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Nigerian Women And 35% Affirmative Action

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The 2023 General Elections have come and gone. Inauguration of elected political officers has also taken place, both at the federal and state levels. Legislative matters have taken off. Appointment of Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been concluded and portfolios assigned to them by the Presidency. The Ministers without wasting time have resumed work.
Since the return of democracy two decades ago, women generally have done well wherever they found themselves. At the National Assembly, at the executive, even in the judiciary, they have been showcasing their talents.
When we talk about women’s participation in politics, a lot of them have excelled. The wife of the President, Senator Oluremi Tinubu was at the Red chambers recently. Justice Mary Odili became a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (JSC) before her retirement. The former Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo was elected into the Senate this year. Prof Ngozi Odu became the Deputy Governor of Rivers State after the 2023 gubernatorial elections.
Our own Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the General Director of the World Trade Organization (WTO). She was a former Minister of Finance and later, Foreign Affairs. Mrs. Blessing Nsiegbe was a member of the House of Representatives, who represented the Port Harcourt Constituency II.
Mrs. Victoria Nyeche is a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly. A veteran journalist, Dr. Abike Dabiri Erewa, was a member of the House of Representatives. Later on, she was appointed a presidential aide on diaspora. Senator Betty Apiafi from Rivers State was elected into the House of Representatives, representing Rivers and later became an elected Senator. Only a few can be mentioned due to shortage of time and space.
They are competent, creaative, hard working and innovative.  They are amazons. With such number and others that cannot be mentioned here, women are asking for more elective and appointive positions.  More steps should be taken by all to achieve 35 percent of women participation in politics.  Nigerian women have little space in leadership positions.
It is worrisome to note that out of 48 Ministers that were appointed recently, only nine were women.  This shows a very low percentage at the Federal Executive Council.  The Supreme Court verdict stated that women should be allotted 35percent, but it has not been realised.
The Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrazaak, has tried in the area of empowering women.  If Kwara State can implement that, why would others not follow suit?  There has to be the political will for others to do the needful.
It would interest you to know that the youngest House of Representatives member is from Kwara State.  First,  she was endorsed by her political ward, constituency and State.  If her people did not endorse her, she would not have been there.
Others are disregarding women and relegating them to the background.  States nominate women for the Federal to show action.  Any state that does not do it should be reminded.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, also has tried to showcase gender equality.  Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State as well recognised the importance of women in decision making.  Those are politicians who understand that men and women can work together.
Former Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is also an exemplary person in that respect. His was second to none. In some western states, we have some female deputy governors who have served and are still serving.
Political will is working in Rwanda.  People are going there.  In Namibia, the practice  is 50 men and 50 women in parliament.  All over the world, women are included in politics and those countries which engage women in decision making, their economies are always moving forward.  They  experience improved economies.  In South Africa, it is practised.
Nigeria has never had a female Vice President not to talk about President.  Liberia had Johnson Sirleaf as President.    There has not been a female Governor, except in Anambra State where Mrs Victoria Etiaba was in acting capacity when the then governor, Peter Obi was absent.
Although there have been female deputy governors.   In Rivers State, for example, in the last administration of Governor Nyesom Wike, the slot was for women. Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, was the deputy governor while Prof Ngozi Nma Odu is the deputy governor currently.  This is highly commendable as it shows a women-friendly leadership.
Not just that, the former Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike during his tenure ensured that vice chairpersons of the 23 local government areas were women.
Nigerian women will continue to ask for more.  Let government promote women employment and increase women participation in politics.  Appointment of women as heads of Ministeries,  Departments and Agencies (MDAs) is necessary at this time in the history of Nigeria.
Women should be appointed heads of boards and not just members.  Chairpersons and secretaries of political parties can be left for women.
Nigerian women won the case in court over 35 percent Affirmative Action.  The United Nations (UN) Declaration on 35percent as well as the laws binding it should be implemented by the Nigerian government.  Gender policies should be supported.
If women have to be elected into the parliament, there should be orientation and awareness from the grassroots.  International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), and others as a matter of fact should begin to sensitise women in the markets,  offices, farms and homes on the need to support their own when elections come. Women in disability need not be left out.  NAWOJ particularly should use the media to increase awareness on women.
Curriculum planners should emphasise the inclusion of gender policies in relation to women.   If it is there,  more emphasis should be made on the teaching.  The women are soliciting from the academia for the teaching and learning of gender equality in schools and the gains associated with it.
Government is for everyone.  Going by the definition of democracy, ‘It is government of the people, by the people and for the people’, so women should be involved in governance.
There are key areas that should be left for women in terms of ministerial appointments.  Health is one of them.  It is supposed to be manned by  a woman.  At the Senate, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, representing Rivers West Senatorial District,  is the chairperson, Senate Committee on Health. That is a good one.
One of the female Ministers, Dr Betty Edu from Cross River State, was assigned Minister of Humanitarian Affairs. The  Health Ministry should have been better handled by her as a female medical practitioner.   When you talk about healthcare, women will understand  more because of the rigorous processes they undergo during pregnancies and child bearing.  They are mostly concerned and affected.  The girl child grows into womanhood.  The woman carries pregnancy for nine months and gets the baby delivered either through caesarean operation or normal delivery with pains.    The pains associated with childbirth and other consequences, she alone undergoes.  She nurses and nurtures the baby to adolescence and into adulthood.  All maternal and infant mortality issues rest squarely on the woman.   So, health issues generally from childhood to adulthood are that of women.  Women should man the Health Ministry.
Another area is finance.  This is because women manage little resources they have in homes.  Women will be able to manage the nation’s resources to boost the economy better.
With the low enrollment of the girl-child in schools due to unwanted pregnancies, child labour, househelps, underage marriage, etc., a female Minister of Education can tackle the problem.
Government has the powers in their hands so they can do it.  Gender equality is possible.  Men and women can work side by side,  that is what Nigeria needs.
So far, Nigerian women are asking for more.

