President Muhammadu Buhari has told the female members of the state Houses of Assembly nationwide that only a military dictator can fulfill their request to compulsorily have one out of three senators produced by each state of the federation to be a woman.
The President said this on Friday when members of the Conference of Nigeria Female Parliamentarians visited him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, a former military dictator, ruled Nigeria between 1983 and 1985. He has now turned democrat, making three attempts to become a democratically elected President until his eventual success in the 2015 polls.
The women also urged the President to consider picking a female running mate for the 2019 presidential election.
They also demanded that three out of nine members of the House of Representatives from each state should be a woman.
The leader of the delegation, Mrs. Elizabeth Ative, made the demands on behalf of her colleagues.
Ative said, “Currently, many African and European nations are daily finding ways to include more women in governance.
“Some have elected or appointed women as heads of state, prime ministers, heads of foreign ministries and other key positions of decision making.
“It will not be out of place, Your Excellency, for women to be given such opportunities in our dear nation. Even God created them male and female.”
In his response, Buhari jocularly told the women that their demand for a female vice president was a threat to the current holder of the office, Yemi Osinbajo.
The President’s statement apparently confirms that Buhari who has declared to run for 2019 election intends to pick his Vice Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate.
Osinbajo was not present at the meeting which Buhari had with the female lawmakers.
“It is a pity that the vice president is not here; but I am sure the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will brief him that his position is (being) threatened,” the President said
Buhari also said that he had no constitutional powers to grant the third request that a particular number of federal lawmakers produced by each state should be women.
He said only a military dictator could make such a pronouncement.
“I am not all that powerful (such) that when I talk, it becomes a decree. As I said, it is only the vice president that is threatened,” he said.
He, however, thanked the women for their support and urged them to continue, especially as he has declared his intention to seek a re-election.
He also said that there was no truth in their belief that men were bent on marginalising women in the forthcoming general elections.
Ative had earlier claimed that female politicians are being marginalised by men. She, however, commended Buhari for what he called his “integrity.”
Ative said, “The impunity with which the former handlers embezzled with reckless abandon has become a thing of the past in our country because of Your Excellency’s doggedness, courage, firmness and integrity in standing for truth, fairness and equity.
“Politically, women account for over 50 percent of voters in any election. They are very loyal politicians and do not cross-carpet. They wait patiently to cast their votes under the rain and even in the scorching sun.