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Lagos women in politics call for implementation of gender policy

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
04 August 2018   |   3:50 am
In a bid to bring women vying for political positions under one umbrella, encourage more women to seek political offices and ensure that more women support to the female folk...

Abiola Afolabi-Akiyode

In a bid to bring women vying for political positions under one umbrella, encourage more women to seek political offices and ensure that more women support to the female folk, the Lagos Women In Politics (LWIP) has been officially inaugurated to bridge that gap.

LWIP is a women-led movement bringing together people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations, disabilities and backgrounds to affirm women’s rights and promote action for increasing women’s political participation in leadership and governance in Lagos State and Nigeria at large.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting in Lagos and supported by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), the president Lagos Interparty network, LWIP Emilia Ezeude, said that the Nigerian constitution, article 42 guarantees right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sex. In addition, the Nigerian Gender Policy 2007 prescribes that at least 35 per cent of political leaders will be women.

“We, therefore, advocate for an attempt to promote active participation of all stakeholders in politics. The need to implement the gender policy and ensure that women constitute at least 35 percent of appointments or twining increase it gradually to 50 per cent by 2030 and political parties should ensure that women occupy leadership positions in the political party structure.”

To drive home their message, the women will be gathering on August 8, to hold a walk from Ikeja under bridge and march to the Lagos House of Assembly and the Governor’s office to sensitise stakeholders and the public on the plight of women in Nigeria.

According to the Executive Director, WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi: “There are issues hindering women; I know a lot of women who do a lot of grassroots work but the point is that it does not translate to productivity, but then, we cannot stop, we will continue.

“For me, when I saw the defection going on in the senate, what it shows is that the way politics is ran is not working for men, women and Nigeria.

So it is an opportunity for all to bring the feminist perspective to politics. Politics should be issue- based on health, education, governance and whole lot of others. We cannot do politics the way the men are playing it, so we must gather all our support from the communities and change the narrative.

Akiyode-Afolabi added: “I think we are doing well, but then we know the issues that when we get to the primaries, the story might change. I was talking to some sisters in PDP and they were telling me that there is a particular aspect of the PDP constitution that allows for affirmative action, what has happened to women taking them up and challenging it, because the men will challenge anything that is not constitutional, so its for us to have that courage to challenge these.

“Women should even charge their parties to court if that is a better way of demanding their right and being heard so their can be taken seriously. “

Country Director, NDI, Aubrey McCutcheon also noted that women should be working closely with youths because they are the future of the nation and the success of all of these political parties. “So they will be collaborating with youths, especially with the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Bill which has been passed. I understand that women groups will be using young women who have skills in technology to organize and lobby their representatives in the different parties using technology.”