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Despite Aisha Buhari’s campaign, National Assembly rejects special seats for women

The National Assembly has rejected a constitutional bill seeking to create special seats for women in the federal legislative arm of government.

 

The bill failed after both chambers of the national assembly voted on it on Tuesday.

 

It is entitled ‘Bill For an Act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide for special seats for women in the National and State Houses of Assembly; and for related matters.’

 

While the house voted 81-208 to throw the bill out, the senate had a 30-58 vote.

 

The bill failed to get the lawmakers’ nod despite enjoying the backing of Aisha Buhari, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, and Dolapo Osinbajo, wife of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

The First Lady had last week attended plenary alongside Pauline Tallen, minister of women affairs, when the report on the legislation was considered. Dolapo Osinbajo was also present as the senate began voting on constitution amendments.

 

Speaking at the time, Senate President Ahmad Lawan had said: “The First Lady has been consistent in supporting gender inclusivity, we are all in support of gender sensitivity. In this senate, we have only two groups, the female senators and ‘he for shes’.

 

 “This is a report on the constitution review and the presence of the First Lady is to show her support for one of the bills on affirmative action for more female parliamentarians in both chambers, the senate and the house and the state legislatures.

 

“Your Excellency, I want to encourage you to continue with your advocacy.”

 

Both chambers of the national assembly voted on 68 constitutional bills on Tuesday.

 

The lawmakers used electronic voting and not the voice-vote method employed for the confirmation of nominees and the passing of bills and motions.

 

The senate president said only bills that are passed in both chambers will be sent to the state houses of assembly. 

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