Minister Calls for Female Deputy Speaker

The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, on Tuesday, stressed the need for a female legislator to be elected as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 10th National Assembly.

She also justified her support for Aisha Binani Dahiru of the All Progressives Congress during the 2023 governorship election in Adamawa State.

Tallen bared her mind during the launch of the 50-50 women advocacy organisation by WomenAid Collective which was held in Abuja with support from the Ford Foundation.

The Executive Director of WACOL Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo (SAN), said the 50-50 project was designed to strengthen women’s capacity and equip them with appropriate knowledge and skills to champion their cause at community and state levels.

The minister regretted that women still face discrimination and bias in countless areas of their lives, including the workplace and political setting.

While emphasising the power of women-led advocacy and the vital role it plays in shaping the society, Tallen observed that Nigerian women have been at the forefront of advocating for social change, fighting for their rights, and speaking up for those who have been silenced.

Tallen said, “With the poor representation of women, we want to ensure that we have a woman as deputy speaker to help push our case. From the spike in Gender-Based Violence cases in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, to the build up to the Constitution Amendment process and the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, we witnessed the power of this movement every day.

“From the women who are leading the charge for Zero Tolerance to Gender-Based Violence, to keeping girls in schools and fighting to end child marriage in our communities, to the activists demanding for increase in women’s participation in politics, women-led advocacy is making a real difference in the lives of people all over the Nigeria.

“No matter the disappointment we witnessed, we cannot stop now. We must continue to speak up, to stand together, and to fight for what is right. We must continue to build a society, where women are free to be who they want to be, to pursue their dreams, and to live without fear. So let us all commit to being women-led advocates. Let us use our voices, our talents, and our resources to create a Nigeria society that is more just and equitable for all.”

Speaking of Binani, she said, “I don’t regret standing by Binani and I will continue supporting all female candidates.”

A member of the house of representatives, Miriam Onuoha, urged the leadership of the APC to reconsider the party’s choice for the position of the deputy speaker in the 10th assembly.

Onuoha, who is also contesting for the position of Deputy Speaker, said women deserve a fair representation in the leadership of the national assembly.

She said, “As a woman, I will not take to violence and anything inimical to the image of the institution which I represent. We want our party leaders to stand for what is right. Party supremacy is right to the extent that it does not reduce human dignity. I am not an appendage to any man.

“When policies are made and not well accepted to the public, leaders go back to the table and ensure that the right thing is done.

“If we are not on the decision table as women, that means issues concerning women cannot be treated well. This is one last chance for us to ensure that we get it right.”

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