By Tordue Salem – Abuja
A House of Representatives Bill for an Act to amend the 1999 Constitution to reserve thirty-five per cent of political offices for women in the country, will be presented for stakeholder-input in September.
The Bill entitled, “A Bill for An Act to Amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(1999) as Amended To Provide for Proportionate Representation and Participation of Women in Elective Offices in Nigeria”, is sponsored by Rep. Taiwo Oluga(Osun-APC).
The Bill seeks to “amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended), to make it compulsory for states and political parties in Nigeria to reserve 35% appointive, elective and executive committee seats for Women”.
It amends section 42 of the 1999 Constitution to say “the State shall take specific positive action, through enabling legislation and other measures, to ensure that women are represented proportionately in all appointive and elective positions, and for the purpose of this section, proportionate representation shall be at least 35% of women representation in all appointive and elective positions mentioned in this Constitution”.
It also amends section 223, to state that “The Constitution and rules of a party shall: provide for the periodical election on Democratic basis of the principal officers, members of the executive committee or other governing body of the political party, and candidates for election, and ensure that members of the Executive committee or governing body of the political party, and candidates for election and ensure that members of the executive committee or governing body of the political party and candidates for election, shall reflect Federal Character of whom at least 35% shall be women”.
Rep. Oluga, also seeks amendments to the Electoral Act, to compel political parties to include 35% of women in lists of candidates for Senate and House of Representatives submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Section 31(2) as amended, says “A list of candidates submitted to the Commission by a political party for election into the Senate, shall have at least one-third of candidates from one gender.
“And the House of Representatives, State Houses of Assembly and Area Council’s of the Federal Capital Territory, shall have at least 35% of candidates from one gender”.
it also amends section 87(3), to compel all parties who adopt direct primaries, to still adopt the 35% principle.
“A political party that adopts the direct primaries procedure, shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party and in furtherance, in conducting primaries for National Assembly elections, the political parties shall ensure that at least one candidate from the three Senatorial District in a State shall be a woman, and not less than 35% of the State House of Assembly Members shall be women”.
The House is to subject the Bills to a public Hearing on resumption in September this year.