2023: Gbajabiamila, Tallen, call for increased women participation in governance

By Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja

AHEAD of the 2023 general elections, Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, wife of Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Alanyingi Sylva, among others have said the country would only enjoy the much desired progress if only women are included in governance.

They made this call at the 2022 award night, organised by Focus Africa International, with the theme: ‘A Decade of Significance’, in Abuja.

The convener, Focus Africa Series Project Limited, Bright Success, said the 2022 award night was part of a strategy to give recognition to individuals who have played critical roles in ensuring needed development in the African continent.

He said: “we wanted to do something different in our society by recognising those who are making tremendous impacts in communities around those across Africa. And these people are not all the time found in government houses, they are found in villages and communities that are doing things, empowering people, pursuing courses in their communities and helping their people in their communities become better. So, it is for those people that we’ve organised this award for every year since 2017.”

Some of the awardees include: Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of Nigeria, Timipre Sylva; Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen; Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, General Buba Marwa; among others.

Speaking, Tallen urged both current and successive governments to bridge gender gaps between men and women in all facets of governance to create a more effective, sustainable and inclusive society and economy.

She also harped on the need for Africans to work in collaboration to ensure needed pace of development in the continent, adding that countries in Africa should emulate Rwanda’s system of gender inclusivity in governance.

She said: “When we support women, uplift them, support one another we make society a better place. and I appeal to all Africans to stand together in unity supporting one another because we are brothers and sisters and Africa is a great continent and If only we know how blessed we are compared to other developed countries, you will appreciate God the more because there are countries in the world where they never see sunlight, where they see rain maybe once in five years. We were blessed in Africa; we are blessed in Nigeria.

“Rwanda is a country that we should all learn from what they’re doing and from how they’re opening dollars for investment to come. In Rwanda you can see the level of growth: women are 62 per cent in the National Assembly; Women are 62% in the three arms of government: Executive, legislature and the arm of Government that women are 50/50 with men is the judiciary. That alone speaks volumes, I commend all of you all for believing in Africa and the unity of Africa and I know that we will do more when we work together.”

Similarly, the wife of Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Alanyingi Sylva, also said: “If you have two limbs that are functional, why do you want to use one? If you use one you might not be as effective as if somebody that has two limbs that is using it right?

“And that’s the situation that’s how we always like to paint the picture of women’s participation. A country where we have more women than men and more and what I mean more women, they’re not just women, there are a lot of smart, successful women who are doing very great things and achieving great things in their own space.

“So our plea is for more participation of women in every strata of development and every strata of government because the women have proven themselves to have what it takes to be at any position. There is no competition. We’re not in competition. We’re just saying get women more involved and seen. Especially the ones that have the capacity to do great things.”

On his part, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of Nigeria, Timipre Sylva, represented by his media aide, Horatius Egua, reaffirmed commitment to ensuring affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy in Africa.

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