Reduction of women in 9th NASS disastrous for democracy, laments YIAGA
A group, YIAGA Africa, has condemned the drastic reduction of women representation in the 9th National Assembly.
According to YIAGA, out of 2,970 women that ran for various offices in this year’s general elections, only about 57 were elected, which represents 3.83 per cent of all the position in the country, from the office of the President to various state Houses of Assembly.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a reflection meeting on how women fared in the elections, YIAGA’s Programme Manager, Cynthia Mbamalu, said any society that excludes any segment of its populace cannot be regarded as a democratic, adding: “If we exclude the women, youths and those living with disability, it means we cannot say we are democratic in Nigeria, and therefore, even when we say that the last election is disastrous for women, it is more disastrous for democracy in Nigeria, on account of the exclusion of women and young people.”
“It was disastrous to the extent that the number of women in NASS dropped drastically from about 27 to only about 16, fewer in the 9th National Assembly, meaning that when decision would be taken about inclusion, budgeting for gender issues, as well as participation and all only fewer women would be on the table, which means we have a very serious problem of deliberate political exclusion of women in Nigeria.”
According to her, not much has been done as far as the participation of young women is concern, noting: “That is why YIAGA Africa thought it should bring the young women who participated in the last elections to know from them the challenges they went through, what they saw in the field, what happened in the field and what they think should be done in Nigeria to open up the democratic space, so that young women can participate in the process.”
She stressed the need to ensure that the stories of young women who participated in the last elections are brought to the public domain, so that Nigerians would know and hear the stories.
Also speaking, Imo State House of Assembly member-elect, Adaora Onyechere, said the major problem encountered by female aspirants in elections is monetisation of the electoral process, the institutional system and the problem of internal democracy at the party level.
She added: “Financial literacy for women is lacking, women should be engaged and be branded, because a lot of women have difficulty in presenting what exactly the vision was, even though they have the capacity.”