By Abimbola Akosile (February 24, 2010)

Nigeria: Beijing Declaration - Re-Double Implementation Efforts, Women Urged

Lagos — Women all over Nigeria have been called upon to redouble their efforts to ensure that the Beijing Declaration, which stipulates that 30 per cent of all elective posts be reserved for women, are achieved within the shortest time possible. The call was made by former chieftain of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Mrs. Priscilla Kuye, while speaking at a one-day interactive forum in Lagos.

The forum has a theme 'Citizenship and Women's Rights to Participate in Politics and Governance: Issues & Perspectives to Mark the 2nd Post-Humous Birthday of the Late Professor Jadesola Akande (OFR) in Ikeja, the state capital.

The erudite lawyer lamented that while South Africa has achieved the 30 per cent target, "It is utterly shameful and disgusting to note that we have not achieved 10 per cent in this country."

Advocating the need for the rule of law to prevail in the society, Kuye stressed that good and enduring governance is necessary for any nation to progress and achieve material well-being.

Earlier in her speech, the Director/Coordinator of Women, Law & Development Centre Nigeria (WLDCN) Dr. Keziah Awosika, paid glowing tributes to the late Akande, the second woman in Nigeria to be appointed a Vice Chancellor.

"The late Professor clearly called for women to come together across party, ethnic and religious lines in order to break the demarcation lines in our quest to secure at least 30 per cent of all elective and appointive positions;

This alternative democratic culture, she pointed out, "will help us create a level playing field and enable the effective participation of women in decision making. Today, we are still advocating for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill at the National Assembly, and Equal Opportunities Bill in the various State Assemblies."

Awosika, chairman of the forum, called on political leaders for a quick resolution to the succession crises created by the apparent absence of Mr. President on account of illness. "Women must not keep on the sidelines; Our voices on the need for good governance must be loud and clear. The country must move forward", she added.

The forum was supported by two organisations, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), according to information by the media consultant to the Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organisations (NNNGO), Mr. Kunle Idowu.

In her contribution, a trustee of the NNNGO, Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, called on Nigerian women to come together and "as mothers we must make sure that the men do our bidding. We must partake in the nation-building exercise and not allow this country to descend into chaos and be regarded as another failed state."

"We are the mothers of this nation. The future of this country belongs to our children and as mothers we must demonstratively show the way forward to the men and our children. We must break down all the barriers inhibiting our progress", she said.

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