A group of dissatisfied or rather furious women under the umbrella of a civil group ― coalition for the inclusion of women in Governance staged a protest at the Nigerian National Assembly, demanding the inclusion of women in the 9th Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The intimidating crowd was made up of women drawn from different organizations, gender rights activists, and non-governmental organizations in the country. These women, forming a bunch of over a thousand dressed in green or white polo shirts, also donned white caps making the area they stood indistinct and difficult for an onlooker to say who was one from another.
What they demand is 50% of the leadership slot in the National Assembly be given to women. The group said that after the just concluded general elections in March, in which President Muhammadu Buhari reemerged as the president of the country, the few women in parliament had been sidelined for the leadership of the National Assembly. Speaking to the press, one of the protesters, Kate Offor said that their fight is not a violent fight but a resilient one because they do not see it stopping anytime soon as long as women are not recognized. Politics, according to her is a game of number, and it is essential that any group with a more significant number like the women who outnumber the men in Nigeria, be allowed to occupy positions of authority for better representation. She said a close look at the voting pattern would also reveal that women are the ones who remain patient and endure in mostly long queues to vote.
Another protester Esther Uzoma said that what they want is that the present administration includes women in the Cabinet. She decried the fact that the leadership of the National Assembly does not reflect women. Adding to this, she said that in the face of challenges like the relegation of women to the background in the scheme of things, they would want to say outright that the leadership of the National Assembly should reflect women. She demanded a fifty-fifty representation, saying that women are behind in the league of progressive nations.
Again, one more protester who also spoke to the press, Zainab Muhammed said that Nigerian women want the government of the country to give key positions in the National Assembly to women. She said that although they are unhappy about the situation. They have not come out to fight or disturb the peace of the country. According to her, what they demand is a fair representation since they have been denied so much only because they are women. Nigeria’s patriarchal history has worked in favour of men in the country, who feel that women are nothing but mere domestic homemakers.
In recent times, there have been changes in our society owing mainly to the fact that so many women are now educated. These set of educated and enlightened women no longer want to accept this stigma of a culture. There are indeed doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and even celebrated authors who are women in Nigeria today. The most recent addition to this perpetual splash on the identity of women is a statement way back in which President Muhammadu Buhari said point blank that his wife was meant for the kitchen and the other room we are yet to have him describe. Women seem more than just that, and although there are strides for their equal recognition, we may have to count decades in before anything like a female president patiently would happen to Nigeria.