‘Women deserve 40 per cent appointment in next administration’
Victoria Praise Abraham, a media expert and motivational speaker spoke with KEHINDE OLATUNJI, on the role of women in politics and why they should be given more recognition in the next administration.
Women are marginalised in politics, what role do you think they can play towards the 2023 election?
It is sad that women make up a large part of the Nigerian population and yet have little or no political relevance in our body polity and this goes way back to the time of our independence, 62 years ago.
This is a huge problem that cannot be solved in one day. Women are in all spheres of our lives as teachers, doctors, musicians, entrepreneurs, business, educators, technology innovators, journalists and so on.
They fare well in all the fields they find themselves in, even sometimes than our male counterparts because of their many-faceted skills that are nurtured via mothering at the home front.
Unfortunately, when it comes to politics, women are pushed to the background and are only used to win votes and then cast aside when it comes to the spoils of politics. They are used and dumped until the next election cycle.
It’s difficult to say the role they can play during the 2023 elections because all the different political parties are mostly fielding men for elective posts and all women do is hold large rallies that are sponsored by the male political bigwigs.
I really do not see any significant thing that will change in our body politics in the 2023 elections because the three major contenders – the Labour Party (LP), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) do not have any clear specific role for women. All they have are women leaders that mobilise other women to vote for these political bigwigs.
Women need to realise their power and go forward. They have the power of numbers and they can come together and mobilise to support other stronger women who can stand as presidential or governorship candidates in future election cycles. I honestly do not see this happening in 2023.
So you do not think women are given enough recognition in the political affairs of the country?
Absolutely not! Women are just a tool to win elections, and this is evident in the present ratio of women that are presidential and governorship candidates in Nigeria.
Even in the Senate, you can see the number of women’s representation. It is sad that after 62 years as a nation we still do not see the need for full women’s participation in politics.
Women in politics have been marginalised for too long and women need to sit down together and find a permanent solution to the problem. It seems an African problem that our men folk feel that the role of the woman is in the kitchen and the other room. There is always this feeling that they are doing women a favour by giving them the crumbs on the table when there should be at least a 60/40 ratio of participation in every political stratum of our nation.
How can women influence the space to be more relevant?
They can influence the space to be relevant by coming together, banding together and organising themselves. Women and the youth of our nation from the biggest voting population so women can organise with the youth to form a formidable team that can make room for more youth and women participation in politics.
Leadership/politics requires time and energy; do you think women have a chance?
Women have a chance and this is playing out globally with the leaders of the United Kingdom (UK), Netherlands and the Head of the European Union, to mention just a few. It will take time, and concerted effort and a well-thought-through plan.
I celebrate the work of the School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG), with Alero Ayida-Otobo as the CEO. They are building a massive base and pipeline of a new and disruptive thinking political class. SPPG is an unconventional school designed to attract, develop and produce a new generation of political leaders who will listen and serve the new class of citizens who know their rights.
What percentage do you propose to the next President to give women in terms of appointment?
I believe very strongly that women bring a lot of value to the table wherever they find themselves. I also realised that it is tough for women to play the kind of politics that our male counterparts play in Nigeria, keeping late nights and so on. A lot of the rules of politics have to change and our male politicians have to find ways of accommodating the women who are genuinely interested in politics. Politics should not be a do-or-die affair. It should be practised with decency and decorum so that there can be more women participation going forward.
I believe that the next president should accommodate a 40 per cent participation of women in his administration. Women are natural leaders because leadership is not about position but rather influence and if you cannot lead yourself then you have no business leading others.
What efforts should women put in place to boost their political chances?
Winning in any endeavour of life requires strategic thinking, planning, organising and execution. We need a crop of women who have that long-term view and are not in a hurry but purposefully carry through a plan of action that will put women in all strata of political life in Nigeria, possibly in the next 10 to15 years.
The plan has to begin now. It has to be well thought out and properly executed. Nothing good comes easy so we must be prepared to work at it, and pray for it and then see it happen in our lifetime by the special grace of God Almighty.