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‘Why Nigeria’s electoral politics is gender-exclusive’

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Stakeholders have said that one of the growing concerns about democracy is the exclusion of women and other disadvantaged groups from structures of representation and decision-making.

Stakeholders have said that one of the growing concerns about democracy is the exclusion of women and other disadvantaged groups from structures of representation and decision-making.

The stakeholders, who spoke at a roundtable on “Enhancing Women’s Active Participation in Politics” in Abuja, noted that it would persist despite the fact that equal rights for women are guaranteed in the constitution in country.Prof. Sam Egwu of University of Jos (UNIJOS) stated that the disparity between theory and practice raises fundamental questions of social justice when women are the majority of the electorate and yet few are elected as leaders.He also said that this would have negative effect on future generations, as ongoing imbalances in equal opportunities can affect the prospects for social and economic development in the longer term.

According to him, many countries on the continent of Africa, including Nigeria, have not given adequate opportunities for women to participate in governance .Mma Odi of Alliance For Credible Elections said: “The outcome of 2015 polls, subsequent off-cycle, and party primaries held between 2015 and 2018 and 2019 showed that women performed below expectation.”She noted that the current statistics indicate that women are grossly under-represented in elective and appointive positions, saying, it stands short of desired 30 per cent by international standards.

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“There is need to open political space to accommodate all groups, especially women, to participate in active politics and nation-building and raise the consciousness to work assiduously to enhance it.”

Also, Ramatu Umar Bako explained that patriarchy and dominance, culture and religion, violence and money politics, in most cases, act as impediments to exclude women from sharing power as equals with men.She noted that the withdrawal of the only female presidential candidate, Oby Ezekwesili of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), worsened women in politics, adding that it has negative impact on women.

Others, according to her, include absence of government regulated quota, customs and tradition, paying lip service to gender equality in political space, domestic violence, sexual assault and women as victims in conflict.”They, however, concluded that political parties are not democratic, and this was the challenge, as a result, parties do not have respect for women, and we cannot increase women participation in 2023.

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