Gender equality bill: Stella Oduah criticises colleagues, says women are the bedrock of governance

Former Minister of Aviation-turned Senator, Stella Oduah, on Thursday, took on her colleagues in the red chamber for disapproving the gender equality and opportunity bill.
It would be recalled that the gender equality and opportunity bill sought to promote equal opportunities, advancement of all persons, and prohibition of violence against women among many others.
The bill which was sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi from Ekiti South, when read for the second time in the senate on Tuesday, was opposed by many male senators mainly from the northern part of the country on the grounds that it was both anti-lslamic and unconstitutional.

The senator who disapproved the bill included the former Zamfara State governor, Ahmed Sanni Yerima, Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East), Senators Ibn Na’allah (Kebbi South) and Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South).
But in her reaction to the development in a statement in Abuja, Oduah appealed for a relaunch of the bill.

The senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District said it was pertinent that all the stakeholders join forces to enlighten Nigerians on how vital the bill is to our progress as a modern State.
She noted that women are first of all human beings who have rights, before their ultimate role as mothers, therefore should be allowed equal opportunities.
Oduah emphasized the indispensable role of women in nation building.
According to her, “It is also no longer news that women are the bedrock of governance and should be allowed equal opportunities to represent the true meaning of their existence.”
She, however, urged understanding from Nigerians, particularly her colleagues that the bill is not an issue bordering on patriarchy, recalling that as a nation, Nigeria endorsed the, “United Nations Convention On The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.”
Oduah also appealed to Nigerians to see mainstreaming of women programmes not as favours, but as what is right.
The Senator described as unacceptable, the fact that the country was still discussing equal right for women in 2016, noting that it was time, that the country domesticated the UN convention.
“Women have wonderful innate skills and we must provide enabling environment for growth and full development of their potentials.
“The country should go beyond empowering of women to empowering the society since it is not in doubt that Nigeria has untapped potentials in women which must be explored,” Oduah stated.

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