Politics

“It was as if we had a legislature that was waging war against women”- Hakeem Baba-Ahmed slams lawmakers

Hakeem Baba-Ahmed has faulted the rejection of gender bills by the National Assembly in the just-concluded constitutional amendments by the lawmakers.

The spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said this on Wednesday; a day after the federal lawmakers rejected the bills. One of the bills captioned “Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide for Special Seat for Women in the National and State Houses of Assembly; and for Related Matters,” failed after a majority of the lawmakers voted against it.

“I was particularly saddened by the rejection. Every gender-based amendment was rejected. It was as if we had a legislature that was waging war against women.”

But the NEF image-maker does not agree with the move, maintaining that some of the bills could have bettered the country.

“There were some key clauses that would have added substantially in terms of improving the quality of the constitution and the leadership selection,” Baba-Ahmed said during an appearance on Channels Television.

“One of them, tragically, was the rejection of setting aside 35 percent of the elective positions for women. This is not for a country like Nigeria. The level of underrepresentation of women in key positions and decision-making is tragic.

“It is really tragic. We have reduced women only to the role of the voters, basically. The political system has reduced everybody else, except the people that we elect, as spectators who are only relevant for the purposes of elections. After that, the people we elect to run away with power and do what they want with it.

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted against a bill seeking to provide special seats for women in the National and State Houses of Assembly.

The bill was defeated in the Senate with 58 votes out of 91. In the House of Representatives, 208 out of 290 lawmakers voted against it. The wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo was present on the floor of the House of Representatives for the vote.

In an interview after the vote, Mrs Osinbajo said the defeated bill was not the end of the agitation for women inclusion in Nigerian politics. The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, described the vote as a show of shame.

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