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Group decries political exclusion of women in proposed Electoral Bill

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Women Group
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The “100 Women Lobby Group”, an NGO, on Tuesday, said the increased limit for campaign expenses for political aspirants in the proposed Electoral Bill
would exclude women from participating in the political space.

The group made this known in Abuja at the “National Strategic Advocacy on Women’s Participation in Politics and Governance Press Conference 2023.”

Its President, Felicia Onibon, said that the final version of the proposed Electoral bill, “which increases the limit for campaign expenses, will further promote gender inequality and poor representation of women in governance and politics.

“In the final version of the proposed Electoral Bill, the limit for campaign expenses was increased as follows: President N1 billion to N15 billion, Governor N2 million to N5 billion, Senate N40 million to N1.5 billion.

“House of Representatives N30 million to N500 million and State Assembly N10 million to N50 million.

“This has potential to exclude women from the political space, and is is highly unacceptable.

“How many women can fund their political ambition if this is finally passed into law?”

Onibon appealed to stakeholders in relevant positions to amend policies, acts and provisions that support affirmation for women participation for the development of the nation.

She called on the government and security operatives to urgently address the insecurity bedevilling the nation as its effects would be more on food security, women and children.

On the current constitution review, Onibon stressed the need to ensure that the rights of women and girls were recognised and guaranteed through the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill.

She said “the Constitution of Nigeria must ensure equitable women representation in government through a minimum of 35 per cent slots in elective and appointive offices at the federal, state and local levels.

“Change must begin with the highest law of the land, which is the Constitution. We can serve as an example for gender equity in West Africa and the world by guaranteeing 50 per cent of our Constitution.”

Ebere Ifendu, a group member and President, Women in Politics Forum, appealed to the National Assembly to reconsider the proposed increase in the cost of campaign funds to enable more women to participate in politics.

Ifendu also stressed the need for gender parity in political representation both in parliament and at every level of governance.

She said women wanted the Electoral Act passed into law because it would enable a level playing ground for political aspirants.

According to her, the voting process should be electronic and results openly displayed to enable women to see those who support the passage at the National Assembly.

Similarly, Mrs Adetayo Erinle, who is also the Executive Director, Tabitha Cumi Foundation, stressed the need for the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and the Sexual Offences Bill into law to reduce the prevalence of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

On his part, Mr Tom Odemwingie, the Executive Director, Agricultural Agenda Nigeria Initiative (AANI), called on the groups to sensitise electorate on the need to resist monetary or material gains in exchange for votes.

Odemwingie advised the electorate “not to sell their votes for gains that will jeopardise the future of their children and the nation.”

 

(NAN)

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Business & Economy

Afreximbank’s Kanayo Awani makes Nigeria Women Annual’s “100 Leading Women” list

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Mrs. Kanayo Awani - Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative Division
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The Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative Division, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, has been named among the 100 outstanding women leaders in Nigeria, according to the list published in the 2022 edition of Nigeria Women Annual: 100 Leading Women.

Mrs. Awani’s listing acknowledges her distinguished career and contributions to the development of society.

As Managing Director, Mrs. Awani currently leads the Bank’s efforts in implementing its intra-African trade and industrialisation strategies.

A statement by the bank said she successfully led Afreximbank’s engagement in support of the establishment and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and was the arrowhead for the introduction and organization of the biennial Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), which has delivered trade and investment deals valued at over US$70 billion.

She previously led Afreximbank’s Trade Finance and Branches Department from 2009 to 2016, growing it into the Bank’s most profitable department which accounted for over 80 percent of its loan book.

Mrs. Awani is also the Chairperson of the Africa Chapter of Factors Chain International (FCI), a global factoring association.

“The Nigeria Women Annual: 100 Leading Women” is the premier qualitative profiling of phenomenal women who have contributed to the development of Nigeria and the world.

A gender-specific biographical compendium, it responds to existing gender gaps in Nigeria’s biographical documentation and leadership and, in 2022, focused on the most inspirational and influential women whose work contributed to shaping Nigeria’s collective history during the year.

This year’s list includes technology experts, politicians, teachers, activists, development practitioners, C-Suite corporate leaders, and other notable women.

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Gender

Gender Bills: Women should not lose hope on their demands – Senate President

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has advised women not to lose hope on their demands for legislations on gender related matters.

Lawan spoke in Agasa in Kogi State on Thursday against the backdrop of some gender related bills that recently failed to scale through at the National Assembly in the ongoing review being carried out on the 1999 Constitution.

Senate President  made a strong case for education of the girl child shortly before he commissioned a 600 capacity JAMB CBT Centre which was facilitated by Senator Yakubu Oseni who is representing Kogi Central Senatorial District.

“I know somebody will say gender bills have failed in the National Assembly. That is democracy. Let’s continue to lobby.

“We should continue to lobby because nobody will like to undermine anybody. Let’s not lose hope.

“Every male member in the National Assembly is a “He for She” because I don’t think there is anybody who is not married in the National Assembly.

“We will continue to work together with gender based organisations especially those that genuinely want to engage with members of the National Assembly because if you are not able to get something, if there is a failure, we should make it a political capital that tomorrow, we say, you were not able to do it yesterday, can you do it today. That will help us in ensuring that we get some of these hurdles out of the way.

“Most of us have our daughters as well. So we know that everybody is one way or the other connected to this struggle but we should not lose hope,” Lawan said.

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Gender

Gender Bills: Nigerian Women Continue Protest At NASS For Fifth Day

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Nigerian Women protesting at the entry point of National Assembly Complex Abuja
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Women under various groups on Thursday continued their protest at the National Assembly gate.

For the fifth day, the women gathered early morning at the National Assembly demanding that lawmakers rescind their decision over rejection of five gender bills in the process of amendment of 1999 constitution.

The protest by the women drawn from various groups started on Wednesday, March 2, and members of the House of Representatives in reaction to their demands, on Tuesday, March 8, rescinded their decision on three of the gender bills.

The women, however, continued the protest demanding the members of the Senate join their House of Representatives in re-visiting the bills.

They also want approval for all the five gender bills.

Among other demands, the women want specific seats in the National Assembly, indigeneship of their husband’s state after five years of being together, and 35% affirmative action for women.

They insist that they will continue to picket the gate of the National Assembly till all their demands are met.

They also threatened to vote out the lawmakers who voted against women in the constitutional review.

They demand that the voting pattern for those bills be released to them so they can mobilse women at all levels of government to vote out the lawmakers who they say took a stand against Nigerian women at the constitutional review.

The groups gathered for the protest include the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), Federation of Muslim Women Association (FOMWA), Women Organisation for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), Association of Women in the Arts (AWITA), Women In Business (WIMBIZ), Action Aid, Yiaga Africa, the Islamic Youth League, among others.

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