu, Dr Maxwell Ngene, urged the Federal Government to ensure that the Freedom of Information Act is domesticated and implemented in all states of the federation as a matter of necessity, so as to instill accountability in government.
Speaking on ‘Maintaining Peace in Turbulent Times: The Role Of The Media in Security and Unity of Nigeria’, Ngene, advocated that codes of conduct in journalism practice should be encouraged as well as development of a regulatory framework that would enhance media’s role in national unity and security, while adding that there should also be strict observance of high professional standards of ethics.
Also speaking on  Media and National Security, Alhaji Muktar Sirajo stressed that there must be ethical re-orientation in media practice, genuine and inclusive fight against corruption, pervasive unemployment and poverty, and addressing the issues of ethno-religious, political and economic-based violence, with robust improvement in national security architecture to stem the tide of terrorism and insecurity in the country.
Alhaji Muktar urged media on its part to place national interest above any parochial interest in disseminating information to the public. He enjoined the mass media to avoid the temptation of over- escalating negative news, but rather focus more on escalating positive news in other to calm the tension arising from the insecurity challenge being faced in the country. 
In another presentation on the same topic, Richard Akinnola, explained that press freedom is about freedom of expression, which in itself is a fundamental right in the world, without which genuine democracy cannot thrive. He encouraged journalists never to disclose their source of information no matter the cost, noting that they must maintain their sources of information in order not to betray the trust and confidentiality of their new source. 
Also as part of the event, delegates undertook a tour of the new Flyover bridges to have a feel of some of the new edifices being put in place by His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike. The first visited was the Okoro-Nu-Odo Flyover with a length of 880 metre. The second visited was the Rumuogba 1&2 Flyover which we were told is the longest of all with 1.24km length. Others were the Rumuola, GRA Junction, Rebisi, and Oro-Abali flyovers. It was gathered that three of the flyovers were constructed at the same time and delivered less than one year.
It is worthy to note that the NUJ Vice President Zone D, Chief Wilson Bako, led the Team Flyover and the Rivers State Press Officer, Ministry of Works, Paul Bazia, sensitised the delegates on the Wike-led administration’s projects recorded thus far.
It was also observed that delegates commended the numerous quality infrastructural projects executed by Governor Wike, while calling on other governors in the country to emulate his leadership prowess.
Meanwhile, everything that has a beginning has an end as the two-day event came up with a 17-Point communique drafted by the Drafting Committee members; namely Amos Dunia, Ifeyinwa Omowole and Emma Couson and signed by the National Secretaries, Shuaibu Usman Leman and Walin Shadalafiya, on June 8th, 2021, in the presence of key media houses and civil society organisations (CSOs).
The confab adopted the following resolutions as panacea to the myriad of security, political and ethno-religious crises currently facing the country. 

