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Politics: Women demand more representation in Kwara

by Editor

By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal

Women political aspirants in Kwara and civil society groups, under the auspices of Women Political Participation (WPP) program have called for implementation of 35 per cent affirmative action for female politicians in Nigeria.

The Group spoke at a one-day workshop in Ilorin, on Strategic Advocacy for Increased Women Participation in Politics (SURGE-UP) organized by the Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative (WOYODEV).

The programme is with the support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and funded by the USAID and UKAID.

Mrs Tosin Apiriola-Ajayi, the Executive Director of WOYODEV, emphasized on the need for women to be elected in political and appointive public service positions in Nigeria as contained in the extant National Gender Policy (NGP).

She observed that Nigeria does not have a specific quota system for women in politics in terms of programmes and policies.

Ajayi stated that women make up a significant portion of the electorate in Nigeria, adding that the country’s political landscape has historically been male dominated.

“For instance, no female Governors were elected in 2023 elections, a pattern that has remained constant since the return to democracy in 1999”, she said.

The executive director thus said that the SURGE-UP project aimed to reignite gender-responsive policies
and programmes in Kwara state with the goal of achieving a strong gender quota legislation for
women in parliamentary elections and other local elections in the state.

She said: “Also, it aims to increase women’s participation and representation in politics in Kwara state through high-level advocacy for gender-responsive policies and programmes towards the 2027 elections”.

The activist noted that the project is aimed to achieve this by building strong partnership with female and male parliamentarians, party leaders and community gatekeepers with use of strategic awareness-raising, editorials and public campaigns as veritable tools.

She also said that objectives include reigniting political will of parliamentarians in Kwara to sponsor and facilitate bills and legislations to advocate a strong quota for women in coming elections at national and state levels.

She said that the group expected such results as, “Bills that seek strong quota for women in political offices initiated in state and national assemblies.

“Bills promoting women’s participation in politics and specific financial cap for local and national elections progressed”.

Ajayi seeks sustained, stronger and supportive networks that empower women that are interested in politics and provide them with guidance throughout their political careers established and sustained.

She also calls for increased skills and knowledge of aspiring women politicians, leading to increased participation of women in politics and higher number of women seeking public office.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum agreed that the upcoming Local Government elections is an opportunity to ensure women emerge through party primaries in Kwara State.

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