Kaduna State Government has been rated overall best in gender equity and social inclusion in northern Nigeria and second in the country, owing to policies and laws that promote equity, inclusion and equal opportunity for all.
The rating was revealed at a two-day consultative meeting and capacity building workshop organised by Women Connect Initiative (WCI) and the Gender Policy Unit of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with support from RiseUp.
Presenting the research findings, Mr Timothy Elisha noted that Kaduna is the most sensitive state in terms of its distribution of resources and opportunities across the different sectors, adding that ‘‘women in the state are better positioned to achieve their potentials under the current administration.’’
Mr Elisha disclosed that before the coming of this administration, Kaduna state had a long history of poor female representation both at elective and appointive positions across the three arms of government.
‘‘From our study, the state has had less than 16 women representation into elective positions within the last 20 years and this record has been the best in the entire region.
‘‘However, since the swearing-in of Governor El-Rufai’s government, women have been adequately represented in appointive positions across diverse sectors in the state making Kaduna state the second-best after Lagos state,’’ he said.
A senior lecturer with the Department of Local Government and Policy Development ABU, Zaria, Prof Muhammad Kabir Isa, advised the state government to sustain the current achievements through the review of the Kaduna State Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (KADGESI) policy.
‘Indeed, Kaduna state is the only state in northern Nigeria with a gender equity and social inclusion policy. This makes the governor the most gender-friendly governor in our region.
The Coordinator of Gender Policy Unit, ABU, Zaria, Prof Eugenia Akpa, also commended the Kaduna State Government for enacting relevant policies and laws to create equal opportunities for both men and women in the state.
‘’Within the next 8 to 10 years, Kaduna women are projected to occupy at least 25% elective positions in governance while also leading the health and education sectors,’’ she noted.
Program Director of Women Connect Initiative (WCI), Hajiya Murjanatu Suleiman-Shika, called on civil society organizations to join hands with the State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development to commit resources to review the GESI policy.