Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
The International Republican Institute (IRI) has called for greater participation of women in the politics and governance of Sokoto State.
IRI Coordinator in Sokoto State Aishat Muhammad Ahmed made the call during a summit women to review women’s participation in the 2019 general elections in the state, identifying its challenges and solutions.
In her paper titled ‘Performance Review of Women Political Participation in Sokoto State’, Ahmad explained that the state, with a population of more than three million (with women constituting 49.1 percent) has continued to witness a decline in the participation of women in the election system and governance.
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“From 1999 to date, no woman has been elected into the legislature, none were elected in the executive arm of government and, therefore, this justifies low women participation in political offices in the state.”
She recalled that a total number of the 43 women who participated in the 2019 primary elections across different political parties were unsuccessfully at the end of the elections.
Aisha listed challenges facing women in politics to include inadequate influences within their own political parties, the challenges of candidacy, the electoral systems and the absence/non adherence to quotas to encourage women’s representation.
“All these contribute to explaining the relatively unchanged and diminishing situation of women in politics and governance,” Aisha reasoned.
She reiterated the need for women to have a better deal in the political space, saying that: “They want visibility, they want their voices heard and want to be part of the conversation that will move the great state forward through appointments, friendly legislations, women-friendly programmes and allocation of quotas to women in political parties.”
In his opening remarks, Babatunde Alabi, of IRI Abuja, said that the summit was one of many programmes organised to encourage women in Sokoto participate in governance and political decision making.
“We believed women are the ones bearing the brunt of poor service delivery and poor governance making… If women are involved and part and parcel of this decision making, they will be able to ensure that such services are delivered and the dividends of democracy is felt among citizens…,” Alabi explained.
Also speaking, INEC Sokoto Desk Officer on Gender and Civil Society, Aishatu Abdullahi, recounted that 16 women contested for the House of Representatives, five for Senate, two for Gubernatorial and 20 State House of Assembly across the state during the 2019 general elections.
“Unfortunately, none of the candidates come from the wider political parties and, to worsen the situation, none of them emerged victorious,” she noted.
Participants at the summit include women candidates in 2019 general elections, representatives of political parties, civil society organisations, government appointees, students leaders and officials from the state ministry of women affairs.