The Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW-LEADS) has called for an inclusive and responsive democratic processes that will encourage more participation and representation of women in politics.
The Project Coordinator with LANW-LEADS on the We-YOU project in Kaduna, Hannatu Ahuwan asserted this during the launching of the political mentoring programme under the “We-You Pro” project funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom through Action Aid International, Nigeria,
Hannatu said the project is a programme that seeks to remove barriers to women’s political participation by advocating for policy and legal reforms.
“We had advertised for women and youths who are either already participating within political parties or have an interest in the communities to apply to be a part of this mentoring programme.
“We had also done headhunting, which means talking to political parties to give us women and young persons within their parties who are interested in political mentoring.
“Our target is 300 women and young people. We are doing this because women and young people are not participating in politics as they should even within political parties.
“They have been used to clap and serve as political tugs. But, we have noticed that the political parties have begun to review their policies to have women and youths in leadership positions.
“But we want this to be strategic. Now, one if the things they have been saying is that women and young people do not have the requisite skills and capacity to either participate effectively or to even run for office.
” So this political monitoring is developed to support women and young people in strengthening their skills to enable them actively participate within the political party space and even run for elective offices.”She said
Similarly, the Permanent Commissioner, Kaduna State Peace Commission and a Trustee of Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women, Barr Rebecca Sako-John
Stressed that it’s the right and the responsibility of Women and youths to participate positively in politics as enshrined in the constitution.
According to her, Nigeria signed many international, regional and national policies that promote young peoples’ participation and promote social justice and equality of rights and they have to take that responsibility very seriously.
She further explained that participation of these group of Nigerians will help in addressing participation deficiencies.
” Already, we have a participation deficit in terms of gender, young people and even people with disability.
“The number keeps dwindling. As we speak, there are states in the Northwest without a single woman in elective office. For example, Cross River has the highest number of women in its House of Assembly and Kaduna has just one while some states don’t have at all.
“So, when we reduce that representation gap, it will reduce inequality, promote integration and inclusion, help to influence policies and meet their development needs at the community level and reduce this current insecurity and until that gap is bridged, I don’t think we will make desire progress”
One of the Mentors and Professor of Criminology, Director, Gender Studies, Kaduna State University, Hauwa Evelyn Yusuf said as the Country approaches 2023 election, the citizens are looking forward to better participation of women and youth in politics.
” That is why this hope action and progress mentoring programme is timely because this is the time people are picking expression of interest and nomination forms. We are hoping that this type of program will encourage women and youth.”
A mentee from Rigasa in Igabi local government area of Kaduna State, Tahir Shuabu Goma said the mentoring programme was able to changed his mindset in participating in politics, saying he has registered with All Progressive Congress and a card-carrying member of the party