Senate to reintroduce 35% affirmation action bill—Oduah

Senator Stella Oduah: On 35 per cent affirmative action

Former Minister of Aviation and current senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, Stella Oduah, has disclosed that the Senate will soon reintroduce the 35 per cent affirmative action bill for women.

Oduah who stated this on Thursday at a press conference in Abuja, as part of activities commemorating this year’s International Women’s Day noted that the bill would seek 35 per cent for women as ministers and 20 per cent for them as commissioners in states.

The Senator who chairs the Senate Committee on Integration and Cooperation, pointed out that the Bill which was rejected by the Senate in July 2017 during the constitution amendment exercise, would be reintroduced and forwarded to the 36 state assemblies for endorsement.

It would be recalled that the bill failed last year at the upper legislative chamber as it garnered only the votes of 49 senators, instead of the 73 required to ensure its success.

But speaking on the matter, Oduah who is also the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, said: “The President of the Senate has made that promise and all senators are in agreement; they have concurred to that.

“It is the right thing to do, and it is way overdue. The United Nations has made it very clear that when progress and empowerment is anchored on women, then there would be a more progressive society.

“Everybody should press for women to emerge, not just politically but in every way.

“Therefore, we must ensure that all activities that have to do with women, must come to the front burner. That should be everybody’s campaign”.

The lawmaker, who is the President, ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA), added that: “Gender should not be an obstacle; it has not been and it must not been an obstacle.

“The glass ceiling has been broken many times and we must make sure we smash it.

“My message to Nigerian women today is that they should keep hope alive, they must participate fully and should not allow themselves to be discouraged by anybody”.