The Nigerian Women Trust Fund has raised the alarm by the position of the Ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the zoning arrangement for electing presiding officers of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Mufuliat Fijabi, CEO Nigerian Women Trust Fund in a statement said the zoning arrangement was a clear disregard to the capabilities of the Nigerian women who have fought the hurdles to clinch the seats at both lower and upper chambers, with requisite knowledge in the operations of the National Assembly even as ranking members.
She said it was disturbing that the President, who had promised Nigerians significant inclusion of women and youth, was also supporting a zoning arrangement that completely excludes women from becoming principal officers of the 10th National Assembly ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
It may be recalled that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Wednesday 7 June 2023, made a strong appeal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators-elect and Members-elect to abide by the zoning arrangement which excludes women.
This, as announced by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in electing presiding officers of the Senate and House of Representatives, is a position that openly neglect women at the National Assembly.
Last month, APC zoned the position of the President of the Senate in the 10th Assembly to the South-South with Senator Godswill Akpabio as the preferred candidate and Senator Jubrin Barau from North-West, as preferred candidate for deputy Senate President position.
Also, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas and Hon. Benjamin Kalu were chosen as preferred candidates for the offices of Speaker and Deputy respectively in the next House of Representatives.
This is not in tandem with the President’s proclaimed Renewed Hope Agenda. The hope of the Nigerian women is again dashed by this act. We therefore call for the inclusion of female Senators-elect and female Members-elect in the zoning arrangement for principal officers of the National Assembly.
This also contradicts the court Judgment of 6 April 2022 by the Federal High Court Abuja, mandating the government to implement a minimum of Thirty-Five percent Affirmative Action in all positions.
The Nigerian Women Trust Fund is a Civil Society Organization (CSO) focused on closing the gender gaps at all levels of governance.
Since 2011, The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) has been working to improve Women’s Leadership and Political Participation through five (5) thematic areas; Democracy, Leadership and Governance, Organizational Effectiveness, Grant Making and Fundraising, Gender Advocacy, and Research & Information.