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2023 elections: FIDA advocates for women’s participation in politics

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The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) says more women ought to be active in politics because their number constitutes more than 47 per cent of the electorate.

FIDA Nigeria country Vice-President and National president, Mrs Amina Agbaje, said this in Jos at the weekend.

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Agbaje was represented by the state chairperson, FIDA, Mrs Obioma Achilefu, in a one-day capacity building for young women on monitoring, documenting and reportage of election incidences against women.

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She said that the workshop “is being implemented in Kwara Borno, Plateau and Kaduna State and it is supported by the United Nations Women and the government of Canada.

“Women constitute a powerful electorate with millions of votes in Nigeria and we are advocating for total inclusion and participation of women in politics.

“INEC observes that Nigerian women signalled their intention to make their voices heard in the 2019 election, accounting for about 47.14 per cent that is more than 39 million registered voters nationwide.

“Available data for 2015 presidential election voter turnout shows that housewives were the third highest group out of the nine groups that voted”.

Agbaje, however, regretted that over the years, Nigeria’s political space has been male-dominated despite women constituting a powerful electorate with millions of votes during elections.

She said data had indicated that women’s rate of participation in formal decision-making remains one of the lowest in Africa and across the world with women occupying 5.6 per cent (86 out of 1,534) of all elective positions at both the national and subnational levels.

She added that the eradication of political violence was key in advancing women’s political participation as it is of paramount importance to condense political violence before and after elections for women to fully participate in elections.

Agabaje also noted that the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) in laying credence to the fact, had recognised that elections had triggered outbreaks of violence in which women and girls were victimised.

She noted that it was on the premise that this capacity building was being organised towards advancing the participation of women in the 2023 elections by strengthening selected networks of women groups to identify, observe, document and report incidences of violence against women in the elections.

FIDA Project Officer Barr. Olivia Dazyem said that in pursuit of the advancement of women’s political participation, they decided to take note of most of the things that inhibit women’s participation in politics.

Dazyem said that to support women to come out and participate in politics, there was a need for them to get involved in clearing the space particularly before, during and after elections.

State chairperson, of FIDA, Mrs Obioma Achilefu thanked UN Women and the Canadian government for sponsoring the workshop and said that it would encourage women to participate fully in politics.

Achilefu noted that the recent Osun governorship election that saw women recording more than 50 per cent of voters showed that women were ready to participate and become decision-makers in the country.

A participant Blessing Lubo stated that the active participation of women in politics would strengthen the nation’s democratic process.

Lubo said that the training would help her in identifying factors that affect women during the electioneering process while urging women to participate in politics to drive the change they need.

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