3rd March, 2022
GENDER EQUALITY BILL : MAKE POLITICAL ARCHITECTURE WOMEN FRIENDLY, FAMILY-VALUE-COMPLIANT – MURIC
Nigerian women are demanding an increase in the number of female members in the National Assembly (NASS) and the state legislature. The gender equality bill was rejected by the lawmakers yesterday and this has triggered protests by women groups. Meanwhile an Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has advised politicians in the country to make the political architecture women-friendly and family-value-compliant.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday, 3rd March, 2022 by the chairman of MURIC, Zamfara State chapter, Professor Ahmad Galadima.
The statement reads :
“The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) supports the struggle for women’s participation in politics but with the proviso that such participation does not negate the teachings of Islam on the role of women in the family. In fact, Islam has pushed for the liberation of women since the revelation of the Glorious Qur’an more than fifteen decades ago.
“To this end, we advise Nigerian politicians to make the political architecture women friendly and family-value-compliant. A situation whereby political meetings are held till late in the night is not conducive for women’s participation. Politicians should therefore adjust their programmes and make them attractive and accessible to women.
“Nigerians should stop deceiving themselves. No responsible husband will willingly approve his wife’s participation in politics if political meetings are held till late in the evening. Neither will any loving and caring father allow his young unmarried daughter to join politics in the present political atmosphere.
“We must also stop thuggery and hooliganism to make politics attractive to women. Nay, politicians must eschew women-bullying to allow for free entry of women into politics. Only cowards bully women. Islam holds women in high esteem. A violence-free political environment will also encourage husbands to support their wives to go into politics while parents will also allow their daughters to do same.
“Not only that, politicians must criminalise the bullying of their women counterparts and condemn such acts in the strongest terms. They must excommunicate those who harass, intimidate or beat women politicians. This act is horrific because it sends the wrong signal to women around the country. It is a major impediment to women’s participation in politics.
“That is why we must all condemn the unwarranted aggression mounted by the tree-climbing senator, Dino Melaye, against Senator Oluremi Tinubu. His words were vulgar. His action was repulsive. His demeanour very cowardly, most despicable and highly bohemian.
“A female politician has also recounted how her male counterparts threatened to forcefully undress her at the venue of a political meeting if she insists on supporting a particular candidate at that meeting. She promptly shut up. This is very shameful.
“Unfortunately the 200 women groups who are now protesting went on sabbatical at that time. There was no women liberation group’s voice to support the brave woman. She fought her battle alone. But she won. That must never be allowed to happen again. Women in politics must adopt the slogan ‘Attack One, Attack All’. It does not matter which political party the female victim belongs. Women must come together to condemn the aggressor.
“As a little digression, how many of the 200 women groups who are demanding increased number of seats for women in the NASS and in the state legislatures have uttered a word in the face of encroachments on Allah-given fundamental rights of female Muslim students in the South West?
“These innocent female students are the women of tomorrow. They have been humiliated, harassed, intimidated and coerced into compromising their identity. They have also been expelled from school on account of an ordinary scarf called hijab. The girl-child has been denied education and locked out of school. Yet the girl-child is the woman politician tomorrow. Why has deafness enveloped women groups and the rest of civil society over her plight to date? It is a shame.
“It matters a lot because these young female victims are your foot soldiers if you know how to use them. Women groups should therefore desist from selective activism. Religious or political differences must not deter women groups from defending their female folks.
“It is our considered opinion that the number of women lawmakers will increase proportionately with their number in politics once the correlates inhibiting the participation of women in politics are removed. Those impediments include, but are not limited to, late night political meetings, hooliganism and the harassment and bullying of female politicians by their male counterparts.
“MURIC will not sacrifice family values and norms for ephemeral political gains. Nigeria has enough social crisis already. Our youth are in a hurry to get rich. Family values have disappeared. Cultism is on the rise. Ritual killings occur daily and it is so bad that 15 year olds kill their mother for money. Moral decadence has taken the driving seat and the major cause has been traced to the fact that women have abdicated their core responsibilities.
“A balance must therefore be struck between women’s participation in politics and their family obligations. Giving a particular percentage to women in parliament may swing the pendulum thereby making it difficult to strike a balance. Besides, true democracy does not stomach handpicking of legislators or the allocation of slots to any particular specie or group. The issue will resolve itself naturally when the number of women in politics increases.
“Increase in the number of women in politics and in parliament must not be allowed to cause any increase in the number of riff-raffs, cultists and hoodlums on the street. In short, women who join politics should make adequate arrangement to fill the gap at home. Politicians are therefore advised to make the political architecture women-friendly and family-value-compliant.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).