…. says 16.3 percent women grossly inadequate and uninclusive
By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
A Non -Governmental Organisation, Blossom Africa Initiative, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of gender insensitive to the way and manner he nominated few women in his cabinet list.
In a statement issued on Saturday in Lagos, by the President of the organisation, Temitope Musowo, the NGO said 7 women out of 43 people which represent 16.3 percent was grossly inadequate and against the 35 percent affirmative action.
Musowo accused the President of failing to fulfil his campaign promise of including more women and youth in his government as nobody on the list submitted was below 50 years of age , adding that that would denial the country the fresh ideas and unique contributions women and youth are capable of bringing into governance.
“This list as far I am concerned is misogynistic and run foul of the principle of gender equality as obtained in Goal 5 of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“While we are still struggling over 35 percent in Nigeria, some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa like Rwanda, Senegal ,etc have even gone past 35 percent, Rwanda is already doing 50 percent and more.
“You can see the difference in those countries that are giving women more opportunities in government, this is because of the unique contribution and flavour women brings into governance.
“Women are passionate about education, health,they are good in mediation and conflict resolution, when you exclude them in governance you deny the society all these,” he said.
The organization said ” Nigeria is currently ranked 183rd in parliamentary gender equality index and this is not good for sustainable development of the country”
He appealed to women to do beyond singing in political rallies and challenge every institutional decimation and cultural misogyny that limits their potentials.
“We know power is not served alarcarte, it is fought for, women need to push themselves forward especially into elective offices, where their fate would be largely determined by their fellow women who form the larger percentage of the electorate.
“We remember in January last year, UK special envoy on gender equality, Joanna Roper was in Nigeria, addressing journalists, she said the British government had earmarked 250 million pounds to support more Nigerian women to go into political offices, mediation and conflict resolution.
“Some political parties being gender sensitive even went as far as making party nomination forms free for women to give them more opportunities, so I am appealing to women to give support to their fellow women because majority of women seeing fellow women on the ballot during election would still cast their votes for the men,” the NGO appealed .
Musowo added: “in fairness to President Muhammadu Buhari, according to our constitution and following the principle of federal character, each state is to produce one minister each, then additional one from each of the six geo- political zones, which means the state governors largely determined the list.
“However, the president could still have insisted on a particular number of women he wanted and the states governors would have put that consideration into their selection process”,he said.
“Meanwhile, since the list has been submitted already, we still have appointment into MDA, the president still have that opportunity include more women, youth and people with disabilities to leave a worthy legacy of an inclusive government.”
The NGO maintained that there was need to give a legal backing to the issue of gender equality in government appointments and political offices by ensuring an electoral gender quota for the women.