BY Abiose Adelaja Adams
Leading women organizations in Lagos have called on the members of the state House of Assembly to support the candidacy of Funmilayo Tejuosho as Speaker.
The groups, including Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center, WARDC, Gender Dialogue Platform, Women Empowerment Unit of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Women Consortium of Nigeria, WOCON and Women Law and Development Center, WLDCN, signed a joint statement saying that the time is ripe for the state to show that it is progressive and women-friendly by ensuring the emergence of a woman as Speaker of the state assembly.
The executive director of WARDC, Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said, “We believe that Honourable Tejuoso is a top ranking female legislator, she has the desired educational qualification and background and is best suited for the job. Tejuoso has at several times support pro people initiatives and laws in the house. “
Another women group leader, Olabisi Olateru Olagbegi, the South west coordinator of women empowerment unit of the federal ministry of women affairs, and the executive director, WOCON stated that Tejuosho “is tested and experienced legislator.
“She was twice a principal officer and as such very familiar with the rules of the house being one of the oldest in the parliament”. She states further that ‘Lagos is ripe for a female speaker and it will amount to gender discrimination if Tejuosho does not emerge,” she observed.
Akiyode-Afolabi noted that Tejuosho is a former Deputy Speaker who in the past chaired several committees including the appropriation committee,
“In the twelve years she has spent in the parliament, Tejuoso has shown exemplary leadership quality, is known for her diligence at her parliamentary duties and has been a shining light of the assembly, she said further.
The executive director WLDCN, Kezaiah Awosika, also said that that apart from the need for the Lagos State House of Assembly to elect a member who has no questionable character to be able to deliver dividends of democracy with the new government, the parliament needs to live up to the spirit of change of its majority party representation, emphasizing that “the real change in Lagos is a female Speaker”
A male activist, Suraj Lanrewaju, lending support said “Lagos needs people with integrity to lead, Tejuoso was the deputy chief whip in 2003 and later became deputy speaker, she has integrity, honesty and the transparency needed to run the parliament and above all she has been trained on the job and has the desired experience to lead the house.”
Tejuoso is a former Deputy Speaker and fourth-time member of the house. The Lagos House of Assembly is expected to elect the principal officers this week before its inauguration.