President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his support for the Federal High Court Abuja judgment on the 35 per cent affirmative action.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at a world press conference organised by the Nigerian Women Trust Funds, NWTF, Women Radio 91.7FM, Women in Politics Forum, among others.
that Justice Donatus Okorowo had, on April 6, delivered judgment in favour of some women groups asking the Federal Government to implement the 35 per cent affirmative action.
The minister, while speaking at the event titled: “The Landmark Judgment on 35% Affirmative Action for Women on April 6, 2022,” said President Buhari congratulated the Nigerian women on the victory.
She said the president restated his commitment to ensuring that the victory was not only sustained but the policy implemented.
“The 6th of April, 2022, has gone in history as a day Nigeria women made history on 35 per cent Affirmative.
“I thank Mr President for his support. Mr President sends his congratulatory message to Nigerian women.
“He was happy with the judgment and when I told him this morning that I am coming to join you at this world press conference, he was happy.
“So Mr President is happy with us and I know very soon, the implementation will not only be 35 per cent but 50/50.
“So on behalf of Mr President, I congratulate Nigerian women,” she said.
She said the victory was already being witnessed as a number of women were inaugurated into two boards of federal agencies during the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting on Wednesday.
Mrs Tallen also said that the last congress of the All Progressives Congress, APC, witnessed an increase in the number of women elected into its National Executive Committee, NEC.
She said prior to the congress, the ruling party had only national women leader in the NEC but now, the deputy woman leader and the deputy treasurer, a woman, are now members.
“We will be pushing and pushing, and Mr President has always given us audience and we are seeing significant changes and we know we shall get there.
“President Buhari has demonstrated that he is ‘He-for-She’ and he is in support of the women.
“We will join you to sustain the victory and I want to assure you of Mr President’s commitment to the course of Nigerian women,” she said.
The minister, who said that the victory came at the time women’s spirit was low as a result of the National Assembly’s rejection of the five gender bills, said the development was a game changer.
“We are already changing the minds of National Assembly members.
“Just three days ago, their wives visited me and they have also leaned their support to women’s course.
“A journey of thousand’s miles begin with a step,” she said.
She was hopeful that the lawmakers would review their stand on the gender bills after the Easter break.
The Chief Executive Officer of NWTF, Mufuliat Fijabi, said the journey to the victory was both challenging and successful.
Fijabi said the history made on April 6 was being documented and upon completion, it would be widely disseminated as a learning point for other strategies and other countries of the world to emulate and learn from.
She said as soon as the certified true copy of the judgment is received, the women groups would build a database of qualified Nigerian women, mapping of existing vacancies and several more.
Representative of Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Peter Ocheikwu, said the organisation took pride in the court victory because it would set a precedence.
Mr Ocheikwu said this would also have a direct impact on women’s political representation and reinforce “the commitment to building open societies where citizens enjoy the benefits of inclusive policies, good governance, vibrant democracies, transparency, accountability that are particularly inclusive and equitable.”