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Women’s Participation and Performance in Nigeria Politics: Challenges and Solutions By Irabor, Favour Omoye Presented on Dec. 13,2012 Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

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Presentation on theme: "Women’s Participation and Performance in Nigeria Politics: Challenges and Solutions By Irabor, Favour Omoye Presented on Dec. 13,2012 Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women’s Participation and Performance in Nigeria Politics: Challenges and Solutions By Irabor, Favour Omoye Presented on Dec. 13,2012 Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

2 Introduction The marginalization of Nigerian women in politics and decision making is as old as the Nigerian society. It actually predates the advent of colonialism in Southern and Northern Nigeria. Marginalization of women is reinforced by patriarchy, poverty, illiteracy, religious and cultural norms. A less liberal democratic era with less organized institutional and legal framework at the national, regional and international levels for female politicians to latch on to also exerbated the marginalization of women in politics. The long years of military rule in Nigeria further worsened the position of women in political participation. It is widely believed that the marginalization of women in political participation and decision making processes has been responsible for the exclusion of the interests of women in governance and development paradigms. Yet, the development of any country requires the participation of both men and women. Herein lies the challenge.

3 Marginalization of Women - A Universal Phenomenon It must however, be noted that marginalization of women is not peculiar to Nigeria. Most advanced democracies today once experienced marginalisation of women in political participation and decision making as can be gleaned from the next slide.

4 Table One: Democratization of suffrage in Selected Countries Country Male Universal SuffrageFemale Universal Suffrage Australia1903 1908 Canada1915/181920 France1869/711946 Great Britain18771928 Italy 19251946 Sweden14231921 Portugal19111974 Japan1918/191947 Nigeria 19221979 From the table above, it is clear that in all parts of the world, women have been historically discriminated against in electoral issues. [The good news is that marginalization can be addressed through concerted efforts. Thus some countries now have female heads of government such as Germany and Liberia.] Source: Otive Igbuzor, Redefining Winning: Women’s Emergence in Political Leadership Positions

5 The History of the Nigerian Situation – The Colonial Era. The constitutional history of Nigeria shows that this exclusion dates back to the colonial times when women were not allowed to vote. The next slide says it all.

6 Table Two: Democratization Suffrage in NIgeria YEARCONSTITUTIONSUFFRAGE 1914AmalgamationNone 1922Clifford Adult Males with annual income of N100 1946Richards Adult Males with annual income of N50 1951MacphersonAdult Males who paid their taxes 1954Lyttleton Adult Males+ Females in East & West 1960Independence Adult Males+ Females in East & West 1963Republican Adult Males+ Females in East & West 1979PresidentialAdult Males & Females Otive Igbuzor, Redefining Winning: Women’s Emergence in Political Leadership Positions

7 As can be gleaned from the slide while men started voting in Nigeria in 1922, women in all parts of the country started voting in 1979, a difference of fifty seven years. Thus in the first republic although there were prominent female politicians in the northern part of the country like Late Hajia Gambo Sawaba they could not vote or be voted for.

8 The Performance of Women in the First Republic The first republic (1960-1966) was dominated by men. The first republic produced just 1 female senator from the Western region in the person of Late Chief Wuraola Esan, the Iyalode of Ibadan. In 1961, Late Chief (Mrs.) Margaret Ekpo contested elections into Aba Urban North constituency under the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) platform and won, thus, becoming a member of the Eastern Nigeria House of Assembly until 1966. Mrs. Janet N. Mokelu and Miss. Ekpo A. Young also contested elections, won and became members of the Eastern House of Assembly. As earlier noted during this period women in Northern Nigeria were still denied the opportunity to vote and be voted for.

9 The Performance of Women in the Second Republic The second republic (1979-1983), just like the first republic produced only 1 female senator in the person of Late Franca Afegbuwa. A few Nigerian women won elections into the House of Representatives at the national level. Some of these women were Mrs. J. C. Eze of the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP) who represented Uzo Uwani constituency in former Anambra State; Mrs. V.U. Nnaji, also of the NPP who represented Isu Constituency in Imo State and Mrs. Abiola Babatope of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) who represented Mushin Central II of Lagos State.

