Lawan advocates for more women participation in governance


The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has again stressed the need for more participation of women in governance and other spheres of life.

He spoke in Abuja on Wednesday while receiving in audience a delegation of the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians(ECOFEPA) led by Hon Memounatou Ibrahima
3rd Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament and Senator Abiodun Olujimi who is newly elected Vice President of ECOFEPA.

The Senate President said the ongoing review of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution would take into account the need to encourage more representation of women in parliament.

“At the moment, we are amending our 1999 Constitution and we hope by the time the constitution review is concluded, we would have provided affirmative action for women to be in the National Assembly.

“Honestly, I believe that Nigeria and indeed most of the countries where women are not participating fully in governance, it’s showing weakness in what we do because you cannot have a population of 50 percent, or more than 50 percent and yet the representation is just less than 10 percent in what we do. Definitely, there will be a disconnect.

“Even for our national development, we should encourage more women participation not only in politics but in economy and other spheres of development. That will require that we work hard on our constitution review and other legislations that will give women the affirmative action that they require,” Lawan said.

The Senate President, in response to an earlier comment by his guests, also spoke on the relevance of girl child education.

“You mentioned girl child education, I’m happy to hear that because whether we have women parliamentarians or women in businesses and economy, we need, first of all, to give them education. Because that gives them a headstart.

“Once they are educated, it becomes much easier for them to enter into politics and succeed easily. Once they have some level of education, it becomes easier for them to also compete in the economy and other spheres of life. So I believe the girl child must be given education. This is one challenge in Nigeria particularly in the northern part of the country,” Lawan said.

The Senate President also suggested how ECOWAS Parliament could be made more relevant to the member-states in the West Africa sub-region.

“We believe that the ECOWAS parliament should be such parliament that will have its resolutions better respected by our national governments across the sub-region.

“What that means is maybe we need to come up with a better way of who represents us in the ECOWAS parliament. To some extent, I think we should liberalize it to allow people to be elected so that they have a better standing in representation.

“Those of us who are in ECOWAS parliament, we should continue to work hard and then in our national parliaments, the resolutions that we have passed here in the ECOWAS parliament should be presented to our national parliaments so that the resolutions are domesticated, done in such a way that our governments will listen and implement those resolutions. At the moment, maybe that is not the process.

“In the sub-region, we are challenged by insecurity. Some of these countries in ECOWAS have security challenges. We really have to come together. We have to work together in bilateral and multilateral versions so that we cooperate to defeat the insecurity that we face,” Lawan said.

Earlier, Hon. Memounatou Ibrahima told the Senate President of the plan by ECOFEPA to host a conference of ECOWAS female Parliamentarians with a view to exploring areas of development and cooperation of women parliamentarians within the sub-region.

She also spoke on the plan by ECOFEPA to monitor, support, and encourage female representations in parliaments within the ECOWAS region and also embark on a project that has bearing on the girl child.