By Constance Meju
The minimal inclusion of women in the ministerial list sent in by President MuhammaduBuhari to the Senate for clearance is steering anger and disillusion among Nigerian women.
Following the poor performance of women in the February and March 2019 general elections, several meetings and conferences to review the elections have been held with strong calls for an increased inclusion of women in public decision making through a conscious gender mainstreaming through appointive positions. The formation of federal and state cabinets represent a good starting point for the respect of both the Nigerian Gender Policy and UN 35 per cent Affirmative Action that Nigeria has long been a signatory to.
The inclusion therefore, of a mere seven women in a list of 42 nominees is thus considered a slap on the face of Nigerian women and disregard of their strong support to the success of the APC presidency as a critical voting bloc.
The League of Women in Nigeria in a release reacting to the ministerial list, described President Buhari’s action as disappointment and a complete disregard of the abilities and capabilities of Nigerian Women.
They lamented that Nigeria rather than improve its gender responsive position on the global community, is falling back while South Africa is celebrating 50/50 representation and Rwanda has exceeded the Affirmative Action mark.
The league called on women to raise their voices and call for respect for the National Gender Policy and Affirmative Action.
The release is reproduced below:
The League of Women Voters in Nigeria, Nilowv is very disappointed that only seven women were on the list of 43 ministerial nominees that has been sent to the Senate for screening and confirmation. To say the least, it is sad and shameful that while a sister African country like South Africa is parading a cabinet of 50 per cent women, Nigeria, the so called Giant of Africa is promoting one with about 16 per cent women which, is not even up to half of the 35 per cent Affirmative Action.
This is a sad story for Nigeria and a very pathetic disregard for the abilities, capabilities and education of women in Nigeria today which, stands at about 50/50. It is a sad rollback to the primitive and unproductive era of male chauvinism. We want to remind the President that it is the Nigerian women who braved the sun and the rain to stand faithfully on the queues to cast their votes.
It is more worrisome and a sad report for the country that wants to lead the continent of Africa to not only look down on the capabilities of women but to lag so much behind most of the African countries in the inclusion of women in governance. Nigeria cannot and should not be allowed to continue with unprogressive and oppressive gender traditions in the 21st century even when by lip service it professes its belief and support for the UN ‘Affirmative Action’.
Certainly, ‘No nation can develop or rise above its womanhood’. Nigeria is where it is today because of the neglect of its women and the failure to recognize that exclusion of women who account for over 50 per cent of its population and of its educated workforcein the governance of the nation will not only be discriminatory and injustice but cannot take the country far desired goal and position in the league of nations.
We call on all Nigerian Women to wake up and shun the deceit.We call on all women groups to join the League in this crusade and fight for women emancipation in Nigeria. The work is already started and we shall not Rest until we reach there. We implore all women to get involved with their home State, Towns, Communities and Wards, even from where they reside.
Give a helping hand and voice to your kith and kinand give them the necessary education and enlightenment. We appeal to all Nigerians, especially the Hes4Shes to support us and a stronger Nigeria.
Nigerian Women Arise and Move Forward for equal recognition and greater development of our country Nigeria. Yes We Can, Together We Can!
Dame Dr Esther Uduehi, President
*Being a press release by the League of Nigerian Women Voters
*Gender and Accountability