By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio on Wednesday, said that the 10th National Assembly would revisit the Gender Equality Bill.
Senator Akpabio disclosed this while speaking at the International Conference On Women In Governance organised by the National Institute For Legislative And Democratic Studies in Abuja.
The Senate President emphasized that there is the need for women both in appointive and elective positions in the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration to get deeply involved in the lobby process towards the actualisation of the bill.
Senator Akpabio advised the women to rally support for the aspirations of their women contesting for elective offices standing since they have the population.
” In the coming months and years, the National Assembly will work closely with Mr. President to achieve the lofty goals outlined in his Agenda. I am aware of the difficult economic challenges and hardships occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidies”, he said.
Senator Akpabio added, “Members of the National Assembly, perhaps more than anyone else, know the extent of the suffering of most Nigerians. This is by virtue of our role as the people’s representatives. In fact, we ourselves are not immune from the fallouts of these policies”.
” I wish to restate the commitment of this government to speedily implement measures that will lessen the pain, improve income and grow the economy. These short-term sacrifices are sometimes necessary before we can enjoy the fruits.”
Reiterating his commitment to issues relating to improving the conditions of women in Nigeria as well as in political representation, the economy and governance, he said “those familiar with my antecedents will undoubtedly attest to my passion for promoting gender equality in all aspects of life, especially in the public sector”
” As a governor, I implemented a policy that deliberately favoured the appointment of women into key positions in my government. This was in recognition of the immense contributions that women make towards the political, social and economic development of any state”.
Senator Akpabio maintained, ” I have consistently argued that for Nigeria to become truly great, it must as a matter of urgency invest in women empowerment”, adding that the approach to the challenge of women’s unimpressive numbers in all level of governance must go beyond mere tokenism of positions to genuine representation in which women’s voices are genuinely heard, valued and integrated into government policies and laws.
The Senate President said the authentic inclusion of women in political leadership will change the course of Nigeria towards meaningful transformation and sustained growth.
“Women’s empowerment is critical, given the general contribution of women to the Nigerian economy. In recognition of this strategic importance of women, the ‘Renewed Hope’ Agenda of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, provides women empowerment.
“The policy document recognises that if Nigeria is to reach its fullest potential, every segment of the population must be given a fair chance to make their best contribution to the well-being and advancement of the country.
He stressed that “The agenda highlights the specific need for social inclusion and political empowerment. In this regard, it states that the President will work with the National Assembly to pass a law that promotes greater employment for women in all government offices, ministries and agencies to increase women’s participation in government to at least 35 per cent.”
According to him, “The legislation, when prepared, will also mandate the federal executive to reserve a minimum number of senior positions for women and the private sector shall also be strongly encouraged to do likewise. It is gratifying to note that the President has already achieved some milestones, with women constituting about 20% of the newly inaugurated cabinet.