Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, yesterday, said he had assented to an Executive Bill mandating the state to have at least 35 per cent of women appointees in the state executive council and other classes of political appointments.
The law cited as Political Offices (Gender Composition) Bill 2021, is arguably the first legislation of its kind in the country that places a ceiling below which the government cannot go in the appointment of either gender for public offices.
The governor, who disclosed this in Ilorin at a state government-inspired conference, with the theme, ‘Cracking the Glass Ceiling: The Story of Kwara Women’, said it is only fair that women be given a fair space in the decision-making process whose outcomes have far-reaching consequences for them and their families.
The event was attended by creme de la creme from Kwara and beyond such as representative of the wife of the President, Dr. Rukayat Gurin; Kwara State First Lady, Mrs. Olufolake AbdulRazaq; Women Affairs Minister, Dame Pauline Tallen; Ekiti State First Lady, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi and several governors’ wives; Senators from the three senatorial districts of Kwara and House of Representatives members from the state; the Ilorin born business tycoon, Mrs. Bola Shagaya; former Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sarah Alade; National Missioner, Ansar-u-deen Muslim Society of Nigeria, Dr. AbdulRahman Ahmad; Founder/CEO Sokoa Chair Centre and keynote speaker Mrs. Ibukun Awosika.
Kwara House of Assembly Speaker, Yakubu Danladi-Salihu, led members of the House to the event, which was also attended by cabinet members.
Kwara State Traditional Council Chairman and the Emir of Ilorin, Dr. Ibrahim Zulu-Gambari, led a legion of first-class emirs and Obas to the event that also attracted a global audience, such as the United Nations Women Representative to Nigeria/ECOWAS, Comfort Lamptey; ambassadors and others.
The event also saw the conferment of outstanding awards of excellence on Kwara women who have achieved huge feats in their respective fields, including former Chief Judge, Raliat Elelu-Habeeb; Mrs. Sarah Jubril; financial guru and former Lagos Finance Commissioner, Mrs. Foluke Abdulrazaq; Mrs. Sarah Alade; businesswoman, Bola Shagaya; Senator Khairat Gwadabe; first female Head of Service (HoS) in Kwara State, Zarah Omar; former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sidikat Ijaya; media veteran, Hajia Eyitayo Mairo Mustapha and the Onila/Agindigbi women who built schools; among many others.
The governor said the recognition and the step to mainstream women in public service were the least the administration could do for the hard-working women as a way of inspiring the girl-child.
“Women are so critical to human civilisation. They are just as brilliant, innovative and smart as men. They are the largest voting demographic in Nigeria. Yet, they are often absent or unfairly represented when policies and programmes that shape everything concerning them and their families are designed,” he asserted.