The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has called for an increase in political participation of women to deepen Nigeria’s democratic practice and development efforts.
Laing made the call while speaking at a forum themed, “Paving the Path: Forum for Women’s Participation in Political Leadership in Nigeria – Past, Present and Future”.
The two-day event (16 and 17 September) was organised by broad partnership led by the Office of the Speaker through the House Committee on Women Affairs in partnership with ElectHer, ActionAid and the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies.
Discussions at the forum focused on challenges, opportunities, solutions and the role that stakeholders can play to get more women elected at the 2023 Nigerian polls and beyond.
The High Commissioner noted that although women make up half of Nigeria’s population, in 2019, only 13 women were elected as members in the House of Representatives, and only 8 women were elected as Senators.
Reiterating the commitment of the UK to supporting initiatives to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy, High Commissioner Catriona Laing said that in the last five years, the UK has invested more than £50m in strengthening Nigeria’s democratic process.
The UK has provided long-standing support for efforts to increase the political participation of women in Nigeria. Through her Women in Politics (WiP) Project, which closed in 2020, the UK provided training and mentorship to female aspirants across the country in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.
Speaking at the forum, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing said: “The UK stands with the Government and people of Nigeria in its efforts to deepen the role women play in politics. Paving the Path for women’s participation in political leadership is a shared objective that we can all agree is overdue in Nigeria’s democratic journey. As Nigeria continues to progress its democratic journey, it is essential that it draws on the dynamic potential of its female population – half the population. Women’s political participation has profound positive and democratic impacts on the development of a country.”
The Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said: “Commitments made to advance women’s political participation will be fulfilled by the House of Representatives under my leadership”.
Michael Olugbode in Abuja