President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has pledged that his Administration will not rest on its oars over the economic and political empowerment of Nigerian women, but will do more before the expiration of its tenure to give women even greater access to elective offices and opportunities for wealth creation.
Speaking after being commended by the United Nations Under-Secretary and Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Michelle Bachelet for appointing women to very important positions in the Federal Government, in Abuja, on Thursday, January 10, President Jonathan said that he was determined to take women empowerment a step further by working to ensure that more women contest and win future elections in the country.
“We have done very well in terms of appointments and placement of women in positions of authority and we are still working on achieving a greater representation of women in elective offices. Let me assure you that we are committed to facilitating more successes by women in our next elections,” President Jonathan told Ms. Bachelet who is on an official visit to Nigeria.
President Jonathan also assured Ms. Bachelet who was the first female President of Chile that the Federal Government remains fully committed to taking Nigeria as far as is possible towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
Reaffirming his personal commitment to the accelerated reduction of maternal and infant mortality, the President said that he has directed that a comprehensive status report on Nigeria’s current standing on the achievement of the MDGs be produced with a view to identifying urgent actions that need to be taken to move the country rapidly towards their attainment.
Ms. Bachelet who was accompanied to the Presidential Villa by Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Joy Ogwu, recommended and endorsed the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund by Nigeria, saying that from her personal experience as President of her country, she had learnt that savings and investments made under such funds were very important for countries which rely on extractive industries.
She praised President Jonathan for having already done a lot to fulfill his campaign promises on the empowerment of Nigerian women, including the appointment of the first female Chief Justice of the Federation and female ministers for very important ministries such as Finance, Petroleum, Communications Technology, Education, Water Resources, Housing, Environment, Power and Defence.
The United Nations Women Executive Director thanked Nigeria for being one of the strongest political and financial supporters of her agency in Africa.
She also applauded President Jonathan’s efforts as co-Chair of the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children, and called for Nigeria’s support for the UN’s new initiative for the prevention of violence against women.