Strengthening institutional frameworks for improved women participation in politics Strengthening institutional frameworks for improved women participation in politics By Grace Yussuf News Agency of Nigeria After the just-concluded party primaries, many stakeholders are at loss as to why the participation of women in politics this time around has been abysmally low.
The stakeholders, especially women activists, have decried the decline in women’s political fortune and their political entrepreneurship in this dispensation.
They have attributed this development to the patriarchal nature in the country’s environment, while others have pointed to the culture that does not encourage women to go into politics.
However, the most important factor, they aver is the mercantile politics that is practiced in Nigeria.
The mercantile and monetisation of politics, make the political terrain not to be favourable to women, who obviously most cannot afford such political enterprise.
Statistics by the Gender Strategy Advancement International, (GSAI), on the low political participation of women in Nigeria showed that their participation falls below the world and African continental standards.
According to the report, the national average of women’s political participation in Nigeria remains at 6.7 per cent in elective and appointive positions.
This is far below the global average of 22.5 per cent and Africa regional average of 23.4 per cent and the West African Sub Regional average of 15 per cent, according to the report.
Prof. Joy Ezeilo, the Founder of Women of Aid Collective (WACOL), an NGO, an of activist with over 20 years experience, frowns at the dismal participation of women in politics in this dispensation, saying they have continued to be disenfranchised.
Ezeilo said it was unfortunate that the efforts to get affirmative action entrenched in the nation’s constitution or to get gender equal opportunities bill passed have not yielded expected results.
The moves were meant to enhance women’s chances at running and winning election.
She says the country has never seen this type of retrogression in women’s political fortune and a decline in their political entrepreneurship.
“In Nigeria, to get gender equal opportunities bill passed that would have enhanced woman’s chances at running and winning election, failed.
“And then, now the results from the primaries have shown poor performance for women and we are really worried.
I have done this work for two decades and I am saying when are we going to get it right?
“We have done it in other countries and we have seen how they succeeded.
In Rwanda, I was part of the movement for affirmative action and getting it into their constitution and more women are participating in politic in that country.
“And since 2015, it has declined and people are pointedly not too happy with APC for this declining women’s fortune because you expect the ruling party to be the one that will set an example and have significant number of women.
“And there is no way we can make claims to sustainable development without full participation of women in governance and indeed in all sectors including economy,’’ she said.
According to her, because of the mercantile politics that is practiced in Nigeria, the political terrain is not enabling, the monetisation is huge and most women cannot afford that.
“And of course, we know they are interrelated, sometimes women economic status also affects their political careers,’’ she said.
The law professor also attributed political violence and the current insecurity that pervades the entire country as contributing to women lagging behind in terms of being aspirants as their participation this time around is not as large as it was in 2015. Others also affirm that the rejection of the five Gender Bills presented to the National Assembly in early this year, which resulted in weeks of massive protests by women activists has also contributed to the low participation of women.
The demonstration described as the “mother of all protests” was aimed at calling on the federal lawmakers to reconsider all the gender bills that were rejected during the Constitution amendment earlier in the year.
The National Assembly in early March voted against bills providing for 35 per cent affirmative action for women in political parties’ administration, they also voted against the bill to create special seats for women in the national and state assemblies.
Both bills got an abysmal number of votes during the clause-by-clause consideration during the constitution amendment at both chambers in the parliament.
Another activist, Ms Ene Obi, the Country Director of ActionAid, also lamented the low participation of women in politics in this dispensation as compared to 2011 and 2015. “I think there are several factors responsible for low participation of women, there are very few women right now in politics, because of the patriarchal nature we have in our environment.
“And because of our culture and also not receiving the encouragement from the political class from the government of Nigeria,’’ Obi said.
She said governments lacked the political commitment to implement the 35 per affirmative action for female participation in governance, both appointive and elective, even though the National Gender Policy has stipulated it.
According to her, with the present 6.7 per cent of women representation, whether it is an appointive position or elective position, the impact of women cannot be felt.
This, she said stemmed from lack of recognition of women in the political parties.
“Do the major parties recognise women participation?
Let’s come down to the current one where we have 109 senators and we have only eight women and we have 306 house of representatives and we have about 13 women.
