By Chesa Chesa
Women parliamentarians on Friday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to consider conceding the position of the Vice-President to women in the forthcoming elections.
The lawmakers, under the aegis of Conference of Nigeria Female Parliamentarians (CONFEPA), elected into the various State Houses of Assembly, made the demand during a courtesy call on the President at the Aso Rock Villa.
Cajoling the President that anything he said “will become policy and subsequently law” the women also asked that out of every three senatorial positions per state, one slot should be for woman while out of nine members of the House of Representatives, three should be reserved for female politicians.
Leader of the women and former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Mrs. Elizabeth Ative in her address, said: “All over the world, the issue of twinning is being advocated. Currently, many African and European nations are daily finding ways to include more women in governance.
“Some have elected or appointed women as Heads of States, Prime Ministers, Heads of Foreign Ministries and other key positions of decision making. It will not be out of place Your Excellency for women to be given such opportunities in our dear nation.”
She lamented that Nigeria has had only one female principal officer in each of the two chambers of the National Assembly since the return of democracy in 1999.
She further noted that “politically, women account for over 50 percent of voters in any election. They are very loyal politicians and do not cross-carpet. They wait patiently to cast their votes under the rain and even in the scorching sun”.
In his response, Buhari reminded the women that in a democracy, his word is not exactly law, but he jokingly told them that their demand for a female Vice-President was a threat to his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo who was not present at the event.
“It is a pity that the Vice-President is not here, but I am sure the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will brief him that his position is threatened.
“I am not all that powerful that when I talk it becomes a decree. As I said it is only the Vice-President that is threatened,” he .
The President, however, appreciated the support given to him by women generally in the four times he ran for president, recalling that even pregnant women close to labour queued to vote for him.
He asked the delegation to take a message to their colleagues to extend the same support since he has declared his intention to seek for a second term.
Buhari allayed the fears of the women lawmakers that the men were already regrouping to suppress and marginalize them in the forthcoming elections, telling them that they had actually been fairly treated because if there was a plot, then many of them would have not been elected in the first place.