Below is the full text of a press release circulated by the CEO of the NGO, Ayisha Osori.
President Goodluck Jonathan has received many personal awards and commendations for having a Federal Executive Council (FEC) that meets the recommendation of the National Gender Policy (2006) to have at least 35% representation of women in government agencies. It is something that has deservedly made the President a champion of fair gender representation for millions of Nigerians.
However, the removal of 9 ministers on September 11, 2013 has, in one stroke reduced the current representation of females on the FEC from 33% to 19.5% – highlighting the danger of using appointive positions as a yardstick of women’s inclusion in decision-making. While there are many considerations which would have informed the President’s decision, including ‘re-tooling his government to achieve service delivery’ as pointed out by the Minister of Information, it is important that the number of women represented as ministers on the FEC is maintained or increased.
This is particularly vital in the run up to the 2015 general elections and the implications of power, influence and relevance which are usually taken into consideration with such appointments – women cannot be seen to be wanting, because they are not.
We urge the President in his considerations for the selection of the 9 new ministers, to ensure that at least 5 or more of them are selected from the pool of strong capable women, which Nigeria has in abundance. They should be selected and placed where their expertise and strengths best lie.
It will serve as a strong message to the entire polity that women are not easily replaceable and serve as a motivation to millions of Nigerians to continue to support more gender balanced representation at all levels.
Signed & endorsed by:
Chief Executive Officer
Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund
Alliances for Africa