By Constance Meju
As women advocatesintensify calls for increased level of appointment of women into public officeto bridge the gap fall of elected women in the 2019 general elections, theyhave been advised to-examine their strategies in line with exigencies in thepolitical arena.
Hon OkoriteCarrie-Adiele , former local Government Caretaker chairperson of Degema LocalGovernment in Rivers State told National Point Newspaper in a chat in PortHarcourt that the power dynamics in politics from national to local level has toe understood so that the campaign to ring on more women in appointive positionsbecomes successful.
“There is need tounderstand how these things work in the constituencies both locally andnationally. There are persons in positions critical to this drive. I have cometo understand that sme key persons must e on your side for you to get appointedand we need to work on such persons”
According to her, amongparty stakeholders-president, vice president, governors, deputy governors,National and State legislators, party chairmen, ward chairmen, for appointmentat state level, you must get the endorsement of your constituencyrepresentative in the state House of Assembly and for national positions, yourconstituency representatives in the National Assembly.
She explained, “Whileseeking re-election as local government caretaker chairperson in my DegemaLocal Government Area, I came to understand that among key stakeholders, ifyour constituency representative in the Assembly is not with you, does notendorse you, you cannot e appointed even if other higher party chieftainsendorse you.
“In my case, the deputygovernor is key as leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in my localgovernment area but even with her nomination you still need the approvalof the legislator representing yourconstituency in the Assembly to get in. My then representative did not approvemy nomination and because of that, I could not e appointed/ It is important totake our advocacy to where it matters,” she advised.
Since the IndependentNational Electoral Commission, INEC made puic the outcome of the 2019 generalelections, Nigerian women and women empowerment organizations have held severalpost-election meeetings to review theperformance of women in the elections and chart a course to help address lapsesobserved.
A major observation wasthe fact that high violence, vote buying by politicians and lack of internaldemocracy within the main political parties created serious hurdles for womenat the polls. It was also identified that women are yet to turn their numericvoting strength into opportunity for voting fellow women into power.
To ensure women’svoices vital for development are included in the 2018-2023 republic, women are demanding 50 per cent inclusion in appointive positions Thiscall is backed y key stakeholders in the women struggle including the NationalCouncil for Women Societies, NCWS, the Women Trust Fund, Center for Democratic Development, CDD,among others.
The Goodluck Jonathanadministration made up for women’s poor outing with the appointment of a highnumber of women into all sectors including the judiciary and military. Thatadministration recorded 33 per cent appointment of women as ministers and intokey positions before then the preserve of men. The Buhari administration hasnot followed up on this and his concentration has been on getting northernwomen, especially Muslims into government.
All Progress Congress,APC women, his party people, complained that AP treated women most unfairlyamong the parties. To correct this, women are calling for deliberate politicalwill to place women in strategic positions in governance.
Demanding womeninclusion in the leadership of the National Assembly in the new administration,first PDP female majority leader In the House of Representatives in the lastdispensation, Hon Mulikat Ajkande-Adeola said, “I hope there will be women inthe leadership of the 9th National Assembly because it tends tobring about stability but the way it is going now, I have not heard any femalename being mentioned.
“If women get thenecessary support; it is important that women are considered for such positionsin the 9th National assembly”. The CDD has also been canvassing forleadership positions for women in the new Assembly.
Ms Idayat Hassan, CDDdirector told NAN in Abuja it is important that space is provided for women inthe new Assembly.”In the spirit of inclusion, women should be given some of theleadership positions in the National Assembly.”
Commenting on issues ofgeopolitical consideration for picking candidates, Hassan sais, “ Ipersonally do not understand whyemphasis is on geopolitical zones. The all Progressive Congress, APC, mustaccord women and youths position in the leadership”. She said the quest for genderequality would not e achieved without the implementation of the gender policy provisionwhich demands 30 per cent in appointive positions.
According to the CDDdirector, that is the only way women representation in government can receiveneeded boost in the just sworn-in administration. “The just concluded electionhas opened oyr eyes to the urgency of an affirmative action law to improvewomen representation in governance,” she noted.
Senior programmemanager of CDD, Mr Austin Aigbe added,“The clamour is with good intention. If political parties failed to enhance therepresentation of women through elective positions, the elected government, inthis case, the APC must do the needful to close the gender gap in governance,”.he said the goal should be the appointment of more than the minimum 33 percent affirmative action.
He said APC must workto ensure it helps enthrones a high ranking female in the NASS as that wouldearn the Buhari government a better global image which the country badly needs.
According to him,during the ‘Change Agenda’ of the 2015-2019, the APC government did not have agood record of inclusion in governance. “Now that it is ‘Next Level’ let thechange begin’, he challenged.
#For the Children#
ConstanceMeju is a Port Harcourt based journalist and publisher of National PointNewspaper, a human right, children advocate and gender equity activist.