By: Eunice Choko-Kayode

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Women Can Build Formidable Marital Homes

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Building formidable marital homes starts before marriage. Single women also need to pick the right kind of person they think can build a formidable home with them.
When you marry the wrong person, the home will be a terrible place. Remember the person you will marry will leave with you forever as marriage is a life long affair.
To build a formidable marriage, you must consider who you marry. Ensure the person you pick mWomen can build formidable marital home with you.
The person you pick matters a lot. The quality of person determines the quality of marriage.
Marriage does not change people so it is important you understand who you marry early enough.
Marriage reveals who people are. A lot of people hide their characters and habit before marriage and showcase them when marriage is mature.
When you talk of marriage, you are talking about the future of your life, future of the children and all that concerns them. The way you manage your partner will encourage of discourage him or her.
A wife may have interest in doing a paid employed job, but the spouse may not allow her to do that. There are kinds of businesses that some women may want to engage in but their spouses will shut them down.
For Christians, it is expected that not much should be done about women in every circumstances since they can should build formidable marital homes.
It is assumed that as believers, they will understand each other. But two believers may have different doctrinal believes. Both may be Christians, your ideas may differ. Partners who are believers may not think the same way when it comes to giving in the things of God.
Most problems for couples is assumption. Two people must work together when they agree. A partner may like every contribution in church and giving to the need while his wife may be considering their level of income.
Marriage should be an intentional thing and nobody should be coerced into it. There should be no compromise. The idea of marrying because others are should not be the case.
Good marriages don’t make the news but bad ones do. It may interest you to know some women chase their husbands away from home. No matter the level of anger in a woman, it shouldn’t be that a woman uses harmful object on her husband.
When venturing into marriage, the issue of age should not discourage you. Yes, it is necessary but that can be your own time to get married. A situation where you lament that others are all married and rush into marriage, may be disastrous.
You must be prepared before going into marriage.
Marriage is not an employment where you can resign at a time you like. Even in employment, you give some notice for resignation. It is not easy to quit marriage. Consultation must be done from experts and stakeholders in marriage, that is why you don’t rush into marriage.
Before going into marriage, you must ask questions to know who you want to marry.
Remember, better woman will make better society.
When a husband and wife have disagreement in the home and the matter is reported to the elders in the local palace, the woman is always blamed and sometimes mandated to apologise to the husband.
That may appear humiliating. Some persons say it is wrong to judge the woman in the presence of the husband.
What about a situation where the man is at fault? The truth is not always said in the public or before the man and his wife.
Some people argue that it is a way of protecting the marriage and the man cn be cautioned behind the wife by his kinsmen.
Women should bear in mind that the elders in the family do not hate them by supporting the and asking the wife to appologise when disappointment occurs in the home.
Protection of the home as far as husband and wife are concerned is very important. There is the belief by men that if the man is blamed before the wife, that will warrant her to raise shoulders.
Elders also say that will prevent the woman from reporting every little issue that comes up in the home.
Women should not think that they are being cheated and should continue to be better builders of the home and society.
Acknowledging faults in issues relating to your marriage does not mean weakness but a sign that peace reigns in the home.
Remember, “home is a person”.

