Women in Parliament Committee of the National Assembly House of Representative held its fourth Annual summit in Abuja. The 2 Day summit commenced yesterday 27th to 28th October 2014. This year summit was themed “2015 Election and Beyond: Strategies and Actions Towards Enhanced Women’s Political Participation” and it is in collaboration with Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre and United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP).
Women in Parliament summit which began since 2010 as part of the preparatory to 2011 General election and it is aimed among other things the role of women in politics and more active participation of women in governance in africa as well as the issues of low representation of women in governance.
Recent statistics has shown that Nigerian despite being the most populous nation in Africa still parades the lowest representation of women in politics and governance which stands below 20% in the last 19 years of democratic rule in Nigeria. Other Africa Countries like Burundi, Liberia, Kenya and Uganda are taking the lead when it comes to women participation at the various level of governments.
As Nigeria’s next elections draw near, it is very strategic to bring together all women in elective positions in Nigeria from the local governments to the national level to a forum to step up actions and strategies to enhance the chances of women performing better in the elections said Abiola Akiyode, Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC). She further stated that this year’s Summit will further strengthen networking and dialogue amongst women in parliament in Nigeria also provide a platform for updates on current issues relating to women’s political participation in Nigeria that require collective action.
We are gathering momentum and equally prepared and ready to give unequalled support to women who are willing to deliver in leadership and governance come 2015 Elections and beyond, said Honourable Binta Maigari Bello, Chairperson, Women in Parliament Committee. “Each time travel to Geneva for conference and I hear how women contribute to the national development of other nations, I get motivated” she recounted. She alluded further that women should not look at the money as the major drive in politics, but rather they should build their strong commitments, integrity and honesty which are vital virtues for anyone in leadership. Nigerian women need to be united, because united we stand, divided we fall, she affirmed.
She also reiterated her commitment to empower more women to be able to fend for themselves in the society.
Alhaja Kudirat Dada, Out-going Vice Chairman Amuwo Odofin Local Goverment Area, Lagos State posited that women have important role to play in leadership and governance, therefore they must be given absolute support and encouragement from their men and society at large to be able to deliver efficiently.
Other major challenges confronting women in their efforts to take on leadership role and how to overcome these challenges were discussed at the summit. Mrs Fatima Abdulkareem, the First Woman to hold an executive position in National Union of Journalist (NUJ) since it was founded 60 years ago, said women are oftentimes sidelined for no justifiable reason but if only they could be persistence in their effort and not give up, just like I was discouraged before I became an Exco in the NUJ, she explained.
Honorable Ayo Omidiran, Chairperson Irewole/Ayedade Local Government, Osun State spoke on how women are faced with discrimination in Nigerian politics. she narrated how she overcame the discrimination in Osun State through the support of the current Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who has given Osun women level plain ground for more participation in governance.