NGO sues for inclusion of more women in politics

Yusuf Bakare

A nongovernmental organization, League of Women Voters of Nigeria, NILOWV, has called for the support and encouragement of women towards active participation in political process in Nigeria.

At a seminal sponsored by the Canada in conjunction with ACTIONAID for the Kwara Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Nigeria which held at FOMWAN Hall, Ilorin on Tuesday, facilitators were united in their call for Nigerian government as well as stake holders support for women to encourage their active participation in politics.

In his contribution, the Kwara State Resident Electoral Commissioner,  INEC, Mallam Garba Attahiru Madami, stated that women have been deprived the opportunity of showcasing their God given talent in politics as a result of gender discrimination.

Madami who was ably represented by Alh. Waheed Onijo Ganiyu, the administrative secretary of INEC, kwara state, first enumerated the reasons for low participation of women in political activities which he said includes neglect, long hours of work, less access to education, political power and unemployment, gender discrimination from getting certain types of jobs and violence against women.

The INEC boss expatiates that poverty is a serious challenge to women aspiration into politics coupled with illiteracy and low level of education as well as violence by men against women.

He said: “No woman would naturally want to stay where men are brandishing dangerous weapons, wild looks on the face of political thugs, most of which characterize the political terrain as of now.”

Mallam Madami also enumerated the negative impact of cultural and religious belief as well as legal hindrances to women participation in politics.

He therefore proffered solutions ranging from the elimination of historical, religious and cultural barriers, elimination of electoral violence, increased sensitization of women on the process and workings in the political arena and the catch them young approach, introducing  politics into schools as a way of teaching young girls about leadership from tender ages.

In his contribution the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Mr J. A, Owoade said there is need for elaborate sensitization of men folk that women are no threat when occupying appointments, political or governmental.

Owoade who was represented by Mrs Olawumi Raimat Oyeniyi, a deputy Corps Commander, FRSC added that the presence of women in an office should not be seen as usurping the roles their male counterpart urging the men to see their female counterparts as complimentary to the development of the organizations.

In his keynote address, the resource person, Mr Femi Oyedeji highlighted that women inclusion and participation in politics will not only help the system but also create room for increased opportunities to showcase talents.

He said husbands need to be given new orientation about relating with their wives and to encourage them in participating in politics.

He hinged his lecture on the need to include more women in political process urging government to seek better ways of encouraging women aside the affirmative actions for women participation in politics.

In her remarks, Hajia Bilqees  Modupe Oladimeji, the secretary and project officer of the League of Women Voters of Nigeria solicits for implementation of VAPP Law, inclusion of more women in the composition of forthcoming LG election in the state.

She urged political parties to restructure their Party policy in a way that can accommodate women effective participation.

Speaking on cases of rape, Oladimeji said that government MDAs in charge should have streamline schedule for payment  of medical expenses and each office responsibilities without overlapping roles.

She said that this will relieve the burden on victim’s and their family members and they will appreciate genuine  commitments of  government and no form of loophole will be exploited by even security agencies or any other agency

Earlier in her opening remarks, the Mrs Folasade Aransiola, state Chairperson, League of Women Voters of Nigeria said that the purpose of the seminar is to sensitize government and women on the need for women inclusion in politics.

Aransiola emphasized the role of religious leaders, community leaders as well as political stake holders on their role in ensuring effective inclusion of women in politics in the state and Nigeria as a whole.

She extolled the virtue of women as necessary companions in national development citing example of developed countries,

However, a cleric, Chief Imam of Kobiowu Mosque, Dr Idrees Al-Kankawi blamed women for being their own problem adding that since the numerical strength of women are higher, women could unite to effect change in government and ensure that we have a government with larg number of women.

The cleric urged women to rise up to recognize their position in the society and unite to achieve desired inclusion in the scheme of governance.

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