From: Segun Babatunde in Bauchi
Immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has asked the Federal Government to name the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NEDC) after the wife of the President of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, for making it a reality.
He said but for her intervention, the North East Development Commission Bill, which he sponsored as the Speaker in the 8th Assembly, would have been vetoed.
He disclosed this on Saturday night at the State House, Abuja, during the Iftar organised by the First Lady for Presidential aspirants of the various political parties.
Dogara recalled that Aisha Buhari’s swift and patriotic intervention ensured that the Bill was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari when some powerful persons tried to block presidential assent to the Bill.
In a statement released and made available to newsmen on Sunday by his Media Aide,Turaki Hassan, the former Speaker called on the management of the NEDC to name its headquarters in Maiduguri after the First Lady because she singlehandedly contributed to its birth.
While calling for more efforts towards achieving affirmative action, he stated: “If women fail in Nigeria, it won’t be because of them but because we men are weak. I am making the following proposals in order for us men to walk the talk on affirmative action.”
He therefore advocated for the creation of 3 State Assembly seats in each senatorial district exclusively for women in each of the 36 states of the federation.
Dogara further said the proposal, if adopted and enshrined into the constitution, will provide for minimum of 9 legislative seats in each of the state houses of assembly and 324 across the country.
He said: “a. Through Constitutional Amendment, we should create 3 House of Assembly seats per Senatorial district in each State to be exclusively reserved for women. These seats should rotate among the Local Government Councils in each of the Senatorial Districts in alphabetical order.
“The proposal creates 9 guaranteed slots exclusively for women in each State House of Assembly. The Net implication of this proposal is that across Nigeria, women will have 324 guaranteed seats in all State Assemblies in Nigeria as against the prevailing situation whereby some State Assemblies have no single women member.
“In addition to this, Women are free to contest the other general seats with men but even if they don’t win any other seat, each State Assembly must have a minimum of 9 women members.
“b. Also it was proposed that one additional House of Representatives seat be created for each State and the FCT which should be exclusively reserved for women.
“A total of 37 exclusive seats for women would be created to rotate amongst the three Senatorial zones in each State. This means in each subsequent National Assembly; women are guaranteed an irreducible minimum of 37 seats in the House of Representatives even if they don’t win any of the 360 general seats for which they are to compete with men.
“c. The proposal for Senate should be worked out after effectuating the two proposals in (a) and (b) above and assessing how impactful they are.
“These commonsense proposals guarantee a minimum total of 361 legislative seats for women across Nigeria.”
Following the proposal and nomination by Hon. Dogara, Governor Nasir Ahmad el-rufai of Kaduna State was adopted by the First Lady to lead the Campaign for the creation and actualisation of the special legislative seats for women in the country.