The delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) has decried the sharp downturn in the number of women elected to parliament at state and federal levels in the country.
This observation was contained in a statement signed by Mr Michael-Donovan Ezeilo for IRI.
He noted that the EU and IIRI will tomorrow hold a two-day workshop to strengthen the political participation of youth and women in the country, adding that the event would provide an opportunity for engagement with political leaders at the national level for improved inclusion in the political process.
‘’Nigeria’s general elections of 2011 and 2015 saw a sharp downturn in the number of women elected to parliament at state and federal levels. In 2015, only 14 women were elected to Nigeria’s 360-member House of Representatives, and only seven of 109 elected senators are women. Currently, women and youth represent only 6.1 percent and 7.5 percent respectively at the Senate and the House.
‘’Despite constituting about half of the nation’s population, women and youth remain voiceless and underrepresented in leadership and decision making positions in public offices. In April 2016, the IRI conducted a national poll of public opinion which revealed that politicians do not accommodate the needs of women and young people in Nigeria.
‘’This underscores the fact that women and youth remain highly marginalized in politics and are often viewed by politicians as appendages rather than stakeholders in the democratic process,’’ he said.
He also quoted IRI Regional Director, Africa John Tomaszewski as saying that “The future of West and Central Africa depends on the ability of its political class to embrace and further the promise of democracy. Now more than ever, young people and women in the region need to be empowered to face the challenges faced by their countries.”