CSOs demand more seats for women in Ondo Assembly
Sequel to the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly, the Justice Development and Peace Centre (JDPC) and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Ondo State, have demanded more seats for women in the Ondo State House of Assembly and Federal level. It also stressed the need for gender-neutral and sensitive language in the Constitution.
The JDPC Programme Officer, Catholic Diocese, Akure, Mr. Austin Ogunleye, alongside other CSOs said this at the weekend while addressing a press conference to press home their demands.
Ogunleye lamented that female representation in the 2019 elections was negligible relative to approximately half of the population they constitute.
“Of the 2,970 female candidates (11.36 per cent), only 70 get elected, a meagre 4.71 per cent of elected officials. This figure represents a decline from the 2015-19 period, where women formed 5.65 per cent of elected officials,” he said.
He also lamented that masculine languages are gender-biased and undermine women and girls’ political participation, which further hinders inclusive governance in Nigeria.
Canvassing gender as a benchmark for Federal Character, Ogunleye noted that the Constitution had already created the federal character as an affirmative action mechanism to cater for marginalised groups in the country.
While the spokesperson of The Speaking Voice, Mrs. Bola Inyang, demanded the alteration of Sections 48, 49, 71, 72 of the Constitution to give women and the vulnerable more concessions.
“In the Senate, one seat for a woman from the 36 states and the Federal Capital. In the House of Representatives, two seats for women from the 36 states and the Federal Capital. In the state houses of assembly, one seat from each of the three senatorial districts.
“We call for more legislative seats for women in Ondo State House of Assembly. We suggest that in any local council, where we have two legislative seats, one should be reserved for women.”
Inyang urged the government to resume negotiation with the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), as they are needed to make laws for the people, especially for the speedy passage of VAPP bill to protect women.
The groups, who enjoined women to participate actively in politics, affirmed that they would continue to sensitise the populace against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and improve on processes to encourage women in politics.
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