THE Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has called for inclusion of more women in governance and political development.
Speaking in Abuja, on Tuesday, April 25, at a workshop organised for political parties by the Nigeria Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Women Democracy Network (WDN), and International Republican Institutes (IRI), IPAC Chairman Yabagi Sani emphasised the importance of women participation in governance.
“If we must applaud political development, then women must be involved. By design, we are supposed to be if not equal partners, at least equity should be introduced in how the presentation is made in our politics, in the governance, even in the rally of political parties,” he said.
Sani decried the low level of female representation at the National Assembly and urged political parties to do better in future elections, adding that women were already occupying sensitive leadership positions globally.
Also speaking during the training, Executive Director, Women Empowerment and Reproductive Health Centre Ejiro Otive-Igbuzor noted that laws and policies were the most effective ways of changing gender norms and restrictions on women’s participation in governance.
She said legislators had to make specific recommendations during lawmaking on female representation in government to yield results.
“We need to push for the implementation of those laws. If our electoral laws had recommendations that political parties must represent a certain per cent of females, women not being represented in politics would have been bygones.
“Nigeria has many qualified women, just like qualified youths. The onus is on us to go and look for those qualified women and I can tell you, in every state, every local government, there are qualified women,” she said.
Head of Public Affairs, National Institute for Policy Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Sola Adenyanju, who also spoke at the event, urged political parties to carry relevant stakeholders along while making gender-responsive policies for greater chances at success.
“Everybody should be on the same page, as much as you want a policy to be successful,” he said.
Several reasons have been given for low female candidacy during elections, including cultural and religious factors.
National Women Leader of the Labour Party (LP) Dudu Manuga identified lack of adequate mentorship by successful female politicians as one of the factors adversely affecting gender inclusion in politics while speaking to journalists at the event.
“How many godmothers do we have in politics that will stand with women when they come out? Even women that have arrived, how many of them are actually mentoring others and holding their hands?” she asked.
“Our aim is to see that by 2027, and not even just 2027, but when we have our congresses for the party, that we have more women within the party structure and not just women leaders,” she said.
“We are pushing towards that starting from the local government level. We have started encouraging the women to make sure that they come out. It is not a men’s world. Politics is for both men and women and if we don’t have women on the table, the issues of women cannot be captured properly in governance,” she said.