Obasanjo speaks on women being restricted to ‘the other room’


Former president, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday called for more participation of women in Nigeria’s politics, warning that no country can develops if its women were consigned to the kitchen and the other room.

Speaking as a keynote speaker at a public lecture organised by Initiative for Information, Arts and Culture Development in Nigeria in conjunction with the American Corner, at Ibadan, he stated that going by his experience in politics, women were more trustworthy in politics than men.

The former president pointed out that women’s incorruptible tendencies unlike their male counterpart has made them suitable for higher political offices in the country.

He apparently spoke against the backdrop of a statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari that his wife, Aisha belonged in the living room, the kitchen and the other room.

Obasanjo said, “No nation will become great when half of her population ends up only in the kitchen and the other room or get disproportionately discriminated against in the higher echelon of corporate management and in governance.”

He then urged women across the country to get themselves more involved in the political activities rather than leaving it for their men counterparts as the 2019 general elections draw nearer.

While justifying the need for more women in politics, the former president pointed out that a number of men have been prosecuted for several corruption cases compared to women.

He said, “Needless to say, woman constitute more than half of our population, in fact 52 percent, in Nigeria and their contributions to the Growth Domestic Products is great, not as professionals, but as entrepreneurs, especially in the so called informal sector as market women, traders, craftspeople, artisan and farmers, and even by doing unpaid care work at home as housewives.

“All hindrances to free and compulsory girl-child education in Nigeria for the first nine years of formal school such as culture, religion and so on should be stopped. Child marriage should be made unlawful. Girls must be able to receive formal education. from primary to tertiary.

“When you educate a girl child, you educate a family. We should not lose sight of the that our girls have equal right as boys to lead. We should continue to support them to speak up for themselves, to make decisions about their own lives and take the positions of power to which they are entitled. It is this realization that made me think that this gathering could not have come at a better time than now when everyone is looking forward to the politics of 2019.”

He therefore called on women to work for themselves to achieve their desire.

The former president said, “Our women should take a quick look at history and understand how they have marginalized themselves. Men are yours by birth or by association. Negotiate and seize the hour before they turn the table against you in 2019. This is my take: we should all rise from here and say to ourselves enough is enough.”

The theme of the event is: ‘My Understanding of Women’s Aspirations in Politics, Business and Nation Building’.

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