ECOFEPA Dele Pays Courtesy Call on Nigeria’s Senate President and House of Reps Deputy Speaker - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

ECOFEPA Dele Pays Courtesy Call on Nigeria’s Senate President and House of Reps Deputy Speaker

By Melvin TejanMansaray, Abuja-Nigeria, Wednesday 8th December 2021

Members of the newly elected Bureau and ordinary members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Female Parliamentary   Association  (ECOFEPA)on Wednesday 8th December 2021 paid a courtesy call on   Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan President of the Senate, Chairman National Assembly Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Senators and the Right Honorable Ahmed Idriss Deputy Speaker House of Representatives of the  Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Presenting the delegation, Senator. Biodun Christine Olujimi (Nigeria) 1st Vice President-elect ECOFEPA and facilitator of the visit said that ECOFEPA went to pay a courtesy call on the Senate President despite the impromptu nature noting that they held their election the day before and the old Executive stepped out and a new one is to take over.

“We thought it fit to come to the National Assembly to see the owners of this country and especially our Parliament and of course, the Presiding Officer in the person of the Senate President, Sen. Dr. Lawan and that is why we are here today," She explained, adding that currently, only two women are representing Nigeria in the ECOWAS Parliament.

Hon. MemunatuIbrahima (Togo), Third Deputy Speaker ECOWAS Parliament in her presentation to the Senate President and Senators said that they were happy to inform the President and Senators that they are just coming out of a successful ECOFEPA election and that she was happy to note that the meeting was the first high-level engagement they have had while appreciating the Senate President and Senators for agreeing to see them. 

Hon. Ibrahima said although the First elected President was unavoidably absent, the Bureau is excited and looking forward to the prospects of the new leadership that has been elected noting that it is of great advantage to the Bureau to have a Nigerian in the person of Sen. Olujimi. She said this means that Nigeria with its size, population, and importance in the sub-region and the continent is of great moment.

“With Sen. Olujimi at the helm of affairs as 1st Vice President-elect in her new position, we believe that it is going to take us to new heights.”

“Our first project is an ambitious one - we look forward to hosting a grand conference of female Parliamentarians within ECOWAS to see how we can explore ways for the development of women and corporation within Parliamentarians,” She explained, adding that, “certainly our next project will be to try to monitor and support female representation within Parliaments within the ECOWAS sub-region and above all for Nigeria,  we are  looking forward to seeing how we can encourage the participation and inclusion of more female parliamentarians  within the National Assembly.”

Hon. Ibrahima noted that:  “Thirdly, we will also like to embark on projects that protect the girl child to be able to monitor them and track their progress to adulthood. With that, we look to the Senate for support on all these three projects which we look forward to leaning on the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be heavily involved in these projects.”

She concluded by registering that the ECOWAS Commission has budgeted for all these projects but noted that they look towards the Senate President to see how they can be able to render more support towards the realization of these projects and once more she thanked the Senate President for receiving the ECOFEPA on a very short notice whilst anticipated a cordial working relationship in the pursuit of their aims and objectives.

In response, the Senate President Sen. Dr. Lawan on behalf of all the Senators welcomed the ECOFEPA delegation to the Senate of the National Assembly expressing that he was very pleased to have them.

Sen. Dr. Lawan said:  “I am very happy to receive you with my colleagues. I should congratulate you for the elections,” adding that he knows that Sen. Olujimi was also elected among the member of the new Bureau.

The Senate President said: “This is a very good development for Nigeria and I want to congratulate the  ECOWAS Parliamentarians for electing Sen. Olujimi, one of our very distinguished  Senators. We are still trying to see if she remains fully and legislative because she moves in and then out.  She was here in the House of Representatives in 2003, then later became a Deputy Governor and now, she wants the whole and real thing but, whatever it would be, we pray for her and wish her the best of luck in whatever endeavor she chooses. But one clear thing is that the Nigeria Legislature needs people like her because she has the experience and given the kind of numbers, a very discourage a number of women in the Nigerian Parliament  or National Assembly, I believe we have to have more and more like her.”

He recalled serving also with Hon. Linda in the House of Representatives in 1999 adding that she also has a wealth of  experience   which should be harnessed  to have more women in the Nigeria National Assembly

Sen. Dr. Lawan said that at the moment, Nigeria is reviewing its 1999 national constitution, noting that, “ I know that there are some efforts that provide for more women’s representation. We hope that by the time the constitutional review is concluded,  we would have provided a platform for more women to be at the National Assembly.”

“Honestly, I believe that Nigeria and most of our countries women are not participating fully. This is showing weakness in what we do because you can not have a population of more than fifty percent and yet women representation is less than ten percent. It means there is going to be a disconnect even for our national development. We need more women’s participation not only in politics but even in the economy and other spheres of life and that will require that we work hard on our constitutional review and other legislations that will give women the affirmative action that they require,” the Senate President said.

He also explained that girl child education is the key to women’ s empowerment in the economy, politics, and every other aspect,  adding that, “ because that gives them a head start, once they are educated it makes it easier for them to enter politics and succeed in it.”

He however called on the ECOWAS Parliament to come up with an agenda that allows people to be elected so that they will have a better standing so that resolutions on women’s s empowerment can be domesticated. He said the ECOWAS sub-region is challenged by insecurity for which he called for close collaboration  among countries, underscoring that apart from language  differences, “ we are the same people.”

“If we don’t solve our problems as Africans no one is going to solve our problems, once this is done outsiders know that they will lose our market among other things.”

The Senate President  ended by registering that, “ finally, I hope and I pray that you will have a wonderful stay in Abuja  and I wish you a successful Session  and at the end of the day, I hope the resolutions will address  the challenges facing women in our national and sub-regional parliaments.”

In a similar but separate engagement, the ECEFEPA delegation also paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who assured the Bureau and members of his unflinching support, stating that, “ I happy to host you. In solidarity, I want to appreciate you for electing our Sister. I also want to thank you for your cooperation in the Community Parliament. I urge you to work together the achieve your goals. I want to once more thank you and wish you a very good tenure in your drive to make life better for women nationally and internationally.  I appreciate every moment I am sharing with you as the Women of the ECOWAS Parliament.”


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