Senate President, Bukola Saraki
The rate at which the House of Representatives has passed so many bills at the National Assembly recently, has been very alarming. Most of these bills are passed in a matter of minutes and some, after the second or third readings.
The bill, however, which has given the generality of Nigerians concern, is the 35% Affirmative Bill for women as Ministers and 20% for women as commissioners in states. This was passed at the House of Reps but shot down at the senate as only 49 senators voted for its passage as against the 79 required to ensure its success.
This development sent shock waves to concerned Nigerians across the country as it posed a great threat to our democracy. The inability of our legislators to make this bill see the light of day simply proves that they are not in tune with the global realities that encourage and empower women to be a part of the political process in their country.
The resultant effect of this singular act by the members of the upper chambers is retrogressive as Nigerian women are expected to aid the country in achieving their developmental goals signed up by the government, with cognizance to the fact that they constitute 50% of the population. This is why it is expedient that there is gender parity in every sector of government.
The rejection of the bill in question also shows the disposition of our senators towards the rights of women in the polity and gender inequality. The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), has described the failure of the Affirmative Bill as not only an act of injustice and degradation to women, but also disappointing for the success of democracy in Nigeria.
Perhaps it is time for women to take the bull by the horns and rise to the challenge of fighting their own cause. They have the numerical strength and that will make the process easy. It is time women declared their aspiration to all possible positions in government and indeed, all other sectors, in order to prove their mettle. It is time for them to seize power and give themselves the elevation and recognition our lawmakers denied them.