The Nigeria League ofWomen Voters an association committed to the political advancement of women inthe country has expressed strong resolve to ensure the sad story of everdiminishing number of women representatives in the country is halted.
Rising from its 2019Annual Convention which held in Abuja May 15, the women described the 2019general elections as worst in history for women and resolved to build a networkof structures across the local governments, states and the federal capital tocreate room for more women to monitor and access opportunities in government.
They demanded thathenceforth, all gender issues should be backed by legislation.
The convention had the Danish ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Jesper Kamp as guest of honour and in attendance was former Plateau State deputy governor Mrs Pauline Tallen, representative of the UN Women, Mrs. Ojobo Atuluku, president Female Parliamentarians, Rt. Hon Elizabeth Ativie, Mrs. Ebele Okeke, former Head of Service of the Federation and many other distinguished Nigerian women and leaders of various associations.
Nigeria has a largepopulation of female voters, 39,598,645 registered voters but very few womenget into political office. In the 2019 general elections 2, 970 women contestedfor electoral positions from a population of 49.4 per cent of 200 millionpeople. Representation in the legislature is almost insignificant while nostate has yet produced a governor. Even local government chairperson positionare very few and far between although the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP seemsto have gone a step further appointing women vice chairpersons in states likerivers state. Cross River State however, has some three local government femalechairpersons and seems to have silently adopted the 35 affirmative action withmany women in decision making in the last dispensation.
For the ruling AllProgressives Congress, women in other for a where the 2019 elections werereviewed, APC female candidates lamented that the party treated them worse thanother parties did to their female candidates.
Belowis the full text of the communiqe of the women:
NigeriaLeague of Women Voters Communique
The League of Women Voters of Nigeria, NILWV, held its annual convention on May 15,2019 at the Merit House, Maitama, Abuja. The convention which held under the leadership of the founder/president Rt Hon Dame Esther Uduehi had at its opening ceremony, the Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Jesper Kamp as special guest of honour, Hon Iyom Josephine Annenih, the 1st vice president and Engineer Janet Adeyemi, 3rd vice president of the League, HE Dame Pauline Tallen, UN Women representative, Mrs Ojobo Atuluku, president Female Parliamentarians, Rt Hon Elizabeth Ativie, Engr. Ebele Okeke, former Head of Service of the Federation and many other distinguished Nigerian women and leaders of various associations.
At the end of theplenary business session, the house decided as follows:
- That as exemplified by y most speakers, and comparative to other African countries, Nigerian women have never had it so bad in political representation as at the outcome of the 2019 general elections.
- That NILOWV is battle ready to fight this inequality through members mobilizing to have structures established not only in the 36 states but in all the 774 local government areas to effect more action and inclusion.
- That the greatest need for the women now is to push and advocate aggressively for legislation that will incorporate the 35 per cent Affirmative Action into the Nigerian Constitution, and that the passage of the Equal Opportunity Bill into law is not negotiable.
- That all gender issues need to be backed up by effective legislation for ease of enforcement.
- And, that more advocacy, networking, education and research are required towards improving the political will of stakeholders in the Nigerian polity, to grant more democratic space to the Nigerian female gender.
Thecommuniqué was unanimously agreed to by the participants and then adopted,signed and sealed.
*Constance Meju is the publisher of Port Harcourt based National Point Newspaper;a dedicated gender equality and human rights advocate.