ABWW Kudos to: America’s Robin Renee Sanders and Nigeria’s Josephine Anenih

Written With contributions from Paul Obi @ allAfrica.com

Women politicians in Africa are a rare sight. It is nice to see sisters doing it for themselves.

Considering the numerical strength of Nigerian women and the forth coming 2011 general elections, the First Lady, Patience Goodluck Jonathan and the outgoing US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Renee Sanders have insisted that come next election, government in collaboration with women groups in the country must ensure that 35% benchmark for women in elective positions is met. The women made the announcement at a gathering made up of women from across the 36 states of Nigeria, who were addressed by Josephine Anenih, the Nigerian minister of Women Affairs who said, “the time has come for Nigerian women to stand up their responsibilities”

Ms. Anenih was Born in Sokoto, Nigeria in 1948, she moved frequently as her father, since her a civil servant with the Public Works Department, served postings all over the country. She completed her secondary education at Queen’s College, Lagos.Studying Law, she received a B.Ed, LLB, and B.L. from the University of Ife (1974/75) and the University of Benin.

She was the chairperson of the Federation of Women Lawyers from 1994 to 2000, and was the first National Woman Leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from 1999-2005. She was a Special Adviser on Women Affairs to President Obasanjo until 2006.She co-founded the Women Foundation Nigeria, an organization to help Nigerian women exchange views on global women’s issues and to help empower women in politics. She is a member of the Gender Electoral and Constitutional Memoranda Committee, which aims to incorporate women’s perspectives in Nigeria’s Electoral Laws.

In agreement with Ms. Anenih the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Renee Sanders called on the women to emulate African-American women who in spite of suppression, fought hard to attained freedom. According to US envoy, “since Nigerian women constitute 75 million people, your numbers should make you seek for change, you should continue to work to be dynamic, to ensure that issues of health care, education and employment are tackled, you should be the agent for change’, Sanders charged. Prior to that she served as Ambassador to the Republic of Congo (2002-2005) and as Director for Public Diplomacy for Africa for the State Department (2000-2002). She served twice as the Director for Africa at the National Security Council at the White House (under former Presidents Bush 1988- 1989, and Clinton 1997-1999.); was the Special Assistant for Latin America, Africa, and International Crime for the Undersecretary for Political Affairs at the State Department (1996-1997); and served as the Chief of Staff and Senior Foreign Policy Advisor for a member of the House International Relations Committee – working on democracy, reconstruction and nation-building issues (1994-1996). Ambassador Sanders holds a Master of Art degree in International Relations and Africa Studies, and a Masters of Science degree in Communications and Journalism from Ohio University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Hampton University. It is great to see black women from around the the Diapora work on improving conditions for us all.

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