’’ “So what we should be saying now is that we are at a point where things need to be done and that is why the gender bills was sent to the National Assembly, because we try to review and reflect on what is done in the other parts of the world,’’ she said.
Obi says the 35 per cent affirmative action women are seeking for now is that political parties need to make it as a rule to insert in their own constitution 35 per cent of women representation in both appointments and elective positions.
She cited Rwanda, which is in Africa, as a country which deliberately encouraged women’s participation and the percentage of their women in governance “is very impressive.
’’ Making reference to the Federal Character Commission, she says it came into being because of diversity in the country’s representation.
She advises that the concept should be reflected to correct the imbalance in the quality of the population in the national life that will lead to quality decisions.
“When decisions are taken in the board room; who are those present in these boardrooms?
And the reason why we are taking it seriously now is because women are dying in the maternity wards, dying in road accidents, and through terrorists attacks, they are dying, their husbands and children are also dying.
“But women are not there to make decisions that will help them survive the vagaries of the system.
“So when we look at women representation, we have to look at security, it has to do with people that are making choices for them; when we have conflicts it is women that are being raped.
“Many women and young girls are carrying children of their enemies, children of their rapists and we are having hundreds of children roaming around with no body wanting them,’’ she said.
Obi praises the role played by the late wife of the military president, Mrs Maryam Babangida, after the Beijing Conference of 1995, when through the Ministry of Women Affairs created the National Women Commission.
“You remember that under her husband then, she was very active and very concerned about the women of Nigeria and so because of her, women that were not ordinarily coming out had to be coming out.
“She will ask for the wives of the local government chairmen to come out, likewise, when she goes to the states, she will want the wives of the state governors to come out and that was the time that many women in the north were not coming out.
“And that made it look like a fiesta but then it actually brought women out and when you come out and learn about new things you would not go back and do the same.
Women started becoming politically active then,’’ she said.
The ActionAid boss is of the opinion that men are just being insensitive to the choices to be made for quality living, quality population and quality decisions by not including women in the scheme of things.
She says the call for the creation of an extra seat in every senatorial zone, to bring them on board for quality discussion, was not taken.
“ There is no way men can represent women.
We have how many committees in the senate, how many women are there?
And we have only 13 women in the House of Representatives.
Does that mean that we don’t have qualified women?
“This extra seat in the house of representatives for example accounts for only one per cent of the budget and you can easily accommodate it because the Nigerian parliament is one of the highest paid in the world in a place where is the poverty capital in the world,” Obi said.
Obi describes the situation now as unfortunate as the country has millions of female lawyers, medical doctors, engineers and women in different professions “and they cannot be encouraged to be brought on board in governance?
’’ “Unlike the time before we got independence when the women then with their standard six, went and challenged the colonial government and participated in the struggle for the emancipation of Nigeria,’’ she said.
According to a GSAI report, Nigeria ranks 181 of 193 countries on the Gender Equality Index, for countries with low women representation in governance.
The ranking took into consideration reasons such as poor resource allocation in the economic and social sectors, frequent conflicts, forced displacements and inadequate inclusion of women and girls’ perspectives in policy-making decisions.
The report says other reasons include low representation of women in governance and politics; and inadequate legal framework and limited capacity to support women’s empowerment and equality efforts, (UN Women, 2020).
“Despite all efforts to promote the contribution of women in the domain of politics and decision making, women have continued to record low representation at all tiers and levels of governance although they constitute almost half of the electorate.
“Findings reveal that males constituted 94.2 per cent of the members of the National Assembly in the periods from 1999 to 2015 (on average), while female participation remained low at 5.8 per cent (National Bureau of Statistics, 2019),” the report said.
The Executive Director, GSAI, Ms Adaora Onyinchere, wonders why the Federal Government has not considered certain policies on gender inclusion.
Onyinchere spoke at a two-day capacity building workshop with the theme: “Capacity Building Workshop for Reporters and Editors on Media Independence to Promote Women’s Economic Inclusion and Gender Accountability in Governance”, in Abuja.
“Statistics of women from 1999 to date both in governance, in politics and the way government has tailored their implementation of gender budget has totally been null and void, for a population with over 49.2 per cent.
“It is a serious problem and the need to evaluate and look at what government has done, is very important.
“From our investigations, there is no sense of duty to women’s inclusion at the community level.
