The appointment of 21 chairpersons for Kogi local governments by Governor Yahaya Bello is illegal and weakens efforts being made to ensure gender mainstreaming in leadership and decision-making positions.
The above assertion is according to the Emerge women leaders for Nigeria’s development, who have also criticised the United Nations Women in Nigeria for sending a commendation letter to the Kogi governor for appointing the women as Deputy Chairpersons instead of allowing them to run for election.
In a protest petition to UN Women, the group said the action of the governor irrespective of its political undertone does not deserve a commendation from a global body as the UN, since it negates Nigerian laws at the federal and state levels which provide for the election of Local Government Chairmen and their Deputies not their appointment.
The women leaders in development allege that celebrating the appointments, regardless of the gender involved, negates the work being done to ensure that elections at the LG level are credible and inclusive.
‘‘This is one of the issues we have with the UN Women’s letter, we cannot be advocating for credible elections at the LG level and simultaneously commending a governor who is stifling that process. For us, the act is illegal and therefore the UN Women’s letter is an endorsement of illegality.
‘‘The appointment of deputy LG Chairpersons rather than supporting them in running successfully in free and fair elections weakens the agenda on gender mainstreaming into leadership and decision-making positions. It also subverts democracy.
‘‘It will be difficult to see the UN Women in Nigeria as unbiased. To be clear, the Kogi Governor’s election took the life of a Woman- Mrs. Salome Acheju Abuh, a PDP Woman Leader who was burnt alive to death in her house after elections in Kogi State. Another woman in the person of Natasha Akpoti was viciously attacked and violated for seeking election as the Governor of Kogi State.
‘‘The Kogi Governor’s Commissioner allegedly raped a young woman in the presence of her 3-year-old son without the Governor reprimanding him. In fact he is still a commissioner in Kogi State.
‘‘There are many other human rights infringements on women in that state which we cannot recount here. In all these, the UN Women office in Nigeria never issued a press release to condemn the sad events nor offered a statement seeking justice for the women. We believe the UN Women’s commendation is faulty, questionable and unfortunate given the atrocities committed against women under the watch of the incumbent Governor of Kogi State.
The Emerge Women have now asked Mrs. Comfort Lamptey, the UN Women Representative to Nigeria to withdraw the alleged ill timed letter of commendation to Yahaya Bello as a mark of respect to all the women who were victims of political violence and injustice in the last Kogi State Governorship Elections.
The group said ‘‘an injustice to one woman, should be seen as an injustice to all’’.
Appointment of 21 chairpersons for Kogi LGs, illegal – Group blasts UN Women, Yahaya Bello