IWD Obaseki celebrates women, pledges support for more representation in elective positions… blames Edo Assembly crisis on lack of women representation

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Representative of the Edo State First Lady and wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Maryann Shaibu; Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu; Governor Godwin Obaseki; Edo State Coordinator GIZ PME Programme, Eseosa Okuku, and Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., during an event to mark the 2022 International Women’s Day celebration, at the Government House, in Benin City, on Tuesday, March 8th, 2022.

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has linked the crisis that rocked the state’s House of Assembly to the lack of women representation in the House, reassuring support for more representation in elective positions.

Obaseki gave the assurance during an event at the Government House, Benin City, to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.

According to him, “My only regret till date is that I didn’t work hard enough during the last national elections that produced members of our State House of Assembly to bring women into the House.

“You all know the situation under which we conducted that election. And we can see the crisis that we had in the House. It was possible because we did not have a woman there.

“So, we have learned our lesson, and this election, you don’t need to preach to us. I will go out there to campaign and more women will be elected into our State House of Assembly. The crisis we had may have been avoided if we have more voices of reasoning in that House.”

“So, women get ready. You know how we do it; you know we moved from ward to ward, and will do that again in a few months’ time. Rest assured that our government will create more opportunities to support women and build structures that will allow you to achieve your goals,” he assured.

The governor, who flayed the National Assembly for rejecting bills seeking affirmative action and inclusion of women in politics and other spheres of the society, noted that “the action of the National Assembly should serve as a turning point in our history and should spur you, women, to mobilize Nigerians for gender equality and to break the bias; do not despair.”

He further stated: “Today’s celebration would have been an epic one if the National Assembly had set aside all unfounded misgivings and biases to justify their refusal to constructive debates and approved the bills to alter the provisions of our constitution to provide affirmative action for women in our political administration and other related matters.

“If they had done the right thing, today, we would have all rolled out the drums to celebrate them for such resolute display of progressive change, but unfortunately, they refused. Rather, today, we are all going to carry placards across the country to commence protest which will force those we voted to represent our interests to do the right thing.”

“If only leaders understand and appreciate the exceptional competence and leadership abilities of women, there will be no conversation about giving women the opportunity and responsibility in government,” the governor added.

Speaking on efforts to end all forms of gender bias in Edo, Obaseki said, “In Edo, we are clear. We have seen how women have contributed to making major differences in our lives. If we say we want to make Edo great again, then, the women must be at the forefront.”

In her speech, Edo First Lady, Mrs. Besty Obaseki, who was represented by the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Maryann Shaibu, also berated the National Assembly for not giving approval to the five gender bills.

In her opening remarks, the Commissioner for Social Development and Gender Issues, Mrs. Maria Edeko commended Obaseki and the Edo State House of Assembly for showing support for women as evidenced by the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law.

The Commissioner noted, “This year’s International Women’s Day is a call on political leaders to show support for women so that a large number of them would be elected as state and national assembly members.”

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