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Constitution review: NASS considers more female lawmakers



Senator Abiodun Olujimi


*As First Lady witnesses laying of report

Indications that the National Assembly, has proposed consideration of more women for elections by all political parties into the federal and state legislatures as people’s representatives in the newly amended constitution, emerged yesterday during the laying of the report on the document.

Specifically, the Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of 1999 Constitution in both chambers, seemed to have amended the document to give opportunity for 37 female lawmakers in the Senate and 68 in the House of Representatives, respectively.

Chairman of the ad-hoc committee in the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege dropped the hint shortly before laying the report on the floor of the upper legislative chamber, which was witnessed by the First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen and her Finance, Budget and National Planning counterpart, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, among other delegation of women.

The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan,, while referring a bill for an Act to Amend the Federal High Court Act Cap F134 to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, suspended Rule 12(1) – Privileges of the Floor – and invoked Rule 1(b) to admit the First Lady and her delegation into the chamber at exactly 11:58am.

Going by the number being proposed in the Senate, it shows that each state of the Federation is to ensure that a woman is among the three candidates that would be elected to the Red Chamber while it’s not clear on the Federal Capital Territory, FCT which produces only one senator.

Also, two women are reportedly been recommended to be candidates from each state and the FCT for elections into the House of Representatives.

After his introductory remarks, Senator Omo-Agege (APC Delta Central), who is also the Deputy Senate President, laid the report at 12:06pm.

In his remarks, the Senate President said the visit by the First Lady was to show support for a bill to have more female parliamentarians at the federal and state legislatures.

He said: “The First Lady’s visit is to show support for a bill for more female parliamentarians in both chambers in the Senate and the House and the State Legislatures.

“This, we believe, will help in nation building as such significant participation by our women will add value to not only legislation but the much desired and needed national development.

“For us as a nation, our motto is Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. We believe that all hands must be on deck to ensure the participation of each and every segment of our society.”

Lawan assured the First Lady that Ninth Assembly, while voting on the amendments to the constitution as contained in the ad-hoc committee’s report, would ensure that women participation in governance is commensurate with their population.

“At the moment, you’ll all agree with me that our women have not been able to get that level of participation commensurate with their population as reflected in our demography.

“Therefore, what we are trying to do (Amendment of the Constitution) will go through voting later to complete the process in the National Assembly,” the Senate President stressed.

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