The senate president ,Bukola Saraki said Nigeria has recorded low participation of women in politics ,and reiterates the need to increase women’s representation in political parties in Nigeria .
According to him,the inclusion of women in politics will deepen democracy in the country and provide a level playing field for both the male and female gender .
The senate president made the disclosure at a conference organised by United Nations women to encourage women’s participation in West and Central Africa.
Senator Bukola Saraki who was represented by Senator Olujimi disclosed that
after 18 years of democracy, Nigeria has consistently recorded low participation of women in politics
He further bemoaned the fact that women have been sidelined in general elections positions based on their social expectation from the society .
“The theme of this year international women’s day celebration,”pressing for progress is critical at this point in time ,when women are facing series of marginalization in the political sector”
“It calls for a holistic action towards making the women take leadership position in the political sector .For them continue to press for progress in every sector of the society.
Nigeria has not yet fulfilled the 35% affirmative order ,which ensures that 35 in 100 elective seats are occupied by women ”
“Through the active participation of women in politics ,we would increase their political power ,improve future of the women folks in all ramifications and make them relevant in political circles “he added .
He said the current level of participation of women in politics needs a holistic change ,as well as “policies that improve the economic power of women, thereby improving the economic power of the country at large .
“We need to lift the presumed supportive role of the average woman to one that is fully empowered and encompassing at all levels in the society .
While speaking ,the representative of the chairman of INEC ,Mr Adekunle Ogunshola emphasized the need to close the gender gap and encourage more women to participate in political exercise and electioneering process.
“We will encourage other bodies and the UN women to keep collaborating with INEC so as to improve women’s participation in electioneering process .
He further disclosed that many political parties do not give the women the opportunity to participate in elections within the party system and hierarchy ,and stressed the need for more engagement with women as the 2019 elections is fast approaching .
“We expect more women to take part fully in the election that is coming up next year ,so as to increase their chances of political leadership ”
We need to tackle religious biases and improve women participation from the higher level to the lower level ,the country is facing enormous challenge in engaging the female folks in participating in elections ”
According to him,political parties in West Africa should engage female who are over age 18,to take part in both electioneering and political leadership .
“West Africa countries can do better by bringing stronger and politically unified nation ,to ensure men and women have equal access to democracy ”
“With Rwanda leading the continent in terms of women’s participation ,we want Nigeria to take a cue from this to improve the chances of women in democracy ”
The UN representative to Nigeria ,Comfort Lamptey noted there must be political will to engage more women in political activities by the leaders .
She further called on African leaders to encourage women to participate in political leadership so as to enhance national development .
“We are working with political parties to get more women into leadership positions which could open up more positions for women.
“The situation we have is not sustainable. We hope that the democracy we are practising in national politics will be reflected in the work of political parties themselves,”
According to her,a recent study of inequity states that while it will take around 99 years ,for the world to close gender gap, it would take Nigeria 135 years.
She therefore stressed the need for lawmakers to put in place favorable laws that will encourage more women to participate in politics .
“The fact that Rwanda today is the country with the highest representation of women in the world ,stems from the political will of the leadership of Rwanda.
“Senegal in West Africa has the highest representation of women in elected office,47% of the Senegalese parliament is women. They got there because they adopted a law and so political will is important, laws are important to really to try to break the deadlock and create a level playing field.”
“We want the leadership of this country to bring the lessons they have used in deepening women’s participation in their country on board ,so that Nigeria can benefit from this as the 2019 elections is fast approaching .”she noted
The UN women has been at the forefront propagating for the inclusion of more women in politics in Nigeria ,and Africa as a whole .