The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has noted that gender balancing to give fair participation in governance to both men and women in Nigeria is an important part of the ongoing amendments to the 1999 Constitution by the 9th National Assembly.
Gbajabiamila said the federal character principle, as currently captured in the Constitution, is being redefined to go beyond ethnicity by including gender and other variables.
The Speaker was quoted as saying this in Abuja on Wednesday when a delegation from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association paid him a courtesy visit at the National Assembly, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi.
Gbajabiamila also informed the delegation, led by the CPA’s Secretary-General, Mr Stephen Twigg, that care for Persons Living with Disabilities had received the attention of the parliament.
The Speaker explained that a number of bills seeking to amend the Constitution by making clear provisions on gender balancing, federal character review and the disability question were in progress at the House in particular.
He partly said, “What we are doing is that we are going through a constitutional amendment process. We are looking at gender issues in a way to address the two sides. Even in the way we apply the federal character principle, we want to go beyond ethnicity to include gender and others as well.”
Gbajabiamila noted that the House and the CPA appear to be on the same page since the association too had promoted gender equality and drawn attention to the challenges faced by people living with disability, like exclusion from governance.
Speaking earlier, Twigg praised Gbajabiamila and the House for the “brilliant initiatives” he had read in the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House.
He particularly commended the initiative to “expand the scope of participation in governance by women and the disabled.”