More often than not, men constitute a larger percentage of the party membership and this tends to affect women when it comes to selecting or electing candidates for elections. Since men are usually the majority in the political party setup, they tend to dominate the party hierarchy and are therefore at advantage in influencing the party’s internal politics. Based on the foregoing, concerned Women in Bauchi State came out to address women participation in politics. Ahmed Kaigama reports from Bauchi
Not long ago, Political Stakeholders in Bauchi State came all out to address the issues militating women from political participation. They among all other things lamented over challenges of women participation in active politics that daunt their effort of contributing towards socio-economic development of the country.
The Association of Christian Women in Politics, Bauchi coordinator Mrs. Sarah Yohanna Ryaghan, stated at a one day workshop/ conference at the weekend for stakeholder among women at Zaranda Hotel, Bauchi said, the occasion become imperative to stimulate women to participate in politics.
The Co-coordinator added that the occasion with theme, ‘Dimension of women participation in politics in 21st century’, was deliberately coined to prepare to address the gender disparities against women whose duties are ignorantly narrowed to household.
Ryaghan lamented that Nigeria Women had suffered untold hardship due to lack of freedom to contribute their quota in the development of the country when successful governments did not include them in decision making.
The association regret that women and children are seriously faced with poverty, discrimination in all ramifications even as government had promised them 35 affirmative slots in decision making.
“Women are globally threatened by health hazards such as sexually transmitted disease like HIV/AIDS and other related killer diseases.
Our patriarchal society designates men as decision makers thereby placing women as figures of authority” said Ryagyan.
She stressed that over 5,000 women were invited to attend the sensitization workshop carefully selected from all the 20 council areas in the state explaining that over 500,000 women have so far registered in the association.
While presenting his paper titled “the role of women in peace and building our society” Rev. Joshua Ray Maina laments that the role of women in politics has been negligible in the present democratic dispensation.
Joshua added that the deterioration of family values has been the bane of placing women at the disadvantages; a development he opined has resulted to crises at homes.
According to him, “the role of women in peace building in our respective societies cannot be overlooked in settling minor disagreement in the home especially in the absence of men and same apply to nation development”.
He then charged the women on religious, political and ethnic tolerance and described the occasion as timely, to sensitize them on the need to contribute their quota towards 2015 elections.
Similarly, Bauchi state All Progressives Congress (APC) Woman Leaders, Sa”adatu Mamuda, charged INEC to exhibit high sense of decorum to ensure women are registered during the voters’ registration exercise.
Sa”adatu said, the voters’ registration exercise was marred by irregularities stressing that the computers being used for the exercise were obsolete.
“In fact the exercise is in futility since women are not being carried along because hardly can they endeavour to stay on the queue waiting for several hours like men while others will be breast feeding their babies. There are also environmental factors to contend with, like when it is raining,” said Saadatu.
According to the Woman Leader, “at most of the places visited, women were being forced not to register due to the mammoth crowd, there was also the issue of poor equipment mobilized to carry out the exercise.
She maintained that “It’s disappointing that the days stipulated by the INEC are short. If you are to register all Nigerians especially those eligible to for the voters’ card, it will be hard. Let alone, when their machines cannot effectively function”.
Similarly, the Director, Women Affairs in the Bauchi State Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs Lydia Shehu, has identified unfriendly political environmental factors, culture, tradition and religious belief, low level of education as some of the barriers militating against Nigerian women’s participation in politics.
Shehu stated this while presenting a paper, titled, “Roles of Women in National Development”, at a two-day training workshop organized by a Bauchi-based non-governmental organization (NGO), Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI) in conjunction with the Bauchi State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs for wives of Commissioners and Caretaker Chairman in the State.
She said that other barriers, including gender discrimination, marginalized party policies, lack of confidence and self assertion, family value, among others, also prevent women from playing active roles in the Nigerian political terrain, declaring that these, notwithstanding, women still had important roles to play in the political arena.
While saying that politics was a game of numbers, Mrs Shehu urged Nigerian women to take advantage of their numerical strength to take the centre stage in politics, adding that doing this would afford them the opportunity of entrenching honesty, transparency, judicious and prudent use of resources and good governance in Nigeria.
She, however, stated that for women to play prominent roles in the country’s development, emphasis should be given to girl-child education, prejudices and religious sentiment had to be done away with, while there should be women empowerment and enlightenment.
She also called on women to rise against party differences, while government at all levels should focus on deliberate policy framework with a view to giving women prominence in the polity while political parties should have gender inclusive operational policy guidelines.
In her welcome address, the Executive Director, FAWOYDI, Hajiya Maryam S. Garba, stated that the workshop was organized with a view to empower the Wives of the State Commissioners and Local Government Caretaker Chairman in order for them to take development to the grass-roots level in the state.
She noted that her NGO was basically concerned about women and youths’ development, adding however, that it was being hampered by low funding, difficult terrain, donor dependence and low government support.
In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Ahmed Faggo, who was represented by Mr Lamaran Shaloma, stated that the ministry was always ready to partner with FAWOYDI in order to bring development to the rural areas of Bauchi State.
He, therefore, called on participants to take full advantage of the workshop and pass the knowledge they would acquire from it to the people at the grassroots in the state to develop the state in particular and the country at large.
Mrs. Hassan Alkila, Caretaker Chairman, Bogoro Local Government in Bauchi state also encouraged women to participate in politics.
According her, women are the mangers of economy and infrastructure. She said, “Don’t relent on your effort in joining politics because your contribution is needed in many situations.
She said women are the pillars of any man. Therefore, the men cannot succeed without the women.
“I urge women to come out actively and participate and even contest for positions, we should not agree to be relegated to the background please” she said.
It is important to note that Nigerian women have encountered a number of problems while venturing into politics. There is large scale discrimination from the men folk, both in voting for candidates and in allocating political offices.