ABUJA – Proceedings at the National Conference were brought to a temporary halt on Wednesday as women delegates protested the vote against 35 per cent affirmative action by the male delegates.
The committee recommended that the 35 per cent affirmative action shall be upheld at all levels and tiers of government in appointment and elective positions.
No sooner had the men voted against the clause than the women became conscious that they had lost out on the vote.
Consequently, they stood up in unison, came out to where Akinyemi was presiding and threatened a walk out of the conference.
Proceedings at the conference were consequently halted as the deputy chairman made spirited efforts to calm the women down.
They contended that the Beijing Convention, of which Nigeria was a signatory, had already provided that the affirmative action should not be less than 35 per cent.
According to them, what the conference should even be asking for is an increase to 40 per cent and subsequently, to 50 per cent.
Sen.Daisy Danjuma, said the women did not get the question right and that it had to be nothing less than 35 per cent.
“I think we have repeated questions several times. I think that question should be repeated because we were taken unawares and we didn’t hear it properly.
“So can you please repeat the question? We should also so correct it that it should not be less than 35 per cent. Nigeria is signatory to that convention,” Danjuma said.
Similarly, Sen. Musa Adedeh, in his intervention, said women were important part of men and should be seen as partners in progress.
“All of us here were born of women and we are all married to women.
“There is no need for that question to be put again because the 35 per cent affirmative action has been ratified by Nigeria.
“And we are a signatory to that and as such, we cannot put that question again and so that stands at not less than 35 per cent,” Adedeh said.
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Na’Abba, supported the reversal of the vote so as to protect the affirmative action.
“It is my strong belief that there should not have been any argument over this matter.
“This matter had already been settled by the Beijing Convention and I believe that we must support our women and that we must recognise the importance of the women in our lives.
“Today, if the woman refuses to reproduce life will come to a standstill. Our women are conscientious and deliberate and I think that we should trust them.
“My fellow delegates, I urge us to please support our women,” Na’Abba pleaded.
At this point, Akinyemi said following the explanation that the affirmative action could not be less than 35 per cent, there was no need for the amendment in the first place.
“Since the 35 per cent as explained is already part of the Beijing Convention, which we have ratified, then there is no need to put this question to a vote.
“Therefore, this amendment is unnecessary,” Akinyemi ruled and, consequently, the women withdrew their protest and voting on the committee’s recommendations continued. (NAN)