As the constitution amendment process continues, Mrs Cecilia Dapoet, the only woman commissioner in the National Population Commission (NPC), has suggested that deputising roles be conceded to women.
"The constitution should make it compulsory that only women should be qualified to be vice president, deputy governor and deputy chairman of local government,’’ Dapoet said in Jos on Wednesday.
Dapoet was speaking at the joint public session organised by the three senatorial districts of Plateau to harmonise their positions on the issues to be amended in the nation’s Constitution.
"Conceding such positions automatically to women is the only way to give them a sense of total belonging; it is the only way to make them part of polity, especially since their male counterparts had always out-muscled them in the contest for offices.
"Clearly, many women do not have the financial strength to match the men and have often lost the bids for such elective offices, so an automatic clause conceding the deputising roles will correct that imbalance,’’ she said. She lamented that women had always failed to clinch strategic political offices as the men would "always overshadow them’’.
"Women have tried in vain to be elected to the offices of the president, as governors and local government council chairpersons; we cannot just leave out a major segment of the population just because of some artificial hurdles usually placed on their paths,’’ she said.
Dapoet said that such rule, if inserted in the constitution would make women more enthusiastic and supportive of democracy. Mrs Tabitha Aruku, the Special Adviser to Governor Jonah Jang on Women Mobilisation, said that men had always dominated the Nigerian polity without due regard to the womenfolk.
"We need an urgent change because such domination is discriminatory and must be corrected because Nigeria belongs to all. This constitutional amendment exercise is the time such anomaly to be corrected to give women some opportunity to serve this nation,’’ she said.
Aruku argued that having women to deputise the men in the high political offices would ensure balance and encourage them be more active in politics. "Making the women deputies to their male counterparts will also give them the opportunity to participate in the decision making processes,’’ she declared.