10 The Performance of Women in the Third Republic In the 1990 elections into local governments heralding the third republic, very few women emerged as councilors and only one woman, Chief (Mrs.) Titilayo Ajanaku, emerged as Chairperson of Abeokuta Local Government Council in Ogun State. During the gubernatorial elections, no female Governor emerged in any of the states. Only two female Deputy Governors emerged, namely Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu of Lagos State and Mrs. Cecilia Ekpenyong of Cross River State. In the Senatorial election held in 1992, Mrs. Kofo Bucknor-Akerele was the only woman who won a seat in the Senate. This followed the pattern of the 1 st and 2 nd republics. Very few women won election into the House of Representatives. One of them was Chief (Mrs.) Florence Ita-Giwa who won the senatorial election in the Calabar Constituency, Cross River State under the banner of the National Republican Convention (NRC)

11 The Impact of CEDAW, the AU Protocol and Beijing Conference The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the UN on December 18, 1979. Nigeria ratified it on June 13, 1985. Art 7 of CEDAW requires Nigeria to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country…” Art 9 (1)(a) of the AU Protocol states that ‘States shall take specific positive action to promote participative governance and the equal participation of women in the political life of their countries through enabling national legislation and other measures to ensure that women participate without discrimination in all elections’. This is in consonance with Art. 4 of CEDAW which deals with Temporary Special Measures to accelerate equality between men and women. It is also in consonance with Article 2 (11) of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which states the objective of the Charter is amongst others to promote gender balance and equality in the governance and development process.

12 The Critical Areas of Concern of BPLA The World Conference on Women (The Beijing Conference) in 1995 articulated 12 critical areas of concern considered as main obstacles to women’s advancement in the Beijing Platform of Action (BPFA). The BPFA is not a set of laws, but a set of principles and strategies for action. It provides not only guidelines for actions on the part of governments, NGOs, and members of civil society, aiming towards eliminating these barriers to achieving gender equality worldwide, but it’s a powerful statement of the recognition of women’s unequal status globally.

13 The Critical Area of Concern on Political Participation and Decision Making One critical area of concern specifically requires states to ensure women’s full participation in power structures and decision making: development, education, and training to increase women’s capacity to participate in decision making and ; leadership, and aim at gender balance in government bodies and the composition of delegations to the UN. This has defined standards of women participation in politics and other national engagements.

14 The Post Beijing Era. Politically focused women non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been engaged in various capacity building skills for female aspirants and encouraging voters to vote for women through various voter education programmes. This is reinforced by the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act. The Electoral Act which forbids independent candidacy marginalizes women which is strengthened by feminisation of poverty.

15 The Nigerian Constitution since 1979. S.40 of the CFRN provides for right of every Nigerian to participate in public life. S.42 provides for freedom from discrimination. Thus at the international, continental and local level, there is no legal provision which excludes the participation of women in politics in Nigeria, yet Nigerian women remain largely under represented in comparison to their male counterparts.

16 Gender Audit of General Elections in Nigeria since 1999. Despite the sensitization programmes of NGOs and development partners, the percentage of women occupying elective and appointive positions has not been very cheering.

17 Table Three: The Standing of Nigerian Women in Political Participation and Performance from 1999 till Date. Source: Lance-Onyeiwu, Maureen (2011), Except from UN Women’s Preliminary Analysis of the Results of the 2011 General Elections in Nigeria S/N Position No of Availa ble Seats No of Women in 1999 No of Women in 2003 No of Women in 2007 No of Women in 2011 1Presidency20000 2Senate1093487 3House of Reps360122326 4Governorship360000 5 Deputy Governorship 361263 6 36 States Houses of Assembly 99012385462 Total153328679498

18 Table Four: Current Representation of Men and Women in Elective Positions (2011) Table Four: Current Representation of Men and Women in Elective Positions (2011) Source: Lance-Onyeiwu M, (2011), Excerpts from UN Women’s Preliminary Analysis of the Results of the 2011 General Elections in Nigeria menwomentotal President101 Vice President101 Senate1027109 House of Reps33426360 Governor360 Deputy Governor33336 Houses of Ass92862990 1435981533 93.607316.392694

19 Rethinking Women’s Participation and Performance in Nigeria Politics The performance of women in Nigeria’s elections since 1999 call for sober reflection and rethinking. Rethinking the participation and performance of women in Nigeria politics would enable us identify the challenges and Solutions. position.

