March 26, 2023

Reps’ only female lawmaker from S/East, Onuoha joins speakership race

Reps’ only female lawmaker from S/East, Onuoha joins speakership race

…says women’s political future in danger if no female emerges as presiding officer

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Disabilities and Special Needs, Hon. Princess Miriam Onuoha has joined the speakership race in the incoming 10th national assembly.

Onuoha who represents Okigwe North/ Onuimo/Isiala Mbano federal constituency of Imo State is the only returning female lawmaker from the south east geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

It will be recalled that out of the 469 seats in the national assembly, only 17 were won by female members.

While 3 of the seats won are in the Senate, 14 are in the House of Representatives.

Curiously also, the 14 seats in the House were shared between the old and new members.

Sunday Vanguard learnt that the lawmaker has the full support of her home state governor, Hope Uzodinma in the race.

Onuoha was first elected into the House on February 25, 2020 on the platform of  All Progressives Congress (APC).

Upon her inauguration, she was made the chairman of the committee on Disabilities and Special Needs.

In the outgoing 9th House, Onuoha sponsored many impactful motions and  bills, one of which was the establishment of Federal College of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health Sciences, Isiala Mbano LGA, Federal College of Horticulture, Okigwe, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Okigwe.

The bills are currently at the Senate for concurrence and subsequently,  presidential assent.

A graduate of Estate Management from the University of Lagos, Onuoha also has in her kitty a Master’s Degree in Environmental Planning and Protection (MEPP) from the University of Abuja.

Before her election into the federal parliament, she had served as a Senior Special Assistant to a former Governor of Bayelsa State on International Development Cooperation amongst other previous political engagements.

She was also a board member of the Nigerian Tourism  Development Corporation (NTDC)

The lawmaker was a member of State Implementation Committee ( SURE- P) Community Services, Women and Youth Employment Scheme: a task which earned her the name – MAMA SURE P.

In a chat with Sunday Vanguard, Onuoha said she was in the race to help address the dearth of female parliamentarians in Nigeria.

She said that her chances were bright in the speakership contest.

She said: “I have sponsored 3 infrastructure bills for my Federal Constituency and the bills are before the senate for concurrence . One of my 3 bills FMC Owerri was concurred last week by the Senate and am faced with more tasks to see to it that they get Mr. President’s assent.

“I am also in the race for the Speaker of the House of Representatives knowing that a presiding office position would help to address the lingering gender deficit at the National Assembly.

“I absolutely stand a strong chance now. It is becoming more difficult to win elections in Nigeria and worse for women.

“If a women at this point is not appointed into presiding speaker or deputy, our political existence might just be coming to extinction.

“We do not just need a voice as presiding officer or member of the House but a strong voice as a presiding officer.

“Having a woman as a presiding officer at the House of Representatives would go a long way to augment the perennial  gender deficit in the House of Representatives”.