Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan said on Friday in Abuja that women were pivotal to the future development of the country.
The president made the remark when he received the ‘Lifetime Icon Award’ for women's rights from the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) at a dinner on Thursday that ran into the early hours of Friday.
The dinner was organised to round off a rally on National Women's Day for Peace organised by the council.
“Indeed, Nigerian women have championed significant national social transformation programmes that have had an enduring impact on the well-being of the country.”
“You are all witnesses to the important and visible roles being played by women in this democratic dispensation by ensuring that democracy, not only strives but that value is added to the lives of our people.”
Jonathan said that the Nigerian woman was not only an important part of Nigeria’s history, but a pivot of future development as a nation.
“I strongly believe that we cannot accomplish the goals of our transformation agenda, if women, comprising about 50 per cent of our population, are not truly integrated into our development efforts and programmes.”
He pledged his continuous support for women and the use of their expertise should the need arose.
“This administration on its part has served ample notice that it will take every measure necessary that will bring on board the resources that women have to offer.”
“Our track record in this regard is very clear. As an ardent supporter and promoter of women empowerment, I accept with appreciation the Lifetime Icon Award that has been bestowed on me today,” he said.
In her address, the First lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, reiterated the call to the National Assembly to give legislative backing to the 35 per cent affirmative action on women representation in governance.
She urged legislators to ‘tear a leaf’ from other African countries by passing the Affirmative Action Bill into law.
“Our appeal to them is this: they can start from somewhere and nothing is too small or too big to do for Nigerian women”
“It is about the Nigerian woman and what she represents. It is about giving a voice to the Nigerian woman.”
“May I also appeal to our legislators to use the opportunity of the on-going constitutional amendment process to address all issues that adversely affect the status and interest of our women and children,” she said.