A coalition of over 50 women groups has issued a three days ultimatum to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State to nominate more women in his cabinet or face occupation of Government House as from Monday.
An open letter to the governor on Saturday, also sent to the Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly and Secretary to the State Government, insisted that more women in leadership is a prerequisite for sustainable democracy and development.
The letter was jointly signed by Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC); Ms. Kemi Asiwaju-Okeyondo, The Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative; Ms. Ireti Disu – Justice Development and Peace Commission and Mrs Doyin Ogunbiyi, Voice of Ogun Women.
According to the statement, the women are worried about the absence of women representation in the state.
“We are concerned about the absence of a sizeable number of women nominees for appointment as commissioners in the state. We believe that Your Excellency through these actions has failed to keep to your promise of ensuring gender equity through at least 35% inclusion of women in your government. We were surprised that out of 17 commissioners only two of the nominees are women.
“We kindly want to remind the Governor about the promises that the cabinet will comprise 50% women which your excellency, made in different fora in the presence of the Nigerian media.
“May we also remind the Governor about our open letter on the above subject on the 27th of July 2019 and subsequent protest by women in the state to the Governor’s office, where they were received by the Deputy Governor, HE, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele and the public assurances made to the mammoth crowd of women representatives.
“May we further remind Your Excellency, the Governor, of the critical role women played in ensuring your victory at the polls and also that; in the last four administrations; to wit, Former Governor Gbenga Daniel and Governor Ibikunle Amosun had 37% and 45% women respectively in the cabinet.
“The proposed number of nominees by the Governor is less than 12% and is totally unacceptable by any standards.
“We call on Your Excellency to emulate the Governor of Kwara State and other progressive Governors who had ensured, irrespective of all odds, to be inclusive in their nominations and appointments.
“It is our opinion that this current move by the governor has in every way questioned the integrity and the will to keep to promises and women see this as an affront. We believe that the Governor still has the opportunity to ensure compliance by increasing the number of women in his cabinet.
“We, therefore, give the Governor three days (ending on Sunday 15th) to consider our demand for more women nominees in the cabinet or we will be left with no other option than to lead a peaceful protest on Monday the 16th December 2019, to make our demands public. We remain committed to supporting the Governor but we will ensure we demand that he ‘leaves no one behind!”
Governor Abiodun indeed failed to live up to his promise to women in the state that they would constitute between 40 and 50 percent of his cabinet.
During a town hall meeting in Ilaro, Ogun West Senatorial District of the state in October, Gov Abiodun was quoted as saying: “I want to assure you that my cabinet will have, if not 50 per cent of women, it will have at least 40 per cent.
“You voted for me to give you good governance and we will ensure that it cuts across every nook and cranny of the state.”
The Governor’s statement generated reactions from the youth wing of the Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
They said the 50 per cent allocation to women would not be laudable, noting that the governor was silent concerning youth inclusion in his cabinet.