The League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV), has expressed concerned over low participation of women in politics and called for urgent measures to reverse the situation.
The President of NILOWV, Irene Ikyegh, stated this at the inauguration of a new executive council of the league and fund raising programme, held in Abuja.
Ikyegh said NILOWV was determined to help women play a larger role in government and public affairs in the country.
This, according to her, is in consonance with the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action.
She said in a bid to empower women to do more in the governance space, NILOWV would construct women’s civic centre.
She explained that the centre would be a hub for training and developing women on policy and political participation.
” The idea is for younger women desirous of making an impact in partisan politics to learn from the documented experiences of women who have gone ahead of them.
“Though with the ever changing dynamics, it is believed that these younger women will be able to navigate the political landscape and make faster progress.
“ Indeed, policies drive decision making and if gender equity in political participation would be achieved, then women’s capacities must be adequately and sustainably built in the policy making process.”
She said that Economic empowerment remained a critical tool for the realisation of the objectives of any people oriented development initiative.
“ Cognizant of this, NILOWV’s motto is “empowering Nigerian women both politically and economically for national development.”
Ikyegh said that politics was a resource intensive endeavour.
” If women will actively participate, their economic profiles and capacities should be adequately built and strengthened to enable them mobilise much needed financial resources required for the purpose.”
She said the organisation would explore partnerships to build vocational skills for women.
” This will provide them access to business capital and offer them various forms of support to enable them start, grow and sustain entrepreneurial ventures.
A representative of UN women,Mr Goremmurs Zephaniah, commended NILOWV for the initiative and supporting women in governance.
Zephaniah said that the measure was a step in the right direction to reverse the worrying trend of the retrogressing data of women in politics as revealed by the 2023 elections.
“Data from 2023 elections shows that Nigeria is retrogressing in terms of women participation in politics.
” At the national level the percentage stands at four while at the state level it’s at 5.44 per cent.
“ This should not dample your spirits,stand strong, collaborate to beat it.”
Also, Mr Benjamin Kalu , Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives ,said the establishment of NILOWV was a testament to the indomitable spirit and unwavering determination of women to actively participate in shaping the future of Nigeria.
Represented by Dr Lilian Agbazue, said the House of Representatives recognised the importance of creating more access for women in the legislative process.
” To this end, the house has undertaken several initiatives to review laws and sections of the constitution, gender-sensitive legislation such as affirmative actions, legislative advocacy, and public consultations.
“ The House is working tirelessly towards fostering a more inclusive and empowering legislative environment for women.’’
The Guest Speaker, Ms Ginika Tor, Federal Commissioner, Representing Enugu, Federal Character Commission, urged women to discover themselves and know their worth.
Tor also called on women to quit seeing themselves as competitors but strengthen each other to succeed by augmenting each other.”
Source: News Agency of Nigeria