Reserve Deputy Governor’s Positions For Women, CSOs tell FG

By Taiwo Ogunniyi

A coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) has lamented continued low level participation of Nigerian women in political leadership and governance, advocating that government should sign into law for the position of state deputy governor to be automatically reserved for women.

Speaking at the unveiling of fellows of the #SpaceForHer, a flagship programme of the Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI) in Ilorin on Saturday, the project coordinator, Ms. Tolulope Theresa Gbenjo, said that, “while females represent about half of Nigeria’s population, they occupy less than 10 per cent of political positions in the country”.

Ms. Gbenjo, who said that women’s participation in politics and governance is key to building a strong democracy and an inclusive society, added that since Nigeria returned to democratic rule over 20 years ago, “we are yet to produce a female governor through an election”.

She also said that despite large numbers and how much women vote during elections, “it is worrisome and quite unfortunate that women in Nigeria constitute a small percentage of people in political decision-making and leadership roles”.

The programme, that was organized in conjunction with the Global Youth Movement, also said that political parties should encourage and give room for active participation of women, rather than using them for campaigns only.

“The 35 per cent slot should be approved and used at the level of government for both political and appointive offices.

“There is a need for the creation of a safe and enabling environment that allows women to engage meaningfully in decision-making and take part in high-profile activities.

“The cost for forms of interest should be largely subsidized for female aspirants in all political parties.

“The Nigerian government should sign into law for the position of the state deputy governor to be automatically reserved for women.

“We are also calling on the National Assembly to reconsider all the gender bills that were rejected by the lawmakers during the voting on constitutional amendment on March 1, 2022.

“There are about five of these bills that seek to promote and establish opportunities for women in politics, governance and the society at large.

“Denying women the opportunity to take active part in politics and governance is a violation of their fundamental human right and also violates the principle of democracy that provides for fair representation of all interest groups in the society.

“Let me also add that there is a need to change the wrong perception some people have of women who participate in politics.

“Many see women politicians as prostitutes, disrespectful and irresponsible. Unfortunately, there are women who hold these wrong notions as well; they show hatred to their fellow women who are into politics. This is wrong and should stop”.

Edited by Felix Ajide