Nigerian Women ahead of 2015
As 2015 draws nearer,there is urgent need for Nigerian women to wake up and put an end to their partial representation in the various elective offices in Nigeria considering the facts that 2006 population census noted them as the most populous in the country.
Perhaps,worst of it all was the outcome of the 2011 general elections in the country where women were not able to vote-in their colleaques that candidates. Moreso, the recent concluded PDP National Convention where women contestants also stepped down to anointed men withouth asking "why women were not among the concsencus candidates?"
According to the media reports prior to 2011 election,the first lady,Dame Patience Jonathan and the former minister of women Affairs,Mrs. Josephine Anenih initiated a programme/project, "women for change initiative" through which they challenged Nigerian women to believe in their immense capacity and capability in nation building and employ it so as to bring about the much needed positive change the country is yearning for.
The project was launched in all states of the Federation,geared towards bringing about a change in the lives of women through provisions of soft loans for small scale businesses,providing support for those seeking political offices and changing the lives of women for the better.
Consequently,the ex-minister of women affairs,Mrs. Anenih was reported by media to have endorsed the only female presidential aspirant of the ruling party-Mrs. Sarah Jibril for election at a ministerial press conference in Abuja, stressing that the endorsement was among others aimed to achieve the 35% affirmative action during the election.
Most Nigerian media both the private and government owned including the Non-Governmental Organizations joined suites, advocating for women political emancipation with assurance that they(women) would surelly emerge victorious due to their notable achievements in the country so far.
Immediately, the numbers of female Aspirants increased tremendously like hammattan fire. Little wonder, A lawyer and women's rights activist, Favour Omoye Irabor in her "review of women's participation and performance at the 2011 General Elections in Nigeria" says that 'female candidates constituted 9.1 % of the total number of candidates who contested election ...in the 2011 general election across all political parties'.
Unfortunately,the only female PDP presidential aspirant,Mrs Sarah Jibril lost her presidential bid during the party's primary having scored one vote (meaning she was the only woman among other women delegates that voted for women). A good observer would ask "does it mean there were no women right activists who advocated for women participation in politics among the PDP delegates?"
Worst still, as the INEC finally released the list of candidates that would vie for the various political parties, men carried the day. Infact, the only female presidential candidate was Mrs Ebit Ndok of the United National Party for Development,while four parties had females vice presidential candidates. They were ARP(mrs. Rose Yakubu), BNPP(Mrs Kadijat B. Abubakar), FRESH (Binutu Fela Akintola) and NTP(Bilikisu Ismo Magogo). Also, there were about 13 female governorship candidates drawn from Benue,Kano,Delta,Ebonyi,Enugu,Imo,Kebbi,Kwara,Oyo,Plateau e.t.c. So were list of females candidates for the National and State House of assembly,Deputy Governors, and Local Government Chairmen.
However, as the resuslt of the General Election thrilled the air, victims of females inability to vote females polluted the air. At least, a very good number of women candidates failed gallantry, including the renoned professors, women icons and serving politicians likes of Ndok Ebiti,Sen. Iyabo Obasanjo Bello,Dora Akunyili,Joy Emordi,Daisy Danjuma,Kema Chikwe, Gbemisola Saraki-Fowora,Paullen Tallen among others failed to secure their political ambition. Report had it that there is only one female State house of Assembly in Ondo State,7 in Lagos state, less than 5 in Anambra state and so on.
The one that later broke the camel's tail was that among the 19 female House of Repressentative members, Hon. Mrs Mulikat Akande (PDP) of Oyo state was not voted-in as Speaker of House of Repressntative. In other words, there are less than 5% women in the eleced positions or offices in Nigeria now generally.
Hence, inability of women to occupy the key positions in both the national and state executives and legislatures, would compel one to frankly conclude that women are against women in Nigeria politics. But all hope is not lost. Our future lies in our hands. Therefore, as 2015 draws closer, women should learn to love one another, speak with one voice, stand on their words and find possible means of convincing their loved ones (males) to vote for their choice- after'll that enabled EVE to extend her sin to ADAM. By Comrade Onuegbu Okechukwu Freelance Journalist, Awka.