The House Committee on Electoral and Political Matters has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister what it described as gender ‘insensitive’ political parties as the country approaches the 2019 general elections.
The committee quoted section 40 of the 1999 constitution as amended, which guarantees that every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, the person may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his or her interest, to backup their claims.
It expressed worry that political interests in Nigeria have been tilted towards men, adding that Nigeria has been left behind in the African continent when it comes to women participation.
Speaking at the ongoing workshop on INEC’s role in enhancing women’s participation in the electoral process, tagged: “Creating Synergy Amongst Women Politicians, Scholars and Activists,” the chairperson of the House Committee on Electoral and Political Party Matters, Hon Aisha Jibril Dukku, said women might boycott future elections if the electoral umpire, political parties, and stakeholders failed to implement gender sensitive policies.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should adopt the policy of deregistering any political party that failed to adhere with the gender policy,” she said, insisting that women might boycott future elections because Nigeria’s politics is male dominated.
According to her, women participation in politics should be seen as performing their human right adding that it will be meaningful if the process is just.
“Political interest is tilted towards men,” she said adding that it might cause a revolt in future elections since men cannot take care of women’s needs adequately on electoral matters.
She decried decrease in the number of women participating in Nigerian politics, adding that they are the least in Africa.
“Political participation as one of the key elements of democracy provides the justification for inclusion of maginalised groups such as women and youth in electoral competition. Participation of women in politics will be meaningful only if the process is just, fair, permissive and a level playing ground is guaranteed for possible ascension of women politically,” she said.
She said: “The National Assembly in 1999 had three (2.8 per cent) female senators and 12 (3.3 per cent) House of representatives members. In 2003, four (3.7 per cent) female senators and 21 (5.8 per cent) female members of the House of Representatives were elected into the Assembly. In 2007 the National Assembly had nine (8.3 per cent) female senators and 26 (7.2 per cent) female members of the House of Representatives. In 2011, the National Assembly had seven (6.4 per cent) female senators and 25 (6.9 percent) female House of Representatives. In 2015, the National Assembly had seven (6.4 per cent) female Senators and 22 (5.2 per cent) female members in the House of Representatives, which represents Nigeria as gender insensitive country when it comes to women political participation.”
She advocated that Nigeria should adopt the Senegal model where the deputy to a candidate in any elective position comes from the opposite sex.
“Today, five out of the top 15 countries with the highest number of female representation are African. Rwanda (64per cent), Senegal (42.7 per cent), South Africa (41.7 per cent), Namibia (41.3 per cent) and Mozambique (39.6 per cent). It is clear that Nigeria is far behind in female representation in Africa. The Independent National Electoral Commission should adopt the policy of deregistrating any political party that failed to adhere with the gender policy,” Aisha recommended.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Mahmood Yakubu who also lend his voice in the debate, said countries with higher levels of women’s participation and leadership in political and electoral processes tend to be more inclusive, responsive, egalitarian and democratic.
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