Group laments poor participation of women in politics

Chukwumerije Aja, Enugu


A non governmental organisation, Alliance for Africa, has lamented the poor representation of women in Nigeria’s political leadership, urging the government to take a cue from other African countries in addressing the issue.

Speaking at a workshop on the full implementation of 35% affirmative action in public governance in Enugu, Executive Director of Alliance for Africa, Ms Iheoma Obibi, urged the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency, pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill (GEOB) presently before them.

The Bill supports equal participation and representation of women and men in decision making processes.

Obibi called on the government to prevail on the political parties to bridge the gender gap by mainstreaming gender in their internal party policies.

Promote Gender Equality
She also urged the government to promote gender equality in the political sphere and in decision-making processes at local and national levels.

The Executive Director also urged the government to demonstrate a clear road map of implementing and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the one on gender equality.

The organisation was bothered that as the 2019 general elections approached, the present political dispensation had the lowest representation of women in public offices.

“Nigeria as a member of the United Nations, signed and ratified various relevant international instruments, treaties and conventions without reservation. These instruments have always emphasised that member nations put in place all the necessary mechanisms needed to eliminate gender discriminations, ensure equality and human dignity to all, men and women.

“In Nigeria, no woman has ever become a president or a vice president. The only first female governor in Nigeria, Dame Virgy Etiaba, only functioned in Anambra State governor for six months,’’ she said.

Women Participation
She cited some African countries where their governments had deployed the various instruments to shore up women participation in politics, saying that it was no longer an issue in some of them.

“The Alliance for Africa recognises the support and contributions of key stakeholders who are insisting on affirmative action toward equal representation of women and men public life necessary for an effective/functional democracy and the advancement of women’s rights s a central issue to achieve political, economic and social justice.

“We hereby call on the Nigerian government to emulate other African countries that have successfully addressed the under representation of women in political leadership immediately,’’ Ms Obibi added.

No fewer than 28 elected or appointed female politicians from the five South East states are featuring in the two-day workshop in which they were encouraged to nurture and mentor younger women to participate in active politics in their areas.

Confidence Okwuchi