35% affirmative action for women not yet realised in Nigeria — stakeholders

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From Left: Mr Mutiu Agboke, Oyo State Resident Electoral Commission, Mrs Toun Sonaiya, CEO, Women Radio, Mrs Mufuliat Fijabi, CEO, The Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund and Prof Sabit Olagoke, Founder, Shafahudeen Islamic Movement at a women interactive forum in Ibadan
From Left: Mr Mutiu Agboke, Oyo State Resident Electoral Commission, Mrs Toun Sonaiya, CEO, Women Radio, Mrs Mufuliat Fijabi, CEO, The Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund and Prof Sabit Olagoke, Founder, Shafahudeen Islamic Movement at a women interactive forum in Ibadan

Some stakeholders say the 35 per cent affirmative action for women which guarantees their participation in governance and decision-making has not been realised in Nigeria.

They spoke at a forum tagged: “Interface with Stakeholders on Institutionalising Anti-Corruption and Accountability’’ in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders include representatives of political parties, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC), and the Independent and Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Others are the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) among others.

NAN reports that the forum was organised by the Nigeria Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF) in partnership with Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), supported by MacArthur Foundation.

Mrs Mufuliat Fijabi, the Chief Executive Officer of NWTF lamented the low representation of women in government at all levels, saying most states and political parties in the country were culpable.

“As Ethiopia makes history with its first female president and a 50-50 male and female cabinet, Nigeria has never recorded more than 11per cent representation of women in elective position and this was in 2007.

“Presently, there are only about 5.6 per cent of women in elective positions at the national parliament. Some Houses of Assembly do not have women at all.

“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,’’ she said.

She decried the appointment of men to take charge of women affairs, wondering how such person would deal with issues that affect women and children.

“For instance, how will a man handle issues of maternal mortality? It is very good and professional to have women who go through the process to bring their inputs into this kind of decision processes.’’

Fijabi called on the government and citizens to deplore political will on gender issues by demanding a level playing field for women to attain decision-making positions.

The NWTF said lack of accountability and corruption was a contributory factor to gender inequality as well as non-inclusive nature of Nigeria’s democracy, saying such called for concern.

She said that the African Human Development of 2016 approximated that a percent increase in gender inequality reduces a country’s human development index by 0.75 per cent.

Mr Mutiu Agboke, Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, urged political parties to chart the course of women by nominating them into elective positions and support them to victory.

Agboke noted that religious tendencies in the country had compelled women to be silent, saying that most messages preached by clerics were abstracts.

He said that it was the responsibility of stakeholders to ensure more women were encouraged to participate in electioneering process.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gender policy seeks to contribute to strengthening gender equality in the commission and its relationship with other stakeholders.

“This policy also ensures due attention to gender considerations and promotion of equity as well as equality between women and men in the electoral process,’’ he said.

Prof. Sabit Olagoke, the founder of Shaffaudeen in Islam, urged religious leaders to groom their followers on the need to include women in leadership process.

“The advocacy for gender balancing is entrenched in the scriptures, both the holy Bible and Quran,’’ he said.

Mrs Amaechi Obi, the State Vice Chairman of CAN, Women Wing, commended NWTF for organising the programme.

She said the programme would enlighten women on the need to participate actively in democratic process and nation building. (NAN)

– Nov. 2, 2018 @ 18:25 GMT |

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