Friday, 23 October 2015

"Buhari is shy around the opposite sex" - Presidential aide explains less inclusion of women in cabinet

Some insight has been provided into President Muhammadu Buhari's aversion for women and the low number of female appointments since he assumed office, with his Senior Special Assistant, Political Matters, Mr. Gideon Samani, disclosing that the president did not include many women in his cabinet because he is "very shy dealing with the opposite sex".

Samani, who spoke on Thursday in Abuja at the fifth annual lecture series organised by the Change We Need in Nigeria group, said Buhari was used to interacting with men, but added quickly that the issue of gender inequality would be addressed by the president.

His statement contrasted with that of a ministerial nominee from Kogi State, Mr. James Ocholi (SAN), who in defence of the low representation of women in the federal cabinet, told the Senate on Thursday that Buhari had brought women into prominence, including the late Prof. Dora Akunyili.

According to Samani, "If you are close to Mr. President, you will know that he has the interest of the nation as his uppermost priority.  He did not intentionally marginalise women.

"It is just that Mr. President is shy with women. He has been interacting mostly with men. I can assure you that in the shortest time, this issue of gender inequality will be dealt with."

Samani, who was once a Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly and represented the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal at the event, said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost the last election to the All Progressives Congress (APC) due to insecurity, economic challenges and corruption in high places, thereby forcing the people to seek for change.
"The change we seek is real and not mere rhetoric. People must feel it, touch it, and experience it across the different strata of our society – in schools, churches, market places and at all our duty posts.

"It is not going to be business as usual. Many guilty Nigerians, of their own accord, have fled the country. Our public institutions are now working.

"The availability of fuel and the generation and distribution of power have improved ever since. All hands must be on deck for all of us to be these agents of change," he stated.

Speaking at the event, Senator Chris Anyanwu expressed disappointment with the appointments made so far by the president, stating that despite the fact that the number one citizen benefitted immensely from female voters, he has relegated them to the background.

She noted that so far, no woman from the South-east had been given a political appointment and that even the numbers of women in Buhari's government is a far cry from what obtains worldwide.

"Mr. President has benefitted so much from us. We don't expect him to draw us back. Women are able and strong to move this nation forward. Anything you do, you should know that the whole world is watching you.

"So far, women have been marginalised. No woman from the east has been given a political appointment and the ones he did were a far cry to what is obtainable anywhere in the world.

"We talk of change but we are afraid of the change. We have moved from the era where women clapped and danced for male politicians. President Buhari should be gender sensitive. He should open the door and let women rise up to their full potential," she said.

The senator added that gender equality should begin with parents by treating their children equally.

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