So it seems as if there’s not enough effective implementation of policies at the grassroots,’’ Onyechere said.
In the same vein, Hajiya Lami Adamu Lau, the National President of NCWS, National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) calls on political parties to restructure their policies to reflect gender balance.
Lau says that is why the council has been embarking on advocacy drives to all political parties seeking ways of working together with them to strengthen the country’s democracy to ensure that women are actively involved parties politics.
“A truly egalitarian nation is possible when we embrace our differences and give every Nigerian a sense of belonging, irrespective of gender and other mundane considerations,’’ she said.
Lau decries that Nigerian women have continued to register poor representation in politics and leadership in spite of the huge numerical strength and various national, international legal instruments on gender inclusion and mainstreaming.
According to her, in the history of Nigeria’s democratic rule, women have not attained up to 11 per cent representation in both elective and appointive positions.
“Thus denying the huge population of capable and credible women with robust credentials and sound moral values the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the economic development of our dear nation.
“Political parties play very key roles in leadership selection in any democratic system”, she said.
Lau condemns the National Assembly recent rejection of five gender bills, saying women have continued to experience subtle discrimination bias and stereotyping within the party leadership structures.
“None of the major parties live up to the recommendation of the 2008 Electoral Reform Committee of 20 per cent of women in governing boards of political parties,” she said.
She says this discrimination has kept women at the bottom level of the party hierarchy and outside of the circles where decisions are being made on candidate nomination and selection.
She urges that all the parties to be known for zero tolerance for all forms of violence against women in the political space as enshrined in their constitutions.
Another activist, Ms Ene Ede, the Executive Director, Equity Advocates says apart corruption and corrupt practices which have the bane of political parties, there has been no will for women to push hard in making demands on leaders on their exclusion and marginalisation.
Ede says if legal actions are taken against violations of compliance to affirmative action principles of minimum of 35 per cent reserved positions on both elective and appointive are for women, then the attention of the government will be drawn to their issues.
“If all opportunities and privileges anywhere, 35 per cent are exclusively reserved for females.
Also if the national, state local government lawmakers and other two arms of governments effectively make legal.
“Finally if media as watch dog keeps track of published documents, then the issue of women participation in governance and politics, will be effectively pushed to the front burner,’’ she said.
According to Ede, women and other people of conscience must stop this democratic retrogression.
“See the composition of Presidential campaign organisations of the two main political parties – APC and PDP is very retrogressive by standard and intention.
The two parties are ready for war and distraction,’’ she said.
Other stakeholders have called on political parties to reserve the positions of female running mates in their parties.
Specifically, the U.
S.-based National Democratic Institute has expressed concern over the exclusion of women as running mates in the presidential primaries for the 2023 elections.
It, therefore, emphasised the need for the media to beam attention on the marginalisation of women in the last presidential primaries by political parties.
These recommendations were among the highlights of a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day media training in Calabar for 25 journalists on gender reporting.
The event was organised by Women In Politics Forum (WiPF ) for selected journalists, and the communiqué was signed by the President of WiPF, Ebere Ifendu.
Ifendu said that the media needed to be intentional in projecting women in politics through the publication of stories that would focus on issues rather than irrelevant personal matters.
The communiqué read, “Participants also observed that as a prelude to the 2023 presidential election, none of the major political parties made women their running mates, thereby, fueling the continued marginalisation of women.
“The media should beam attention on the marginalisation of the last presidential primaries in this regard.
“Journalists should generate story ideas and write stories on women in politics and amplify women’s success stories either in politics or other spheres of life.
“The media should ensure that more women are featured regularly on guest programmes.
’’ “Media organisations should deliberately create special programmes or allot slots for women-related programmes.
Women groups should partner with media executives through advocacy visits to establish women-focused programmes.
“Media organisations should avoid the use of stereotypes in their description of women holding public offices.
“Media organisations and reporters should commit to reporting women-related stories every two weeks or perhaps, once a month for visibility.
“Reporters and media agencies should compile a data bank or compendium of women open to interviews,” Ifendu said.
Also on the way forward, Ezeilo expresses belief that women can raise the quality of leadership, adding that for 2027, women have to start working towards that now.
She expresses the hope that the female members of National Assembly will not give up the good work of pursuing the passage of the gender bills, which she describes as “ a beautiful piece of legislation, progressive piece of legislation.
