The Speaker of House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that for women to increase political participation across the country, there is need to identify strategies to construct a different paradigm, and implement these strategies with vigour, skill, and utmost dedication .
Gbajabiamila further urged women to also identify many ways they can ‘choose to challenge and change’ and emerge with an action plan that “we all can implement to make this change happen, holistically, practically, and sustainably”.
He staed this on Thursday in Abuja at the Paving the Path: Forum for women’s participation in political leadership in Nigeria, Past, present and future organized by ActionAid Nigeria.
In his words “Our highest aspirations are out of reach and will stay there until the arenas of political power in our country accurately reflect the incredible contributions that women make to every facet of our society.
“ In communities across the country, Nigerian women have excelled in commerce and industry, academia, and the professional class, to say the least.
“Unfortunately, this excellence has not had ample space to manifest in politics, political organisations; nor in the numbers of women who hold and exercise political authority in Nigeria’s three levels of government.
“It follows, therefore, that this is not a women’s problem; it is a Nigerian problem. It is a problem of a system of culture and religion, of law and political practice, that together, hinder political opportunities for women, discouraging
political participation, and excluding important voices.
He also assured that the 9th House of Representatives is committed to using the tools of legislative authority to achieve the vision of a more equal society where gender is not a hindrance to ambition or a condition for holding political office.
Also, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi said that as political actors are organizing, “we within the women’s rights movement will not agonise but to organise ourselves collectively and strategically by working with allies towards opening the space for women’s meaningful participation.
“If we want to see real changes in the lives of Nigerian citizens, I believe it starts with allowing women to lead,” she said.
Also, in her goodwill message, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline K.Tallen estimated that a total number of 2,970 women came out in their numbers to participate in the last general elections.
She attributed poor economic status, negative perception amongst others remains a challenge in Nigeria, calling for women to be supported and empowered even at the rural level .