  • Taking into cognisance that the primary responsibility of government is to protect lives and property of citizens, against the backdrop of prevailing situations that government is overwhelmed and unable to effectively carry out this onerous responsibility, the conference urges citizens to assist in community mobilisation as a way of addressing insecurity and notes that it will be disastrous to allow citizens to lose confidence in the ability of government to deal with the situation.
  • The conference also did retrospection on the role of journalists with regard to their core mandate of informing, educating and holding government and leaders accountable. Conference notes that the media has played an active role in their propagation and proliferation by promoting their different names and titles and serving as a vehicle for their messages.
    *It also notes that more is required of practitioners as watchdogs of the society, particularly at this trying period in which a balanced reportage is more than ever before desired.
  • The Nigeria Union of Journalists takes note of the responsibility of the state to guarantee safety of lives and property, to protect the economy and economic resource areas, critical infrastructure, environment, including forest reserves and national assets.
  • The government should, in enforcing security policies, carry stakeholders at all levels of governance along and ensure good governance.
  • The Media should mediate with its distinct role of being between the governed and the rulers, particularly in situation of existential threats. The Union urges its members to prioritise mediation in the prevailing tension that pervades all geo-political zones and the threats to Nigeria’s unity. 
    *The Conference urges media practitioners to exercise caution in their reportage and analysis of unfolding events as well as play the role of a mediator between contending forces and actors. 
    *The media should be a partner in de-escalating tension instead of being a party to the conflict.
    *As for the controversy generated by the suspension of the micro-blogging platform – Twitter, the Union notes the widespread use of its resourcefulness in promoting dialogue, individual expression and commerce. The Union, therefore, solicits for caution on all sides.
  • In view of the challenges impacting on press freedom, freedom of expression, the Union will establish a Special Press Freedom Monitoring and Defence Committee.
  • The Conference, as part of innovation being injected into the NUJ, an ‘NUJ HALL OF FAME’ was launched. It is in view of this that the Conference resolves that the HALL OF FAME shall be instituted to accord due recognition to deserving public office holders, technocrats, journalists and other deserving members of the society, who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields. In this wise, His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, became the first inductee of the HALL OF FAME.
    *The Conference stresses the need for adherence to the rights of the people to freely express themselves and comment on the affairs of state and conduct of government as an intrinsic part of democracy that demands accountability of rulers and public officers to the citizenry.
    *Conference notes that a factor we cannot ignore is the fact that Nigeria is a country that fought a civil war. Those who were active players in the war, from children that were born after the war to those who experienced the war, have not gotten a closure.
    *Stakeholders call on the NUJ to lead the national voice for healing the actors of the Nigerian Civil War still alive, to engage and dialogue on issues that bind them as well as commit to ensuring that past events are put behind them and all find closure.
  • Conference also notes that #EndSARS was just a ventilation of bottled-up anger, dissatisfaction and discontent with the elites.
    Conference notes that more than 60 years after Independence, it is still battling with ‘State of Origin’ in our National Data Collection System taking into cognisance that ethnicity and tribe played a negative role in the cause of the RWANDAN war. . Participants commend His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for hosting the Conference and thank the people of the State for the warm reception.

By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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Should Daughters Inherit Father’s Property?

