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Female leadership can stimulate stability in NASS, says Etteh

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The first female speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, has canvassed for female leadership in the 9th National Assembly (NASS), saying if given the opportunity to hold leadership positions, women would excel more than men, in terms of performance.She said: “It is time Nigerians start thinking of women leading this nation, not only the National Assembly. I am not criticising the men, but I can tell you categorically that when you put a woman at the helm of affairs, she will go extra mile to achieve desired goals.

“Therefore, we should not only be talking about the leadership of the National Assembly, but the nation and even the world over. There is nowhere a woman is placed in a position of authority that she does not excel, if given the opportunity.”

Etteh, therefore, urged women elected into the 9th Assembly to rise up and contest available positions, alongside their male counterparts, stressing that if they fail to project themselves, men cannot fight on their behalf.She told The Guardian yesterday in Abuja: “They should come out. The men will not advise them to do so, but they have to fight for their rights. They should forget about being women, because their constituents elected them all.

“Before the parties come up with the zoning issue, they should make themselves known and available for leadership. At times, our women are too shy to come out. You cannot be shy and think that men will come and pick you for leadership position. Nobody will do that! But when they see that you are ready to fight for that course, you will see some men that will support you.

“And you have to lobby them, be friendly with them because with the number of women in parliament, women can go nowhere. But we know that there are some men that are gender-inclined.

“They should talk to such male colleagues and come up with their action plans. If they do that, I am very sure that men will support them.”Beyond the National Assembly, Etteh called for consideration of women for key committees or ministerial slots, adding that if they are not given something that can empower them, it would be difficult for them to mentor or support other women.

Speaking on the chances of women grabbing leadership seats, Etteh stated categorically that women in the 9th Senate have all it takes to lead, adding that there are ranking senator among the women whose pedigrees proved they are capable of leading the nation at every level. Etteh called on government to look in that direction, stressing that in countries that have achieved much, greater space is given to women in governance.

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