By Seun Adeuyi
The National Woman Leader of the People’s Democracy Party (PDP), Hajiya Mariya Waziri, has rejected the award conferred on Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State by the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS).
The NCWS in collaboration with Global Gold Consult had on January 16 conferred the award on Governor Bello as the most gender-sensitive governor in Nigeria.
The Kogi governor was decorated as a “HE 4 SHE” of Nigerian women, which bestowed on him the honour of a goodwill Ambassador.
According to the organisers, the nomination is “in recognition of the purposeful and conscious effort of his Government to place women in sensitive and strategic positions in the governance structure of Kogi State.”
But, in a press statement, personally signed on Tuesday by Hajiya Waziri, women were called upon to “arise up against this mindless antecedent that is orchestrated to reverse all progress made by Nigerian Women”.
The statement reads:
“The office of the PDP National Woman Leader rejects in Its entirety, the ‘Most Gender Friendly Governor’ investiture given to Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello by the President of National Council for Women Societies Nigeria (NCWS), Mrs. Laraba Gloria Shoda, despite the catalogue of political harassments, social inequality, violence against women, sexual harassment and a host of other negative actions against women in Kogi State.
“NCWS has as its mandate, the responsibility to protect, advocate and fight for women’s rights globally.
“It simply amounts to a show of shame that this same organization has gone on to present a gender friendly award to Kogi State governor who:
- Has No female Chairman in the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State
- Has No Female House of Representative member from Kogi State
- Has No Female Senator from Kogi State
- Has No female State House of Assembly member from Kogi State
- Has a serving commissioner for water resources in his administration with an active rape case against an innocent young woman named Elizabeth Oyeniyi
- Condoned the gruesome murder of an innocent indigene of Kogi State, Mrs. Salome Acheju Abuh whose only crime was that she participated in politics. It is also on record that Governor Yahaya Bello never paid condolence visit to the family of this deceased woman, who was burnt to death in her home by thugs under his administration
- Condoned repeated attacks and intimidation against Ms. Natasha Akpoti who was assaulted for daring to participate in opposition politics under the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello
It is indeed heart-breaking and an affront to all Nigerian women, that in the face of mass abuse and assault of women in Kogi state, an umbrella organization such as NCWS vested with the mandate to protect and advocate for women’s rights, has turned around to reward a man who is known to aid violence against women in his administration with a gender friendly award.
We therefore call on all women of conscience to arise up against this mindless antecedent that is orchestrated to reverse all progress made by Nigerian women in the fight against propagation of violence against women.
NCWS as the conscience of Nigerian Women cannot be seen to support actions that are antithetical to the economic, social and political advancement of the women it is mandated to protect. We therefore invite all women advancement organizations, Pro women NGO’s, Pro gender International organisations, Ministry of Women Affairs of Nigeria and all women in Nigeria to:
- Call on NCWS to retract the investiture on Governor Yahaya Bello within 24 hours and tender an unreserved apology to Nigerian women for such colossal betrayal and embarrassment
- Ask the President of NCWS, Mrs. Laraba Gloria Shoba to immediately resign her Position as President of NCWS for undertaking such demeaning and utterly humiliating action of rewarding a governor who is known to condone violence against women in his state with an award
- Begin immediate disbandment and restructuring of NCWS to serve the purpose of women’s advancement, as the body has lost steam and derailed from its foundational goals of advocating for the advancement of Nigerian women as a pressure group
- Constitute an interim caretaker committee to oversee the affairs of NCWS while investigations and restructuring of the organisation begins.