Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has promised to champion a national advocacy for a constitutional amendment to deepen gender inclusion in the Nigerian laws.
That emerged as women rights activists acknowledged the profound impacts Kwara gender policy is having on the country and its implications for women development.
Speaking at a seminar organized by the University of Ilorin chapter of the National Association of Political Science Students on Wednesday, the Governor urged the National Assembly to revisit the proposed gender parity legislation for a more inclusive society.
The Governor, whose surprise attendance at the students’ event drew a standing ovation in the school, spoke on the theme ‘Breaking Barriers to Women Participation in Politics and Governance in Nigeria: Kwara as a case study’.
The event was attended by dozens of students, top academics, activists, and public intellectuals, including representative of the First Lady and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tertiary Education Hajiya Habibat Salman Saidu; Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences Professor I.P. Ifabiyi; former Dean of the Faculty Professor Hassan Saliu; Head of Department of Political Science Dr. Adebola Bakare; Professor Adedoyin Jolade Omede; Dr Abdulwasiu Olayinka Tejidini; youths development advocate Barrister Temitope Titilope Anifowoshe; President of National Association of Political Science Students (NAPSS) at the University of Ilorin Raheem Azeez Arisekola; and Azeezat Adekanye of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.
The Governor recalled that his decision to give voice to women, including signing a legislation to make it a permanent feature of the political space, was to ensure that women are not shut out of the decision-making process in the state.
“We will try our best to push that agenda going forward. We will encourage other states to go along this time through constitutional amendment,” AbdulRazaq told newsmen on the sideline of the public lecture and launching of Classic Magazine of the National Association of Political Science Students (NAPSS), University of Ilorin chapter.
“It is a good thing that the National Association of Political Science Students puts this lecture together. It is part of deepening SDG 5. We are able to pass a (Gender Composition) law. We will make sure that in the 10th assembly, it is tabled again for amendment to make sure that SDG 5 is attained.
“The passion for gender parity in governance is for the administration to be more committed to what we are doing. If you look at 2019, especially in Kwara, there was no single female elected member at both national and state assemblies from here. Today, we can say that we have been able to push that agenda, and the people of Kwara State have elected five women into the state assembly. That is very good, coming from zero to five.”
He added that a major boost for gender inclusion would be for development partners to introduce some programmes-for results, which reward any governments that prioritize women political empowerment
Other speakers commended the Governor for making the state a reference point in gender mainstreaming, adding that the society must support women to attain their full potential.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Rafiu Ajakaye had earlier detailed the efforts of the Governor to institutionalise gender parity in government — a legacy he said would outlive the current administration because it is now codified in a law that is the first of its kind in the country.
Anifowoshe, for her part, said she is proud of what Kwara has recently attained in gender inclusion, adding, however, that women must build their capacity and support one another to make headway in the political space.
Arisekola, for her part, said the Kwara story has been inspiring and could be replicated by other states of the federation. OYO NEWS