The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has advocated the inclusion of provisions in the country’s constitution to guarantee a “more equal” society where both men and women could contribute to development. He noted that doing so was the only way Nigeria could achieve the success it desired, adding that women, in particular, should be free to “pursue their highest aspirations and achieve their maximum potential.”
Gbajabiamila spoke in Abuja on Thursday at the opening of a two-day retreat on ‘Achieving Gender Equity in the Constitution Review Process.’ The event, an initiative of the Office of the Speaker and the House Committee on Women Affairs, was organised in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute. The Speaker stated that there was no better time to push for the protection of the rights of women than now that the National Assembly was reviewing the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act.
Gbajabiamila explained that such practical steps must include giving girls and women more access to education, healthcare, commerce and participation in politics. “To achieve such a society, we have to make sure that girls across the country have access to education and healthcare. “We have to create opportunities for women to thrive in politics and commerce, and we must make sure that the laws of our land do not take away the rights of Nigerian women to participate fully in every sector of our national life”, he told the session.