In an effort to regulate the trend of male dominance in Nigerian politics, women politicians have said they are currently working towards organizing themselves to develop workable solutions. This decision was made following a two-day workshop organized in Abuja for women politicians from the north and parts of the south-south and south East region. The
In an effort to regulate the trend of male dominance in Nigerian politics, women politicians have said they are currently working towards organizing themselves to develop workable solutions. This decision was made following a two-day workshop organized in Abuja for women politicians from the north and parts of the south-south and south East region. The workshop, organized by the International Press Centre (IPC) Lagos and supported by the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) programme of UNDP was targeted at female candidates and aspirants in order to improve their knowledge on the use of media in their various political struggles, with a view to deepening democracy in Nigeria.
In an interview with some of the women politicians at the workshop, participants noted that male dominance in Nigerian politics has left the women behind and marginalized. The women politicians expressed their readiness to work towards improving their chances of winning elections particularly with the use of the media. According to them, women have been relegated to the sidelines and it was high time for women in Nigeria to improve on their efforts towards ensuring gender balance especially in politics.
Hajiya Binta Mamman who is running for membership of State House of Assembly under the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger State told NDR in an interview that, male dominance in politics has discouraged many women from taking part in politics, citing her own experience as the only female contestant among 27 men who are currently running for State Assembly seats in her state.
She noted that, because of the common belief that politics is only suitable for men, women in her own state have been shying away from politics. “Once a woman is in politics, our people thinks she is morally low because of the common belief that a woman cannot make decisions or that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. I think it is high time we begin to change our way of thinking; we are not competing with the men but all we are saying is that they should give us the chance to contribute our own quota in nation building”, she said.
Explaining why Nigerian women must engage in politics, Mrs. Jiritmwa Morgak Goyit from Plateau state who was an aspirant for the House of Representative seat in Pagnshin-Kanke- Kanam constituency under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said that the resources and knowledge of the women folk have been wasted in the country because of the marginalization of women in politics.
Said Goyit: “many talents and resources have been wasting away simply because women were in one way or the other denied the chance to occupy sensitive positions or refused to engage in politics that would allow them the chance to contribute their own quota to national development”.
She added: “it is worrisome when I see women shying away from politics; politics is just like any other business you can venture into. We have boys and girls attending the same educational processes, we go to the same schools, write the same exams and all that, and in many cases women come top in those struggles; if a woman was a first class student in her school and she is shying away from politics, it means she won’t be there to utilize her potential”.
Goyit who lost out in the just concluded primary elections explained that, her political contest was greeted by different reactions being the first female aspirant to run for such position in her constituency. She however believes that the number of women politicians in Nigeria will keep increasing as the struggle for gender equity continues.
Also sharing her experiences, Mrs. Josephine Akida who aspired to represent Katsina-Ala/Gboko federal constituency in the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Benue state but lost out at the primaries, also told NDR that her experience was a terrible one being a woman. According to her, she was forcefully displaced from her position as a female aspirant and replaced by a man two days to the primaries. She lamented that women politicians often faced a lot of threats and intimidations that usually discouraged them from politics.
“I don’t know whether it is wrong for a woman to run for elective position, and I don’t know if it is wrong for a woman to be strong and supportive to her people at the grassroots, because they always frustrate your effort”, she explained.
Akida, who said she would never allow herself to be discouraged by anything, further identified the issue of god-fatherism in politics as one of the major causes for poor performance of women in Nigerian politics. This, she said must be avoided in order to encourage everyone who is willing to participate in politics.
Speaking on the way forward for female politicians in the country, Hajiya Aisha Audu Mbaka from Nasarawa State said that with the knowledge gained from the workshop, female politicians would take up the challenge and form a forum that would cut across all political parties where female politicians would interact on how to support each other as they forge ahead in their quest for more opportunities in the country’s politics.
Mbaka who contested for the governorship position under the Labour party in Nasarawa state but lost at the primaries also called on Nigerian women not to give up but to continue to actively engage in politics.