By Michael Oche,
An election observer group, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has said it is unacceptable that the number of women in political activities keeps dwindling except as cheer leaders and welfare whereas the men take the front seat.
Speaking in Abuja at an event to commemorate the 2021 International Women’s Day, CTA executive director, Faith Nwadishi said low participation of women in politics is as dangerous as any other ill against the society.
Nwadishi therefore called on the National Assembly to expeditiously pass the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill into law, stressing that this is long overdue.
She said in passing this law, the National Assembly should not see it as a token to women and girls but should ensure that the basic rights of women and girls are protected.
She said, “For instance, out of the 36 States, only 4 women are deputy governors. During 2019 election out of over 2900 women that contested the election only 57 were elected representing 3.8%.
“However, I must acknowledge the efforts of the Kogi State Governor His Excellency Yahya Bello for being the only governor who promised to support all female deputy Chairmanship candidates in the entire Local Government Area of Kogi State and kept to that promise.
“He is the only state governor with a female Aide De Camp (ADC) and has appointed more women in his government than any other state governor. This is good but we also expect that one day we shall have all female Council Chairmen with male deputies.”
The CTA executive director also called for the full implementation of the Nigerian gender policy and the 35% affirmation.
She lamented that the lopsided policies tramples upon the opportunities to rise to the apex of their professions, adding that the extractive industry is another sector where women are so marginalized and therefore make less impact as they are systematically shot out of the extractive resources.
Nwadishi commended INEC to have created a Gender Department and complimented with an operational Gender policy; headed by a Director and other security agencies that have also created Gender Desks with high-ranking officers heading them.
She said, “it is on record that amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many women and girls suffered violence. Women bear the brunt of both natural disasters, conflicts insurgency and all manners of cultural violence that impacts negatively on women and girls.”
Also speaking the head of Gender at INEC, Blessing Obidiegwu said Women participating in election is a human rights issue, emphasising that INEC is committed to bringing a level playing ground to allow more women participate in politics.
Speaking on the theme for the year “ChoseToChallenge, she said women should chose to challenge whatever is barring them from participating in politics, either violence or discrimination.
“They should to challenge inequality,” she said
She said the Commission is building the confidence of the women, by sensitising them on why they should get involved in politics.