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DELSU Don, Otite, Decries Marginalization Of Women

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DELSU Don, Otite, Decries Marginalization Of Women

By Ben Nwanne

The Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Delta State University, (DELSU) Abraka, Professor Atare Otite has strongly criticized the existence of political, socio-cultural structures which encourage the marginalization of women in Delta State and the country at large.

Professor Otite was speaking yesterday at the 93rd in the series of inaugural lectures of the University entitled ‘’Gender Disparity in the formulation and implementation of Policies: Are Women actually marginalized?’’ in which he decried the marginalization of women despite their huge contributions to national and global development.

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Citing the 1991 population census, Professor Otite noted that the number of Nigerian Women was put at 44 million which was about 50% of the population but ‘increased tremendously’ in 2017, but regretted that women have continued to receive the short end of the stick in national affairs.

In his words, ‘’women have a sizeable share of this population, yet they are marginalized in political appointments and wealth creation in the country, especially in Delta State. As a result, achieving the Beijing Declaration of 1995’s, 35% Affirmative Action of the United Nations for Women in politics is difficult’’.

Professor Otite, who received massive support from his kith and kin, painted a picture of all-round marginalization of women, especially in political appointments.

He stated that in the current Delta State House of Assembly, the picture of the marginalization of women was not different from the past.

‘’We have only three women, which includes , the Clerk of the House, Mrs Lyna Aliya Ocholor; Hon. (Evang) Princess Pat Ajudua (Oshimili North) and Hon. Erhiatake Ibori – Suena (Ethiope East)’’, he said.

Deploying statistics to drive in his point, the Professor of Development and Gender Studies in the Department of Political Science, stated that only six women featured on the Delta State Executive Council (2021) out of 29 members, representing about 20%.

He noted that the Okowa – led administration attempted to bridge the gap between men and women by appointing a good number of women into Extra-ministerial Departments/Statutory positions.

Recalling the immense contributions of women to development, Professor Otite noted that colonialism reinforced women marginalization as he presented a catalogue of women achievers to include Professor Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a two-time Minister of Finance in Nigeria and currently, the first female and African to be appointed Director – General of World Trade Organization (WTO); Late Professor Grace Alele-Williams and Professor Lilian Salami, the past and present Vice-Chancellors of University of Benin, Benin City respectively; Professor Bolanle Awe, a one time Director of the Institute of African Studies at the University of lbadan, among other distinguished women.

In the banking sector, he identified such persons as Ibukun Awosika, a former Chairman of First bank of Nigeria Plc; Mrs Osaretin Dumerin, Chairman of GTBank, Miriam Chidiebede Olusanya, the first female managing director and chief excecutive officer, GTBank; Folorunso Alakija, the billionaire oil magnate and entrepreneur extraordinaire, among others.

He also cited the judiciary where such women as Hon. Justice Mary Odili, retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon. Zainab Bulkachuwa, President of the Court of Appeal and Hon. Justice Aluma Mariam Muktar, retired first female Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Hon. Justice Roseline Bozimo, former Chief Judge of Delta State, among other distinguished legal luminaries.

Professor Otite noted that ‘’despite the patriarchal system practised and other factors that contributed to the marginalization of women in terms of wealth/capital creation, women are on their own major obstacles to women’s wealth creation in the state’’.

He advocated active women involvement in politics, supporting the position of Her Royal majesty Obi Martha Dunkwu who espoused the position at the maiden submit of women in Leadership and Development at the Delta State University Abraka held in 2021.

While admitting that women are constrained by finance, he suggested a strong coordinated feminist movement that could mitigate the lack of political party effectiveness in increasing women’s political participation.

He also advocated that policies that would promote women’s right to participate in politics should be put in place to protect women against all forms of sexual harassment and violence both within and outside the family, and urged the women folk to learn to like themselves and give the necessary assistance to their own in political circles.

Speaking at the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Egwunyenga remarked that the inaugural lecturer was well equipped and prepared for his lecture, commending him for the depth of his discourse.

A Professor of Parasitology and Entomology and public health consultant joked that it was impossible to marginalize women, given their immense powers while citing Chinweizu’s controversial book ‘’The Anatomy of Female Power’’ published decades ago.

He reiterated that DELSU is gender – sensitive, noting that the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) and the Registrar (the first female to occupy the position) are women.

While decorating the inaugural lecturer with the university honorary medal, the Vice-Chancellor, who is giving DELSU an enlightened and committed leadership, admitted him into the club of ‘senior professors of the university’.

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