• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Nigeria @63: Northern women call for more gender inclusion in politics


In the spirit of celebration of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence anniversary, northern women in Adamawa State have called for more inclusion in the political space.

While commemorating with Nigerians, a member representing Demsa constituency Kate Raymond Mamuno reiterated the need for involvement of more women in politics, stating that women who were able to break the barrier of culture and religion have made meaningful contributions in the governance of communities, states and country at large.

She said that the northern women in politics were beginning to witness positive changes, gaining more grounds and acceptability without being discriminated against from the men folk which she described as excellent.

“Things have changed due to advocacy, enlightenment, awareness from all works of life, the CSOs, NGOs, government institutions are creating awareness with our traditional rulers, major stakeholders in both urban and rural areas, you find out that the barrier is being lessened. Before now, there was a stereotype syndrome that hindered women to be seen or heard or even participate,” Mamuno said.

She also described her relationship with her colleagues in the state House of Assembly as an excellent one being the only female.

“I have on several occasions received moral and legislative support,” he said.

She stressed that efforts were been made to remove fear of stigmatisation and fear of the unknown making the women part and parcel of governance process.

She urged women to break the ceiling of limitation, and come out and give their best, sit up and take their place and be intentional to move the country forward.

While commenting on the involvement of northern women in the political sphere, the Commissioner for Information, Neido Kofulto said that women in politics have gone through a lot of struggles over the years.

She however, noted that things are getting better.

“A lot of women have made name in politics. The story of participation of northern women in politics cannot be complete without mentioning Queen Amina of Zaria who led men in Zazzau to war.

“Gambo Sawaba is another woman who stood out in politics; she was jailed seven times, disgraced and beaten severally, yet she stood firm.

“Few years back, Sarah Jibril also took a bold step, came out and contested for the position of Nigerian president.

“Having contested three times for state House of Assembly, I can vividly tell you that being in politics is never an easy thing for a woman, especially in this part of the country,” she said.

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She urged women to strategise, learn to trust one another not to drag one another down, adding that they need to stand for one another and support one another.

“A woman should protect a fellow woman
and should come up with programmes like the ‘he for she’ by men in politics; there should also be programmes like ‘ she for she.’

“Talking about independence, we also talk of libration of women. Now in Nigeria, we have more women in politics. Offices that were mainly dominated by men now have women in such positions and they are doing well,” she said.

The commissioner further said: “The place of a woman politically is gradually changing; we are stepping up proving that we can do it.

“Being the Commissionerfor Information for a month now, the ministry has seen noticeable positive changes. Women are not asking for much or a fifty fifty percent but just thirty percent representation to contribute to the growth of the country.

“Being Africans, a woman must always have it at the back of her mind and discharge her duties in accordance with the traditions and culture. A woman should know her civil right and do the right thing at the right time.”

She said said that a lot of seminars were going on in order to bring out women from their dark corners, starting from the girl child.
programmes that will enlighten women more on their civil rights.

While also commenting on the challenges encountered by most women in politics she said funding has always been a major problem encountered apart from culture and religion beliefs.

She called on women to come out of their shell and take a bold step.

“Woman to woman, take each other’s hand to bring the desired change in the country,” she said.

Suzan Mark Zira, Adamawa State PDP women leader, said that before now politics was perceived as a dirty business which led to lesser participation of northern women and that most women did not want to be part of “dirty business.”

She further stressed that before now women who were fully involved in politics were seen as harlots and prostitutes.

“As such, they shunned politics in order not to be given such names. Therefore, few women that were found in politics before were generally seen as irresponsible women,” Zira said.

Stressing that culture and religious practices are also major contributors to less involvement of women in politics especially in the north, she said: “Norms and some religious beliefs and practices brought women’s esteem low, and contributed to less participation of women in politics.”

She further said that this had greatly reduced women’s self worth to the extent that they are not vocal as men.

“Some of our religions do not support women to participate in public affairs. They have no much confidence in themselves talk more of public appearance and address,” she noted.

The women leader also blamed poverty as another limitation for participation of women in politics.

“Women were rated as property or part of their husband’s possession. As they were denied ownership of even what they suffered to get. As such, one cannot get involved in politics without money, this made them become used and dumped by politicians.

“The low level of education of women also contributed to less participation of women in politics before now. In the past, women’s education was considered as to end in the kitchen,” she said.

She however, pointed out that the level of involvement of women in politics now is high with the political awareness created among women and political education taught in schools.

“Much greater number of women is found in politics in the Northern Nigeria now especially in Adamawa State with a gender-friendly Governor, Ahmedu Umaru Fintiri.

“Adamawa State in the North Eastern Nigeria had first female Deputy Governor now and female commissioners, advisers, VC, permanent secretaries.

“At the grassroots, we have many groups of women in politics and even girls in politics.
So, there is great difference between involvement of women in politics before and now,” she said.

Luri Zaphania, a politician, said that before now participation of women in politics from the Northern part of Nigeria was nothing to write home about because of the circumstances sorounding a woman, culturally and religiously,

She added that it was a world dominated by men and that illiteracy has been a huge obstacle.

“Following the 1995 Beijing conference, women are only asking for thirty five percent representation in the political space,” she said.

According to her, a lot has changed; more capable women have now come on board and changing the narrative.

She urged women to come out and participate and remove the spirit of fear.

“Women should not relent; they should face it headlong from the grassroots and be determined to make a difference,” she said.