Binta Garba: I’m not proud of being only female senator from 19 northern states

Senator Binta Garba (APC-Adamawa) says being the only female senator from the 19 Northern States is not something for her to be proud of.

Garba told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that women should make up 30 per cent of all elective and appointive positions.

“It is rather unfortunate that I am the only female senator from the 19 northern states; it’s not something of pride.

“But if out of 19 states we have at least nine women as senators, it will make our work easier and we would push legislations that affect us healthwise, economically and educationally.

“Also, that will make us have accelerated passage of bills that affect us because we are the mothers; we know and feel the pains.

“And once we have a 30 percent of women in the parliament, it makes the work easier because the men cannot push us anyhow.

“But if you are one out of 57 senators from 19 states, your contributions will be very minimal,” she said.

She blamed the under-representation of women in politics on the lack of political will but commended the ruling APC for its proposed twinning system in the party’s yet-to-be-ratified constitution.

Garba, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, said she strongly believed that in 2019, the story might be a different one in a positive way.

“All we are now saying is that the environment for political participation must be conducive and must be violent-free; no woman wants to be violent, no woman is violent.

“Going forward is that the government must create an enabling environment and have a political will.

“Like now in the APC forthcoming Convention, they will have to look at the Constitution of the party, in which they are now bringing in the twining system.

“That if a man is a governor, the deputy must be a woman; if a speaker is a man, the deputy must be a woman or if the speaker is a woman, the deputy is a man.”

She endorsed the winning system, which worked well in Southern Africa and East African countries, and has empowered women politically in the sub-regions.

“But for the first time, a political party has the interest of women to see how women can partner men together, collaborate and move the country forward.

“And once such a constitution is adopted, then definitely you can never have 36 women governors or 36 male governors; their deputies will be opposite sex, even in the parliaments.

“Even at the local level, the Governor of Borno is in the right direction; at least one woman must be a Councillor within a Local Government.

“That is political will and you can push it further and say ‘in the House of Assembly, I need 30 percent of the women in parliament’.

“So it is political because once you have that will and you push it forward, every other follower of yours will follow you to see that it is realised.

The senator also commended the INEC saying the commission is working towards ensuring that women are given a fair share in the political sphere.

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