By Precious Akintulubo
For a balanced representation at the 2023 election polls, women have been urged to support fellow women in Nigeria’s electoral process to tackle the case of gender bias in the electoral process of Nigeria.
The call was made during an Africa Data Hub (ADH), Twitter space discussion Wednesday, by guest speakers, the Chief Vision Officer of LightRay Media, Ejiro “Lady E” Umukoro, and Adekunle Ajasin University Don and Co-founder of Centre for Citizens Engagement For Growth and Development, Adekunle Akinola.
She explained how women’s lack of interest in politics was not only caused by political bias and disenfranchisement, but also by ingrained religio-cultural practices, and gender-against- gender socialization.
According to Ejiro, “This is a problem that begins right from the home where mothers train their daughters to give more respect and reverence to the menfolk more than they give to the women folk.
“And you can see this play out in politics where women are treated as second class citizens in Nigeria, which is very wrong.
“Politicians see women as mere clout mobilisers that help men win elections. In most cases, men enter politics without experience, but then they are given the privilege to be mentored by other men and the opportunity to learn the ropes to gain experience.
“Women on the other hand, whether experienced or not, are not given these kinds of privileges, opportunities, or preferences. And where the opportunity exists, often it comes with a caveat of all sorts, something they will not ask of men.” She stated.
Another Guest Speaker, a Lecturer in Adekunle Ajasin University and Co-founder of Centre for Citizens Engagement For Growth and Development, Adekunle Akinola stated unequivocally, that he would vote for a female presidential candidate giving instances of how women are more fit for administrative responsibilities judging from how they have proven to be effective managers at home.
According to Adekunle “I’m going to vote for a female presidential candidate. Historically, it has been proven that women know how to manage home and as well manage the country better than their male counterparts.
“For instance, the first female senator in United States was the only US Republican senator that voted against US invasion of Iraq because of her personality unlike the male gender who tends to be more aggressive.” He said.
Statistics of Women in Nigeria’s Electoral Process Low – NBS
According to the National Bureau Of Statistics in 2016, the national average of women’s political participation in Nigeria has remained 6.7 percent in elective and appointive positions, which is far below the Global Average of 22.5 percent and Africa’s regional average of 23.4 percent and West African sub regional Average of 15 percent.
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2015 shows that only 6 women were appointed to the federal cabinet.
At the National Assembly, there were 7 female senators while at the gubernatorial levels there were 6 female deputy governors. Only one female contested for the office of president and four for vice president.
Fast track to 2022, there were four female presidential contestants, one for governorship position, three as deputy governors, and only 1 female spokesperson at the primaries across the parties.
None of the female presidential contestants emerged as the lead candidates for the presidential election.
This year election has been the most male-centred election in Nigeria, where sitting women senators have been threatened behind the scenes to step down for governors of their state who see the senate seat as a retirement home.