The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has assured on speedy passage of the Gender Equality Bill.
Dogara who gave the assurance while responding to a request from a delegation from the Conference of Female Parliamentarians of State Houses of Assembly, led by its chairperson, Elizabeth Ativie, at the National Assembly also called for the provision of independent candidacy and option A4 in elections in the Electoral act review.
He said, “We are aware of the Gender Equality Bill. It is before the National Assembly and it is before the relevant committees of the House. I believe that this House that has the responsibility of representing men and women will do justice to the Bill. Something will come out of the Bill, it may not be 100 percent in line with our expectations but it is going to be a compromise bill that will have the effect of balancing, not overpowering one gender against the other.
According to him, provision of independent candidacy and option A4 in the electoral act would help stern excesses of politicians that, after acquiring wealth, outmuscles other aspirants during party primaries.
Dogara noted that the lacuna in the electoral act was responsible for many aspirants to a bid by the outcome of party directives even when they are not satisfied with the process.
He explained that party primaries had truncated many aspirants ambition because using delegates often affects the true picture of the party electoral process.
Dogara informed them that other areas of concern, including indigeneship for married women and citizenship for spouses of Nigerian women, will be addressed in the Constitution Amendment exercise whose report will soon be presented to the House.
He urged them to support local government autonomy, independence of state legislature and separation of powers in all tiers of government for transparency and accountability.
Earlier, leader of the delegation, who is also the deputy speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Ativie, urged the lawmaker to support women in politics by advocating for amendment of the Electoral Act to provide for use of Option A4 in party primaries, quota system in political parties and appointments for women (35 percent affirmative action), provide legislation for automatic citizenship for spouses of Nigerian woman and indigene status for women married to men from other states in Nigeria.
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