Experts list paths to emergence of women, youth in political positions
Women and youths of citizens and punishes electoral offenders are engendered, two female university dons have said.
Dr. Linda Kwon-Ndung of the Department of Political Science, Federal University of Lafia and Naomi Phinos (PhD) of Political Science and International Relations’ Department, University of Abuja, stated this at a roundtable organised by the Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Abuja, with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, West Africa.
They explained that enduring electoral reform will give confidence to participants and enhance political participation by youths and women.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Enhancing women and youths participation in Nigerian politics: Beyond legality and rhetoric,’ Dr. Kwon-Ndung argued that the shrinking performance of the Nigerian women and youth in active political participation can change if the needful is done.
She revealed that only 2,970 women representing 11.36 per cent contested elections in 2019.
She added: “Women were practically not ready for the presidential seat as all of those that made efforts to contest stepped down even though they were on the ballot up to the elections, this portrays women as spectators and it suggests that a lot needs to be done to attain the globally accepted standard and justify its position as the giant of Africa.”
Dr. Kwon-Ndung also added that the signing of ‘Not too young to run’ into law has not had the desired result other than women and youth visibility and a number of them were used in election management as ad hoc staff and for mobilisation of votes through the social media.
She observed that Nigerian youths were negatively mobilised for electoral violence rather than being actively engaged in politics in terms of standing for elections as candidates.
“Deliberate steps must be taken to maximize the potentials and ideas of the youth in this 21st century for certainly only politics with ideas can propel and guarantee development and deliver on the dividends of democracy and deepen democratic principles. The 21st-century ideas can only be found with the youth who had so many ideas pre-independence and agitated for the independence of Nigeria,” she stated.
On her part, Dr. Phinos pointed at gender quota and age in party recruitment processes as practices that are inhibiting the active participation of women and youth in the political process.
According to her, the method of candidate nomination, which most times involve an expensive procedure requiring candidates to conduct their own campaigns.
Phinos further observed that excessive use of money in politics to procure the support of party leaders and officials and to encourage voters to support particular candidates are practices that undermine the participation of women and youth in the political contestations in Nigeria.
Listing paths Nigeria must chart to ensure women and youths not just participate in the political process but win elections, Dr. Phinos said there should be legislation on campaign funding which will put a funding limit to what a candidate and political parties spend during campaigns.
She added that Nigeria’s political system should encourage proportional/quota for equal representation of women, youth, and men in both elective and appointive positions in the country.
Most importantly, she observed that the present electoral systems are weak and do not encourage transparency and accountability in the electoral processes, saying, “they provide a quick and simple form of participation, and help to ease conflict among participants. Over time there have always been increased pre-and post-electoral cases. This is a result of a weak electoral system that political gladiators have access to penetrate to their advantage without been punished by the law. This hinders women’s and youths’ participation in politics in Nigeria.”