The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) on Wednesday said that despite the 35 per cent affirmative action campaigns on the need for more women to be allowed participation in politics, 12 states especially those in the North-West still do not have female representatives in the current National Assembly.
Chief Executive Officer of NWTF, Mrs. Mufuliat Fijabi made this disclosure while speaking with journalists during an interface with stakeholders among whom were female candidates, religious leaders, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and members of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), on institutionalising anti-corruption and accountability, held in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.
At the event were: gubernatorial candidate of National Interest Party (NIP), Mrs. Bolanle Sarumi Aliyu, ADP Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ismail Akindele, former NAWOJ Chairperson in the state, Mrs. Kitan Adeagbo, representatives of various political parties in the state among others.
Fijabi, who said that the organisation and other development partners have over the years been clamouring for more women participation in politics, however said that the organisation was surprised to discover that “twelve out of the thirty six states of the federation did not elect women as lawmakers during the 2015 general elections”.
She said that only 24 out of the 36 states of the federation have women as representatives in the National Assembly, as she lamented that the percentage of women representation in the National Assembly was still very low, saying some geopolitical zones like the North-West are not represented by women in the current National Assembly.
Fijabi in her paper entitled ‘Anti-corruption and accountability from a gender perspective and as a tool for inclusive democratic process’ said, “The implementation of gender equality commitments at the national, regional and international levels is necessary to achieve the advancement of human rights principles, gender equity and women’s empowerment.
“As Ethiopia makes history with its first female president and a 50-50 male and female cabinet, Nigeria since has never recorded more than 11% representation of women in elective position and this was in 2007. Currently, there are only about 5.6% of women in elective positions at the national parliament.”
According to her, some Houses of Assembly do not have women at all, thereby appointing men to take charge of committee for women affairs to deal with issues that affect women and children.
She said, “For example, on the issue of maternal mortality, it would have been very good and professional to have women who go through the process to bring their inputs into this kind of decision processes.”
Fijabi, however, suggested a political will on the part of Nigeria as a government and the people as well as a level playing field for women to actively be in decision making positions.
Also speaking, the INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Oyo State, Barrister Mutiu Agboke, urged political parties to chart the course of women by nominating them into elective positions and as well support them to victory.
Agboke said, “Statistics however shows that in Nigeria, about 51 per cent of women are invoked in voting during elections. Despite this, women are still under represented both in elective and appointive positions. It is therefore the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that more women are encouraged to actually participate in the electioneering process.”