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December 05, 2003Good governance comes to the fore at people's forum. Delegates to the Commonwealth People's Forum were yesterday asked to consider drastic measures to institutionalise good governance and develop the role of women in government in the developing world.
Speaking in Abuja at the conference of civil society organisations that is running in parallel with CHOGM, two female participants spoke up in favour of the use of sanctions and affirmative action to hasten change.
The president of the National Council of Women's Societies of Nigeria Mrs Sarah Jibril, announced that a committee has been established to represent women who feel they currently lose elections because of their gender. "We will be sending a representation to the president to demand that women constitute 30 percent of all appointments made both at federal and state levels," she said.
Mrs Ad Abu Obe called for international bodies to consider using sanctions against administrations that simply pay lip-service to dealing with corruption. By way of an example, she pointed to the establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices Council in Nigeria, claiming that 'not a single big fish has been successfully prosecuted' since its establishment four years ago.
She said, "We in Nigeria live as though in a strange dream world, where laudable objectives are never attained. We have to start calling on the outside world to bail us out in earnest."
But perhaps the country is already waking up. President Obasanjo yesterday fired Labour and Productivity Minister, Mr. Husaini Akwanga, who is currently under investigation concerning the $214 million national identity card contract. Ironically, the Permanent Secretary to the ex-Minister, one of the seven senior figures arrested earlier this week, is female.