This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Abaribe Warns Against Lopsided Gender Parity

In as much as affirmative action and gender parity remains a critical factor in Nigeria's economic development and poverty eradication, Senator Enyinnaya Abiribe has called for a balancing act in its implementation in order to achieve the desired result.

He made the call at the weekend in a lecture he delivered at the foundation laying ceremony/official inauguration of the Centre for Gender and Child Development (CGCD), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture (MOUAU), Umudike, saying merit and competitive spirit should never be sacrificed at the altar of gender parity.

"People should not be allowed to take opportunities they are not qualified to have merely so that government will be seen to shore up a disadvantaged group," he said, adding, 'there must be some additional criteria that must stricture the application of affirmative action".

Senator Abaribe, in the lecture entitled "35 Percent Affirmative Growth and the Impact on Economic Growth of Nigeria, " recalled the tremendous efforts Nigerian women have made over the years to extricate themselves from economic and social discrimination, noting that significant progress has been made.

But the senator, who represents Abia South and heads the Senate Committee on Information, Media and Publicity, argued that Affirmative Action was a good agenda for correcting a defect in gender parity but there was need "to know when to adjust the advantage" to avoid a backlash.

"Let us go home to ensure that we do not by Affirmative Action destroy family life by altering role responsibilities defined by moral codes that hold the fabrics of our society together. We must go home to ensure that we do not by Affirmative Action import and use hook line and sinker adulterated western values to the detriment of time-tested African virtues," he said.

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