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Why we joined gender bill protest - Governors' Wives Forum

Members of Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum during the protest at the National Assembly

Members of Nigerian Governors' Wives Forum during the protest at the National Assembly

By Jethro Ibileke

The Nigerian Governors Wives’ Forum (NGWF), has explained why some of its members joined the ongoing protest over the rejection of the five gender bills during consideration of report and the Constitution Amendment by the National Assembly.

The Governors’ wives had stormed Abuja to give impetus to the protest by women groups at the gate of the National Assembly.

Chairperson of NGWF, Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, while explaining their presence at the protest, noted that they were there not only as wives of Governors, but “as mothers, as wives, as daughters and as sisters” in the country.

She said the action of the National Assembly constitutes a denial of the rights of women.

According to her, “We therefore demand that our rights be recognised; our rights to live as full citizens, our rights to take leadership positions and our rights not to die in childbirth.”

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Also addressing the protesters, wife of Edo State Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, charged women to vote out all the legislators who voted against the gender bills.

Quoting the popular slogan: “you neglect a woman, you lose election”, Mrs. Obaseki said: “This is the message I have come to say here to all Nigerian men, especially our politicians who are seated in political positions and those aspiring to either return or to join them in governments and in politics.

“If you do proper analysis of a proper election process, you will find out that women are the ones who vote the most and when we vote, we stay there and protect our votes.”

She therefore called on all Nigerian women, market women, professional women, women in government and women in politics to “unite together and form a strong front and tell the men that we are the ones who put them in this position and they must listen to us and give us what we want, else we vote them out”.

On her part, the First Lady of Akwa Ibom State, Martha Udom-Emmanuel said: “We are not asking for too much, we are asking the men that have refused to sign the bill to consent to 35% affirmative action, please give us our rights. We are not second-class citizens, we are as important as the men are”.

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