Stories by Ene Osang
Nigerian women has called for the full implementation of the popular Uwais report, saying it contains 60% of their aspirations for the actualization of gender parity in Nigeria.
This was contained in a memorandun signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) Olufunke Baruwa, and submitted to the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Committee at the public hearing held in Abuja.
It would be recalled that the Mohammed Lawal Uwais report recommended the establishment of commissions to deal with electoral offences, constituency delimitation and political parties registration and regulation.
According to Baruwa, ‘’It is important to reiterate that Nigerian women audited the Uwais Committee Report and found it to contain 60% of their aspirations for the actualization of gender parity in Nigeria. The Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund therefore stands by the Uwais Report and implores this committee to adopt those recommendations.’’
She noted in the memorandum that ‘’women make up almost half of the population according to the 2006 census.’’
She however lamented that women, youth and persons with disability occupy less than 10% of positions in public office nationwide, including the hallowed chambers which has less than 6% of women in the 8th parliament.
‘’This situation is not a fair representation of the citizens of this country, neither is it inclusive. Rather, it shows a clear fundamental and systemic inadequacy in our decision-making process,’’ she stated.
‘’Men mostly, are currently taking decisions that affect the lives of millions of men, women and children. Women Fund recognizes that the committee has the opportunity and privilege to eliminate discrimination through an inclusive electoral law,’’ she added.
According to the CEO, affirmative action is a requirement for encouraging and ensuring the participation of vulnerable groups like women, youth and persons with disability to participate in decision making and governance.
She therefore stressed the importance of paying attention to inclusive representation of candidates on the basis of sex, age and disability by electoral management bodies and political parties, saying this is a panacea for effective and participatory governance, adding that open and transparent nomination processes are critical for good governance.
To this end the women’s fund called for act to be amended to compel political parties to submit candidate lists containing not less than 35% for women, 30% for youth and 10% for persons with disability.
‘’Political party internal democracy should amend the act to adopt open and transparent nomination processes in internal party selections.
‘’Amend the electoral act to compel parties to only raise campaign funds from their party members and reduce the campaign funding significantly,’’ she emphasised.
On party membership, the women wants amendment of the act to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister political parties who fail to submit a conclusive list of their membership.
‘’It is important to reiterate that Nigerian women audited the Uwais Committee Report and found it to contain 60% of their aspirations for the actualization of gender parity in Nigeria. The Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund therefore stands by the Uwais Report and implores this committee to adopt those recommendations,’’ she said.
It is worthy to note that the Nigeria Women’s Trust Fund (Women Fund) is an unusual coalition of civil society, government and development partners established in 2011 as a technical and financial resource that works to close the gender gaps in governance at all levels.