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Recently, a court in one of the southern states nullified the practice of denying female children the right to inherit their father’s property. The ruling confirms that the female child can inherit her father’s property. It is good but how the message is going to be sent to the villages at the grassroots calls for concern.
This issue of women inheriting directly from their lineage is supposed to be translated to the rural areas. This will give them a sense of belonging.
One thing is for the government or a competent court to make and interpret such law, another is for kinsmen to obey and allow the female children inherit their father’s wealth.
There are those who hold tightly to the cultural practice that females should not inherit their father’s property because, according to them, women get married out. Some people have vowed not to, feeling that if a daughter partakes in the share of her father’s property, she will take the proceeds to her husband’s house. Even as educated as some persons are, and having attained certain levels in the society, they still hold to the opinion.They claim that it is African culture. In some rural areas they don’t bother whether such laws are in existence and view it as imported.
Another group say there is nothing wrong in that since the woman came from such lineage. For them, such idea is primitive and archaic in this 21st century.
A legal practitioner, Chidi Enyie explained that every female child has a right of inheritance.
Citing Section 42 Sub 1&2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, he said that every person has a right to freedom from discrimination.
He said that was invoked in Ukoje Vs Ukoje (2020) where the Supreme Court came to a judgement that no person by reason of sex shall be discriminated against by reason of sex from inheriting the property of the parents.  The same way the males are entitled to inheritance, that’s the same females are entitled.
According to Barr. Enyie, the issue of sharing inheritance comes into play when a deceased parent dies intestate, that is dying without a Will, but if it is when there is a Will, it means the deceased person has done the sharing of the property in the Will.
“In most cases, it happens when there is a Will.  In our custom in Nigeria, they tend to favour the male child, but the Supreme Court judgement remains the name unless it is reversed in later decisions”, he said.
His words: “As it is, the barrier of discrimination has been nullified. Both male and female can inherit.  Even if she dies, her children are supposed to continue the ownership of the property, they are supposed to inherit their mum.  It can continue to run from generation to generation in that lineage”.
He pointed out that it depends largely on the type of marriage as sometimes in a customary marriage, the custom of the people will apply so long as the custom is not repugnant to national justice, equity and God conscience, then the custom will apply.
But in a Statutory marriage, Esien vs Esien (1934), he said that the Supreme Court came out with a decision that if it is the biological father of the child and not the customary father of the child.
“But ignorance on the part of the society tries to hamper the execution of the judgement of the Supreme Court”, he insisted.
He maintained that the judgement of Ukeje vs Ukeje is being criticised by the Ibo tribe that it wants to nullify their customs stressing that it should not prescribe what their custom should be.
He advocated that women should remain vibrant and contend for their right until awareness is created about the equality of both sex.
A pharmacist, Mr. Edet Okong, said such issue is prevalent in Nigeria because of poverty and illiteracy while it is not practised in other countries.
He noted that women have a share in his family whenever they are sharing things.  
He asked: “Is it not somebody from that family that gave birth to the woman?”
A legal practitioner, Mr. Ejike Uboh, noted that the issue of inheritance has to be handled by the court.
He said that NGOs need to carry out a lot of campaigns to the rural areas to be able to change the mindset of people who still hold into such cultural practice.
Uboh said that females inheriting their father’s property is good and traceable to the Holy scripture and called on FIDA and traditional rulers who are the embodiment of customs to sensitise people, giving reasons why such practice should stop.
A mechanic, Nude Ikegwuru, insisted that it is impossible for a daughter to inherit her father’s property and argued that women are exempted from paying levies in some communities and so should not.  
He made reference to the Aba women riot of 1929 which prevents women from paying tax in Nigeria.
A businessman, Gold Ibokwe, said that such laws and decision by the government should be taken seriously as time goes on.
According to a medical laboratory scientist, Ebere Nduidi, “when a woman is not married, she should have right to any property in her father’s home but when she gets married, I don’t think that is necessary.”
He emphasised that when a woman gets married, she changes her name and start answering her husband’s name, becomes somebody’s wife and so should not as she has been legally married.
Although he argued that the daughter can if it is her biological father’s property and not a general family case and insisted that if she gets the property before the death of the father, she should not return it.
“Fathers have the right to Will properties to their daughters if they want. They have equal opportunity as the male children”, he opined.
An entrepreneur, Davies Peter, said a woman can inherit her father’s property while she is alive and after her lifetime, the property should be released to the family.
According to him, since she bears the name of another family, the children shouldn’t continue the inheritance.
He advised that natural justice has to take its course instead of imported law while the laws be properly looked into and maintained that there should be some exception to the interpretation of some of the law as regards Nigeria and Africa generally.
He said although some of the laws are treated based on the fact that women are referred to as the weaker sex and they try to wave certain things.
He cautioned that people should not bring what is impracticable into existence and argued that male and female are not equal.
Mr. Kayode Ojo, an Architect asked: “Don’t you think that when you give a woman land in her father’s house, another one in her husband’s house, it will be too much? 
“ A man and a woman is a family, the husband and the children, so she should inherit in her husband’s house”, he noted.
Although the law supersedes tradition, he said, but that is if he wants to give the land to his daughter, at the end of the day, it is her own and insisted that tradition cannot prove the law wrong.
A pharmacist, Mary Udoh, said that fathers should be sensitised about writing Wills before death, so that if a property is bequeathed to whether a female or male, nobody under the law can take it away from such child.
An engineer, Emeka Obi, said what one may call cultural barriers and taboos is a common problem in Nigeria.
As he puts it: “People’s customs and traditions are peculiar to those who practice them. If according to the way of life of a given people, their daughters don’t have a place in the family inheritance, so be it, but if out of love or goodluck, a father Wills a property to any of his daughters, I have no problem with that”.
A nurse, Mary Uche, in her own view said: “ This is a welcome development. We are more of girls in my house than boys. “Could you believe that we lost our Dad, we the girls buried him but the boys took all the properties. And even if a woman dies, all her properties will be given to the sons’ wives. The only things given to the girls are clothes, if you demand more, they will tell you to go and inherit your husband’s house. If you are single, they will tell you to go and marry”.
The consequence of denying the female child the right of inheritance of father’s property is that if it comes to a situation where she is expected to contribute to family pressures, definitely she will withdraw. 
I’m not sure that any property can be too much to be owned by a woman.  If she has properties both in her father’s house and husband’s home, better for the children; after all, they were not stolen but inherited from grandparents. 
Religious leaders should preach more to the populace on improving the lives of people in the society.
Traditional rulers, NGOs should continually have dialogue and pass the messages down to the grassroots and perhaps to those in the urban centers no matter how learned and their level of exposure.

