#IWD2019: What Nigerian Women Should Expect From Buhari’s 2nd Term

As the world marks the 2019 International Women’s Day today (March 8), Nigerian women have joined their counterpart all over the globe to echo the message of equal access to opportunities with men in the country.

Themed #BalanceforBetter, this year’s International Women’s Day aims to re-echo the need for gender equality, increased awareness on the discrimination against women and the importance to celebrate women’s achievement in different spheres of life.

Women in Nigeria have continually advocated for more inclusion in governance and political decision-making.

President Muhammadu Buhari had as part his campaign promises in 2015, pledged to implement Nigeria’s National Gender Policy which seeks to ensure that women have equal access to opportunities in different sectors of economy, especially in governance.

“As a father to a number of beautiful and promising young women, I should know what it means to want the very best for my daughters,” President Buhari had said while on the campaign trail for his first term in March 2015.

“I do not expect my daughters to live unfulfilled lives with their talents wasted or ignored and rendered second class citizens,” he said at a town hall meeting hosted in Lagos by the Director-General of his presidential campaign organisation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, in 2015.

Assuring Nigerian women of the implementation of the 2005 National Gender Policy if he’s elected president, Buhari had said: “Nigerian women have been promised for so long. I will not take your votes for granted.”

Nigerian women had hoped that in President Buhari’s first term, 35% of appointees would be women as enshrined in the National Gender Policy. The President, however, observed the policy mainly in the breach as only six of 37 members (16%) in his first cabinet were women.

Even though women in the country are looking with renewed interest at the composition of Buhari’s cabinet in the second term, the President appears not to have plans to scale up the implementation of the policy when making his appointment in his second term.

Speaking during a recent dinner hosted by his wife, Mrs Aisha Buhari, at the Presidential Villa Abuja to thank women and youths for their support towards his re-election, Buhari promised not to disappoint women in his second term but asked them not to celebrate yet because “I will protect my constituency too”.

The dinner was organised for the All Progressives Congress Youths and Women Presidential Campaign Council at the Old Banquet Hall inside the Presidential Villa.

The group had appealed for more representation of women and youth in the President’s next cabinet.

But responding to their request, President Buhari said only those with integrity and who have the interest of Nigeria at heart, will make his next cabinet.

“I assure you that I have listened on the representation made that my cabinet should include women and youth. Don’t celebrate it yet, I said I have listened to some of the representation made here. Well, I myself I am considering some of the old people and I will protect my constituency too,” the President had said.

“But I assure you that I will continue to have a team of people of integrity that are really concerned with Nigeria and Nigerians.

“We are working very hard to get the infrastructure in place, the roads, the rails so that Nigerians will mind their own businesses,” said Buhari.

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