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Women seek senatorial slots in each state

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{FILES] Senate

Scores of women stormed Asaba, Delta State, centre of the South-South Zonal hearing of the constitution review, demanding that certain sections of the constitution that had denied them equal rights with their male counterparts be expunged.

Insisting that the United Nations Charter provided robust representation of women in governance, they argued that the 35 per cent affirmative action benchmark in politics had been irresponsive in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and should, therefore, be reviewed for equity and justice to reign in the country.

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The women, comprising members of the Lobby Women for Democracy and National Council for Women Societies (NCWS), stated that the world was watching and waiting for the outcome of the constitution review either to make or mar Nigeria’s unity.

Led by Dr. (Mrs.) Joyce Ogwuezi, who opposed gender inequality in the polity, said an all-inclusive spirit must be registered in the review of sections 48/49 of the constitution to accommodate additional senatorial districts in the National Assembly for all states to have a woman each.

“Since 2015, the 35 per cent benchmark for affirmative action for women in politics dropped below 10 per cent. The envisaged new constitution must truly reflect the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerian women for their representation in politics.”

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Also, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo state governments and contingents that made the list of Asaba centre, demanded a thorough review of the 13 per cent oil derivation to the oil-producing states.

According to them, the sharing formula as enshrined in the amended constitution has become obsolete, hence a 100 per cent control of resources should be considered for the owners.

President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof. Ben Ogele Okaba, supported by Prof. Sam Ukala, told the Constitutional Review Committee, headed by senators James Manager, Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta), Seriake Dickson Biobarakuma Degi, Moses Clopas (Bayelsa), Matthew Urhoghide and Francis Alimikhena (Edo) that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) was skewed to short change the oil-producing states of the Niger Delta region.

“The 1999 Constitution is the greatest injustice to Ijaw ethnic nationality and we demanded 100 per cent resource control in the new constitution,” he said.

He demanded four additional states, including Anioma and Oil River to be carved out from the South-South to correct the country’s lopsided federal structure.

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