The “100 Women Lobby Group”, an NGO, on Tuesday, said the increased limit for campaign expenses for political aspirants in the proposed Electoral Bill
would exclude women from participating in the political space.
The group made this known in Abuja at the “National Strategic Advocacy on Women’s Participation in Politics and Governance Press Conference 2023.”
Its President, Felicia Onibon, said that the final version of the proposed Electoral bill, “which increases the limit for campaign expenses, will further promote gender inequality and poor representation of women in governance and politics.
“In the final version of the proposed Electoral Bill, the limit for campaign expenses was increased as follows: President N1 billion to N15 billion, Governor N2 million to N5 billion, Senate N40 million to N1.5 billion.
“House of Representatives N30 million to N500 million and State Assembly N10 million to N50 million.
“This has potential to exclude women from the political space, and is is highly unacceptable.
“How many women can fund their political ambition if this is finally passed into law?”
Onibon appealed to stakeholders in relevant positions to amend policies, acts and provisions that support affirmation for women participation for the development of the nation.
She called on the government and security operatives to urgently address the insecurity bedevilling the nation as its effects would be more on food security, women and children.
On the current constitution review, Onibon stressed the need to ensure that the rights of women and girls were recognised and guaranteed through the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill.
She said “the Constitution of Nigeria must ensure equitable women representation in government through a minimum of 35 per cent slots in elective and appointive offices at the federal, state and local levels.
“Change must begin with the highest law of the land, which is the Constitution. We can serve as an example for gender equity in West Africa and the world by guaranteeing 50 per cent of our Constitution.”
Ebere Ifendu, a group member and President, Women in Politics Forum, appealed to the National Assembly to reconsider the proposed increase in the cost of campaign funds to enable more women to participate in politics.
Ifendu also stressed the need for gender parity in political representation both in parliament and at every level of governance.
She said women wanted the Electoral Act passed into law because it would enable a level playing ground for political aspirants.
According to her, the voting process should be electronic and results openly displayed to enable women to see those who support the passage at the National Assembly.
Similarly, Mrs Adetayo Erinle, who is also the Executive Director, Tabitha Cumi Foundation, stressed the need for the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and the Sexual Offences Bill into law to reduce the prevalence of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
On his part, Mr Tom Odemwingie, the Executive Director, Agricultural Agenda Nigeria Initiative (AANI), called on the groups to sensitise electorate on the need to resist monetary or material gains in exchange for votes.
Odemwingie advised the electorate “not to sell their votes for gains that will jeopardise the future of their children and the nation.”
INEC, NGO seek increased women’s participation in electoral process
The SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria in collaboration with the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria has called for increased women’s participation in electoral process.
The call was made at the training for women and other marginalised groups on peace building, mitigation, human rights, gender and participation, on Monday, in Ibadan.
The guest speaker, Dr Esther Sanya, the representative of the National Council for Women Societies (NCWS), Oyo State chapter, said that there had been growing recognition of untapped capacity and talents of women in political leadership.
Sanya noted that women’s engagement in politics would help to advance gender equality.
“Research indicates that whether a legislator is a male or female has a distinct impact on his or her policy priorities.
“There is also strong evidence that as more women are elected to office, there is a corollary increase in policy making that emphasises quality of life and reflects the priorities of families, women, ethic and racial minorities,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Lateef Ariori, the Director, Child Welfare Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social inclusion, said that women should be given substantial consideration in the design and execution of political participation process.
Ariori charged women organisations in the state to work toward promoting gender equality among candidates, election officials, observers and other electoral participants.
“Women have a responsibility to oversee the electoral process because gender equality and true democracy fundamentally depend on women’s political engagement,” Ariori said.
Earlier, Mrs Catherine Ogwu, the Gender Desk Officer, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Oyo state, urged the women not to sell their votes or be intimidated during the forthcoming general elections.
She noted that the current Electoral Act and new technology from INEC would make 2023 general elections the most free and inclusive elections in the history of Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training featured lectures and presentations from different women groups in the state.
Afreximbank’s Kanayo Awani makes Nigeria Women Annual’s “100 Leading Women” list
The Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative Division, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, has been named among the 100 outstanding women leaders in Nigeria, according to the list published in the 2022 edition of Nigeria Women Annual: 100 Leading Women.
Mrs. Awani’s listing acknowledges her distinguished career and contributions to the development of society.
As Managing Director, Mrs. Awani currently leads the Bank’s efforts in implementing its intra-African trade and industrialisation strategies.
A statement by the bank said she successfully led Afreximbank’s engagement in support of the establishment and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and was the arrowhead for the introduction and organization of the biennial Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), which has delivered trade and investment deals valued at over US$70 billion.
She previously led Afreximbank’s Trade Finance and Branches Department from 2009 to 2016, growing it into the Bank’s most profitable department which accounted for over 80 percent of its loan book.
Mrs. Awani is also the Chairperson of the Africa Chapter of Factors Chain International (FCI), a global factoring association.
“The Nigeria Women Annual: 100 Leading Women” is the premier qualitative profiling of phenomenal women who have contributed to the development of Nigeria and the world.
A gender-specific biographical compendium, it responds to existing gender gaps in Nigeria’s biographical documentation and leadership and, in 2022, focused on the most inspirational and influential women whose work contributed to shaping Nigeria’s collective history during the year.
This year’s list includes technology experts, politicians, teachers, activists, development practitioners, C-Suite corporate leaders, and other notable women.
Gender Bills: Women should not lose hope on their demands – Senate President
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has advised women not to lose hope on their demands for legislations on gender related matters.
Lawan spoke in Agasa in Kogi State on Thursday against the backdrop of some gender related bills that recently failed to scale through at the National Assembly in the ongoing review being carried out on the 1999 Constitution.
Senate President made a strong case for education of the girl child shortly before he commissioned a 600 capacity JAMB CBT Centre which was facilitated by Senator Yakubu Oseni who is representing Kogi Central Senatorial District.
“I know somebody will say gender bills have failed in the National Assembly. That is democracy. Let’s continue to lobby.
“We should continue to lobby because nobody will like to undermine anybody. Let’s not lose hope.
“Every male member in the National Assembly is a “He for She” because I don’t think there is anybody who is not married in the National Assembly.
“We will continue to work together with gender based organisations especially those that genuinely want to engage with members of the National Assembly because if you are not able to get something, if there is a failure, we should make it a political capital that tomorrow, we say, you were not able to do it yesterday, can you do it today. That will help us in ensuring that we get some of these hurdles out of the way.
“Most of us have our daughters as well. So we know that everybody is one way or the other connected to this struggle but we should not lose hope,” Lawan said.
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