By: Eunice Choko-Kayode

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Should Daughters Inherit Father’s Property?

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on

Recently a court in one of the southern states nullified the practice of denying female children the right to inherit their father’s property. The ruling confirms that the female child can inherit her father’s property. It is good but how the message is going to be sent to the villages at the grassroots calls for concern.
This issue of women inheriting directly from their lineage is supposed to be translated to the rural areas. This will give them a sense of belonging.
One thing is for the government or a competent court to make and interpret such law, another is for kinsmen to obey and allow the female children inherit their father’s wealth.
There are those who hold tightly to the cultural practice that females should not inherit their father’s property because, according to them, women get married out. Some people have vowed not to, feeling that if a daughter partakes in the share of her father’s property, she will take the proceeds to her husband’s house. Even as educated as some persons are, and having attained certain levels in the society, they still hold to the opinion.They claim that it is African culture. In some rural areas they don’t bother whether such laws are in existence and view it as imported.
Another group say there is nothing wrong in that since the woman came from such lineage. For them, such idea is primitive and archaic in this 21st century.
A legal practitioner, Chidi Enyie explained that every female child has a right of inheritance.
Citing Section 42 Sub 1&2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, he said that every person has a right to freedom from discrimination.
He said that was invoked in Ukoje Vs Ukoje (2020) where the Supreme Court came to a judgement that no person by reason of sex shall be discriminated against by reason of sex from inheriting the property of the parents.  The same way the males are entitled to inheritance, that’s the same females are entitled.
According to Barr. Enyie, the issue of sharing inheritance comes into play when a deceased parent dies intestate, that is dying without a Will, but if it is when there is a Will, it means the deceased person has done the sharing of the property in the Will.
“In most cases, it happens when there is a Will.  In our custom in Nigeria, they tend to favour the male child, but the Supreme Court judgement remains the name unless it is reversed in later decisions”, he said.
His words: “As it is, the barrier of discrimination has been nullified. Both male and female can inherit.  Even if she dies, her children are supposed to continue the ownership of the property, they are supposed to inherit their mum.  It can continue to run from generation to generation in that lineage”.
He pointed out that it depends largely on the type of marriage as sometimes in a customary marriage, the custom of the people will apply so long as the custom is not repugnant to national justice, equity and God conscience, then the custom will apply.
But in a Statutory marriage, Esien vs Esien (1934), he said that the Supreme Court came out with a decision that if it is the biological father of the child and not the customary father of the child.
“But ignorance on the part of the society tries to hamper the execution of the judgement of the Supreme Court”, he insisted.
He maintained that the judgement of Ukeje vs Ukeje is being criticised by the Ibo tribe that it wants to nullify their customs stressing that it should not prescribe what their custom should be.
He advocated that women should remain vibrant and contend for their right until awareness is created about the equality of both sex.
A pharmacist, Mr. Edet Okong, said such issue is prevalent in Nigeria because of poverty and illiteracy while it is not practised in other countries.
He noted that women have a share in his family whenever they are sharing things.  
He asked: “Is it not somebody from that family that gave birth to the woman?”
A legal practitioner, Mr. Ejike Uboh, noted that the issue of inheritance has to be handled by the court.
He said that NGOs need to carry out a lot of campaigns to the rural areas to be able to change the mindset of people who still hold into such cultural practice.
Uboh said that females inheriting their father’s property is good and traceable to the Holy scripture and called on FIDA and traditional rulers who are the embodiment of customs to sensitise people, giving reasons why such practice should stop.
