Following the low representation of women in President Bola Tinubu’s ministerial list, gender experts have highlighted reasons Nigerian women remain marginalised in governance.
Mr Tinubu had nominated only nine women in his 48 member cabinet, a list that was criticised by Nigerian women.
In a media conference organised by Women Radio on Saturday night, titled ‘President Tinubu’s 18% Female Ministers Vs Campaign Promises’, Gender advocates further explained the rationale behind the continued underrepresentation.
The Manager, Project and Lagos field office, Action Aid Nigeria, Vivian Efem-Bassey, mentioned patriarchy, a mainstreamed factor in the society that sees women only in support roles.
She said: “I believe patriarchy comes to play which believes in the practice of male dominance. Little wonder our politics toes the patriarchal line. Women are given support roles like mobilising fellow women to vote for party flag bearers who are usually the men. Women are also seen in welfare positions and organising events.
“It was only recently that we saw women in spokesperson positions. This contributes to why women are in the background and not seen at the same power positions where you find men.”
Likewise, Muhammad Yahaya, the Executive Director of Dispute Resolution and Development Initiative noted that godfatherism still plays a vital role in the nomination of women into political offices.
He said: “We need to look at the strategic positions of the women. Politicians at the time they are campaigning, are looking at people around them who have contributed to their successes. It depends on who your godfather is. If you don’t have godfather, forget it.”
The experts also shared ways elected politicians can be ‘punished’ when they renege on their promises.
Mr Tinubu had in his manifesto, during his campaign, promised 35 per cent affirmative action to women in all government appointive positions.
Reacting to this, the Executive Director of Invictus Africa, Bukky Shonibare, noted that Nigerian women expected that Mr Tinubu would have taken a cue from “the trend of women’s low representation in governance, juxtaposing it with the advocacies on women representation and aligning it in what he has said and in line with prevalent laws”.
Going forward, she said gender experts and Nigerian women “will keep watching to see other aspects of the President’s promises regarding women like fighting Gender Based Violence. This would let us know if we can trust him after analysing his 100 days in office”.
For Mrs Efem-Bassey, the continued non-fulfillment of promises is caused by “lack of accountability on the part of the political office holders and lack of demand from the citizens. Now, what respected platforms are available to keep public office holders to account? We don’t hold them accountable to the offices they occupy.”
She further noted that people hold the notion that “half bread is better than none and not wanting to push too much so they don’t lose it all” contribute to lack of accountability on public office holders.
She, however, canvassed for a system that judges elected officers based on their performance and not sentiments.
“Let there be midterm elections to know what mark has been met by politicians for people to know if they are going forward or are to be withdrawn,” she added.
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