Gender Bills: Stop castigating one another, collaborate to surmount partriachy- Ondo First Lady tells Nigerian women

..mobilises Ondo Women to join national Peaceful protest

As Nigerian Women assembled in different groups and different locations across the nation to demonstrate their grievances towards the voting down of gender bills by the National Assembly, a call has gone out to them to awake from slumber and stop castigating one another but rather collaborate to fight partriachial system of governance in the country.

The First Lady of Ondo State, and gender advocate, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, made this call in her message to Nigerian women who converged on the entrance of the National Assembly complex in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, on Tuesday, for the mother of all rallies against the action of the Lawmakers.

The peaceful protest, which coincides with this year’s International Women’s Day celebration, had commenced since last week in Abuja, with Her Excellency in attendance on Thursday, along with some Ondo Women to show solidarity.

Mrs Akeredolu, who was represented by the State’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr. Mrs. Adebunmi Osadahun, bemoaned the level of hatred and disdainful attitude displayed by the Nigerian lawmakers towards women, by rejecting all the bills meant to better the lot of womenfolk.

Ondo Delegates at the event

According to her, women formed the greater percentage of the Nigerian population with capable and qualify female individuals, who can contribute immensely to the policy and decision making processes of government.

The Ondo First Lady, affirmed that Nigeria is a men-dominated society in terms of elective and appointive positions, noting that despite not asking for equality, they still refused to grant the few requests of women who are the major voters, an action she described as selfish.

Mrs Akeredolu, who lauded the commitment of the organisers of the protest, said there was no better time to rise against marginalisation of the populous gender, than now.

She enjoined women to arise and break bias in all spheres of life, stating that the Nigerian Lawmakers had shown the whole world that they’re not female friendly, saying ‘Enough is Enough’.

She also advised women to develop the attitude of lobbying those Lawmakers from their respective constituencies, as she did by writing private letters to all federal lawmakers from Ondo State, appealing to them to vote in support of the bills.

She, therefore, encouraged all Nigerian women not to be wearied in fighting for their rights; while assuring that she’s solidly behind them come rain come shine.

The Leaders of the Coalition of Women Organisations in Nigeria, organisers of the protest, Dr. Mrs. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, and Princess Nikky Onyere, explained that what women were asking for wasn’t that men should totally vacate the seat of power for women, but to create a conducive environment for them to be heard and consider women’s demands which were for the benefit of the Lawmakers’ daughters and unborn generations of female children.

Some He4She men who joined the demonstration, the likes of Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, and the Not Too Young To Run advocate, Sam Itodo, commended Nigerian women for releasing their anger against the action of the NASS.

On his part, Prof. Jibrin, affirmed that men had failed Nigeria, noting that we lived in a partriachial society which made promotion of equal rights very difficult to achieve.

Advising women on way forward to achieve their agitations, he said: “Every society needs to change and Nigeria need to also change. The only way forward is to identify those Legislators who voted down those bills, mobilise massively and effectively and ensure they don’t return to the National Assembly, that’s the only way to hurt them.

“Men must join this struggle because it’s our wives, daughters, mothers and sisters who are suffering from partriachy in our society”.

Women groups at the event included African Women in Business, Federation of Female Lawyers, NAWORG, Muslim Women, Nigerian Association of Women Journalists, Women in Agriculture, amongst others.

Mary Agidi
Special Assistant to Ondo State Governor on Media
(Office of the First Lady)
March 8, 2022

Published by WonderLady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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