by Stanley Azuakola
What’s a good government initiative without a splash of controversy?
The Federal Government’s decision to restrict the second phase of the YOUWIN programme to females only is generating some ripples, as a young Nigerian lawyer, Timi Olagunju, has dragged President Goodluck Jonathan and six others to a Federal High Court, Ikeja, Lagos, over the matter.
In the case brought before the court on Monday, 17th September, 2012 with suit no: FHC/UCJ/C8/205/12, Olagunju asked the court to rule that none of the defendants have the right to restrict the YOUWIN programme on www.youwin.org.ng along gender lines contrary to Section 42 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and against the economic realities of the Nigerian population.
According to the plaintiff, the YOUWIN for women is discriminatory and contradicts the objectives of the program.
Apart from the president, the other parties joined in the suit are the attorney general of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Education, the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Ministry of Information, the National Youth Council of Nigeria.
The plaintiff who had in the past openly written and spoken in support of the YOUWIN initiative, wondered why the laudable initiative was converted from being all-inclusive to being discriminatory.
According to him, “What is clear from Section 42 of the1999 Nigerian constitution is that any executive or administrative action of the government shall observe and follow the following constitutional guidelines: ‘that a citizen of Nigeria of a particular sex shall not by reason that he is such a sex be subjected to restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other sex are not subject to.'”