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Ekweremadu Makes Case For More Women In Politics

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The Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday, called for increase in women participation in governance at all levels, saying it would enhance the country’s rapid development.
Ekweremadu made the call at a workshop on “2019 Elections and Policymaking: Making Women Issues Matter” organised by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in Abuja.
He said that women had the capacity and integrity to build a better nation and that Nigeria would only take its rightful place in the comity of nations when women occupied their place in governance.
He said “when a man is educated, an individual has been educated, but when a women is educated, an entire nation has been educated.’’
The deputy senate president said that he believed that when women were politically empowered, the entire generation had been empowered.
He pointed out that women had done well in nearly all spheres of life, including sports, business, academics locally and internationally.
The lawmaker said that women had proven themselves in vocations which were reserved for men such as automobile mechanic and commercial driving.
He said that women have shown high level of integrity and were very passionate, which has made them respond to the call of service across the globe.
According to him, World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are headed by women.
Ekwremadu, however, lamented that some factors had prevented women from taking their rightfully place in the politics of Nigeria.
He described the situation as ‘a case of a step forward and two backward’, recalling that the last administration had 35 per cent of women in Federal Executive cabinet, but that the story is different now.
Ekweremadu noted that women had been held down by factors ranging from cultural to religious, economic and socio-political with the wrong belief that the role of women was in the kitchen.
He said that women who were courageous enough to aspire for political offices were deemed as ‘over-ambitious’, a situation he referred to as “cultural terrorism.”
He described as “cheap blackmail’’ to refer to women aspiring for political offices as prostitutes, adding that such assumption was untrue.
The legislator urged women not to be deterred by such limitations saying that “he who must be in the kitchen should not be afraid of the smoke.”
He stated that Nigeria was placed at 168 in women representation in national parliament across the world.
He said that Rwanda was first in the world and South Africa, Mozambique and Senegal among the top 20 countries in the rating.
The deputy president of the president said that by the provision of section 42 of the Constitution, discrimination against sex, origin, community or political opinion was prohibited.
He advocated amendment of the section to create special quota for women in line with the 35 per cent affirmative action on women representation.
He suggested that Nigeria should take after Rwanda which amended its constitution to create special quota for women across political bodies.
On June 12, Ekweremadu said it reminded the nation of the great roles played by compatriots to bring the country to democratic rule, adding that there was no better day to discuss issues affecting women representation in politics.
Earlier, Executive Director of PLAC, Mr Clement Nwankwo, had said that it was not helping the nation’s politics that more than 50 per cent of the population had less than 10 per cent representation in politics.
Nwankwo said that based on integrity, intelligence and creativity of the women population, PLAC had decided to expand its scope to include women participation in politics.
He said that PLAC, in collaboration with Ford Foundation, had produced a report to help address the issue, and expressed hope that by the 9th National Assembly, there would be more women lawmakers.
Reviewing the report, Dr Nwachukwu Orji, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Anambra, said that it was surprising that women under-representation in politics was an issue giving the potential in the country.
He said there was a potential of full representation in Nigeria and that the country should not be left behind.
Orji said at the global level, women representation in parliament had doubled over the years and that Nigeria should not be left behind.
He said that 12 countries in Africa had elected more than 30 per cent of women into parliament and that five countries had elected more than 40 per cent.
Orji said that though some measures had been put in place to increase women participation in Nigeria’s politics, there was need to switch from “incremental track to fast-track’’.
The highpoint of the event was the unveiling of the report by the deputy president of the senate.

