The President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio has commended the Parliament of Somalia for having a high number of female representation, saying Nigeria can learn from Somalia in giving the female gender opportunities in appointive and elective positions.
Senator Akpabio gave the commendation when a delegation of female Senators and members of the House of the People of the Republic of Somalia paid a working visit to the Nigerian Senate. At least 30 percent of seats on the Somalian parliament are legally reserved for women.
A statement by the Special Assistant to the Senate President on Media and Communication, Anietie Ekong quoted Senator Akpabio as expressing the desire of Nigeria to have more female representation in the parliament and other positions.
According to Senator Akpabio, “we use to have more female Senators in Nigeria than we currently have in the 10th Senate but one thing you should bear in mind is that for every female Senator you see here, there is one male candidate that failed.”
The Senate President whose speech was interpreted into Arabic for the Somalian parliamentariand said African can work towards integration by removing language barriers.
According to Senator Akpabio, “Though colonialism divided Africa in terms of territories and further divided us in terms languages we can encourage future generations of Africans to learn more than one language, a native language and one other African language. That way we can bond together realizing our common heritage and ancestry.
“I am convinced that no matter the difference in our parliaments, we share similar objectives of good governance and improvements in the living standards of Africans. We will like to see Africa without strife where peace and prosperity reigns,” Akpabio said.
Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, Senator Ireti Kingibe said the Nigerian Senate was happy to receive their Somalian counterparts adding that the Nigerian parliament can do better in terms of female representation.
Lesder of the Somalian Parliament delegation and Chief whip, Senator Zamzam Ibrahim Ali said the female parliamentarians from Somalia were in Nigeria to exchange knowledge and ideas knowing that Nigeria share similarities with Somalia in terms of culture and language diversity.
According to the Senator, “Somalia is a growing democracy and with this opportunity, we will improve our knowledge of democratic participation,” she said and thanked the UNFPA for facilitating the visit.