The SAFE SEAT bill is yet to make progress because it continues to receive strong resistance from a Parliament that’s largely dominated by men. This drives us to think that our campaigns to ensure that women are given the space to exhibit their God-given potential is just another ploy cooked up to make us look good in the eyes of the international community when, in actuality, our words and actions are two disagreeing rivals.
When President Kabba declared the “war done,” several reforms were brought into our governance systems, including ushering in an era where women could be included in decision-making processes and be elected into elective positions. At that time, several investments were directed to women’s and girls’ empowerment programs. One of such programs was girls’ free education which started in the north of the country.
There was a policy that exclude girls from paying school fees. The reason is that women do not have the needed resources to compete for several things. Society, religion, and other traditional practices reduced them to being powerless tools. Anybody anywhere can take them for a cheap and piffle ride. So with the girls’ free education, we thought several learnings could have been obtained. With the huge resources pushed into the gender parity campaigns, some of us began to go wild with tons of joy, hoping that these campaigns could have shaped the way we act, react, and respond to issues bordering women’s development. We hold the firm belief that by now, resources should be skewed toward women’s empowerment.
This is not the case. Parliament, which we expect to serve as a living example of institutions that would bring in programs to push women forward or pass affirmative laws, is now refusing to pass the safe seat bill. The SAFE SEAT BILL is a bill that allows political parties to allocate 30% of parliamentary seats to women. Because they know this could be a breakthrough for women, they are yet to pass it. In their speeches, they are beautiful as the word. But their actions are complete definitions of the ancient man who existed with little knowledge about laws, considerations, or regard for women’s rights. We cannot continue to dwell in times of falsity. Pretending to be wheelers, pullers, and drivers of women’s rights when there is no commitment to action.
The refusal to pass into law this bill is surrounded by key determinants, but one that stands tall among them is that if they allow this bill to be enacted, many of them will not get their seats back. Because their parties might take their symbols and allocate them to women. For this reason, every time this bill is brought in, it receives no support.
Finally, I want to use this opportunity to call on all women’s rights campaigners. I know our society is patriarchal, but that shouldn’t impede achieving the bigger picture. Let’s resuscitate and revitalize our actions. Let’s have tailored messages. Let’s knock on the doors of international partners.