Tayo Olaleye in Abuja
The Senatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for Kogi Central, Natasha Akpoti has raised alarm over the decline in women participation in government in Nigeria with reference to a study conducted by the African Development Bank on the number of women occupying leadership position in the world.
Stating that Nigeria having 5.6 per cent and ranking second to the last in the world as further fallen to about 3.8 per cent with it’s counterpart like Rwanda and South Africa rating 68 per cent and 38 per cent respectively.
According to Natasha, the level of women involvement in countries, that have their rating above average, can be likened to their enjoying less corruption, better health care system and education because, women she said, are more sympathetic to nurture into success.
Speaking on why it is easier for women to attain electoral positions in other countries of the world, particularly Africa, she said, laws were seen to be in place to support the women participation.
She cited an instance in Rwanda that compels a man to automatically step down for any female contender with equal qualifications for regard for gender equity and balance.
She said: ” A woman going on the same race with a man is putting her life on the line. Many female politicians don’t talk about what goes on as they become very active in the challenge. How the body shuts down. Some miss their periods for so long for hormonal reasons which, on the long run cause life threatening issues”.
She urges citizens especially female politicians to speak out for government to know that mothers and wives should not be put through the rigourous challenges but be respected as first teachers, inspiration and first moulders of characters that make up the society.
“It’s unfair to have those who contribute to democracy, be subjected to so much rigour trying to add their efforts in the fight for a better Nigeria.
“Knowledge and leadership has nothing to do with muscles. Nigeria is cheating itself and it’s time we break borders to sharpen the entire destiny of Nigerian women” she said.
The SDP Senatorial candidate, however, affirmed pushing for policies regarding women participation as soon as she reclaims her mandate and confirms her willingness to push for a more sensitive law for affirmations such that when three women in a state run for senatorial positions, at least one of them will emerge a senator, where there are three House of Representatives, one should be a woman.
This she said will also apply to counsellorship, local government chairmanship and even ambassadorial slots.