Ms Eunice Agbogun, Executive Director, Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has urged various stakeholders to make the electoral processes inclusive, participatory and encompassing to give women their deserved position in governance.
Agbogun made the call at the Unveiling and Multi-Stakeholders Meeting of Kogi State Women “Get Out The Vote (GOTV), Voter Education and Stop Violence Against Women In Politics (STOP VAWIP) campaign project in Kogi” at Riverton Hotel, Lokoja.
She said that the nation’s democratic journey and particularly that of the state had not been inclusive and encompassing as the founding fathers had envisaged due to deliberate and conscious exclusion of women.
“This is so because women, who make up half the population, are deliberately and consciously left out in the decision making governance structure and this has clearly emasculated the desired development we ought to have gotten.
She said statistics had shown that women elective positions at the national level were less than 10 per cent and worse at the state level where the state House of Assembly had no woman member just as the 21 Local Government administrators were men.
“The election of Nov. 16 is a crucial stage in the democratic progress of the state and women are key in that development. Our state cannot afford to relegate half of its population to the back and expect to move forward,” the executive director said.
Also speaking at the meeting, Prince Matthew Kolawole, Speaker of Kogi House of Assembly, said that as part of its resolve to advance the cause of women, the Gender and Equal Opportunities bill pending before the House would soon be passed.
Kolawole,who was represented by his Chief Protocol Officer, Mr Aiyenigba Olalekan, said violence against women was in our psyche as a people, adding that the nation could do better.
Mohammed Othman, Kogi state Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), in his remarks, urged women to believe in themselves and start their politicking from the grassroots saying, “sponsor yourself for political positions”.
Abdul Zakari, Deputy Director in the Ministry of Justice, speaking on behalf of the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, urged women to rise above their vulnerability and take their rightful places in politics.
Mrs Kenechi Ajayi, SSA to the governor on Women and Children Development, said women were very important in politics, adding that the nation was experiencing political crises as a result of the conscious and deliberate exclusion of women from taking their right political spaces.
Mr Raymond Esebagbon, Deputy Country Director, National Democratic Institute (NDI), co-organisers of the meeting, said aside the efforts to shore up women participation in politics, the Project was committed to combating fake news and hate speech with the aim of promoting peaceful election.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the meeting, organised by CPI with support from NDI, UKAID and USAID had stakeholders from military and other security agencies, women groups, Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA), People Living With Disabilities (PLWD), CSOs and the media in attendance.
Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf