Gender  

High cost of nomination forms is the reason Nigerian women will remain #2 in Politics

The participation of women in politics and electoral process in Nigeria is still at a dismal level, and despite the overwhelming number of women at many rallies, it is yet to produce a female presidential flag bearer of a major political party.

According to the Global Gender Gap index data of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Nigeria is ranked 135th out of 144 countries in terms of women empowerment and participation in governance.

The index reveals the gap between men and women at the highest level of political decision-making. Despite the clamour for more seats for women at the table, it is yet to translate into higher opportunities for women to contest in elections.

The 35% Affirmative action was the proposed tipping point for women as ministers and 20 percent for women as commissioners in states by the Senate but alas it failed. The Constitution Alteration Bill No. 25, 2017 was rejected by members of the upper legislative chamber further revealing their disposition towards the development of women who constitute more than 50% of the populace and gender parity in all spheres of governance.

In spite of the odds already stacked against her, the Nigerian woman will have to face the problem of paying a huge sum to obtain nomination forms from political parties. The National President, National Council of Women Societies Nigeria (NCWS), Mrs. Gloria Shoda, appealed to political parties in the country to reduce the cost of their nomination forms to enable more women to participate in the 2019 general election.

The NCWS president said the prices of the forms were high and that only a few women could afford it, hence she called for government intervention.

“How many women will be able to buy form for N45 million, it is very difficult. So, I am begging the government to reduce this money for women.

“I am not saying that the women should not pay at all, but they should pay very little money because our pockets are not deep,” she said.

Major parties such as the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nomination form costs N45 million, while that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) costs N12 million. The governorship form for APC is N22.5 million while that of the PDP costs N6 million.

Most political parties have women wings which coordinate the support base of each party amongst women because it constitutes an important unit of any electoral or political demography.

However, it is sad that within the hierarchy at virtually all political parties, the highest positions women attain are limited to “Women leader” and the lucky ones are pinned as #2, ‘Vice’, ‘Deputy’ to the flagbearer who is often a man, without really giving them the opportunity of contributing politically to the development of this country. Over the years, these women have come to regard themselves as default followers in the political arena, only to be seen and never to be heard.

 

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