OrderPaperToday – Every year, the 8th of March is set aside to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. Knowing the importance of the day and the struggle to continue to #PressforProgress, it is no wonder that we have chosen today to laud the works of Senator Rose Oko, one of the seven women in the Senate (out of 109 Senators in total) and the first woman to represent the Cross River North Senatorial district.
Senator Oko is a seasoned politician as well as an effective humanitarian activist and this is evident in the host of motions and bills she has sponsored so far. She is well known for being one of the women in the Senate who regularly stands up for women by bringing their cases to the fore.
In 2016, she brought a case to the Senate on Joy Odama, who was allegedly murdered by one Usman Adam in Abuja, calling for justice for the deceased and her family by conducting a thorough investigation on the matter.
While many across Nigeria believed that the government showed no interest in the death of 26 women buried in Italy last year, Sen. Oko single-handedly sponsored a motion on their killing, leading the National Assembly to probe their deaths and acknowledge the tragedy publicly.
In the red chamber, she serves as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Diaspora and Civil Societies and as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary) in in this capacity, she is credited with reviving 34 schools in her district with educational materials.
The lawmaker representing Cross River State’s north senatorial district is one who has actively represented her constituents in the federal legislative chamber.
She reportedly sponsored a medical outreach programme in October 2016, where she brought in medical consultants from the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and facilitated over 70 operations focused on Lumpectomies, Hernia and Appendicitis.
Following a communal clash that displaced hundreds of residents, Mrs. Oko called on the Federal Government to properly investigate the problems between the Wanikade and Wanihem communities of Cross-River State, in order to prevent an escalated security situation in the area.
Additionally, the inspirational lawmaker noted inherent loopholes in the Excess Crude Account, which gave room for mismanagement of funds, and moved a motion for its abolition.
Similarly, following a motion by Sen. Oko, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, was summoned to submit the Green Tree Agreement for ratification in order to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians living in Cameroon.
The Cameroonian Army had reportedly tortured Nigerians identifying as Bakassi indigenes in Cameroon and Sen. Rose Oko threw light on their plight.
As a legislator, she initially served the people of Yala/Ogoja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives during the 7th Assembly and was elected into office as the first female representative from her constituency in June 2011.
She has also been identified as a contributor to the highest number of bills amongst female senators in the 8th Senate.
Senator Oko is without a doubt a woman with finesse, who has balanced her political ambitions with her passion to help humanity, especially women. It is no wonder she was endorsed for second term by the Advocacy for Good Governance group recently.
This should serve as a call to action to more women to enter politics and aim to do better than their predecessors. While we’ve had a few bad eggs, it is important to shine light on the women in politics striving to close that gender gap and fighting for the rights of women in our deeply patriarchal country.
Are you from or reside in Senator Oko’s senatorial district? What are your thoughts on her leadership? The jury is still out.
Reporting by Titilope Fadare