AKSG Towers On Gender Appointments As TUC Inaugurates Women Wing
The Akwa Ibom government has been ranked very high with over 150 women being either appointed or elected into various public offices across the state when compared with her counterparts around the country.
Wife of the state governor, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel, gave this indication as special guest of honour recently at the inauguration of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Women Commission and official opening of the TUC temporary secretariat in Uyo, the state capital.
Represented by the commissioner for agriculture and women affairs, Dr. Glory Edet, she enumerated the offices to cut across commissioners and special advisers in the State Executive Council; the State House of Assembly; permanent secretaries; local government council chairmen; local government legislature as well as boards and commissions in the state.
She thanked the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, for his role in facilitating the opportunities for women, describing him as gender-sensitive, adding that the quest for gender equality does not imply competition with the menfolk but according women more opportunities to serve.
The governor’s wife charged women in positions of responsibility to always live up to expectations so as not vitiate the chances of other women and pledged to carry the TUC women along in the scheme of things.
Delivering a paper on the theme of the event - Women in Governance and Labour Movement: The Akwa Ibom Experience, the guest lecturer, Ms Comfort Umanah, observed that women’s participation in Nigeria’s politics is still like a drop of water in the ocean, pointing out that whereas women constitute more than half of the voting population, yet they have not been accorded opportunity to enjoy political offices commensurate with their contributions over the years.
For instance, “In 2003, men occupied 912 elected offices as against women with 39 and in 2007, while men had 936 offices, women had 34, representing about 4.3 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively,” she said, adding that in Akwa Ibom State, the highest a woman has attained in the State Executive since the creation of the state in 1987 is that of a deputy governor (appointed in 2013), while the seven Houses of Assembly have only accorded women the position of a deputy speaker twice.
In his remark, the TUC national president, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, identified with the two events – the Women Commission and the state secretariat of TUC, describing both as being in line towards establishing the union’s presence in all the states of the federation. He however urged women to rediscover themselves with a view to changing the narrative of women’s participation in the labour movement and general participation in politics.
On her part, the national chairperson of TUC Women Commission, Comrade Afusatu Shaibu, who performed the inauguration, expressed delight that the menfolk were increasingly becoming aware of the indispensability of women in both politics and governance and urged women not to rest in their oars towards the struggle.
The head of civil service, Elder Effiong Essien, represented by the permanent secretary in his office, Mrs. Ekaette Ekanem, congratulated the state TUC on the two feats and pledged to stand by the union for best results, while the state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Sunny James, extolled the prompt efforts of the new leadership of the TUC in the state and urged them to sustain the spirit.
Earlier in his address, the State TUC chairman, Comrade Dominic Abang, had noted that prior to his assumption of office, the women commission was non-existent despite the enormous contributions of womwn towards the sustenance of labour in the state and described the inauguration as symbolic. “Our female comrades would be encouraged to increase their participation in issues of public welfare, promote the climate on which women would gain equality of opportunities and treatment, especially in leadership,” he said.
The TUC boss pledged to reposition the union by addressing all the challenges he inherited from his predecessors as he announced that the union’s temporary secretariat was located at #213B Nsikak Eduok Avenue, Uyo.
He used the medium to appreciate Governor Udom Emmanuel’s positive disposition to the labour movement and reiterated the union’s resolve to partner government for the growth of labour and the state at large.
High points of the event were the inauguration of the Women Commission, official commissioning of the TUC temporary secretariat by the head of service, and song presentation by the TUC women.
Those inaugurated were Comrade Emilia Attah – chairperson, Comrade Ekaette Umoh – Vice chairperson, Comrade Magi Emmanuel Udang – secretary, Comrade Abasiama Udoh – assistant secretary, Comrade Affiong Imoh Akpabio – financial secretary, Comrade Gloria Gibson – auditor, Comrade Blessing Lawrence – PRO and Comrade Margaret Ntafiong – ex-officio.