20 Factors Undermining Women’s Political Participation (Challenges) Lack of Resources: Economic, Material and Human; feminisation of poverty. Political space appears to be opened to those with strong political affiliations. Discriminatory laws and gender blind policies. Lack of political will. When the Yar’Adua administration came into office, it promised to give 30 percent of political appointment to women (less than the 35 percent in the National Gender Policy). But an assessment conducted by ActionAid after one year indicated that women appointment was only 11 percent. President Goodluck Jonathan increased it to 32%. Lack of internal democracy in most of the political parties – Mrs Josephine Anenih, The Guardian Tuesday April 19, 2011 p. 12. The number of women who scaled through the party’s primaries was very low compared to the number of women who aspired. Sarah Jubril had only vote at the PDP’s primaries. Popularity of the candidate and not necessarily political platform. Chris Ngige and Prof Dora Akunyili.

21 Challenges (Contd) Patriarchy, god fatherism, male dominated party executives Political violence, Lawlessness Corruption: illegalities, rigging, oppression, manipulation, Vote buying. Many women are not similarly situated economically with their male competitors. They would not be able to woe voters with money. Has implications for female aspirants without privileged background. They will be doubly disadvantaged at the party’s primaries given money politics that characterise our politics. Sexual harassment. Women from less privileged background, without any political cleavage by virtue of birth, marriage or other close relative political cleavage are worst victims. Labelling. Money politics, ethical issues, and innumerable social, cultural and religious factors. Illiteracy Timidity

22 Solution Political violence negates women’s chances at the polls and in political participation. The State should ensure full security for women and girls during election periods and end impunity. Political Parties should commit to non-violent campaigning and desist from hate speech. Non-violent education should be mainstreamed in all awareness raising and voter education campaigns by all players. The State should safeguard freedom of movement, expression and assembly for all citizens especially women. Perpetrators of political violence must be brought to justice. Nigerian women need more than economic empowerment for success at the polls. Political violence negates women’s chances at the polls and in political participation.

23 Solution (Contd) Adequate compensation should be paid victims/their families. A situation where suspect of political violence would contest for party primaries, contest and win election and bail arranged thereafter questions the political will of government to address political violence. The report of the 22 person panel inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan to look into the causes of the post election violence in 2011 should be made public and the recommendation implemented to the letter to deter future occurrence and guarantee security. State prosecutors need to follow through on arrests and try perpetrators. Justice should not be traded on the altar of political expediency. Government should be proactive. Security should be beefed up in areas of possible flash points.

24 Solution (Contd) Training of political parties on women’s political participation and their impact on democracy and good governance. The training will expose the political parties to basic principles of internal democracy, gender and democratic governance. Inclusion of gender sensitive provisions in party’s constitution and manifestoes. This will serve the purpose of mainstreaming gender into its activities. Assessment and examination of parties primaries with a view to formulating and implementing reforms that will support a more level playing field.

25 Solution (Contd) Amendment of Electoral Law to encourage independent candidates. Establishment of Women’s Political Institute where parties and all female aspirants and candidates should be equipped with relevant skills that underpin the elective positions they seek. It will further challenge them to improve their level of education and enable them cope with the challenges that they may be thrust upon them as a result of political exigency. An imperative given the competitiveness of the various elective positions as opponents could intimidate them with overwhelming credentials.

26 Solution (Contd) Women should be active in fighting corruption and bribery in elections. Women should be at the forefront in calling for electoral reforms to restrict the use of money in elections. Adoption of the Recommendations of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Commission on representation of women and persons with disabilities on proportional representation basis with respect to selection of candidates for elective office as circumstances may permit by parties during party primaries. This will be in line with temporary special measures to accelerate equality between men and women.

27 Solution (Contd) Resource Mobilisation. Economic, material and human resources are key to effective performance in politics. It should be borne in mind that even if you do not engage in money politics, you need money for logistics. Raise funds. Tips include organise courses for community- women, youth, person with disabilities and get people to pay to attend – development partners could pay Stage plays/ dances/ other events that people pay to attend Get your resource persons to come and participate free – they donate their fees Approach rich people in your family and seek their support Invite influential friends to an auction- get friends to donate Get endorsement from your networks – church, mosque, youth etc Get technical assistance free of charge. Request trainers, consultants to help you with proposal writing Build your own vanguard because all the wealth in the world does not measure up to human resource.

