OrderPaperToday – As the National Assembly resumes from its recess to continue work on the amendment of the constitution, many Nigerians have kicked against the passage of a bill to create 111 additional parliamentary seats for women in the country.

They cited the consequence of increased cost of governance as reason, among others, for asking the legislature to drop the bill.

These formed part of the outcome of a poll conducted by OrderPaper Nigeria on Twitter during the week.

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The poll posed the question: “Do you support the creation of 111 additional special seats for women in the National Assembly as proposed in the ongoing constitution amendment?” Three options were provided for respondents.

The results showed that of the 307 persons who voted, 85.3% said they do not want additional seats for women; 10.1% approved of the bill; while 4.6% said the proposal is not ripe for the country at this time.

Poll on 111 seats for womenThe “Bill for an Act to Alter the Provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to create Additional Special Seats for Women in the Federal and States Legislative Houses; and for Related Matters,” was sponsored by Deputy Whip of the House of Representatives, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and 85 other members.

The proposed legislation, which was read the second time the 22nd of April, 2021, seeks to generate more seats for women in the Senate and the House of Representatives by amending Sections 48, 49, 71, 77, 91 and 117 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Onyejeocha, during debate on the bill, stated that it would solve the problem of “low representation of women in legislative houses by providing additional seats to be contested and filled by only women in both the National Assembly and the state Houses of Assembly as a temporary measure to promote women’s representation.”

She also noted that, if passed, a review of the constitutional provision would take place after four general election cycles or every 16 years for the purpose of “retaining, increasing or abolishing the temporary measure.”

Currently, only 20 seats are held by women in the National Assembly out of 360 House of Representatives seats and 109 Senate seats. This comprises 12 in the House and 8 in the Senate.

Apart from voting on the Twitter Poll, some respondents expressed themselves directly saying, among other things, that the adverse implications far outweigh whatever benefits targeted by the bill.

111 seatsIncidentally, most commentators who kicked against the bill are women who believe the political class can find other ways of ensuring diversity in governance and leadership.

Nimah on 111 seatsOthers also spoke of how the politicians will exploit the system to get their cronies, wives and girlfriends into office thereby denying women who truly mean to serve.

Yet some called for the experiment to be taken under the condition that it is made to prevent abuse.



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