A group, Women in Politics Forum (WiPF) has demanded that, President Muhammadu Buhari to replace empty positions made vacant by Ministers vying for political offices.
It’s President,Ebere Ifendu stated this at a one day zoom meeting organised by 100 women Lobby Group to task women on ways of creating an enabling environment and strategize on the implementation of the Affirmative Action court ruling.
Ifendu said to this effect a letter has been sent to the President to replace the men, as enforcement of the judgement,stating, “the judgement is the law and the law must be obeyed until there is a superior judgement.”
“Since the President made a call that members of the panel, ministerial appointees that are interested in running at the election should resign from their respective positions this is the best time to call on the president to replace the empty positions with women just to ensure there is implementation of the law.
“Women groups need to ensure that this law is implemented and our leaders are held accountable. The President as a matter of urgency must enforce the law.”
On her part,Manager Women`s Right Program Actionaid Nigeria, Nkechi Ilochi-Kanny, stated that to ensure court ruling is acted upon, women need to strategize collectively, stressing that, plans have to be put in place to make implementation possible.
Ilochi-Kanny noted that CSOs, Feminists group, Activists may need to come together in pulling resources to deal with the issue. Adding, women need to build knowledge around the issue of the court ruling on the 35% Affirmative Action.
“We do not have to stick to only one strategy in getting things done as over the years we discovered some level of reluctance by the government in getting to live up to their commitment of getting women their right leadership spaces hence unconventional ways can be introduced to drive our demands home and get results.
“We need to ensure a lot of ways suitable to our context environment. For the 35% Affirmative Action to be obtained, some institutions should be held accountable and responsible. It is a test to know how we can obtain it at various levels.
“Nigeria is a huge country we need more than one strategy to win this war.”
In the same view, Founder/Chairperson Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR), Amina Oyagbola, said the court ruling is a feat that has been accomplished and the 35% Affirmative Action should be a baseline for men and women to break the barriers of inequality.
“Women should quit waiting for permission or waiting for others to act first, rather take charge and determine clearly the steps to be taken to make impactful decisions that will enable us to achieve the results we desire as a group.
“It is important that women must be careful not to take this ruling primarily as legal backing.” While laying emphasize on the second chapter of the Nigerian Constitution that talks about the Fundamental Objectives and Directives Principles of State Policy under section 14, sighted in the judgement which makes it clear that the sovereignty of this nation belongs to the people of Nigeria.
She further stated that, “The state of the Nation is poor, concerning infrastructure, insecurity, poverty and so on Nigeria is not performing well and this is because women are not fully involved and included in decision making. Women are a blessing to the nation, the portal through which everyone in the world is present, they are care givers, nurturers, and the enablers of every success story.
“ For that reason, women are entitled to their own place in the society and have to use this judgement to drive home these messages, to encourage all those whom this judgement and court ruling was targeted at, to not see it as a loss but as victory and progress for the nation and society which will strengthen our democracy as a nation.
“The statistics of women in appointive positions is really low currently and it is unlikely that the men will be removed from their positions to be replaced with women so we need to be at alert for appointments to boards, to executives or committees we should ensure that the 35% representation of women is put into place otherwise we challenge them.
“We can ask that the appointments be reviewed to ensure 35% participation of women and it is in line with the National Gender Policy. This then encourages women in the corporate sector to aspire higher and gives them a sense of heightened worth. Also the private sector can take the lead to ensure women empowerment principles are enforced.
Earlier in her welcome address, the National Coordinator 100 Women Lobby Group, Felicia Onibon said, women are not given adequate opportunities to respond effectively in Nigeria. She pointed out that it is important to lend voices to improve the efforts made for women development using the lobbying and protest activities that took place some weeks ago at the National Assembly for the inclusion of women in leadership as an example.
Also, 100 women lobby group deputy state coordinator, Rachel Babalola, added that the elderly women in the grassroots, secondary school and University students be sensitized about the importance of this law, as it will be of benefit to the future generation to make the 35% Affirmative Action achievable.