•By Dare Ojelade
A conglomeration of over 50 women groups have issued a three days ultimatum within which governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State should nominate more women in his cabinet or face occupation of Government House as from Monday, 16 December, 2019.
To them, more women in leadership positions would be a prerequisite for sustainable democracy and development.
Their agitation was contained in an open letter to the governor on the absence of 35 per cent women in the Commissioner nominees transmitted to Ogun State House of Assembly, obtained in Abuja by Journalists on Saturday.
The letter was copied to the Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly and Secretary to the State Government.
The letter reads, “We, the undersigned are a group of concerned citizens representing diverse non-governmental organizations working towards the advancement of women in Ogun State and Nigeria. We believe that more women in leadership is a prerequisite for sustainable democracy and development.
“We are therefore concerned about the absence of a sizeable number of women nominees for appointment as commissioners in the state. We believe that your Excellency through these actions has failed to keep to your promise of ensuring gender equity through at least 35% inclusion of women in your government. We were surprised that out of 17 commissioners only two of the nominees are women.
“We kindly want to remind the Governor about the promises that the cabinet will comprise 50% women which your excellency, made in different fora in the presence of the Nigerian media. May we also remind the Governor about our open letter on the above subject on the 27th of July 2019 and subsequent protest by women in the state to the Governor’s office, where they were received by the Deputy Governor, HE, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele and the public assurances made to the mammoth crowd of women representatives.
“May we further remind your Excellency, the Governor, of the critical role women played in ensuring your victory at the polls and also that; in the last four administrations; to wit, Former Governor Gbenga Daniel and Governor Ibikunle Amosun had 37% and 45% women respectively in the cabinet. The proposed number of nominees by the Governor is less than 12% and is totally unacceptable by any standards.
“We call on your Excellency to emulate the Governor of Kwara State and other progressive Governors who had ensured, irrespective of all odds, to be inclusive in their nominations and appointments.
“It is our opinion that this current move by the governor has in every way questioned the integrity and the will to keep to promises and women see this as an affront. We believe that the Governor still has the opportunity to ensure compliance by increasing the number of women in his cabinet.
“We therefore through this letter call on the Governor to do the needful to avoid a call for a legitimate mass action, by women in the state.
“Like the saying goes “invest in a man, you grow an individual, but invest in a woman, you build nation”. We believe that women play vital roles in ensuring the future of a society and until we start engaging women meaningfully in the affairs of the society politically, we will continue to struggle with the current challenges that we’re faced with as a people.
“A simple study of thriving economies reveal that there are a lot of women holding vital positions in those economies; with their influence effecting, positive changes.
“We therefore urge the leadership of the House of Assembly to show progressive leadership by failing to confirm these nominations until we have the proper composition that truly reflects a democracy.
“We therefore give the Governor three days (ending on Sunday 15th) to consider our demand for more women nominees in the Cabinet or we will be left with no other option than to lead a peaceful protest on Monday the 16th December 2019 to make our demands public. We remain committed to supporting the Governor but we will ensure we demand that he ‘leaves no one behind!’”
Dr. Abiola Akiyode –Afolabi, Women Advocates research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
Ms Kemi Asiwaju-Okeyondo – The Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative
Ms. Ireti Disu – Justice Development and Peace Commission
Mrs Doyin Ogunbiyi – Voice of Ogun Women
Signed for and on behalf of the following organisations in Ogun State:
1. ADEM Community & Human Development Foundation
2. ATATA Development and Empowerment Foundation (ADEF)
3. Community Education Advancement of Peace and Development Initiative (CEAPDI)
4. Courageous People Health and Development Initiative (CPHDL)
5. Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON)
6. Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN)
7. Federation of Paralegal Network (FEDPAN)
8. Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)
9. Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN)
10. Girl Education Rehabilitation and Care (GERAC)
11. Gender Development Initiative (GENDI)
12. Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria
13. Hope for New Life Organisation
14. Iyaniwura Children Care Foundation
15. Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC)
16. Justice Development and Peace Mission (JDPM)
17. More Women in Politics
18. National Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ)
19. National Council of Women Societies (NCWS)
20. Ogayem Merciful Care and Support Initiatives (OMCSI)
21. Ogun Women Alive
22. Peasant Dragnet
23. Ray’s of Hope Community Foundation
24. The Priceless Jewels Foundation
25. The Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative
26. Tunde and Friends foundation
27. Voice of Ogun Women (VOW)
28. Women Advocacy, HIV Prevention and Other Diseases (WAHPOD)
29. Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC)
30. Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON)
31. Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative (WOPEGI)
32. Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN)
33. Women, Infants and Children Care Initiative (WICCI)