Tuesday, August 13,
2019 / 07:00PM / Bukola Akinyele for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: The Will
Nigeria is Africa’s largest most densely populated nation with over 180 million people of over 250 ethnic groups.
According to the World Data report in 2017, the population of women was 94.2m, constituting over 45% of the population.
This shows that women in terms of population spread are critical in the development of the nation.
This is not reflecting as expected in the distribution or participation of women in sectors like energy, business, banking, capital market, health, politics, governance and technology etc.
Our focus today will be gender inclusion in governance in Nigeria even as the 2019-2023 phase of political leadership takes shape.
We will be looking at some of the states as case studies, shifting from the Federal Government.
States With Female Deputy Governors
Out of the 36 States only 4 have Deputy Governors that are women namely;
· Ogun State: Mrs Salako-Oyedele Noimot Olurotimi
· Rivers: Mrs Ipalibo Gogo Banigo
· Kaduna: Mrs Hadiza Balarabe
· Enugu: Mrs Ceceilia Ezeilo
This is approximately 12% representation and below the 35% affirmative action for gender inclusion in Nigeria.
Recently some of the State Governors inaugurated their cabinets and we will take a sample of 6 covering each geo-political zone, to assess the gender inclusion level.
The Lagos State cabinet led by Governor Babajide Sanwoolu has twenty-five (25) members with 8 female members.
This represents a 31.2% gender inclusion level which is commendable and very close to the 35% affirmation agenda, and encourage to hit the mark when he reshuffles his cabinet in the future.
Akwa Ibom (South-South)
From the Akwa Ibom State cabinet which has 21 members, only two (2) women made the list which in terms of percentage distribution is about 10.5%.
This is something Governor Udom Emmanuel should look into when he appoints the members of boards for agencies and commissions.
Imo State (South-East)
In Imo State Governor Emeka Ihedioha inaugurated his 17-man cabinet with two(2) women making the list like Akwa Ibom state.
This translates to 8.5% in terms of gender distribution in the cabinet and is something the Governor should take into consideration and address in other appointments that cover agencies and commissions.
Kaduna State (North-West)
Governor Nasir El-Rufai inaugurated his 11-man cabinet which has four(4) women in the list.
It showed that the gender representation is 27.5% and Governor El-Rufai just needs to step it up to 35% affirmation level.
Borno State (North-East)
The Borno state cabinet has 22 members and out of the executive council, there are two (2) women in the list.
This by gender representation is 11% and again very low when it comes to 35% affirmation in terms of participation in governance.
Governor Zulum will have to review his appointments to ensure there is an increased percentage for gender inclusion, when he appoints boards for agencies and commissions in the state.
Benue State (North-Central)
From the North-Central with focus on Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom’s 15-man cabinet sent to the House of Assembly, has two (2) women in the list like Akwa-Ibom, Borno and Imo states.
This brings a gender representation of 7.5% which is far behind the 35% affirmative action.
Role of First Ladies
From the wife of the President Mrs Aisha Buhari to all the wives of the 36 state Governors across the nation, they all have critical roles to play in ensuring that women are given more opportunities in governance.
Nigeria’s Quest for Its First Female Elected Governor
Since 1999, the advent of Nigeria’s fourth republic no woman has been elected as the Civilian Governor of a State, which is a zero percent for gender inclusion, in the area of leadership at the sub-national level.
The closest was when Mrs Virginia Etiaba served as Acting Governor of Anambra State after her principal was impeached.
As other state Governors begin to send their list of commissioners to their respective house of assemblies, we expect that there would be improvement in the area of gender inclusion.
From 30% representation will be a welcome development and will show that women are valued and are also important in the affairs of governance.
Nigeria has come a long way in its democratic journey and we expect that it will take seriously the issue of gender inclusion in governance, at the sub-national level.