Will Exclusive Seats For Women In Nigerian Government Create Needed Change?

The Nigerian Jouse of Representative is seeking to amend the constitution to create a total of 111 additional seats in the National and State Assembly exclusively for women to allow more female participation in politics and governance.

The bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to Alter the Provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to create Additional Special Seats for Women in the Federal and States Legislative Houses; and for Related Matters was sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip and 85 other members.

Currently, the Senate has 193 seats while the House has 360. Each state have Senate seats and a representative of the Federal Capital Territory while membership of the House is based on the population size of each state.

This bill would create an additional Senate seat for each state including the FCT, making 37 extra seats and a total of 146 seats. For the House, two additional seats will be created in States as well as FCT making an additional 74 seats and a total of 434 seats.

Onyejeocha, during the debate on the bill, explained that the proposal seeks to, “remedy the low representation of women in legislative houses by providing for the creation of additional separate seats to be contested and filled by only women in the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly as a temporary measure to promote women’s representation.”

Furthermore, the lawmaker noted that women had only 4.4 per cent representation in the 9th National Assembly adding that, Nigeria had been identified as the worst performer in women representation in parliaments in the West African region and one of the lowest in the whole of Africa.

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