OrderPaperToday – As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, Mrs Rita Orji, representing Ajeromi/Ifelodun federal constituency (Lagos, PDP), has commended the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, for pressing for the progress of women under his leadership.
According to her, “Speaker Dogara is gender sensitive and a very nice leader who has continued to carry women along under his leadership. Almost all the women are chairmen or deputies of committees except the ones that came in late.”
Speaking to OrderPaperNG in an exclusive interview to mark the International Women’s Day, she enjoined women to take the bull by the horn rather than accept being relegated to the background.
“It is not yet ‘uhuru’ for the women, but I want to believe that nobody gives you power except you take it. Power is not something you’re served, you must go out for it and for any woman who is sitting down at home and thinking you will be this or that in a…society [dominated by men], then I’m worried.”
Mrs Orji also berated President Buhari’s administration for not striving for gender parity.
She said: “Without prejudice to this government, how many women are faring well under this administration? How many women do we have on the floor of the House when women are been threatened and intimidated?
It is only in this House that Speaker Dogara sees [the] good women [can do]; he believes in us and, in turn, we have not disappointed him.”
Speaking on the way forward, she called on women to stand up for themselves and aspire to join politics, saying that power is never given on a platter of gold. She also called on women to maximize their political strength by collecting their voter’s cards and ensuring that they vote for women in the forthcoming election.
Another female lawmaker from Bayelsa, Mrs. Festus Oseduguwaha said: “I am happy women are being celebrated. [Also], it is important we celebrate women to remind them that they have a role to play in governance and in the development of the society as mothers and wives.”
Corroborating the position of the first speaker, she emphasized that women must continue to demand for the 35% affirmative action and work towards achieving it.
According to her, “I got to where I am today because of my continuous pushing. It has been audacious but I kept pushing and I don’t look at it as a pain, rather, I took it as a challenge to ensure I get here. I don’t think there’s any hate for women, what I think is lack of awareness and women are most times ignorant [on these matters] Women need to pull [the] momentum.”
Mrs Dorothy Mato (APC, Benue), who also spoke to OrderPaperNG, said: “Celebrating the International Women’s Day brings to the fore the challenges faced by women daily in Nigeria. The political arena isn’t any less demanding; women are continually muscled out of the field with a myriad of negatives ranging from intimidation, slander, character assassination and all forms of demeaning actions.
“We must not be deterred, we must stay true to the cause, bearing in mind that the sacrifices we make today are the building blocks for better and greater participation of women in our political sphere and indeed all ramifications of life.”
“As we join hands to celebrate with remarkable women all over the world today, we must remember that there is still much work to be done to ensure gender parity across the Nigerian society.”