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Women's Participation In Politics In Northern Nigeria: Discriminatory Or Lack of Interest



Northern Nigeria is a region in Africa's and blacks most populous Nation, Nigeria.
The region is a home to over a hundred million people which makes it bigger than any other African Nation if it were still to be a country.

The female population is  well over 50 million which is unarguably a large population to play a significant role if not the decisive role on the political dynamics of the country.

The women in northern region have religious and cultural constraints which in tune will affect their participation in active politics as those who engage in, are discriminated upon and those who nurture dreams and interest of venturing into it do opt out with the fear of being judged and vilified by the society.

Those who surfer worst form of discrimination are unmarried women, single mothers or divorcee.
They are called harlots by misogynistic elements just because they have decided to offer themselves to public service through political routes.

The form of prejudice is appallingly worrisome to the point that most single female politicians may likely end up without a husband or becoming not just a 2nd, 3rd or 4th. Wives in hierarchy but in class, they'll be treated as 4th or 5th class wives.

Single female politicians have limitations because of the artificial stereotype such as ; she is childless, and therefore has no emotional encumbrances of love, no family restrain, no children to carter for and shouldn't not be entrusted with leadership position.
Another stereotype is successful women are either prostitutes, mistresses to politicians and business tycoon and are never cited as examples to younger females to emulate, let alone be adopted as role models.

Such submissions are not only baseless but careless and inconsiderate.

Hadiza Bala Usman, Najaatu Mohammed, Beni Lar, Aisha Alhassan, Fatima Ahmad Grace Ben amongst others are successful female politicians who have excelled in their different profession and are either daughters,relatives or wives of prominent Nigerians but i don't believe they were voted because they are daughters or wives of Mr A and B but because of their competence and delivery and productivity. They don't go to the electorates saying vote me because my father was this and my husband is that but because of their efficiency.

The Women's Pull Her Down Syndrome

Women can be said to be their worst enemies as women constitute over 55% of registered voters and our turn out is well above 65% but we refused to put our heads in one basket and vote for one of our own.
We constitute less than 8% of elected political office holders in Northern Nigeria.
The 35% affirmative action for women was a great policy by the then administration of Goodluck Jonathan where female cabinet members constitute 35%  with many occupying big Agencies, departments and parastatals .
But the number depleted in 2015 and got worst in 2019.
In 2011 we had 7 Senators and 25 female House of Reps members.
In 2015, we had 8 female Senators and 14 House of Reps members.
And it got worst in 2019.

With money politics and godfatherism as the order of modern politics, women participation is highly endangered, with those active on the verge of extinction.

If we have women in politics especially from Northern Region, a lot of humanitarian crisis will be lowered to the grass, because we are victims of wars, rape, abuse, harassment,trafficking, hard labour and modern slavery. With women in Parliament, we can make laws to criminalise the aforementioned with stiffer penalties to defaulters thereby protecting womanhood.

Rwanda has overall best female representation in government and inclusiveness.
In Parliament women population has risen from 18% prior to 1994 to 55% in 2008 and 56.5% in 2011 and now 63% in lower house and 38.50% in upper house,  thereby making Rwanda the most female dominating legislature in the world. The supreme court judge and the speaker of the Parliament are all females.
The most cheering news is that at this period Rwanda's economy grew at double rate prior the era, with inflation dropping and foreign direct investment doubling as well.

They were not voted on the basis on just females but competence and we must proof doubters wrong by been competent, less corrupt and loving each other.

On the issue of pull her down syndrome by fellow women, a classic example when was Mrs Sarah Jibrin decided to contest against Goodluck Jonathan and Atiku Abubakar in 2010 PDP Presidential primary elections.
60% of the delegates where women but Sarah Jibrin got only 1 vote, which means she voted herself.
This is a tragic news amongst many instances where women gang up against one of their own.

Possible ways out.

We can start from grassroots by contesting elected offices in civil society groups, markets and other pressure groups.

We can start with grassroots offices such as councilors, local government council chairperson seats, and state assembly seats.

We can go into agreement (written ) with male aspirants for 35%-50% affirmative action.

Engage the media and promote our best candidate.

We must not allow ethno religious politics to divide us as women. We must be united in other for us to compete with our male counterpart and to be accommodated in the political circle.

Women are nation builders and must be allowed to contribute to the socio political and economic development of Northern Nigeria.
We are more than a reproductive object whose main purpose of existence is procreation.
We are partners in progress and must be seen as one.

Writing By Amina Kawure

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