’’ She says the problem is deep seated and women in have to get to the root of it.
Ezeilo says it is time for decisive action by women to negotiate power.
“We have to negotiate this power.
We can’t be waiting for them to serve us.
We just have to serve ourselves.
We have to just serve our interests.
“We have to stand up in solidarity.
We have to take concerted action to make sure we begin now to bargain that patriarchy, that power from men and make sure that there is division of power and that power is shared in a way that represents women and women interest,’’ she said.
Ene of ActionAids says a lot of education is going on about the continuous voters registration for people should make sure they get their PVCs. “If I see a woman on a ballot paper and no matter the party, and if you are bold enough to come out to contest, you will get my vote,’’ Ene said.
She also stresses the need for unity among women to overcome the patriarchal struggle.
“If we can unite and come together it will result to a lot of bonding.
And we are working with other organisations to make sure the needful is done.
“We have not given up on the gender bills, because there are conventions that Nigeria that signed into that have not been domesticated, so will continue until those gender bills are represented,” Ene said.
Beside recommitting and reconsidering all the five gender bills, women are also asking the lawmakers to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities bill currently before the Senate and immediately domesticate the African Charters Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, which Nigeria ratified in 2004. The National Assembly is also being asked to domesticate the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Nigeria ratified in 1985. For Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the Nigeria’s legislature, which is male-dominated with a very poor women representation, which spreads across political and elective positions, must be changed to also favour both genders.
“Nigerian women have resolved continue to struggle to push back on the misogynistic attitude of some of the lawmakers and the pattern of neglect toward women concerns and disregard for “womanity’’.
“We reject further dehumanisation of Nigerian Women.
The constitution should cure the defect and we will continue to protest to show our dissatisfaction.
“We call on the Senate President and the Speaker to call an urgent meeting to discuss how to readdress the wrong if not we shall continue to occupy the National Assembly,” Akiyode-Afolabi, the co-convener of Womanifesto, said on behalf of protesting women.
A member of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), and former Deputy Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, says nobody would give any woman free position; rather, women would continue to ask for affirmative action.
“We continue to encourage more women to be in positions of authority.
We should be able to come together as women to say, “No Women, No Vote”.
“If we do not put women in positions of authority, women will not vote.
I think this affirmative action will help to bring women on board.
“Stepping down is not only a woman’s issue.
I think we need to re-organise ourselves to make sure that our grassroots are intact, that the delegates that will vote are those who will vote for women.
“When we look at the population of women in Nigeria, we have more women than men.
When we look at the population of voters, we have more women than men,” Tejuosho said.
(NANFeature) *****If used please credit the author and News Agency of Nigeria
Republican rebel Liz Cheney lost her seat in Congress Tuesday to an election conspiracy theorist, but vowed to fight on and do “whatever it takes” to ensure that former president Donald Trump is never returned to power.
Once considered Republican royalty, the lawmaker from Wyoming has become a pariah in the party over her membership on the congressional panel investigating the January 6 assault on the US Capitol — and Trump’s role in fanning the flames.
“I have said since January 6 that I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office, and I mean it,” the Wyoming congresswoman said in a concession speech after losing her bid at reelection.
Defeat for the 56-year-old daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney in the Wyoming Republican primary marks the end of the family’s four-decade political association with one of America’s most conservative states.
The Republican nomination to contest November’s midterms instead goes to 59-year-old lawyer Harriet Hageman — Trump’s hand-picked candidate who has amplified his false claims of a “rigged” 2020 election.
In her speech Tuesday night, Cheney delivered a stark warning about the danger of Trump’s election fraud conspiracy theories, urging politicians on both sides of the aisle to join her fight to protect US democracy.
Speaking at a cattle ranch near Jackson, Cheney sought to move quickly beyond her defeat, setting out what she said was “real work” of her effort to ensure Trump never regains the White House.
She blamed the former president, who is embroiled in numerous criminal and civil investigations over alleged misconduct in office, for sending the deeply-divided United States towards “crisis, lawlessness and violence” with his inflammatory rhetoric.
“No American should support election deniers, for any position of genuine responsibility, (because) their refusal to follow the rule of law will corrupt our future,” she warned.
