The International Federation of Women Lawyer (FIDA), Nigeria, under the auspice of Advance Women Political Participation Project, today, organised workshop to advocate for the prevention of violence against women during and after the forthcoming general elections.
The workshop which has its support from United Nations Women and the Government of Canada was held in Ilorin, Kwara State capital with police officers in attendance and other stakeholders.
In her speech, the FIDA Nigeria National President, Mrs Amina Agbaje, who was represented by Chioma U. Onyenucheya – Uko revealed that the workshop is being implemented across the four focal states of intervention namely Kwara (North Central), Borno (North East), Plateau (North Central) and Kaduna (North West).
She said, ‘Globally, women share a common feature of marginalization in the sphere of public life, and their participation and representation in political life continues to be minimal. In evolving participatory democracy, citizens (both men and women) have equal rights to participate in elections. We have observed Low women’s participation in Nigeria’s electoral process which has limited their contribution to decision making and democratic growth despite the fact that they represent about 50% of the Nigerian population.
“Recent data indicates that women’s rates of participation in formal decision making remain one of the lowest on the continent and across the world with women occupying an abysmal 5.6 per cent (86 out of 1534) of all elective positions at both the national and subnational levels.
“Current statistics of women in parliament in Nigeria confirm that women representation in parliament is on a steady decline, 9% in 2007, 7% in 2011, 5% in 2015 and less than 10% in the 9th National Assembly. Using the 2015 figures, there are only 4 women deputy governors in all of Nigeria’s 36 states. Evidently, Women constitute a powerful electorate with millions of votes in Nigeria.
“According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerian women signaled their intention to make their voices heard in the 2019 election, accounting for about 47.14 per cent (39,598,645 million) of the 84,004.084 million registered voters nationwide. Comparatively In 2015, three million, six hundred and sixty-seven thousand, and seventy-six (3,667,076) housewives voted in the presidential election, placing next to students (4,480,708) and civil servants (4,628,433).
“Similarly, housewives rank third on the list of registered voters by group in the last 2019 election. They represented 14.10 per cent of the total registered voters by group, next to farmers/fishers (16.23 per cent) and students (26.57 per cent). Recognizably, eradication of political violence is key in advancing women political participation as it is of paramount importance to condense political violence before and after elections so that women can fully participate in elections.”
“The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) in laying credence to this fact have clearly recognized that, elections have triggered outbreaks of violence in which women and girls were victimized which have made women a tool of political harassment and violence before during and after elections.
“This has made female voters continue to be disproportionately affected by various forms of election-related violence or threats of violence which has the effect of keeping them away from the polling stations more than male voters.
On his part, SP Iwalaye Adekunle Esq who gave goodwill message on behalf of the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, appreciated the FIDA Nigeria for coming up with such programme that seeks protection and participation of women in elections, promising that the force will not rest on his oars to see that Nigeria is peaceful.