Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) and the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) have appealed to Nigeria political parties to involve more women, youth and People Living with Disability in leadership positions within the parties in line.
The Institute, the country’s highest Policy Institute frowned at the situation where women are reduced to occupying only the position of women leader within the parties, while People with Disability are practically left of decision making processes is not good for democratic governance in Nigeria.
Speaking at two separate trainings for party leaders and women, in Abuja, Director of Research of the Institute and Chief Operating Officer of the Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre (PPLPDC), Prof. Habu Galadima said women, youth and people with Disability should be mainstreamed into leadership positions in line with international best practices and the national gender policy.
“This is part of the programmes being supported by the EU to improve the participation of women in leadership positions. If you go by the statistics, it is quite clear that women are under represented in both elective and appointive positions and this start from the political parties.
“How many women are Chairmen of political parties. We are tired of hearing only men. We want to see women becoming chairmen and secretaries of political parties.
“We want to see more women presidential aspirants, more women senators and more women represented in the state and National Assembly, women governors and it all begins with the political parties.
“You have to take leadership position in the political parties and through that, you can influence policies that can enable women rise up and take up elective positions as well as appointive positions in the political parties.
“That is why it is important that this workshop be organised to help sensitise women to ensure that they participate actively in political decision making processes in their parties and to ensure that they are aware of the gender policy in this country so that it can be mainstreamed into the political parties and ensure that they adhere or comply with those policies set by them as political parties.
“The objective of this workshop is to enhance the understanding of women leaders in the political parties on extant laws on inclusivity and gender policy in Nigeria.
“It is also to sensitise women leaders of political parties on the need to integrate inclusivity and gender in their political parties and address issues and challenges affecting compliance with gender policy by political parties and evolve strategies to promote and integrate inclusivity of gender policy in the political parties.
“You must ensure that the gender policy is mainstreamed into the political parties and is complained with we want to see more women occupying top positions in this country. If the women can organised successfully, they can wrestle power from the men,” he said.
Addressing the training programme for party leaders, Galadima said since People Living with Disability (PLWD) participate in the electoral process by voting for candidates, they should also be qualified to be voted for.
He said the nation has a population of more than 21 million people living with Disability with voting rights, adding that this significant number of people should be mainstreamed into decision making processes in the political parties.
He added that it was unfortunate that most of the political parties in the country do not have people living with Disability occupying leadership position at the highest level in their party.
“We have come to agreement that a significant population of this country is made up of the youth. Also, people with disability also constitute a significant number. More than 21 million people of voting population of this country are people with disability.
“So, you can imagine if a political party can get the support of 21 million voters of this country and add that to the youths. That is a significant voting population and yet, most of them have not been mainstreamed into the political offices in this country.
“Most political parties in this country don’t have youths and people with disability mainstreamed in their leadership position. How many political parties in this country have people living with disability mainstreamed into Leadership position at the highest level in their political parties.
“These people need to be integrated. If they can vote you into office, it also mean that they can also be voted for and so, should be given an opportunity. We also want to see more youths in leadership position in this country and it is important that we begin to mainstream them.
“We are not saying they should take over leadership positions in this country, but they should be involved in decision making process at all levels. We should also ensure that people with disability are recognized and given their fair share of the political processes of this country.”
Similarly IPAC’s National Chairman, Alhaji Mohammad Nalado, noted that women must get more involved in the political process to be eligible to occupy elective office, adding that women cannot sit at home and expect to be elected.
“We believe that women are going to play a big role in ensuring that more women participate in political activities. That is why we have women leaders and we believe that they should work harder to ensure that more women participate in political activities.
“It is only when women participate in political activities that they can be elected into elective offices. You cannot sit at home and expect to be voted for. So, this challenge is also for women leaders of the various political parties.
“IPAC can serve as an advisory body to the political parties to have inclusiveness of women. Political party leaders should encourage women to occupy more party offices. We have to start from ourselves by putting more women in party positions,” he said.