In commemorating the 2022 International Women’s Day (IWD), women of Ondo State have called women around the world to a new, collective awakening that would set free the womenfolk from legal, social and political restrictions.
The need for urgent awakening, in the words of Ondo State’s First Lady, Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu , becomes inevitable in the face of excruciating
gender limitations and denials that women are constrained to put up with in this part of the world.
In a statement personally signed by the Governor’s wife, it reads:”It is rather instructive that this year’s International Women’s Day is coinciding with widespread agitation over the unfortunate and uncivilized rejection of pro-female legislation by members of Nigeria’s 9th National Assembly.
“This untoward development does not only express men’s perpetual disregard for the place and status of women in the country, it is also as a sad reminder to the extent that Nigerian women are still living under a climate of brute patriarchy even when the world is already moving in the direction of gender parity.”
The International Women’s Day, as approved by the United Nations, is marked globally to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
The statement reads in part: “There is no better time for women to rise and, per force, raise a stern, collective voice against these experiential irritation than now. As we mark this all-important day, women must be ready to heed the call to #BreakTheBias as the theme nudges us to do. Breaking the biases however requires being thoughtful enough to give a sober view to sundry issues that are limiting their full expression, including legal restrictions as we now have in our way to surmount.”
Nigeria’s National Assembly is opposed to the pro-women bills put forward for inclusion in Nigerian Constitution to allow for gender diversity and encourage women to aspire to positions in government and political parties. Of the 68 bills sponsored, the five seeking to create more room for female political participation faced rejection.
The disputed bills include: citizenship to the foreign-born husband of a Nigerian woman; women taking indigeneship of their husband’s state after 5 years of being together; allotment of 35% appointed positions for women; women having 35% affirmative action in party administration and leadership, and specific seats for women in the National Assembly.
While nudging women not to be dettered
but to continue to press for equity and justice, the First Lady said, “We cannot achieve anything worthwhile with a constitution that lumps everybody together as one without respecting constituents’ sensibilities, diversity and choices. As an aggregate of various ethnic groups, different cultures and perceptions, Nigeria is a nation of nations wherein individual differences and preferences should be respected.”
Debo Akinbami ,
Special Assistant to the Governor on New Media & Archives (Office of the First Lady)
March 7, 2022.