By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- AS agitations from various parts of the country threaten unity and peace the Nation First Foundation, NFF, has tasked women to synergise in nation building and conflict resolution.
The National Coordinator, NFF, Onianwa Elidad, gave the charge while emphasising the need for every Nigerian to be concerned with the state of the nation, which he pointed that with the strategic role of women at home and in various sectors of the economy need to come together to join their male counterparts to build the nation.
Elidad who has been in the vanguard of making sure Nigerians in leadership and followership positions put the interest of the nation first before any other personal agenda stated that if women would unite in one voice and direction irrespective of their backgrounds the challenges in the country will drastically reduce.
He said, “Women in Nigeria have carved a niche for themselves in various endeavours of life and have also contributed to build our democracy. They have been hard working to feed our country despite the economic recession we have, while most of them have been supportive to keep various families going.
“In fact, the burden on women is enormous, and we in Nation First Foundation. NFF, recognise that and give them kudos and pray for their success. Notwithstanding, we want to let them know that their number has remained their strength which they are yet to explore as a great potential to dictate the pace of our political, economical and social live as a nation.
“Women make 50 per cent of our population, which is half the entire Nigerians. We want them to come together and synergise to speak with one voice and focus to reduce the tension of various agitations going on by actively involved in sensitisation at home, communities and advocacies to the leaders in this country to see reasons why we should have an egalitarian society.
“And if women in this country would rise up and say in unison ‘enough is enough’ to all these social ills we are experiencing in this country, we believe things would turn out for the better. Over the years, women have failed to unite together and that has affected them negatively in having their say in governance in this country.
“We need women who are vocal, wise, proactive and matured to engage the government and various interest groups across the country to uphold the hard earned unity and democracy we have in the country and by so they can have their say in the political and social issues affecting our country. Women should no more sit on the fence and watch things go bad in this country, and we promise to support them if they do the needful.”
Speaking in same vein, the National Publicity Secretary, NFF, Mohammed Ali, urged the Senate to revisit the issue of 35 per cent Affirmative Action as part of its constitution amendment, which was not voted for recently on the floor of the ‘Red Chamber’.
“We must recognise that women in this country have equal rights with the men as imbedded in the constitution of our nation, irrespective of their background. We in NFF passionately and strongly appeal to the Senate and House of Representatives to revisit the issue of 35 per cent Affirmative Action for Women in the constitution amendment.
“Out of this 35 per cent women in this country have less than six per cent representation in governance, and they are the largest voters in this country and is not fair at all considering their input in the democratic process. Moreover, they are not asking for 100 per cent equal representation but just 35 per cent, and if they can get 25 per cent that would be fair and also as an indication that we are making progress in inclusive governance.
“Women in this country should not be muzzled in whatever way because this is democracy and they are entitled to participatory democracy and the process of good governance at all levels, and that promotes national interest and not a personal agenda”, Ali stated.