– ‘Under attack‘ –There is already speculation that Cheney may challenge Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 — or even run as an independent — and supporters were hoping her concession speech would double up as a blueprint for her political future.
She pointedly avoided addressing the issue, but had earlier told CBS that the primary — regardless of the result — would be “the beginning of a battle that is going to continue.
” “We are facing a moment where our democracy really is under attack and under threat,” she said.
Cheney had framed her campaign as a battle for the soul of a party she is trying to save from the anti-constitutional forces of Trumpism.
She was the last of 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives who backed Trump’s second impeachment to face primary voters.
Four retired rather than seek reelection, three lost to Trump-backed opponents, and only two — California’s David Valadao and Dan Newhouse of Washington state — have made it through to November’s midterm elections.
Cheney voted in line with Trump’s positions 93 percent of the time when he was president but he didn’t pull his punches as he sought vengeance for her role in the House committee probe.
Trump has made Cheney his bete noire, calling her “disloyal” and a “warmonger,” prompting death threats that have forced her to travel with a police escort.
He called her defeat Tuesday night “a wonderful result for America.
”“Now she can finally disappear into the depths of political oblivion where, I am sure, she will be much happier than she is right now,” he posted on his Truth Social platform.
– Palin comeback bid –During the lead-up to Tuesday’s vote in Wyoming — the first US state to grant women the right to vote, in 1869 — the congresswoman was forced to run a kind of shadow campaign, with no rallies or public events.
She even avoided the traditional election day photo op Tuesday, eschewing media at her local polling station to instead cast her ballot in nearby Jackson.
“Liz is representing the constituents that are in her mind, and they aren’t the constituents of Wyoming,” said Mary Martin, chairwoman of the Republican Party in Teton County — Cheney’s Wyoming base.
There were also elections on Tuesday in Alaska, where 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s comeback battle — to complete the term of a congressman who died in office — divided locals.
Fourteen years after rising to international fame on the losing Republican presidential ticket headed by John McCain, Palin remains popular among women as the “soccer mom” who pioneered the ultra-conservative “Tea Party” movement that paved the way for Trumpism.
But many voters blame her for abandoning her single term as governor halfway through, amid ethics complaints, and a recent poll showed her to be viewed unfavorably by 60 percent of Alaskans.
The results in Palin’s race are not expected for several days.
2023: INEC begins preliminary display of voters’ register in Cross River The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has begun display of preliminary voters’ register in Cross River, following the just-suspended Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the new register was displayed at the commission’s office in Calabar and its area offices across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
Mrs Tonia Nwobi, INEC’s spokesperson in the state, said the display will end on Aug. 22. “The public is to scrutinise the register with a view to making claims on or raise objections against the inclusion of registrants,” she said.
The register showed names and particulars of candidates and ther political parties.
as part of preparation for the 2023 general elections, For the 25 vacant seats in the Cross River State House of Assembly, a total of 187 candidates from 12 political parties are contesting to fill the seats.
NAN reports that 11 political parties fielded 69 and 28 candidates for the eight House of Representatives seats and three senatorial seats respectively.
S. lawmakers defy China’s ire, meet Taiwan leader Visiting U.
S. lawmakers defy China’s ire, meet Taiwan leader SupportTaipei, Aug. 15, 2022 Five U.
S. lawmakers visiting Taiwan on Monday met Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and other lawmakers in a show of support for Taiwan amid escalated tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
The US congressional delegation arrived on Sunday for a surprise two-day visit, which followed a trip earlier this month by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.
S. House of Representatives.
China increased pressure on Taiwan both militarily and economically after Pelosi’s 19-hour visit to Taipei on Aug. 2-3. The delegation includes Republicans and Democrats and is made up of Senator Ed Markey and Representatives John Garamendi, Alan Lowenthal, Don Beyer and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen.
Local TV reports showed the lawmakers entering the presidential office to meet with Tsai on Monday then heading to the parliamentary building nearby.
Legislator Lo Chih-cheng of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) told reporters that issues discussed at a meeting with U.
S. lawmakers include future Taiwan-U.
S. military cooperation.
Lo said the U.
S. group’s visit at such a sensitive time, coming shortly after China’s large-scale drills near Taiwan, shows that Beijing cannot prevent leading political figures from around the world from visiting Taiwan.