A mechanic, Nude Ikegwuru, insisted that it is impossible for a daughter to inherit her father’s property and argued that women are exempted from paying levies in some communities and so should not.  
He made reference to the Aba women riot of 1929 which prevents women from paying tax in Nigeria.
A businessman, Gold Ibokwe, said that such laws and decision by the government should be taken seriously as time goes on.
According to a medical laboratory scientist, Ebere Nduidi, “when a woman is not married, she should have right to any property in her father’s home but when she gets married, I don’t think that is necessary.”
He emphasised that when a woman gets married, she changes her name and start answering her husband’s name, becomes somebody’s wife and so should not as she has been legally married.
Although he argued that the daughter can if it is her biological father’s property and not a general family case and insisted that if she gets the property before the death of the father, she should not return it.
“Fathers have the right to Will properties to their daughters if they want. They have equal opportunity as the male children”, he opined.
An entrepreneur, Davies Peter, said a woman can inherit her father’s property while she is alive and after her lifetime, the property should be released to the family.
According to him, since she bears the name of another family, the children shouldn’t continue the inheritance.
He advised that natural justice has to take its course instead of imported law while the laws be properly looked into and maintained that there should be some exception to the interpretation of some of the law as regards Nigeria and Africa generally.
He said although some of the laws are treated based on the fact that women are referred to as the weaker sex and they try to wave certain things.
He cautioned that people should not bring what is impracticable into existence and argued that male and female are not equal.
Mr. Kayode Ojo, an Architect asked: “Don’t you think that when you give a woman land in her father’s house, another one in her husband’s house, it will be too much? 
“ A man and a woman is a family, the husband and the children, so she should inherit in her husband’s house”, he noted.
Although the law supersedes tradition, he said, but that is if he wants to give the land to his daughter, at the end of the day, it is her own and insisted that tradition cannot prove the law wrong.
A pharmacist, Mary Udoh, said that fathers should be sensitised about writing Wills before death, so that if a property is bequeathed to whether a female or male, nobody under the law can take it away from such child.
An engineer, Emeka Obi, said what one may call cultural barriers and taboos is a common problem in Nigeria.
As he puts it: “People’s customs and traditions are peculiar to those who practice them. If according to the way of life of a given people, their daughters don’t have a place in the family inheritance, so be it, but if out of love or goodluck, a father Wills a property to any of his daughters, I have no problem with that”.
A nurse, Mary Uche, in her own view said: “ This is a welcome development. We are more of girls in my house than boys. “Could you believe that we lost our Dad, we the girls buried him but the boys took all the properties. And even if a woman dies, all her properties will be given to the sons’ wives. The only things given to the girls are clothes, if you demand more, they will tell you to go and inherit your husband’s house. If you are single, they will tell you to go and marry”.
The consequence of denying the female child the right of inheritance of father’s property is that if it comes to a situation where she is expected to contribute to family pressures, definitely she will withdraw. 
I’m not sure that any property can be too much to be owned by a woman.  If she has properties both in her father’s house and husband’s home, better for the children; after all, they were not stolen but inherited from grandparents. 
Religious leaders should preach more to the populace on improving the lives of people in the society.
Traditional rulers, NGOs should continually have dialogue and pass the messages down to the grassroots and perhaps to those in the urban centers no matter how learned and their level of exposure.

By: Eunice Choko-Kayode

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