Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Exclusion Of Women In Nigeria's Politics.

I love women! How can I not? I was born by one,I'm married to one,and I have one as a daughter. In addition to these,my first job in Abuja was with the Maryam Babangida National Centre for Women Development. 

I have watched women over the years call for increased slots for women in government. It is a desire to actualize that seemingly elusive goal that has driven me to write this.

I believe that women are not taken seriously in politics today,due to a deceptively devious design by men! 

Men do not have any interest in women participating fully in politics. They have fostered this through one very simple,but deathly efficient tool;the comically named "Women's Wing".

Every party you look at today in Nigeria, has a "National Women Leader",who leads the "Women's Wing" But has anyone ever bothered to find out why it is so? Why is there no "National  Leader" for men?

The men understand that by creating a Women's Wing of the party,they effectively can define what the women can aspire to. It is a way of saying politics is a man's game,but women would be allowed as adjunct,or auxiliary, members of the party. This move naturally,removes the women from the decision making process in parties.
They become a sideshow,and what a show they love to put on. Trust the women,they would usually deliberate back,and forth, on the design for the convention "aso ebi",or uniform, to be worn. They would discuss who should be engaged as caterer for the event,they would decide what colour scheme the decorations should follow,this is in addition to composing the convention anthem.

Sometimes,their work would involve vetting which musician would be invited for the gala night. Some women would argue that it is very important work,they would be hosting the men!

For the women to deliberate on all these,they would need to have a separate meeting from the men.

While they are busy doing this,the men are taking key decisions on who can attend the national convention,who can contest,who can be a delegate,where certain positions are to be zoned to,all this,sadly,behind the back of the women.

In most cases,these decisions do not factor the interest of women into the equation. Politics is a game for men!

When one of the women finally returns to the hall to ask for the chairman's view on an inane menu item,she would discover that the deed has been done. In desperation,like our very much beloved Sarah Jubril,she would throw her hat into the ring;and just to humour her,and because they know she does not have an earthworm's chance in a pool of catfish,they would put her name on the ballot. 

So the poor creature goes around spending money on campaigning for a position that has been designed out of her reach!

Come convention day,the poor woman,would get only three votes from a possible three thousand!

How can we reverse this trend? It is quite easy,abolish these wings designed to perpetuate this injustice!

Why do we not have a wing for men in our parties? Because the men are declaring that the whole of politics is a man's business,and youths,and women,would only be allowed to have token representation.

The day women refuse to be segregated into some wing of the party,and demand full participation in all the activities of the party,they would find their fortunes changing. 

It is not something that men would willingly give them,they have to fight for it,power does not change hands without a struggle.

Even in America,with her illustrious democratic history,the old perceptions are just beginning to change. Women are on the cusp of entering the land of political promise! 

In our own case,women have a very long way to go,they are still in bondage in Egypt!And that is why they should start now.


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