Senate Minority Leader and former Deputy Governor of Abia State, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has asked women not to stop speaking up for themselves regarding participation in governance, warning that failure to do so means nobody will take them seriously.
The former Deputy Governor made the argument while addressing the topic “Enhancing Women’s Participation and Partnership in Governance and Development” at ‘Nkata’, a virtual conference, on Saturday.
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The virtual event was hosted by Nkata Ndi Inyom Igbo (NNII), a socio-cultural group and think-tank for Igbo women.
Abaribe said the number of women in governance had decreased drastically compared to the figures of 1999.
He said if nothing is done to close the gap, “we will get to a point where there will be no woman in the senate”.
“You need to continue to speak up; if you don’t, nobody will take you seriously in this country. Because this is what happens, the majority of the people who are in politics and all that are men. And they want to hold on to the advantages that they have.”
“And when I now tried to make a case for the women, you know the questions that that asked? If you want one woman added to the senate, why not give your seat to the person. I mean, can you imagine the thinking that goes on there. So you must always have the courage to speak up and be courageous.
“Part of the recommendations too was that we have to increase the number in the federal system, and they argued that we have always done so. Then I pointed out to them very saddening statistics: from 1999 there are more women, and with each election cycle, we have less and less.
“The reason why there are fewer women now, I do not know. Maybe people are getting more conservative, or the party in power is far more conservative than the previous one.
“If we continue along the line that we’re going, we will get to a point where there will be no woman in the senate.”