Buhari Seeks Constitutional Change for Women in Politics

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, instructed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, to come up with possible constitutional and legal changes that would help to create a level playing field for women in politics and government.

The president spoke at State House, Abuja, while inaugurating the APC Women Presidential Campaign Committee (APCWPCC).

Buhari advised the women wing of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to resist the temptation of concentrating their campaigns solely in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He said they should take the Tinubu/Shettima presidential campaign to every nook and cranny of the country, covering all the 774 local government areas as well as over 8,000 wards nationwide.

The president, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, stressed the need to spread the sensitisation of voters and canvass for votes for the APC candidates.

Commenting on calls for inclusion of more women in elective and appointive positions, earlier made by his wife, Aisha, the president said, “As we prepare for the 2023 general election, my administration has continued to listen to the strong voices of our women for gender justice, social inclusion, and adequate participation in the affairs of their country and in accordance with global, regional, and national conventions, agreements, protocols, and policies to which Nigeria is a signatory.

“It is in this regard that I hereby direct the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in conjunction with Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, to work closely with the Office of the First Lady in ensuring that important legislations that can be brought before the National Assembly in furtherance of entrenching constitutional change and legal change and creating a level playing field for our women were carried out assiduously.”

According to Buhari, “As this launch is being hosted in Abuja, we must remember that the real war lies in far flung places away from Abuja. The task ahead lies in over 8,000 wards and 774 local governments across the country, where party faithful will have to make a case before fellow citizens on our party’s candidate, articulating the vision and the programme for the country.

“The campaign, therefore, should resist the temptation for it to be turned into an Abuja-centric activity, but establish the connection between the voting public and our presidential candidate, and for other candidates for offices throughout Nigeria, that should be the ultimate objective.

“Throughout my political journey and my tenure as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, women have remained the most loyal and supportive group in my mission for a better Nigeria despite the challenges. They should extend this same support to our presidential candidate, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima.”

He acknowledged the contributions of the women population to his victories at both the 2015 and 2019 presidential polls, charging them to repeat same in 2023 by ensuring the emergence of the APC candidate, Tinubu, and his running mate, Shettima, as president and vice president, respectively.

Buhari noted that women accounted for 47 per cent of votes in the 2019 elections, saying women participation would also be significant in the 2023 polls.

Earlier in her speech, the First Lady, who was also the chairman of the APCWPCC, explained that her committee had to extract assurances of more women inclusion in the next administration by signing a pact with the party’s leadership ahead of the polls.

She stated, “Permit me to voice out our concerns for the progressive decline in the involvement and participation of women in elective and appointive positions at all the three tiers of government. Our clamours and cries over the years have remained unattended to, especially, at the levels of legislative arm of government.

“For this reason, our movement has no option than to ask the party leadership to sign a pact with Nigerian women. We have no option than to sign a pact with Nigerian women that will spell out the good policies of the party towards women for documentation and follow up purposes.”

Aisha Buhari assured the party that the women would begin their assignments with one thing in mind: “deliver the presidency of APC in 2023. This is attainable, because it has been done twice in 2015 and 2019.”

Speaking at the event, amid shouts of “Jagaban” and “City boy” by women, Tinubu assured that if elected in 2023, Nigeria under his presidency would experience prosperity, security and break away from the shackles of poverty that had characterised the country.

While expressing his appreciation to the First Lady for kick-starting his campaign, Tinubu chastised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for misruling the country for 16 years before APC took over in 2015.

According to him, “For Aisha Buhari to get us together, to kick-start the campaign of prosperity for our country, lets give solace to those who lost their lives and those in the hospitals, that God will heal all of them. Let me say thank you to our men in uniform for the peace we have had so far, for the great news of the release of the Kaduna disaster.

“To the women gathered here today, help is here, hope is here, assurance is here, promise is here, prosperity is here, security is here, banditry has ended, hopelessness is not part of our dictionary; we are confident people, unity is here; diversity is here; prosperity is here. Those are what we have come to promote. We, as Nigerians, are not going to give up.

“In the last eight years, it’s been a party that inherited a troublesome nation under the weight of uncertainty. It’s easy to forget the situation that we found in there.

“Our opponents spent 16 years, they have forgotten that highway is an economy, that electricity is mandatory for industrialisation. They don’t even understand the power of transmission lines and that there is a need for maintenance of it. They couldn’t even make down payment on rail track. They are political party of termites. If they say they want a change of government, just tell them, we like to be polite, but shut up your mouth.

“They are in the village of lunacy. If they think, a nation is not just built on abusive language. 16 years, of rudeness, of digging the hole of indebtedness of PDP. Never again shall they come back. Who are they? They are looters.

“Who are they? They are squanderers. Who are they? They are prisoners and looters. Go out there and tell them, a new hope is here. Tell them, you are following the man, who knows the way; tell them you are following the builder; tell them.”

In his remarks, Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, and Governor of Plateau State, Hon. Simon Lalong, charged the Women to dwell on issues and avoid character assassination, hate speech and propaganda.

“Leave that to the opposition and stay with the achievements of our party in women empowerment and also tell them that under the Presidency of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nigerian women and their children will have an even better deal,” Lalong stated.

Lalong lamented that women were left behind. He noted that women were a great source of strength and capacity all over the world, particularly, in Nigeria where they had demonstrated the ability to provide solutions and achieve success in all fields of endeavour.

He emphasised that the idea of women campaign, a unique expression of the APC, was not to create a parallel body for the campaigns. He added that the group was a complementary strategy that the presidential campaign council has devised to ensure that women are fully involved throughout the campaigns.

In her remarks, the senator for Lagos Central Senatorial District and wife of the APC presidential candidate, Oluremi Tinubu, said a Tinubu-Shettima presidency would be the “best option” for Nigerian women.

Minister of Women Affairs, Tallen, called on Tinubu to allocate 40 per cent of appointments to women if he clinched the Presidency in 2023.

Former Plateau State Deputy Governor said with women occupy 40 per cent of appointive positions, the country would be set for godly leadership.