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Govs To Hold Virtual Meeting On Judicial, Legislative Autonomy

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The Governors of the 36 states of the federation will hold a virtual meeting today to further discuss the issue of financial autonomy to judicial and legislative arms in states.
This is contained in a statement by NGF Head of Media and Public Affairs, Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo on Monday in Abuja.
Bello-Barkindo said efforts were already being made in all states to either constitute State Accounts Allocation Committees (SAAC) or inaugurate them.
This, according to him, is preparatory to the granting of full autonomy to the two arms of government at the subnational level.
The Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) had since embarked on a nationwide strike on the issue.
He said the governors had been working day and night to establish modalities for the autonomy in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.
He said that the governors would also be updated on the activities of the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who headed the governors’ interface with the committee.
Bello-Barkindo said that the meeting would also review the agenda of the National Executive Council (NEC), which would take place a day after.
“Other items on the agenda include the regular update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability for results (SFTAS) to provide states’ status on their DLI’s and upcoming deadlines.
The meeting would also receive presentation from the Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, regarding unlocking liquidity through sale/optimisation of state-owned redundant/sub-optimal assets,” he said.
He added that the Policy Development Facility (PDF) bridge programme would also discuss diversification and non-oil export opportunities for states in post Covid-19 era.

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2023: PDP Flexes Muscle Over C’ River

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Leading members of the main opposition PDP converged in Calabar, Cross River at the weekend to strategise on how to retain its grip on power in the state.
This is contained in a statement e-mailed to newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.
The Tide source reports that the PDP has been in power in Cross River since the return of democracy in the country 22 years ago but the defection of the current governor appears to mark a turning point.
Political pundits argue that the defection of the state Governor Ben Ayade from the PDP to the ruling APC may affect the fortunes of the PDP in the years ahead.
The governor’s departure is now seen as a major test for the PDP in what is now seen as a game of wits between the PDP and the APC.
Addressing the party’s chieftains, the National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus, declared that Cross River would “remain the stronghold of the PDP, in spite of Gov. Ayade’s defection.
“PDP will work to retain the confidence the people of Cross River State reposed in our party and retain its dominance in the state.
“Our party has governed since the return of party politics in 1999.
“Cross River will remain the stronghold of our party well after 2023,’’ said Secondus, flanked by other chieftains of the party, including Sen. Bukola Saraki and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
Secondus told PDP members in the state to remain resolute to make the party retain power in the upcoming general elections.
Also speaking, a former governor of the state, Sen. Liyel Imoke, gave assurance that no other party would take the state from the PDP, “being the dominant party in the state.
“PDP is the only party known to our people. I assure the leadership of our party that we will deliver victory in 2023,’’ he stated.
Imoke governed the state from 2007 to 2015 when he handed over to Ayade now of the APC.
Other PDP chieftains, who were present at the event included former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra, former Gov. Donald Duke of Cross River and the Chairman of the party’s Caretaker Committee, Mr Efiok Cobham.
Also present were Hon. Daniel Asuquo, Hon. Etta Mbora and Hon. Essien Ayi, all serving members of the House of Representatives among other party’s chieftains.

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…Vows To Take Over Anambra

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, says the party remains focused to take over the state in the upcoming governorship poll.
Nwobu said this in an interview with newsmen in Awka yesterday, adding that he would not be distracted by those trying to destabilise the party in the state.
He lauded the National Executive Committee of the party for organising successful ward congresses in the state.
He described the success of the exercise as a sure step to the party’s free, fair and credible primary election.
“We want to conduct our primary election, where party people will freely vote and produce a candidate that will be acceptable to Anambra people at the November 6 poll.
“This is not time for distractions. We are focused on taking over government from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
“The party has shortchanged millions of Anambra people in terms of governance.
Nwobu said he remained the valid chairman of PDP in Anambra, having emerged from a valid process that was upheld by a Federal High Court in its May 24, 2018 judgment.
He said the judgment had not been reversed by any higher court and was “unfazed by any court judgment”, which purportedly removed him.
“My leadership is still subsisting, no superior court has set that judgment aside and a court of coordinate jurisdiction cannot do that.
“Our team of legal experts is taking care of that. The decision to appeal will be advised,” the PDP chairman said.
The Tide source reports that Chief Chukwudi Umeaba at the weekend announced that he had taken over the party in the state as the Acting Chairman of the Caretaker Committee.
Umeaba, who announced the suspension of the ward congresses, said his action was predicated on the judgment of an Abuja Federal High Court.
According to him, the judgment delivered on June 9, nullified the process that produced Nwobu’s leadership.

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