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‘Cultural impediment, major disincentive to women inclusion’

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Politics

MRS. HONOR ONYEBUCHUKWU, a lawyer and deputy national women leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), regrets that cultural impediment has overtime prevented many women from active participation in politics. She spoke of the need to change the concept of ‘Godfatherism’ to ‘political leader’ so as to reflect someone who mentors the mentees. VICTOR GBONEGUN reports.

Isues of women political participation in Nigeria has been a recurrent topic, what do you think is the critical impediments?

The critical impediment to the issues of women political participation in Nigeria is majorly cultural.

A woman in Nigeria and even in Africa is not recognised as a leader.

A woman is expected to always depend on the man and this is a cultural issue that has prevented women from advancing politically.

When it gets to political participation, the story is even worse.

Most men will obviously not support their women to actively participate in politics even when they have a lot to offer.
 
Some observers have criticised the idea of having women leaders in political parties, wondering why no woman deems it proper to contest for the position of national chairman of political parties?

The same issue of cultural impediment plays a role here.

Cultural impediment is a major disincentive to women’s political participation.

Tell me which party man will convincingly support a woman as the chairperson of a political party in Nigeria.

Until our men begin to see women for who they truly are with abilities they possess, there is very little women can achieve under the platform of political parties.

Most times, we hear of women showing interest in governorship and presidential seat, why is it that fellow women don’t take them serious by supporting or voting them?

We must understand that culture is very strong and civilization has not really helped that much.

You discover that mothers culturally tilt towards the male child even without considering it Do we also realize that women are trained to be leaders right from the home as girls?

Women are expected to take care of everybody except themselves.

Women often find it difficult to support their fellow women or vote for them as governors or president, because, women also see their fellow women with the eyes of the men.

Secondly, women’s political education is not even there. A good chunk of women are illiterates in the first place and poor as well.

So, it becomes easy for the menfolk to attract them to their side.

However, the womenfolk are getting more politically aware and we trust God that more women will begin to aspire for the positions of governors and president.

If we agree that a woman is a homemaker, it therefore follows that she is a nation builder. 

Does marital status or age have any role to play in women participation in politics?

I think that marital status also has something or poses as an impediment to women participation in politics.

From childhood, the women are taught to take care of the home and family.

You discover that most women will not go into active political participation until their children are full grown up.

I am also aware of some women whose husbands stopped from active political participation. Infact, it is a no go area for such husbands.

I do not believe that age has anything to do with women participation in politics, however a married woman will naturally nurture her children before venturing into active politics.

A woman can fully participate in politics at any age as long as she has the ability and capacity.

Do you have a godfather in politics?

Why do people always refer to ‘godfatherism’ in politics and not ‘god-motherism’?

The same cultural issue I mentioned earlier. To answer the question, Yes, I have a godfather and his name is God the father.

What is your take on the issue of godfatherism in Nigerian Politics?

My take on godfatherism in Nigeria politics is that I do not think it’s out of place for one to have a political leader or mentor, who can be a man or woman.

I believe that those who have gone ahead should tutor those coming behind them.

The word “godfather” makes it look like the “son” will be caged with no mind of his own.

A political leader or mentor will be more appropriate like the case of Paul and Timothy in the Bible.
 
It is generally believed that women in politics are not generous. What is your take on this school of thought?

Women are naturally generally generous, but this generosity is usually with wisdom and caution.

The school of thought that believes that women in politics are not generous is wrong in the true sense of it.

Let me ask, why should I give you money to support me to serve you?

Should that not be corruption? Women are addicted to seeing that right and proper things are done.

Why is it that there are less number of women in political positions under the All Progressive Congress regime compared to when the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was in power?

To compare the number of women in political position under APC administration now and PDP then may be a misnomer.

Why do I say so? Remember PDP governed Nigeria for more than 16years, while APC has only served for three years.

I think the time for comparison will not be now.

However, with what is happening now, there is going to be quite an increase in the number of women in political participation under the All Progressives Congress.

And don’t also forget that leadership and political positions comes from God.

Going forward, I see a very boisterous and active women participation in politics in Nigeria.

Quite a good number of women are letting go of what has so far held them down from full and active political participation.

I advocate for strong legislation, while canvassing support from the menfolk to curb the impediments towards women’s political participation in Nigeria.


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