Eunice Choko-Kayode

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What Women Should Know In Marriage

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Every married person should be able to quit childish ways for a long lasting marriage.
Growing up in marriage means keeping the vows made during holy matrimony, obeying the rules guiding marriage. Love your spouse and treat him/her kindly. Growing up is being able to hold intelligent discussions with your partner.
Do not allow problems to make you expose your spouse in the public.
When married, you kick out childish behaviours. These days, you see a lot of people unable to manage their emotions well.
Do not take up relationship when you still think like a child. If you are not ready to take up responsibility, do not go into marriage. You may be having money or being financially buoyant, but maturity matters a lot. How you respond to issues matters a lot in your marriage. When arguments come up, it should not lead to a point where couples start destroying valuable items in the home.
Do not get angry all the time. Anger causes destruction in a home that might have been built for several years. Do not be like kids, who want to throw away toys when they get angry.
In marriage, the woman is responsible to the husband and the man should be accountable to the wife. Marriage requires new skills in communication if it will work well.
The woman needs to grow up to be able to manage the home. Managing the home is not a child’s play.
You have to build a home that will suit your taste. Sweet homes were built by people. When your spouse gets angry, you put yourself into his or her shoes. Showing empathy to each other will help to run the family smoothly.
Appreciating the woman who does all the house work alone is good. From childbearing through nurturing them till they become adults rest squarely on the woman.
Building formidable marriage is not just for two people but for everybody around them. The woman should care for her in-laws and others in her care. Treating other children like her biological children.
In marriage, treat your spouse better than you handle your phones. Priority should be given to your spouse instead of phones. Some women can get glued to their phones for a longer period instead of attending to their husbands. Activities in your phones should not take all your time as your spouse is more important than them.
Some men often complain about their wives’ addiction to their phones.
There was the issue of a woman that was accused by her husband about getting glued to her phone always and the reason she gave was that her husband was not coming home when he should come. She said as a result of that, she needed something to keep her busy.
Avoid the habit of sleeping with your phones. It is disrespectful when a spouse is talking to a partner and she is attending to a phone or internet. This is a habit women should work on as it is in many homes. Experts say that it leads to emotional gaps.
In marriage, communication is key. Communication must be a two- way thing. When a partner is talking, the other must respond and not just nodding his or her head.
Couples need to be together for bonding. Relationship with children is temporary while that with spouse is more permanent. When children grow up and get married, they will leave the home while husband and wife will live on forever. You see where husband and wife will be living in a big house.
A spouse should be able to accommodate eath other’s weakness.
Do you know that home is a person. Life can give you everything you desire but can be disastrous if there is no love.
Do not allow fear to rule you while trying to show love in building your home. A situation where you think that after building a home and it tears apart in future. This should be discouraged.
When you grow up in marriage, you build formidable marriage.