“Their arrival also delivers an important message that American people are standing with Taiwanese people,” Lo said.
Tsai’s office has not released any details about the meeting.
“I’m travelling to Taiwan with a bipartisan congressional delegation to reaffirm U.
S. support for Taiwan and encourage stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait,” Markey said on Twitter.
In Beijing, China’s Defence Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said on Monday that the visit by the U.
S. delegation undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the island part of its territory.
Beijing rejects official contacts between other countries and Taipei.
President Buhari mournPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Abuja condoled with the family of Tijjani Kiyawa, a former member of the House of Representatives from Jigawa.
Kiyawa, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for the Southwest Senatorial District of Jigawa for the 2023 general elections died in a Chinese hospital on Saturday.
Malam Garba Shehu, spokesman to the president stated that Buhari also condoled with the government and people of Jigawa over the demise of the former lawmaker.
Buhari described the deceased as a “kind and insightful politician who placed the interests of the people he represented above his own.
“He left behind an indelible contribution to the social and economic development of his community and the nation.
“He will always be remembered for his acute understanding of grassroots political mobilisation.
’’ The president prayed for the repose of Kiyawa’s soul and for fortitude for the family, political associates, the government and people of Jigawa to bear the loss.
The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board, for real development.
The General-Secretary of AUPCTRE, Mr Sikiru Wahid, made the appeal in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Wahid noted that the call had become imperative to save the commission from destruction.
The union also appealed to the National Assembly (NASS), President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Umana, to take urgent steps to ensure NDDC delivered on its mandate.
“As critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta Development Commission and of the regional development efforts, after taking a critical review and appraisal of all the happenings within and around the NDDC, since January, 2019, have resolved as follows: “That we as staff of the NDDC collectively, under the umbrella of AUPCTRE, cannot fold our hands while different political actors from the region through their actions or inactions undermine the enabling Act of the NDDC, and so threaten the corporate existence of the commission.
“That as a union, we say to all political heavy weights from the Niger Delta region, that enough of putting personal interest over and above the development of the region for which the vehicle of the Niger Delta Development Commission was set up,” Wahid said.
According to him, the positions of the NDDC’s Managing Executive Officer, Nsima Ekere and its Chairman, Sen. Victor Ndoma Egba, should have been filled when they resigned their appointments to contest elections in their respective states.
He said their positions should have been filled in accordance with Section 5, Paragraph 3, of the act establishing the commission, since January 2019 when they left.
“The paragraph which states inter alia that: ”Where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the board, it shall be filled by the appointment of a successor to hold office for the remainder of the term of his predecessor.
“The successor shall represent the same interest and shall be appointed by the President, Commander–in–Chief of the Armed Forces, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, in consultation with the House of Representatives.
” “However, political gladiators from the region for whatever reason, ill advised the president to dissolve the board of the commission, and in its place, appointed an Interim Management Committee.
” Wahid said the commission as it stands did not fully represent all the NDDC states, a situation that had culminated into anger and lack of support by the aggrieved persons towards successive interim management committees.
He noted that instead of focusing on driving development of the commission, these committees either fight back or focus on pacifying the aggrieved stakeholders thereby faulting the forensic audit being carried out on the NDDC’s activities.
“And since that January 2019, therefore, it has been one interim administration or the other.
We as members of staff and as a union are saying enough of all these.
Let the right thing be done.
“A forensic audit meant to take between three to six months to complete, but eventually took almost two years to complete, has been undertaken.
“At the moment, auditors from the office of the Auditor General for the Federation have been in the NDDC for about two months auditing the books of the commission, including personnel staff files,” he said.
The union also kicked against what it described as unending audits that were clearly hampering the development of the region through the NDDC.
Wahid assured that the union and staff of the commission would partner with the President and the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, to ensure that the right things were done to move NDDC forward.
He said: “Let the Board of the NDDC be inaugurated, with the same ease as it has been done for other commissions, agencies and parastatals of government across the federation.
“As a union, we hereby state unequivocally that we are not against a personnel audit of the commission, just as we were not against the forensic audit.
“We are against a personnel staff audit where assumption of duty forms of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is given to staff of the NDDC to fill as if they are fresh employees of government.
” AUPCTRE also reiterated that it was against doing anything that contravened the NDDC Act, 2000 as amended, while demanding for a general meeting with the minister on the way forward, at NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.
