By George Ozalla

It was a historic moment as enthusiastic female politicians and gentlemen of the press gathered in Abuja yesterday to witness the launch of Network of Female Politicians for More NFP4More, an initiative supported by BAOBAB and other development partners in order to actualize increase of women participation in active political space.

Earlier in her welcome remark, Miss Anne Lawal, Programme Director, BAOBAB, thanked all the invited guests for coming to be part of the launch, stating that she was doing so on behalf of Yeye Bunmi Dipo-Salami, JP, Executive Director, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights.
Miss Lawal who highlighted the importance of expanding the political space to accommodate more women participation and the need for other women politicians to mentor the young ones stated that she was super excited as the set day has come to launch the network, she said that the network was initiated after last year’s building capacity for women in politics from across the six geo-political zones.

In a press release jointly read by the duo of Miss Lawal and Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba, who was former first female Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, “available statistics show that the national average of women’s political participation in Nigeria has remained 6.7 percent in elective and appointive positions, which is far below the global average of 22.5 percent, Africa regional average of 23.4 percent, and the West African Sub Regional Average of 15 percent. Presently, only 4 out of 109 Senators are women, and only 17 out of 360 House of Representatives members are women. The situation is the same at the sub-national level, where only 48 out of 988 State Assembly seats are held by women. There is currently no female Governor, and only 6 out of 36 Deputy Governors are women”.

Further more, women constitute 49.46 percent of Nigeria’s population.

Cultural barriers, structural inequalities, gender inequality, lack of education, poverty, insecurity amongst others were considered as major impediments against women even participation in political space.

Rt.Hon Adelugba while responding to a question stated that women desire collaborations, understanding and co-operations from their male counterparts, women and certain fair considerations for them to come to frontline political space and contribute their quotas.

Some of the participants who shared their views at the press conference were Mrs Ene Ede, a seasoned gender equity advocate and politician, in her words “I am quite excited to be part of this history making occasion of female politicians for more, that is we need more female to be there because I ran for an office and ran away. Having encouraged people over time but I realized that advocacy is different from running for office, so that realization now has energized me to be able to support more people to run and also for me to consider running too in the nearest future, it’s quite important so that we are not just talking from the arm chair but we are participating actively.
I have been interested in the active participation of everybody in politics because politics is life”.

Honorable Fatima Hamman; the youngest candidate for FCT-AMAC and BWARI Federal Constituency during the last election in her view stated that removal of dogmatic and marginalization ideologies will go a long way in creating appreciable enabling balance for women’s active participation in politics, she advised that women who are already in positions whether elected or appointed should groom other younger women and carry them along rather than building barriers or driving them away.

Hajia Mariam Zalo Mohammed in her remark also expressed gladness that she had come to support the initiative seeing women who were thinking positively in the same line like her, it was a fantastic one today for me, she concluded.

In the same vein, Mrs. Ifeoma stated that she was so excited to have attended the launch, urging people in government to consider giving women more space to participate actively in politics without any form of discriminations or hindrance.

Highlights of the event was the unveiling of attractive logo of NFP4More, welcomed with thunderous applause by participants, group photographs and networking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *