Democracy has come not only to stay in Nigeria, but is effectively defining the nation’s political landscape and roadmaps to greatness and development.
Against this backdrop, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to make do his campaign promises of promoting equity and social inclusion at all levels of governance including ensuring adequate representation of women in governance.
The association made the observation in a press statement issued to commemorate this year’s democracy day as signed by its President and National Secretary Ladi Bala and Helen Udofia respectively.
It observed that the lack of women inclusion in governance and political participation over the years has remained a weak link in the core values of democracy which is certainly not part of a true reflection of the Nigerian democratic dream.
NAWOJ emphasized that as part of deliberate and conscious efforts aimed at addressing the gender gap, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and members of the 10th National Assembly should have in the interest of gender balancing, equitable development and fairness in the allocation of ‘who gets what and how’ in the nation’s democracy, considered ranking a female legislator as the Deputy Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives.
The association described as worrisome the situation at the 10th National Assembly saying it is not gender friendly as it lacks balance with only 17 women representation out of 469 members of both chambers, stressing that the development is so sad and did not reflect the diversity of the Nigerian society in any form.
NAWOJ further noted that gender diversity in leadership, fosters innovation and better governance, stressing that until the issue of women inclusion in leadership and governance are prioritized in the new administration, the nation’s democracy can at best be described as hypocrisy with the hope of Nigerian women dashed once again.
It equally posited that in the spirit of patriotism and building the confidence of women, who are always active participants in the political process, stakeholders and members of the National Assembly should have considered and allowed a female legislator emerge as Deputy Speaker in order to give the gender requirement that promotes inclusion.
The association however, urged that while Nigeria and Nigerians should be commended for bracing the odds to ensure that sustainable democracy is entrenched, their resilience for a guaranteed and uninterrupted successive democratic administration since return to democracy in 1999 deserved applause.
It also noted that the gains of the nation’s democratic experience are enormous and worthy of celebration by all adding that most significant is the collective resolve by most Nigerians that democracy, as a system of government, has its ideals and ethos which are being poorly adhered to by political leaders and stakeholders, thus creating gaps in the nation’s political space.