NGO mobilises women for political office, wants Nigeria to emulate other African country
The Alliance for Africa, a non-governmental organisation, has called on the Nigerian government to take a cue from other African countries in addressing the poor representation of women in political leadership.
Ms Iheoma Obibi, Executive Director, Alliance for Africa, said this while addressing journalists on the sideline of a workshop on the full implementation of 35 per cent affirmative action in public governance in Enugu on June 10.
She also urged the National Assembly to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill which supports equal participation and representation of women and men in decision making processes.
Obibi called on the federal government to prevail on the political parties to bridge the gender gap by mainstreaming gender in their internal party policies.
She also urged the government to promote gender equality in the political sphere and in decision-making processes at local and national levels.
The executive director also urged the government to demonstrate a clear road map of implementing and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the one on gender equality.
She said that the organisation was bothered that as the 2019 general elections approached, the present political dispensation had the lowest representation of women in public office.
“Nigeria as a member of the United Nations, signed and ratified various relevant international instruments, treaties and conventions without reservation.
“These instruments have always emphasised that member nations put in place all the necessary mechanisms needed to eliminate gender discriminations, ensure equality and human dignity to all, men and women.
“In Nigeria, no woman has ever become a president or a vice- president.
“The only first female governor in Nigeria, Dame Virgy Etiaba, only functioned as Anambra State governor for six months,’’ she said.
She cited some African countries where their governments had deployed the various instruments to shore up women participation in politics, saying that it was no longer an issue in some of them.
“The Alliance for Africa recognizes the support and contributions of key stakeholders who are insisting on affirmative action toward equal representation of women and men public life necessary for an effective/functional democracy and the advancement of women’s rights s a central issue to achieve political, economic and social justice.
“We hereby call on the Nigerian government to emulate other African countries that have successfully addressed the under representation of women in political leadership immediately,’’ Ms Obibi added.
No fewer than 28 elected or appointed female politicians from the five South East states are featuring in the two-day workshop in which they are encouraged to nurture and mentor younger women to participate in active politics in their areas. ##