By Deborah Hassan
365Daily – The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, has applauded the Parliament of Somalia over its high representation of women in the legislature.
At least 30 percent of seats on the Somalian Parliament are legally reserved for women.
According to a statement issued by the Special Assistant to the Senate President on Media and Communications, Anietie Ekong, on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, Akpabio made the commendation when a delegation of female Senators and members of the House of the People of the Republic of Somalia visited the Senate.
Saying Nigeria can learn from Somalia in giving the female gender opportunities in appointive and elective positions, Akpabio said Nigeria desires to have more female representation in the Parliament and other popositions.
He added, “We used 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 parliamentarians said Africans can work towards integration by removing language barriers.
“Though colonialism divided Africa in terms of territories and further divided us in terms of 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 realising 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, Ireti Kingibe, in her remarks, said the Nigerian Senate was happy to receive their Somalian counterparts, adding that the Nigerian Parliament can do better in terms of female representation.
Leader of the Somalian Parliament delegation and Senate 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 her, “Somalia is a growing democracy and with this opportunity, we will improve our knowledge of democratic participation.”