From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has said that Nigerian women are ripe enough to assume the position of the President of Nigeria.
Speaking when she led a group of women to the national headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on a protest for affirmative action in appointive and elective positions, the minister argued that if women can be President in Liberia and Malawi, Nigeria should not be an exception.
Asked if women will graduate from the request for affirmative action to run for President, the minister said: ‘Why not? It is a possibility. One day that dream will come true. If Liberia that we supported and assisted, to bring back peace and restore sanity, can have a female President, if Malawi can have a female President, is Nigeria not bigger than these countries?
‘Are we not better than them? Don’t they look up to us? So, just the way we have been supporting the men in all elections, we are also appealing that they should do the same to us.’
On their mission to the party secretariat, the former deputy governor of Plateau state said: ‘We demand affirmative action. You will agree with me that women toil and give the highest votes in all the elections. The absence of women in the party structure is what bothers women. We are here to demand the amendment.
‘We are aware last week, the party inaugurated the committee for the amendment of its constitution. Immediately we heard about the constitution of the committee, we swung into action. We happened to be the first because we agree that we are the most marginalised. And that is unacceptable for national development.
‘We are here to demand affirmative action. We need more women in the party structure and for all elections. We are demanding that no gender, women or men should occupy more than 60 per cent as against the other. We are demanding gender equality. We are demanding for full participation and representation of women in the party structure and all elective seats in our dear country Nigeria,’ she insisted.
‘The exact percentage we are requesting for is 50/50. Gender equality. That is what the world is advocating for. And, we came at the right time. This is the month of women all over the world.
‘The UN has declared not only March 8 but also the whole month of March to address issues affecting women and children. We are mothers in the land. The world is focusing on women. We want Nigeria to be the lead country in Africa.
‘Other African countries have set the pace. We want to take that leadership role that they all look up to us. We can do it. There is nothing impossible about it. We love Mr President and we are supporting him. We want Mr President to lend his voice on this matter as the leader of the party. We are calling on all men of goodwill to lend their voice so that we can have gender parity,’ she appealed.
The high-level women delegation with the Women Affairs to submit a memorandum listing demands for affirmative action includes the United Nations Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey; Chair, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Hon. Aisha Duku; representative of the 100 Women Lobby Group and other Civil Society Organisations.
The memorandum was received by the Chairman of the APC Constitution Review Committee, Prof. Tahir Mamman, SAN, at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja.