ABUJA – Some delegates at the ongoing National Conference have urged the leadership of the conference to ensure adequate representation of youths and women in its 20 standing committees.
The delegates made this known at the resumed plenary on Monday in Abuja while deliberating on the proposed committees.
The members cautioned the leadership of the conference against lopsidedness in the constitution of the committees’ membership.
Sen. Musa Adede, a delegate from South-South, said that the secretariat must evolve a measure that would allow the youths to be adequately represented.
“This conference will do great deal of justice if we consider our youths as very important part of this discussion.
“The future of this country lies in the hands of our youths. So it is important we place them in as many committees as we can,’’ Adede said.
Mrs Felicia Sanni, representing the Market Women, said that women representatives should not be merged with another group, adding, “market women belong to all groups”.
“When you are grouping us under social welfare, that is too light, we are not here on sympathetic ground.
“Every sector concerns us and we want to be selected in committees where we will be able to defend ourselves.
“We want to belong to the Agriculture Committee because it concerns us; we also want to be part of deliberation on road because it is the road that we use to carry our goods to the market.
“ Education is also important to us because it is important to our children. We are interested in the Health Committee also.
“There is a saying that when a woman dies during child birth, the next day the husband will go and marry another one. We must protect our women,’’ Sanni said.
Chief Josephine Anenih, a women leader stressed the need for gender issues to be included in all committees and aspect of the conference rather than being listed under Social Welfare only.
“Every committee must have an item listed under its agenda. Gender must be mainstreamed in every aspect of this nation.
“In every discussion, there must be gender there. Gender issues should not only appear under social welfare,’’ Anenih said.
Prof. Nsongurua Udombana from Akwa Ibom said that the issue of gender was not for women alone but for men as well.
“The assumption is that gender generally refers to only women, which is not correct. It is either we discuss about women or in larger scope about men,’’ Udombana said.
The conference adopted the grouping of delegates into 33 identified groups until necessary adjustment is made on the grouping.
The motion for the adoption of the proposed groups was moved by Chief Remi Kuku, representing National Council for Women Society (NCWS), seconded by Alhaji Kasheem Mohammed Jidda from the North East.
The Chairman of the conference, retired Justice Idris Kutigi had earlier stated that the proposal was to enable the conference secretariat consult the group leaders when the need arise.
“It is the belief of the secretariat that if you approve this list, we can get in touch with you as easily as we can,’’ Kutigi said.
Kutigi said that the classification of the groupings was guided by the list of delegates sent by the Federal Government to the secretariat.
“There are about 97 groups that are accounted for. This is important so that if any matter arises, we can get the group leader contacted to talk to you,’’ he added.
Majority of the delegates, however, called for further merging of the proposed groups for effective time management for the conference. (NAN)