By Naomi Sharang
The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), has advocated for an institutional and regulatory frameworks that would guarantee a more inclusive and effective participation of women in governance.
Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, the Director-General, NILDS, stated this at a two-day capacity building workshop for female legislators/politicians and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Abuja on Wednesday.
The event was organised by NILDS in collaboration with UN Women with the theme “Lobbying and Law-making in Nigeria”.
Sulaiman said that prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country, there had been a decline in political participation, growing voter apathy and the prevalence of traditional challenges that included undemocratic party nomination processes.
“A report by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) shows that 2, 970 women were on the electoral ballot in the 2019 general elections, representing only 11.36 per cent of nominated candidates.
“As noted by the Commonwealth, women remain underrepresented in the political decision-making processes influencing pandemic management,” he said.
Sulaiman said that the position was not only unacceptable but ultimately untenable.
He said that it was imperative to develop institutional and regulatory frameworks that would guaranteed a more inclusive and effective participation especially as post COVID-19 structures were established.
The director-general further said that there was the need to use legislations and other policy measures to address enduring gender inequalities in Nigeria.
On her part, the UN Women Country Representative, Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Comfort Lamptey said that the achievement of gender equality and protection of women’s rights was critical for Nigeria to meet its deepest aspirations in the Decade of Action as it tried to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets.
Lamptey, represented by Mr Desmond Osemhenjie said that UN Women was committed to supporting Nigeria along that line.
Also speaking, Deputy Speaker Akwa-Ibom State House of Assembly Felicia Bassey said the number of female legislators in the country was very insignificant.
“We are very few; in that if one has a bill which is for the benefit of women and children, the men won’t give us what we want.
“We are here to learn about lobbying and law-making because you have to know what you put on the table in order to get your bill passed,” she said.
Bassey also the Chairperson of Female Legislators of Nigeria (Houses of Assembly) advocated for more political opportunities for women to contribute their quota to nation building.
Declaring the workshop open, Speaker House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila assured of his support at all times.
Gbajabiamila, represented by Deputy Whip House of Representatives Nkeiruka Onyejeocha said he would always use his office as a platform to advance the course of women.(NAN)