A former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Binta Garba, has said that the failure to implement the Constitution and arbitrary use of religion are responsible for the low representation of women in the National Assembly.
Garba, who represented Adamawa North Senatorial district in the 8th Assembly, while speaking on Channels Television “Politics Today” program on Friday night noted that the failure to implement constitutional requirements on representation, was an “issue” although the constitution was unbiased.
Statistics for women’s representation in the soon-to-be-inaugurated 10th National Assembly showed that there was only a very slight increase from 14 members of the House of Representatives in 2019, to 14 in 2023, however, the Senate recorded a decline from 8 in 2019 to only 3 female Senators in 2023.
“The constitution is unbiased. The implementation is where we are having an issue. Because I ask myself, is it a crime to be a woman in Nigeria? It is not a crime. We are mothers, we feel the pain more than the men. You cannot perform even in your office if you do not have a good home. But we are saying that religion, which is supposed to be an umpire to bring about change in our life towards good governance, is being used arbitrarily against the gender, and that is where the big question is.”
While citing various instances, the former lawmaker proposed a twinning system that would allow women to serve in government as deputies, adding that it was “all we are asking for.”
“The joy that I have for my President-elect is that he was the first governor, that came in with a twinning system, which is ab initio, practising in South Africa, where you have a ‘he’ as your head, then the ‘she’ becomes the deputy. So, the President-elect, Senator Ahmed Asiwaju, was the first that started it. Then when you look at it 1999 to 2003 and 2007, the southwestern governors in one way or the other, had a woman as their deputy. So, it’s a twinning system, which is all we are asking for.
And it is happening now in Adamawa, because the present governor, ab initio, brought in a woman to be his deputy, apart from the one that was done in Plateau state, where Dame Tallen became the first female Deputy Governor in Northern Nigeria. Then El-Rufai of Kaduna State made sure that a woman became his deputy, and even Fintiri now, exchanged his former deputy governor for a woman. Then, there must be something special about a woman.”