Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, says the rejection of five gender bills by the National Assembly is a major setback for Nigeria’s democratic advancement.
The Rivers State Governor said this at the inauguration of Ahoada -Odiemerenyi -Ihugbogo -Odieke Road project in Ahoada-East Local Government Area on Friday.
He said women, including the wife of the President and Vice President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari and Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, had approached, lobbied and secured the promise of members of the National Assembly to act in their favour.
But rather than do so, the lawmakers voted against the bills.
“Look at what happened in the National Assembly. I watched it and I laughed when I saw our wives, and women were disgraced. It has never happened anywhere. I saw wives of the president and vice president go to the plenary session of the National Assembly to lobby them, to please help them.
“They (National Assembly) promised them. The party (APC) promised them. The same party that promised them failed them.”
Governor Wike said such will not be allowed to happen in progressive societies that have continues to harness the potential of women in the advancement of their countries.
He blamed the rejection of the bills on President Muhammadu Buhari’s lack of interest in allowing for affirmative action for women in political administration in the country.
“APC controls the National Assembly. If Mr. President was in support of this, there is no way they will disgrace women in the National Assembly. Such shameful thing.”
Speaking further, the Governor noted that the situation in his state is different because women are an integral part of the process of political administration of the state.
He explained that there are 23 female vice chairmen of local governments in Rivers State, and at least five female councilors in each local government area.
According to him, this is as a result of deliberate policy implemented by the Peoples Democratic Party leadership in the state.
“Look, in this State, as a matter of policy, we said we are going to do this and we agreed that if women cannot be chairman of councils, they cannot be refused the position of vice-chairmen.
“Today, in this State, all 23 vice-chairmen are women. Today, in this State, we said we must have five women as councilors in each local government. It is a matter of policy and It is leadership,” he said.
Speaking further Governor Wike said he has used politics and governance to better the socio-economic conditions of communities and make the people happy.
The Rivers State governor said sustaining national development and providing a thriving economy for Nigerians is not difficult to attain across the country.
He said a lack of passion in leadership to improve the life of the people, and tendency of the APC to inflict pains on Nigerians, inadvertently, creates the impression that governance is difficult.
For him, the sole aim of governance is to solve societal problems and ensure that the people are happy because of the improved social services that include development projects, delivered to them.
“There is nothing difficult in Nigeria. It is just because they want to punish the people. When people talk about Nigeria is lacking this, Nigeria is lacking that, I say it is because of the leadership.
“There is no passion for this country. They (APC) are not committed to the development of this country.”
Performing the inauguration of the 10.2km long road Ahoada -Odiemerenyi-Ihugbogo-Odieke Road project, former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi said Rivers State has a difficult terrain, and it takes courage and love to invest in such development endeavour to better life of rural dwellers.
He said just like the state, it is imperative for the PDP to take over power at the national level so that Nigerians will enjoy passionate leadership that is committed to their welfare.
Senator Makarfi, however, called for greater unity in the party and an undivided focus towards the return to power at the national level to reverse the failure of the APC.
Providing the description of the road, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi, said the Ahoada -Odiemerenyi -Ihugbogo -Odieke Road project is 10.2km long and 7.3m wide.
Tasie-Amadi explained that the road, which will benefit the many communities in Ahoada as it opens them up to three local government areas of the state.
“There will be improved access to local markets, health centres, educational facilities, public transportation etc.
“With the improved road access, more products will be available locally, and the number of local businesses will increase.
“The value of agricultural land will also increase significantly following the completion of this road. All these benefits put together will increase the net income of the targeted beneficiaries,” he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike who was a guest on Channels TV’s Politics Today later on Friday, also addressed other matters such as the issue of local government autonomy.