Eunice Choko-Kayode

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Women Can Eradicate Child Abuse In Homes

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It is disheartening to note how in the 21st century, some women abuse the rights of both their children and wards. No day passes without getting information on how a child was beaten with an object or harmful substance used on a child for little errors that should not lead to provocation.
The role of women in
curbing child abuse can never be over-emphasised.  Mothers are the ones who nurture and groom their offsprings and wards whether, biological children or adopted.
It is necessary that any child who falls under the supervision of a mother, be responsible to that woman.
Shaping the life of a child depends so much on the mother, even if certain percentage of care is being expected from a father.  The mother starts nurturing a child from age zero till the adolescent stage.  She should always do a follow-up at every stage of development of every child in her care.
Within the period of growth, if there are negative tendencies exhibited by the child, the mother should be able to identify before the child goes to school. This is because the child starts learning from the home.
When you talk about child abuse, it starts from the home and the way every child is treated matters a lot.
The menace called child abuse is something that every hands must be on deck to ensure it is eradicated in the society. The major agent of eradication is the mother.
There are various forms of child abuse.  You may discover that for every form of the menace, the woman is involved and should be held responsible for its consequences.
Of course, it is clear that child abuse does not have any positive impact on the society except the perpetrators of the act.  Some persons derive joy in seeing either their own children or other’s children being denied their rights to accomplish their own goals.
According to UNICEF in 1989, child abuse is the portion of harm to children that results from human action or inaction  that is proscribed, proximate and preventable.
The African Network for the Prevention or Protection against Child Abuse or Neglect (ANPPCAN), looked at child abuse as the intentional, unintentional or well-intentional act, which endangers the physical, health, emotional, moral and the educational welfare of the child.
Broadly, it means maltreatment of a child. It is any form of action that brings about physical, mental, psychological and social torture to the child.
When you talk about child labour, which includes buying and selling, most times, a woman will intentionally send the child out for hawking with the aim of making money. A situation where a woman’s children will be in school and she finds pleasure in sending a house help out potends danger to that child.
Just recently, when pimary and secondary schools resumed for third term, a woman told her househelp to resume school one week after resumption, thereby dening her classes for the first week of resumption.
A woman should not send an adopted child out to the neighbourhood alone to fetch water when her own children are idle because her role is to protect every child in her care, whether biological or not.
When you talk about child trafficking, apart from children being in school, the mother should be aware of the location of the child at every time. Monitoring the children should be the watchword of every committed mother. When a woman is careless about the whereabouts of the child, that child can be picked up from any location without her knowledge.
A woman should not express anger on everything the child does at home.   A child/ward can be corrected for wrong doing without being battered.  It has been discovered in some homes that child battering has led to death or deformity of some children. A mother should know the kind of punishment a child deserves for correction.
An undergraduate teenage student who was housed by another woman because the student was unable to secure accommodation in the university had it rough with the woman that it got to a point where she slapped the girl during examination period. She never considered that maltreating her could affect her performance in the semester academic work.
No matter the level of provocation, you don’t slap a student who is writing examination.
Some women neglect their children by sending them to others for inability to provide basic needs in the home.  Every responsible woman should be able to have the number of children she can cater for.  While the child is in another woman’s house, no one knows how many meals he or she takes in a day.
Sending a child out for hawking, especially a female, signals danger to the girl.  That is a simple way of exposing her to sexual abuse.  Some irresponsible persons with the pretence of buying something from her can lure her into undesirable sexual abuse.  The danger in this is that it can lead to unwanted pregnancy and contracting of STDs and HIV/AIDS.
Most rape cases that have been recorded are as a result of sending a girl out to hawk.
There is no harm in asking children to assist in selling so as to make up in the home, but if they are to sell in a kiosk no matter how little it may be, a mother can monitor the children there.
A mother should know that giving a child under the age of 18 out for marriage is an abuse. Women must nurture the children to maturity before sending them out in marriage because the dangers of underage marriage are devastating. When an underaged girl is given out for any reason for marriage, it must be remembered that any consequences that arise from that will fall back on the mother.
A mother should not send her child or ward out for prostitution in order to make money.
Parents and guardians, especially mothers should be more educated and more awareness acquired on why they should pay more attention to their children and wards.

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