Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Women Arise, an NGO, has urged women to take the campaign for gender equality in the ongoing review of the Nigerian Constitution, to political leaders in the country.
Okei-Odumakin made the call in a statement on Monday in Lagos, in commemoration of the 2022 International Women’s Day (IWD).
It can be recalled that the National Assembly had voted down two vital women-related bills in the ongoing constitution amendment.
They voted against 35 per cent appointed positions for women, against 35 per cent affirmative action for women in party administration and leadership, and specific seats to be allocated for women in the national assembly, amongst others.
Okei-Odumakin said women should also take the struggle to the innards of their homes, markets, and to their schools.
The group president noted that the fight for gender equality might be complicated but the strive for equity was plain and just, saying that it could possibly be denied for much longer.
“Women must simply realise that gender equality will not be given simply because it was asked for.
“We must take the fight to the innards of political parties, to our homes, to our markets, and to our schools.
“We cannot and should not lose a bid for equity to people we bore, nurtured, and natured because the desired result will come with smart power, soft power, iron resolve, and steady will.
“With improved strategic ingredients and preparedness, we shall relaunch and prosper in this bid.
“Although unfortunate, it is difficult for one who understands Nigeria, nay, the world, to express shock. For the denial was anticipated,” she said.
Okei-Odumakin decried the bias for the the male gender in certain respect; yet, women must not give in, cave in or quit, until they had what was rightfully theirs.
She said when they returned the Nigerian woman to her pride of place, they would have started the regeneration process in earnest.
The president said the present setback to gender equity in Nigeria could be a blessing in disguise; saying that it could be a tipping point that would galvanise thoughts and leaders with a compelling seat at the table.
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“We must not be seen as rabble rousers or be perceived as attention-seeking activists. We must not agonise with noise but organise with distinct voice, working the fine details of the bill with clarity of thought and purposeful action.
“Let us win the heart and head of our elected officials, giving them the benefit of doubt that they require better framing and superior argument.
“Let us work as partners in progress until 12-year-old Halima in Kano; 12-year-old Chike in Onistha; and 12-year-old Anike in Ibadan, attain their fullest potential despite gender differences,” she said.
Okei-Odumakin said they would see that day in their nation where all girls and boys experienced their fair share of opportunities, saying that if it would be, it was up to them (NAN)