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WIPF launches campaign to boost women political representation

The Women in Politics Forum (WIPF), with support from ActionAid Nigeria’s Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) project, has launched a national campaign via its Govengage platform, to empower every Nigerian, both at home and abroad, to directly influence legislative decisions.

A statement signed in Abuja by its National President Ebere Ifendu, explained that by visiting www.govengage.ng and participating in ” The Constitution we want” campaign, citizens can easily connect with their representatives in the National Assembly.

It says the platform enables users to send direct SMS or emails urging their senators or House of Representatives members to support crucial bills.

The statement emphasized the urgent need for increased female representation at all levels of leadership, this campaign seeks to mobilise nationwide support to pass the crucial five gender bills.

According to the statement, only 19 women are in the 10th National Assembly also, out of 993 state parliamentarians, only 48 are women with 14 states having no female representation in the state assemblies, maintaining that the numbers will keep declining if action is not taken.

The statement noted that Nigeria’s population today is over 200,000 (two hundred million) with women constituting more than 49% of the population and yet, sadly, cannot boast of up to 15% representation in governance.

“Amidst the international celebration of women, Nigerian women are
faced with the reality of having 19 women in the 10th National Assembly which is a reduction from the 9th Assembly. Also, out of 993 state parliamentarians, only 48
are women with 14 states having no female representation in the state assemblies.

“It has become overwhelmingly clear that if legislative activism is not exercised to
increase women’s political representation, the numbers will continue to be poor,” it stated.

The WIPF President recalled that two years ago, in January 2022 when the 9th National Assembly joint committee
on constitutional amendments passed 5 bills (termed the 5 gender bills), women expressed hope on being part of governance however this didn’t turn out as expected.

“We thought that there was finally hope for Nigerian women to truly be part of governance as some of the bills specifically sought to increase women’s
representation in governance.

“Unfortunately, both the senate and the House of Representatives failed to pass these bills at the plenaries in March 2022 despite the advocacy and lobbying attempts of various civil society actors.m and Nigerian women,” she lamented.

She therefore called on all and sundry to join the campaign in demanding for an inclusive government where both men and women can will be represented adequately, noting that for years, even before Nigeria got her independence, Nigerian women have
fought and contributed to ensuring democracy.

“Today, we are calling on every Nigerian not every woman, but every Nigerian to join this campaign. Inclusivity is a
fundamental part of our democracy and if we fail to achieve this, millions of
Nigerians will continue to be excluded. If only 20 people engage each engage their
senators and House of Representatives members on this campaign, then we would have 9,380 petitions before the National Assembly for these bills and this is just the barest minimum.

“It is time we get involved in this
democracy we protect,” she stressed.

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