The 10th National Assembly has promised not to reject Bills supporting women’s rights and inclusion which were not passed during the 9th Assembly.
The legislature therefore, expressed its commitment to championing the cause for women’s rights and empowerment and ensure their representation in legislative processes.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, stated these in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Monday, 6 November, 2023, during the 40th anniversary of NEWS Engineering Limited and launch of NEWS 40/40 Leadership Development Fellowship, held on Monday night in Abuja.
The event was attended by dignitaries including traditional rulers such as the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III; a former Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke; Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Enyinnaya Abaribe; Executive Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Ifeoluwa Oyedele, among others.
Kalu eulogized the current Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of News Engineering, Lady Josephine Nwaeze, for her exceptional ability to lead the company successfully following the tragic loss of her husband during a plane crash in 2006.
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to recognize and appreciate the power of women.
Kalu said, “She (Nwaeze) believed in capacity building and she built herself to be where she is now, where what has been lacking in Nigeria which is sustenance of business establishments through succession plan.
“You know, most businesses come and die because the succession plan is not thorough. When they are thorough, the people they are handing over lack the capacity to take the dream and achieve the mission. But, she has been able to interpret the vision of her husband and has made it a mission such that a lot of missionaries are coming up on board and that’s a power of a woman.
“It is high time we stop underestimating the power of a woman. Everything they handle with dedication they multiply. As the chairman of the constitutional review committee, I have a lot of work in my hand to make sure the repositioning of women folks in our country is achieved.
“The President, the vice president, the chief of staff are products of the parliament, the secretary to the federal government is also the product of the parliament. So, they understand the role that legislative intervention plays with regards to this kind of intervention that is needed and what is that? That women should be given their place.
“The President gave it to his wife that was why she became a senator. So, when we take it to her she might say accent to this bill and what the bill suffered previously will not be suffered again because the presidency believes in women.
“I am sure when we take the Constitutional Amendment Bill to Mr. President that will preach gender equality, that will preach gender equity, that will preach gender inclusiveness, the president will not say no to it. So, keep hope alive because we are coming with the renewed hope agenda that will renew the hope of women and bring them into the scheme of things.”
Nwaeze said, “We sincerely hope that all would be inspired by our experience through these years as you will find stories of perseverance, dedication, and the pursuit of excellence against all odds.
“As we mark this significant stage of our corporate history, we also cast our gaze towards the future, a future that holds the promise of greater achievements and enduring success.
“In this journey, we shall harness the full potential of technology to seize oppor- tunities and explore innovations. Our commitment to excellence will drive us to develop and deploy the most relevant structures and architectural frameworks that ensure the sustainability of our legacy.”
The Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, who commended Nwaeze for building on the legacy left behind by her husband, stressed the need for women to be given key positions in government to fast-track Nigeria economic development.
According to him, the impact of women in nation building cannot be ignored.
The monarch said, “I am sure there were many temptations to look at and wonder how he (her husband) could have done so much because I am sure those were very large shoes to fill. Sometimes, we freeze looking at big shoes to fill and while we might want to honour and respect the shoes before us, we must not fall into the temptation of stepping into those shoes. This is because the same God who created who left those shoes behind, gave us our own unique shoe size.
“Deputy speaker, you spoke how a lady has made such impacts but this shouldn’t surprise anyone because whatever it is that you give to a woman, they will nurture it, incubate it and they will produce a full manifestation of that seed that is given to them. The seed that he left with her, she has been able to incubate, nurture it and produce a standing, functional and thriving organisation better than what her husband left for her.”
The Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, represented by the Director of Service Coordination, FCT Administrator, Jummai Amodu, also corroborated the need for greater female representation in political and social spheres.
She said, “We need more women in the National Assembly. In the next election cycle, please. Because we can have Rwanda doing the twinning system, we are the giant of Africa, so Nigeria should lead going forward.
“We also still have appointive positions, we need women to be part of them so that our numbers can go up because when you’re discussing issues that concern us, we will not contribute. We need out numbers to be more so that we can contribute our quota because anything you give a woman, she multiplies it and makes it better than you gave to her.
“I am honoured to stand before you to celebrate News Engineering limited for reaching a milestone of 40years anniversary. This momentous occasion not only marked four decades of dedication and hard work but also highlights the incredible journey that has played a pivotal role in shaping both the media landscape of our nation.”