.. joins Nigerian Women Groups in solidarity protest to National Assembly
The First Lady of Ondo State, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, today, joins Nigerian women in solidarity protest against the action of the National Assembly members, for rejecting bills aimed at providing female inclusion through specific seats in the legislative chambers and other issues affecting women.
To this end, she led a few number of members of the Foundation of Wives of Ondo State Officials and Female Political Appointees, FOWOSO, to participate in the ongoing women groups’ peaceful protest at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Addressing the women, Mrs. Akeredolu who noted that she doesn’t take issues of womenfolk for granted, described the action of the Lawmakers as an injury and a public display of hatred towards womanhood.
She said: ” I’m here to stand with you in solidarity to what our men did to us and I feel that it was an injury done on us. I want you to count on me, I don’t joke with issues of women because I believe that we have a portion in this country. In any given Community and society, there are men and women; how could you now exclude the other one and think the other can do everything?”
The Wife of Ondo Governor, however, called on women leaders to strategise and do more than protest in order to achieve the desired goals, by sensitising other women and empowering them with skills.
Mrs Akeredolu, who had written a letter of appeal to all Federal Lawmakers in Ondo and Imo States, respectively to vote in favour of women, emphasised the importance of lobbying concerned individuals to get things done, while narrating how she joined other women in the cancer space to walked into the Capitol Hill to ask for funding and innovative research in breast cancer, a move that helped lots of women worldwide to survive the disease
She said: ” I have been hitting the walls of Capitol Hill since 2005, there are some very important Senators that I have met, somebody like Hillary Clinton that is my heroine, Ted Cruz; we matched into the Capitol Hill and they led us in, unlike here that they didn’t allow you to enter, but nevertheless, the struggle continues”.
Appreciating the commitment and resilience demonstrated by the women by defiling the scorching sun for the sake of all Nigerian women and the generations unborn, the Ondo First Lady enjoined them to remain steadfast and be focused on the cause till their demands would be met.
“I thank and congratulate all of you for your commitment, for standing the right cause; Our demands have been carefully listed, they are legitimate, there’s nothing so spectacular about these things because they’ve been done elsewhere and they’re working; so, let’s stand on it , let’s not relent”. She asserted.
She re-emphasised the need for mothers to prioritize female education, as she pointed out gender discrimination as one of the factors contributing to Nigeria’s predicament, due to the neglect of the womenfolk.
The leader of the women mobilizers, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, who affirmed that the women groups were apolitical, described the action of the NASS as disdainful and disrespectful, saying enough is enough of the partriachal system in Nigerian political space.
She said: “one of the issues we are fighting for here is that they should allow 111 seats to go for women, we are fighting for more women in positions, we are fighting for 35% affirmative action in political office; indigineship is a major issue, how can we at this time be contesting equality in citizenship? is that not a shameful constitution for us?
Akiode-Afolabi, the Convener of WARD C, who informed that the protest had been on for the past three days, commended the First Lady of Ondo State for showing solidarity by lending her voice to the plight of Nigerian women in asking for a constitution they want.
Also speaking, the country director of ActionAids Nigeria, Mrs. Eneh Obi who lamented how Nigerian women were being subjugated in the name of marriage, as they were being denied so many things from both father’s and husband’s sides, disclosed that the women groups would publish the names of Lawmakers who voted against the bills.
In attendance were the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr. Mrs. Bunmi Osadahun who also bemoaned the action of the Lawmakers, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Women Affairs, Mrs Kehinde Adeniran, Fmr SSA on Women Mobilisation, Mrs. Ronke Ojo, Fmr SSA on Women Affairs, Mrs Toyin Akinmoyo.
The protesting women who barricaded the entrance of the National Assembly complex, held different kinds of placards to express their grievances and demands, some of which are “The Constitution Women Want”, “Break the constitution bias”, “specific seats for women”, “more appointive positions”, “women deman dual citizenship rights”, among others.
By Mary Agidi
Special Assistant to Ondo State Governor on Media
Office of the First Lady
March 3, 2022