The United Nations (UN) has scored Nigeria low in the area of women participation in politics.
The UN Women Representative to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ms. Beatrice Eyong, who spoke Wednesday in Abuja, at a one-day meeting of, “He for She” (a term for men who are supporting gender equality), organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), said in terms of women participation and representation in Africa, Nigeria was the least.
Speaking through the Programme Specialist, Desmond Osalobo, she said, “The women’s participation in politics in Nigeria is very appalling, and very unsatisfactory, and very, very unacceptable.
“Because if you look at the African region, Nigeria is one of the lowest countries as far as representation on the parliament is concerned.
“Nigeria is just 4.1 per cent in the parliament as we speak to the national parliament, while in other countries like Rwanda it is 67 per cent, Senegal is about 57 per cent. These are all countries with a very high level representation of women in parliament, but for Nigeria it is something that is very unacceptable.”
She listed factors responsible for the low women participation to include: patriarchy system in Africa, adding: “We’ve got societal beliefs, and religion has taken over and the men of course are dominant in the society.”
On the way forward, she said, “We support the media, we also support the political parties, building the capacity of women, and ensuring that women are able to compete effectively.
“We have also in one way or the other, provide a kind of both internal and external training to women, where they go outside to learn from other nations where they have been able to advance.
“We are training the young women known as a Young Women Academy, where if in future we want the young women that are interested in governance, to be able to jump into political parties and be able to change the narrative.
“We have met with the traditional rulers, we have met with the religious leaders, we have met with a media organisation, try to sensitise and mobilise all stakeholders and telling them the importance and benefits of women to be part of governance.”
The acting Director, Gender and Inclusivity, INEC, Mrs. Dorathy Bello, urged political parties to ensure they keep to the rules in their constitutions which they made by themselves.
Represented by the Deputy Director, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Division, INEC, Mrs. Ndidi Okafor, she urged the political parties to ensure they implement their own constitution or manifestos.
She noted that the commission was also doing a lot in terms of advocacy, reminding them to keep to the rules they gave to themselves.
“The commission is regularly meeting with political parties, pressing it on their leadership to ensure internal party democracy to ensure the inclusion of women.
“So the commission is constantly reminding them of the importance is also not just about the commission to people the media, civil society organisations jointly, we can all keep up and step up this advocacy, so that our country will be better,” she said.
The keynote speaker, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, regretted that, “the condition of women in Nigeria is so bad because, women are not involved in decision-making that directly affects their lives.”