As President Mohammadu Buhari stalls over the annoucment of a cabinet for his second term, women have been coming out in groups as well as individuals to call for gender inclusion and affirmative action.
By Josephine Agbonkhese
President Buhari needs to break the jinx— Dr Gloria Laraba Shoda
For Dr Gloria Laraba Shoda, President, National Council of Women Societies, NCWS, “As an organisation, we have paid him a courtesy visit and advocated that he carried women along if the government must indeed take Nigerians to the next level. He also confessed to us that Nigerian women were doing. That confidence in women, we believe, should reflect in his cabinet this time around. Our 35 percent affirmative action is still lying fallow as we struggle within seven and ten percent.
“We urge Mr President to include more women in this second term especially the ministerial appointments this time as we have lost out in the elective offices. This will be of immense impact to the country and the anti-corruption war because women are known to be less corrupt than men.
“We urge President Buhari to break the jinx and give us at least 35 per cent representation in his cabinet this time around. There are women available for whatever position. After all, we sit in the same classes with men and even outshine them in school”, she added.
Only an adequate representation for women will ensure an impactful leadership — Obibi
Also, Iheoma Obibi, activist cum international development consultant, said, “Our population is made up of men and women and that should adequately be represented in our leadership. The governed need to feel they are part of a process. It is unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari has not recognized that fact, at least as proven by his last administration.
“Having a leadership that adequately represents the population will give a more holistic view of what different sections of the society needs. This government makes decisions that do not really affect me as a woman; sincerely, I have no idea what they are doing. If you tell them to dig a borehole for a community, they will dig it in a place that is unsafe for a woman to walk through due to potential rapists. If a woman was part of the decision-making from the beginning, she would be able to tell them that such a place is not the safest to dig a borehole for a community.
“Only an adequate representation for women will ensure an impactful leadership for any government and this, President Buhari should understand. His previous administration, in my assessment, did not do any work and co-incidentally, it has fewer women. This time, things should be done differently for a more holistic development for the country”, she opined.
Democracy that excludes half the population from leadership position has a long way to go — Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden, National President, Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA in her own submission noted that, “The gap between men and women in representative capacity has to be reduced this time around. It has been proven, and we know it is true, that 50percent of the population that go out to vote are mainly women; so why can the gap not be breached?
“Democracy that excludes half the population from leadership position has a long way to go. Reducing that gap is very key because it is part of creating a responsible and responsive government that we direly need.
“Women are agents of change and are persuasive in their approach to whatever they desire to achieve. With this naturally endowed nature, we can rightly say the wellbeing of Nigerians is dependent on women. You will also find out that successful leaders worldwide have been persuaded at different times to take certain decisions by women and these decisions have affected their societies positively. A woman is a realist; therefore, any democracy that excludes the women population is likely to fail.
“Nigeria has more than enough women to man any position whatsoever. Look at what is happening in Rwanda. The country has 50 percent men and 50 percent women in its government and it has become a known country. Nigeria has wonderful women in every facet of life and we hope President Buhari will give us the chance to express our capabilities”, she said.
Group urges women to speak against corruption, demand inclusiveness
By Gabriel Ewepu and Emem Idio
YENAGOA- A non-governmental organization, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, has charged women to speak up against the negative impacts of corruption and its practices on women’s ability to access rights, justice, services and demand accountability and inclusiveness in decision making under democracy.
The charge was given by the Executive Director, Ms Emem Okon, KWDRC, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, during a town hall meeting on Open Government Partnership, OGP, organised for women leaders and gender based organisations in the state in partnership with Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, WRAPA, and MacArthur Foundation.
While lamenting that women were not vocal enough in issues of accountability and corruption, Ms Okon noted that the Open Government Partnership, OGP, is an initiative that can promote commitment by state government to empower citizens to fight corruption and strengthen governance, regretting that women have been relegated to the background while they bear the brunt of bad governance.
She said: “The project aims to project critical women’s voices tied to anti-corruption and accountability, particularly, the project is to highlight the intersection and connection between corruption and women’s lack of access to public services including access to health, access to their issues and education, water, transportation, agriculture subsidies, security, employment and participation in decision making.
“The aim is to enable the women understand and speak out on and against the impact of corruption and its practices on women’s ability to access rights, justice, services and opportunities from the perspective of accountability in governance and service delivery.
“It is expected that the programme will raise women’s rights issues and narrate the way women are impacted by the implementation of government programs. The issues you will highlight here will enable the public and government to understand the gender dimensions of government policies, and programs.”
According to her the move by her organization and other development partners would translate to deeper understanding by women about the relegated condition they find themselves despite their openness to come out in large numbers to elect leaders they thought would ameliorate their plight.
She also lamented how women have not maximally benefited from the so-called democratic dividends rather are been used during elections and dumped.
“This will promote deeper knowledge on recognizing the patterns, trends and consequences of corruption on women’s access to social services”, she said.