Akpoti faults NCWS’s award on Kogi governor

A former governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), in the 2019 Kogi State governorship election, Natasha Akpoti, has faulted the award conferred on Governor Yahaya Bello by the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS).

Akpoti advised that NCWS owed Nigerians explanations on what informed the award in the first instance or strip Bello of same in the interest of what the women group stands for.

The NCWS in collaboration with Global Gold Consult had on Saturday, January 16, conferred the award on Governor Bello as the most gender-sensitive governor in Nigeria. 

Governor Bello was decorated as a “HE 4 SHE” of Nigerian women, which bestowed on him the honour of a goodwill ambassador. 

The organisers said that Bello’s nomination was “in recognition of the purposeful and conscious effort of his government to place women in sensitive and strategic positions in the governance structure of Kogi State”.

But Akpoti, in a statement on Sunday, faulted the award, which she said failed to take into cognisance the violence which characterised the 2019 governorship election in Kogi State in which Bello, as the incumbent and candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), unleashed state apparatus against her and other female opposition voices in the state.

The SDP stalwart stated that the NCWS could not have been ignorant of the undemocratic under dealings and violence which marred the 2019 Huber poll in Kogi State as reported by many national and international observers, to have conferred an award on a principal actor like Governor Bello.

According to her, using all leadership parameters, “Kogi under Yahaya Bello is the most female-unfriendly state in Nigeria as there is no female elected local government chairman, House of Assembly, and National Assembly member. All levels of elective positions are occupied by men. 

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“How has Bello advanced the interests of women of Kogi State and Nigeria that got him a “He 4 She” recognition? How have Bello’s actions inspired young girls to become leaders and patriotic citizens? Let’s not forget too easily that Bello’s currently serving commissioner for water resources Abdulmumin Danga is facing prosecution charges on rape and assault on Elizabeth Oyeniyi while Bello refused to suspend the commissioner pending the determination of the criminal case against him.”

She reminded the NCWS that the “He-For-She” is a solidarity movement started by the United Nations to recognise men who promote the principles of gender equality politically, socially and economically, and wondered what qualified Bello for such a prestigious honour when he runs a male-exclusive administration from the local council to the State House of Assembly and all the National Assembly positions.

Akpoti who queried why the NCWS  did not intervene when there were alleged cases of violation of female rights in Kogi State, including the rape of Elizabeth Oyeniyi, among others, lambasted the women group for giving the award to the governor.

“The National Council for Women Societies should bury their heads in shame. I am asking the National Council of Women why were they silent on the rape case of Elizabeth Oyeniyi in Kogi State and other cases of women violence in the state. Why were they silent during the numerous attacks on me and other female politicians  in In Kogi State?” 

Akpoti also asked the leadership of the women group to tell the nation the steps it took to seek justice for the PDP woman leader in Kogi who was burnt alive in the wake of the 2019 guber poll and asked if Dr Shoda ever paid a courtesy visit to the family of late Mrs Salome Abuh or tried soothing the pains of late Salome’s children? 

“Dr Laraba Shoda should open her ears to the cries and concerns of women of Nigeria and champion issues that concern them. Issues that should promote a fairer ecosystem for political and social growth for women and a healthy environment for young girls to thrive should be NCWS’s watchword,” she counselled. 

According to her, if NCWS should know that any action in any direction by the leadership was deemed an affirmation of all Nigerian women, “recognising Yahaya Bello as a HeForShe and awarding him as the ‘Most Gender Sensitive Governor in Nigeria’ goes against the good conscience of what NCWS stands for and is a great insult to the women of Kogi state and Nigeria at large. For this, I call on NCWS to either convince the good public on proven reasons for such an award or strip Yahaya Bello off it.”


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