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10th NASS: HURIWA endorses Princess Onuoha for Deputy Speaker, says APC pays lip service to affirmative action

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Ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in June, the civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Wednesday, endorsed Princess Onuoha, a member representing Onuimo/Isiala Mbano/Okigwe Federal Constituency from Imo State, for the post of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

HURIWA, in a statement read at an elaborate media conference in Abuja by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said since the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) zoned the Deputy Speakership position to the South-East zone, it is only sensible and acceptable for the party with majority of members in the National Assembly to select a woman for the role.

The group said already, the 10th Senate and 10th House of Representatives, which will resume by June are male-dominated, with about 20 women in both legislative chambers. HURIWA said it is appalling that the APC and its President-Elect promised women inclusion during their campaigns but paid lip service to affirmative action as well as gender and equal opportunity in Nigeria immediately after their election.

Nigerians were astonished that the APC National Working Committee on Monday zoned the leadership of the 10th National Assembly.

The party organ zoned the Senate President to the South-South, Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Deputy Senate President to the North-West, Senator Barau Jubrin (Kano).

Others are the Speaker of the House of Representatives (North-West) – Abass Tajudeen (Kaduna), Deputy Speaker South East – Ben Kalu (Abia).

For starters, the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu is from the South-West while the Vice-President-Elect, Kashim Shettima is from the North-East.

These six persons are all male while women represented a paltry 3.5% of National Assembly members-elect for both Senate and House of Representatives while men has 96.5%.

It is on record that Onuoha, who won her reelection on the platform of the APC, has offered herself to serve the Nigerian people and offered herself to provide robust and dynamic leadership.

Her people voted her despite the Labour Party landslide victory in the state because they didn’t want to take a chance by voting another candidate and because she brought participatory governance to her people; politics of inclusivity.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “It is just insensitive for the APC not to include a single woman among the top six political positions in the country despite the party’s spineless promises about affirmative action.

“APC should ensure 35% affirmative action for the leadership of the National Assembly and reserve the office of the Deputy Speaker for a very competent lawmaker in the person of Hon Onuoha.

“Hon Onuoha has the requirement to be the next Deputy Speaker of the green chamber. She fought and defeated men in the general elections and she is ready to repeat the feat. She has also raised the bar of leadership and has promised to improve legislative-executive dialogue with fresh ideas to ensure resolutions don’t become tissue papers.

“We believe that Hon Onuoha can be a record-breaker after Patricia Etteh, the first female Speaker of the House between June and October 2007.”

May 10, 2023
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko

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