Joe Effiong, Uyo
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) President, Quadri Olaleye, has challenged women to stand up and struggle for positions if they want to be reckoned with in the power equation of the country.
Speaking at the inauguration of the TUC Women Commission and the official opening of TUC temporary secretariat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State yesterday, Olaleye said women’s indifference and failure to take advantage of their inherent strength and opportunity provided by constitution of the congress and that of the Federal Republic, is partly their fault.
Lamenting that Nigeria has the lowest number of female parliamentarians in sub-Sahara Africa and ranks 133rd in the world for female political representation, the TUC boss said though many gender gaps have been closed in the country, gender inequality still remains an issue.
“Power is not given on a Father Christmas basis; it is taken – sometimes violently, but of recent, strategically. We have male-dominated trade union in Nigeria, nay, even in the world because you are yet to put your act rights.
“You have a great task ahead of you. The dailies are awash with cases of rape, underage marriages, etc. You must come together and sponsor bills that will better protect women and give them a sense of belonging. Sometime, you may be pressed on every side, but you can’t be crushed; you may be confounded, but do not despair, bearing in mind that people united can never be defeated,” Olaleye said.
He charged the women to devote more time to trade union activities, seek and take up positions, and see it as a process of assuming a higher leadership position with the aim of providing purposeful leadership to the workers and the people of the state,
TUC state Chairman, Dominic Abang, said the inauguration of the women commission was the beginning of the numerous challenges they had set for themselves for the reformation of the congress as the commission had remained passive even to the point of non-existent since its inauguration.
“With this inauguration, the female comrades would be encouraged to increase their contribution in decision-making of our state; increase their participation in debates on issues of public welfare, especially those affecting women and their families, and they would also promote the climate on which women may gain equality of opportunity and treatment, especially in leadership.
National Chairperson, TUC Women Commission, Afusatu Shuaibu, praised Akwa Ibom government for its active inclusion of women at various level of leadership, such as allocating 20 percent of political positions to them.