As election campaigns begin in the next two days, political parties have been charged to act in the best interest of women who have emerged as candidates in the 2023 race.
President of the Women in Politics Forum (WIPF) Barr. Ebere Ifendu, gave the charge Monday in Abuja while briefing the press on its research on policy interventions to increase women’s participation in Nigeria.
Ifendu also called on parties to act in accordance with the law in ensuring that women positively participate in the campaign and provide all necessary and legal support in ensuring success at the polls.
According to her, a gender analysis of the candidates for the 2023 Presidential, Senatorial and House of Assembly positions shows that there is only 1 female candidate for the Presidential election, candidate of the APM.
This, she said represents just 2.77 per cent of the candidates for the presidential elections, expressing worry that no party is fielding a female as the Vice Presidential candidate.
“For the senate, out of the 1,101 candidates vying for 109 Senatorial seats, 92 are women, (8.35 per cent) while 288 women are contesting for House of Representatives out of the total 3,122 candidates, representing 9.2 per cent.
“Cumulatively, there are 381 women among the total of 4,259 contestants for the presidency (presidential candidates and running mates) and the national Assembly seats. This represents 8.9 percent of the candidates,” she said.
She noted that currently, there are about 15 states without a female legislator in the states’ houses of assemblies, adding that a state by state analysis shows that of the 36 states of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory, (making it 37), 5 states did not field any woman as a candidate to the Senate while one state did not field any woman as a candidate to the House of Representatives.
“While the list of candidates for states houses of assembly is yet to be released, the released list of candidates, if any sign, does not tell of a promising increase for Nigerian women in the states houses of assemblies,” she lamented.
“States lacking in this regard are Kano, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara for senate and Jigawa for the House of Representatives. This means that even without conducting elections, 13.5% of states will not have female representatives at the senate while 2.7% of states will have no female representation at the House of Representatives.
“Among the states that have fielded female candidates to the National Assembly, 16.2% have only one female candidate for the Senate and 10.8% have only one candidate for the House of Representatives with only 8.1% of states having nominated a number of women 7 and above as candidates to the senate and 29.7% nominating a number of 10 and above as candidates to the House of Representatives,” she added.
She recalled the end of the 2019 general elections when women made up a total of 4.71% of the elected officials, stating that this showed a decline from the 2015 period when women made up 5.6% of the elected officials.
“WIPF carried out a survey to elicit responses of the prevailing causes of the poor participation of women in political leadership and governance, and to gauge the effectiveness or otherwise of existing interventions.
“The survey indicated that the government and political parties have a vital role to play in the advancement of women’s participation in politics and government.
“The survey enjoyed respondents from different backgrounds, locations, gender, political participation experiences among others, and revealed a need for necessary steps to ensure that the unfortunate trend is turned for a wholesome national progress and development,” she added.
The WIPF President therefore called on all stakeholders including the executive, judiciary, legislature, security agencies, religious traditional and community leaders, nigerian women, he4shes, electorates and the media to support efforts towards changing the political history of Nigeria with more women participation.
“As Nigeria prepares to transition into another face of her democracy, these stake holders who are mostly agencies of the government be it the legislative, executive or judicial arm, and Civil Society organizations have an important role to play in ensuring that there is an increase in number of elected and appointed Nigerian women,” she stressed.