The President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Mr Solomon Adodo has urged youth to get actively involved in politics and governance, in order to chart a better future for the country.
Adodo said at an award ceremony organised by the NYCN in Abuja that it was important for the youth to lead the change they desire in the country.
The award was to recognise the contributions of some Nigerians to youths development as part of activities to mark the International Youths Day themed, “Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a world for all Ages.” The NYCN president urged youths to focus on building partnerships for innovative leadership, economic growth and efficient security in Nigeria.
He said that the youths were the centre of the various crises in Nigeria and across the world.
”As such, they should strive to lead in finding solutions to the security, political and economic crises.
“It is therefore critical that greater attention is paid to youth development to help them uphold the social rhythms.
“Let me salute the gallant Nigerian youths who have continued to soldier into glory not withstanding the excruciating political and socio economic conditions,” Adodo said.
He challenged the youths not to bow to the current challenges, ”but work through it in partnership with Nigerians of all ages in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
” The NYCN president decried what he called the ”systematic exclusion of young people in the critical sectors,” saying it was unacceptable.
He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for carrying the youths along in his administration, but said ”more needed to be done to get things right.
” The Patron of NYCN, Dr Ibrahim Dauda said the day was to re-evaluate and renew approaches on leadership, governance and developmental strategies that will guarantee a better society.
He said that youth occupy the largest demography of the global population and advised them to join political parties as well as be active players.
“Youths must seek leadership positions and serve with dignity and honour.
“The system must create friendly policies and level playing ground for youths to compete with people of all ages.
“Going by the theme of the day, it is pertinent to note that no demography can survive on its own.
”There must be inter-dependence on each age bracket to build sustainable growth and maintain a progressive index.
“The place of knowledge and experience is not negotiable, the Nigerian youths must subject themselves to learning and mentorship,’’ Dauda added.
A member of the House of Representatives, Saidu Abdullahi, said that the revolution in technology had availed youths the opportunity to advance interaction and learning.
“This must be embraced to better the society other than using it in promoting crime and criminality.
“While appreciating the energies that come with youthfulness, youths must embrace leadership and must demonstrate to be worthy leaders,’’ he said.
Abdullahi, who represents Federal Constituency in Niger urged the government should continue to create sustainable platforms.
This, he said, was to encourage infusion of the knowledge and experiences of senior citizens to help youths build carriers and exposure.
He said that this would help in bridging the gap created by age and front a renewed partnership to advance the course of humanity.
The lawmaker also urged youths in the country to ensure their votes count and good leaders were chosen in 2023. In his speech, King Hope Dan-Opunsingi, the Amayanabi of Opu Ama in Rivers pledged his support to the youths at all times.
He assured them of his royal blessings, spiritual advice, financial and moral support to ensure they succeed in all endeavors.
The traditional ruler urged the youths to shun social vices, but ”set goals aimed at developing themselves and moving the nation forward.
” In his remarks, National Youth Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Dayo Israel, urged youths to get involved in grassroots activities to fast track national development.
“Our level of involvement in governance should go beyond social media activities and organizing protests.
“To get involved or be carried along for leadership, you need to be patriotic, smart, determined and show your self worth,” he added.
Those honoured were Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare and Dr Ramatu Aliyu of the FCT, among others.
No fewer than 1,500 small holder farmers in Katsina State have received various farming inputs and equipment from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Launching the distribution of the items on Friday in Katsina, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Muhammed Mahmood said the gesture was aimed at boosting agricultural productivity and food security in the country.
Represented by a Director from the Ministry, Mr Utaka Bernard, the minister said the items were donated to the farmers in order to encourage them to multiply their yields.
He said 15 per cent of the inputs was distributed to farmers with disabilities, while 35 per cent was given to women farmers in line with the National Gender Plan of the ministry.
“The roll-out of agricultural inputs is to ensure high production, which is the core mandate of the ministry that would lead to poverty reduction, job creation, food and nutrition security.
“Feeding the world’s poor and hungry is the challenge of our time.
Agriculture has driven economic growth through the centuries in all parts of the world.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the agricultural sector became one of the major contributors to the country’s economy.
“The sector contributes about 25 per cent to our GDP, with small-holder farmers accounting for about 70 per cent of national food production,” he said.
