Dr. Kema Chikwe
By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA—Former Aviation Minister, Dr. Kema Chikwe has decried what she called the failure of Nigerian universities to accord priority to Women and Gender studies, saying the development is largely to blame for the inability of majority of the women to realize their potentials. Dr. Chikwe stated this at the inaugural conference and official launch of Women Leadership Institute (WLI), at the National Universities Commission (NUC) auditorium, Abuja.
Delivering her opening remarks, founder/chairperson of WLI, Dr. Kema Chikwe lamented increasing obstacles on the path of the woman to conquer her fears, noting that until institutional, economic, cultural and political impediments were cast away; the road to national reawakening would continue to be a long one.
The former ambassador of Nigeria to Ireland also called for an elaborate legislative agenda to improve the cause of the woman in her quest to use her potentials for the betterment of the nation and the society at large.
According to her, “So far in Africa and in particular reference to Nigeria, no university offers a degree or diploma in Women/Gender Studies which would have essentially helped to neutralise the perception of African societies about women. At best, Women/Gender Studies are subsumed under social sciences.
“The Diploma earned at WLI will go a long way to introducing a new strategy for overcoming the contemporary challenges of women leadership posed by discrimination of any form and thereby acclaiming the assertion that in future, there will be no female leaders; there will just be leaders.”
The WLI founder called on the 8th Assembly not to relent until the passage of the women empowerment bill now before the federal parliament. In her words, “Only last year in Nigeria, the bill on women could not pass at the National Assembly. The passage of this wholesome bill is a challenge not only to Nigerian women but also the society at large who must be united in action and consistent in creating more effective strategies to give women, who constitute more than 50 per cent of Nigerian population, their rightful place in leadership positions,” adding that despite the delay, all hope was not lost.
“There is yet a window,” she continued, “to pass that bill especially when the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu while addressing women in parliament recently, lamented that Nigeria ranked 168th in parliament in the index of women development, referring to the situation as abysmal for women representation in governance in Nigeria.”