Governor Kayode Fayemi and former Vice President of The Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajang have called for increased participation of women in governance in Nigeria.

They made the call on Thursday in Abuja at a high-level policy dialogue organized by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), with the theme: ‘Wither Democracy in West Africa?’.

They stressed the need for a democracy that would serve and engage all people and takes into account gender and other facets of personal identity accessible, accountable, and responsive to all members of society.

They said that for democracy to be effective there was a need for the full participation of women youths and Persons With Disabilities in governance.

Tambajang, who was The Gambia’s eighth Vice President, was sworn in from Nov. 9, 2017, to June 29, 2018, urged Nigerian women to engage actively in politics and supper one another ahead of the 2023 General Elections.

She said that the participation of African women in the continent’s democracy and governance would do the people and the continent great good.

She explained that men have had their time in governance and they mostly fight for power to the detriment of good governance and development.

She added that the involvement of women would on the hand enhance good governance and ensure that the interest of women and children, who always bear the brunt of the crisis were protected.

“The participation of women in politics will move the continent forward.

“ I am disappointed as a woman, as an African woman, that Nigeria being the big brother of Africa is rejecting the bills that are supposed to give women rights to engage in politics.

“Nigeria is a signatory to the international instruments on human rights and women rights are human rights.

“It is important now that Nigeria domesticates those international instruments and give women what is due to them.

“ We are not lobbying for just any woman to be in power but women of substance, women who are competent, women who are ready to really contribute towards change not as adversaries or competitors but as partners in progress.”

Tambajang appealed to Nigerian legislators to reconsider bringing back the gender bills and ensuring that they increased women's participation in governance.

Also speaking, Fayemi, who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) urged Nigerians, especially youths to shun apathy and be active in the nation’s democracy and governance.

“I initially was not disposed to actively participating in the nation’s democracy, in spite of being a pro-democracy activist during the military regime.

“What then happened was that it was actually those who never really participated in the struggle for change, who eventually inherited the work that was done.”

Fayemi called on youths not to see social media as a political space, but to come to the grassroots and the nation’s public political space and affect the change they want.

“I have always told youths that there is no political ward on Twitter, Facebook, and social media generally.

“So they need to practically engage in politics and stop agonizing but organize politically because they have to struggle for power, it is not given just like that. “

The CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, said that CDD had existed for some time now and had impacted Africa’s democracy positively.

“We have seen alternation of powers and we have seen incumbents voted out of office conceited both in Nigeria and Ghana.

“ We have seen parties also changed batons in Sierra Leone, Liberia, aside from other positive developments in Francophone Africa, like Burkina Faso, even Niger.”

Hassan said that in spite of the progress and expected improvement, what was now being witnessed was a sort of reversal of the achievements.

She, therefore, called for the need to stop the dwindling democratic fortune and make progress.

The event also witnessed the remembrance and dedication of the CDD building to the late Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem who was the general secretary of the Pan-African Movement, among other civic and humanitarian activism across Africa.

Tajudeen, known for his popular quote of ‘organize, don’t agonize’ was born in Funtua, Katsina State.

He died in a road accident on May 25, 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, while on his way to the airport to catch a flight to Rwanda where he was scheduled to meet with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.




By Ehijie,
News Break

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