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Group seeks improved women participation in governance

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The NWTF team with the Olubadan of Ibadan during their advocacy visit to traditional rulers, gatekeepers…recently

In the face of current realities on gender gaps in leadership and governance, The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), with support from the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria and the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Bureau through the Africa Regional Democracy Fund (ARDF) under A Woman’s Place Project, aims at strengthening women’s capacity for quality representation in decision-making processes.

To achieve this, the group paid advocacy visits to leaders and gatekeepers in Rivers and Oyo States. The visits aim to change perceptions, attitudes, and social norms that obstruct women’s political participation.

Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, (NWTF), Mufuliat Fijabi, and her team led the visits to His Majesty, the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Solihu Akanmu Adetunji, the Oba of Alakinyele of Akinyele, the office of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Oyo State Chapter and Amulundun 99.1 FM Moniya, Ibadan. 

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Similarly, in Rivers State, programme manager NWTF, Lois Chinedu and her team led the advocacy visits to His Royal Highness, King Suanu T.Y Baridam Ambassador – JP, the Gbenemene and Kasimene Bamgha VII of Ogoni land, His Royal Majesty, Leslie Nyebuchi Eke JP, Eze Gbakagbaka Nyerisi Eli Woji (Eze Woji) Eze Oha Evo III of the Evo Kingdom, paramount ruler of Woji and His Royal Majesty, Eze Gift Eziwhuo Johnson (Eze Ohia Apara IV), paramount ruler of Apara Kingdom.

The visits focused on issues around the inclusion of women in leadership and governance structures in Nigeria, with the view of changing the narrative towards ensuring a more enabling environment and inclusion of women in decision-making processes across all spheres in Nigeria.

NWTF emphasised the perception of women in governance as being casualised, and to improve this narrative, they urged the gatekeepers to take action and improve their commitments towards increasing their political will for women’s representation in governance with a demand for national responsibility and to encourage women to take up the call for service to the nation.

The traditional rulers appreciated the visit and in turn, tasked the NWTF to intensify a long term mentoring that will assist in building women’s confidence to take on leadership roles beginning from the grassroots levels, engaging community women in civic and voter education as well as capacity building for women, especially young women for knowledge increase of key national and local policy issues.

Fijabi said advocacy has shown to be a useful tool in bringing together different forces by allowing the expression of voices and ensuring accountability of different actors including gatekeepers. On poor inclusion of women in politics, leadership, and governance outcomes; interest from policymakers and politicians, combined with advocacy from key gatekeepers can improve women’s participation in politics and governance in Nigeria.

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