According to the minister, this was achieved through the implementation of strategic policies such as the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), the Green Imperative, Agricultural Promotion Policy as well as the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), among others.
“Today, the Ministry is distributing one ton of certified seeds of groundnut and maize, 1,200 litres of different organic growth enhancers, 2,000 litres of cypermethrin “And 4,800 litres of real estate and glyphosate; 1,600 litres of landacylothrine, 150 pasta machines, as well as seven units of corn harvester.
“Others are eight units of hammer mill with cyclone, 700 units of knapsack sprayer, 120 units of water pump, 7 units maize thresher and 60 units of hand push planter.
“These items are given to farmers for free.
Having recognized that sixty per cent of the rural population is made up of young women and men aged 15-24 years.
“We believe that investing in rural youth is an investment in our future,” the minister said.
In his remarks, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Production, Alhaji Muntari Dandutse urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the farming inputs.
Dandutse also advised the beneficiaries that to engage in mechanized and business-driven agriculture.
He said the committee was making efforts in collaboration with security agencies to ensure that farmers in security flash points were able to cultivate their farmlands.
Also, the state’s Coordinator of the ministry, Alhaji Suleiman Salisu.
said the farmers were selected from each of the three Senatorial zones of the state to make a far-reaching impact on agricultural productivity in the state.
He urged the various crop associations and cooperatives to monitor the beneficiaries to ensure that they make the best use of the inputs.
Some of the beneficiaries commended the Federal government for the gesture and promised to make proper use of the items for the development of the country.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has decried political conversation centred around division and derision by the youth.
Gbajabiamila said this at a Youth and Social Development summit, organised by the Gbaja Professional Volunteers Network (GPVN) to commemorate the 2022 International Youth Day on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, it is unfortunate that the political conversations about the forthcoming elections have become dominated by the loud voices of division and derision.
This according to him, are for whom politics is a contact sport, designed to inflict the greatest harm on the individuals and the body politic.
He said that the voices had elevated fake news over facts and the politics of grievance and victimhood over studied consideration of the policy questions and answers.
He added that this would determine the fate of the young people who made up the majority of the population, while urging the youth to resist such.
He said that it was time for the voices of reason and compromise, whose manifest desired was to be part of the solution, to seize the debate, and make their voices heard.
He said that the summit was part of the effort to refocus the public debate on matters of substance and consequence, adding that he was honoured to be part of the summit.
He urged friends of the country at home and abroad to send in their ideas about the changes they wished to see, and their recommendations on making those changes possible.
He also said that a policy faculty would be established to collate, review and collate the ideas and suggestions into practical policy proposals.
Mr Lukman Lawal, the National Coordinator, (GPVN) said that the team was driven by the body of aides to the speaker, adding that its primary objective was to activate volunteerism as a model of development.
He added that joining forces, as volunteers; with members of government, private sector and household to improve socio-economic well-being of the mass of the people was their priority.
“We strongly recognise that all hands must be on deck to actualise the quantum of positive impact we all desire in our country.
“And we are poised to identify with the cause of good governance as exemplified by the person of Gbajabiamila, whose mantra of ascension and daily conduct remains “Nation Building, A Joint Task’.
China has sanctioned Lithuania’s Deputy Minister of Transport over a visit to the self-governing democratic island republic of Taiwan.
Agnė Vaiciukevičiūtė had trampled on the “one-China principle,’’ seriously interfered in China’s internal affairs and undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
The ministry did not say what the sanctions were in detail but it did say all forms of exchanges with the Lithuanian Ministry of Transport and Communications would also be suspended.
In spite of the current tensions, Vaiciukevičiūtė arrived in Taipei on Sunday for a visit.
In response to a visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the U.
S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, China has been conducting large-scale military exercises around the island since last week, including practicing a possible conquest.
The Chinese leadership rejects official contact by other countries with Taiwan because it regards the island as part of its territory.
On the other hand, Taiwan has long regarded itself as independent.
Tensions have also arisen between Lithuania and China in recent months.
Beijing downgraded its diplomatic relations with the Baltic EU state after it allowed Taiwan to open a representative office in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius under its own name rather than under a formula demanded by Beijing, such as Chinese Taipei or simply Taipei.