28 Creative Investment Start saving years before you contemplate politics - every money you earn set aside something - at least 5% Buy land, houses, shops – not as your retirement plan but as seed money for politics Raise animals – start small and build over the years Keep multi means of income.

29 Creative Fund Raising Organise a dinner or lunch for friends – make sure the food etc is covered by somebody as their contribution so whatever money you make is yours Write a book or story about yourself or work – get friends to launch – make sure printing cost is kept to a minimum

30 Corporate Sector Approach corporate organisations that produce women products e.g. Promasidor (beverage- cow bell) Procter and gamble (Always) Cadbury (beverage - bournvita) Indofood Indofood (indomie) Endorsement for companies – prominent politicians – choose safe products ‘not political ones’ Link others – networking charge a fee Do consultancy – when you have information or knowledge about issues Insist on a fee (market rate) or a honorarium (a token sum) for work done.

31 Approach airlines for free or rebated tickets Buy when there is a promotion or sales on Provide quality products that can be made at affordable rates as souvenir items for sale Endowments – if we have a properly constituted women’s fund, well to do people will contribute

32 Development Partners. They will not give you cash but high value in kind ◦ Ask them to support media appearances ◦ Production of posters ◦ Providing campaign logistics ◦ International travels to learn more from elsewhere ◦ Pay for documenting your experiences ◦ Lobby political parties to give more waivers to women ◦ When development partners give you funds build in your salary and your overhead costs Start your own community based organisation

33 A Women’s Fund. Encourage established families to set up a foundation for women Contribute to the women’s fund

34 Be Strategic Before you go into politics, you need to identify a problem that you wish to solve through political participation. So you should be in politics because you want to impact lives positively and make a difference. Plan ahead for everything The more we prioritise money the more we ourselves make the campaign difficult Instead of doling out money - let’s give out work equipment to groups of women, youth and others In fund raising: You write letters to some but you must follow up physically with many Create a resource raising team to help Don’t plan a big fundraiser if you do not already have the costs covered.

35 Be Strategic In politics conserve your money and spend more towards the end of strategic points – Before primaries – For primaries – 48 hours to election day – After elections Have your ‘think tank’ - a group of friends who can help you plan and make strategies Posters are important but don’t spend all your money on posters at the beginning Give back to your community ever before you need them

36 Be Strategic Skills and knowledge update on issues. Identify women’s issue and develop appropriate message and strategies to solve the problem Map the political scene Engage in core constituency building Engage in networking and coalition building Acquire personal communication techniques. Ensure that appropriate words are used for specific audiences. Communicate messages effectively through verbal and non-verbal actions, negotiations/compromise/non- negotiables, measuring success/building on experiences.

37 Lessons from 2011 General Elections. Whittling down of the influence of political god fathers e.g. Saraki, Obsanjo and people not voting along party lines, but voting for personalities. Eg. Akinyuli and Ngige. So you plan ahead. Popularity of the candidates. Women must work towards being relevant in their constituencies. Awareness of the electorate that they have the final say on who should represent them and not necessarily through the imposition of a candidates by godfathers.

38 Lessons from 2011. Emergence in political position requires perseverance and commitment. Don’t brood over failure. Try again. Mulikat and Nkoyo Toyo. The advocacy of women for equal political representation will be enhanced with quality representation from women. Voting pattern may defy previous trends so candidates must work hard at their constituencies, be knowledgeable and be people oriented.

39 Conclusiuon Women's ability to courageously harness the human capital resource in the undisputed large numbers of women and specifically, gender activisits and male gender champions provides them with space and resident technical support to organize and sustain momentum for accession to political leadership. Work towards barriers that hinder women’s political participation such as patriarchy, violence, money, cultural barriers, and religious barrier.

40 Conclusion (Contd) It has been shown that wherever women are empowered, there is acceleration of development. Countries that are on top of the human development index (the Scandinavian countries) are those that give premium to women issues. There is therefore the need for gender sensitive laws, budget and empowerment of women through training, economic empowerment, political support and affirmative action. Finally, there is the need to end violence, prosecute perpetrators, review the federal character principle to include gender equity. Women should participate in politics to make a difference.

41 Thank you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


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