The inauguration of the 10th National Assembly has been threatened with legal action by the Coalition for Women Participation in Government and Leadership (CFWPGL).
The coalition, which consists of more than 2,000 women’s organizations, vowed to prevent the 10th NASS from taking place if women are not given preference for presiding officers in the Federal House of Representatives and all State Assemblies.
In a statement released on Tuesday by the coalition’s secretary, Atinuke Olaolu, in Abuja, the coalition admitted that, in the interest of equity and justice, it had no choice but to file a complaint with a court of competent jurisdiction and seek an injunction to prevent the swearing-in of the 10th National Assembly.
The group bemoaned the low presence of women in the next 10th National Assembly and said that it had undermined the 35% affirmative action for women in governance because so few women have entered the federal parliament.
The group stated, “The CFWPGL has denounced the appalling number of women that emerged in parliament in the 10th assembly. We also urge the review of five gender bills that were rejected by the outgoing 9th National Assembly.
It is terrible that at a time when Nigeria should be assuming more leadership roles, its female population is really edging them out.
“Unfortunately, by appearing in court alongside Nigerian women, the federal government has assisted this practice of hanging women from gallows. The coalition pledged to file a lawsuit in order to get a restraining order blocking the swearing-in of the 10th National Assembly.
“They hereby demand that a woman be given consideration for the position of presiding officer in the Federal House of Representatives and that women with high standing be given consideration for the positions of presiding officer and chairs of major committees in all state governments.
“Only 78 women won in the entire election in 2023, and only these women categorically returned to the 10th House of Representatives as ranking members while the Senate has three newcomers in the red chambers. The women at the HoR are as follows: (APC/Abia); Beni Lar (PDP/Plateau); Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim (APC/Yobe); Zainab Gimba (APC/Borno); Aisha Dukku (APC/Gombe), Adewunmi Onanuga (APC/Ogun), Taiwo Oluga (APC/Osun), Blessing Onuh (APC/Benue), Boma Goodhead (PDP/Rivers), Tolulope Akande- Shadipe (APC/Oyo), and Miriam Onuoha (APC/Imo).
Yet only Rt. Hon. Princess Miriam Onuoha has announced and put her name up in the race for Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Nigerian women are firmly in support of both her and other women in the state assembly who are also vying for presiding positions.
“It is clear mechanization by the sexist advances of the men in parliament to undermine any victories Nigerian women have gained up to this point by edging them out.
The Alliance for Women’s Participation in Governance and Leadership also urged the incoming president to follow through on his promise to include at least 35% of women in the Revised Gender policy.”