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INEC Commissioner, Jamb Registrar Call for 30% Positions for Women in Politics

Political parties in Nigeria have been urged to review their constitutions to allow 30 percent women participation in elective positions to encourage more women in politics.

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Speaking at the third distinguished personality lecture organized by the University of Ilorin Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, titled, “Patriarchy and female participation in politics in Nigeria” in Ilorin on Monday, Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Is’haq Oloyede and Kwara state Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Alhaji Attahiru Madami, canvassed more space for women participation in the Nigerian polity.

The resident electoral commissioner, who hailed the National Assembly for adopting direct primaries for choosing political parties’ flag bearers, identified violence and money as two major factors that drive women away from politics.

He said the electoral body is poised to discourage violence in politics as well as help women get fund to participate in politics to run effective campaign and mobilize for elections.

“INEC elections are becoming more credible because we are using electronic transmission. We did that in Edo and Ondo states and there was no complaint. So, with electronic transmission of result and electronic collation and parties adopting direct primaries for the choice of flag bearers, the issue of violence during campaigns will be eliminated.

“This will give both men and women equal opportunity to contest for elective positions and the winners will now be based on merit; not by rigging nor by manipulation of results”, he said.

Also speaking, Professor Oloyede said: “The adoption of gender politics by the government should encourage more women participation in politics. And it is a
collective responsibility to allow women to play their own roles in nation building through politics. As the 2023 general elections approach, there is the need to sensitise Nigerians to let women play more active roles.

“Though 49.4 per cent Nigerians are said to be women, but they represented 11.36 per cent of 2,870 women whose names appeared on the 2019 nominated candidates list. As a matter of fact, it has been revealed that the 2019 elections were the worst for Nigerian women in nearly two decades representatively.

“Apart of the fact that six female presidential candidates withdrew from the race for various reasons, a state like Lagos where women had always been deputy governors has slided into more patriarchy with the
election of a male deputy governor at the end of 2019 governorship race.

“Creating more room for women participation in politics requires legal, social and political intervention. From the legal angle, the 35 per cent affirmative action may be enacted as law just as it was done in Senegal and in Kenya where women got just 30 per cent before the parity of 50 per cent in politics. Socially, there may be need for men to be more receptive to the idea
of women attending political meetings especially those that hold in the day. There is no law that requires political meetings to hold at night during which many respectable women would be expected to be at home.

“Politically, the political parties can do better by creating more space through their gender-friendly and internal affirmative action”

“In charting a way forward, there is also a question of interrogating the quality of female performance. That women participation in politics is necessary and does not mean that value should be sacrificed for expediency. Example may be drawn from the character and competence or otherwise of some women who once occupied leadership positions in the
country”.

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