OrderPaperToday – Despite the increasing clamour for female participation in politics by creating an enabling environment, the number of women being presented for elections into the senate in 2019 indicates that there has been too much talk and little action.
The recently released list of candidates by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicates that political parties refused the demand for 35% affirmative action into elective offices in the country. The ruling All Progressives Congress and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are notable culprits in this regard.
Of the 1900 senatorial candidates cleared to contest for 109 senate seats, only 233 are females, an analysis by OrderPaperNG reveals.
The worse part is that some political parties have a miserly number of two women seeking to represent them in the senatorial polls in February. Parties in this category include: Freedom Justice Party (FJP), All Grassroots Alliance (AGA) and Alliance National Party (ANP). The states where these ‘lucky’ female candidates will run for the senate are Abia, Lagos, Oyo and Niger states
On the flip side, the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Mega Party Nigeria (MPN), Accord Party, Green Party of Nigeria (GPN) and Labour Party (LP) have the highest number of female candidates for senate posts with 15, 14, 13, 10, and 10 women respectively.
Apart from the ADC which has considerable political relevance in some parts of the country, the others are lesser known platforms struggling with name recognition and may not sincerely expect to win seats in the polls.
Sadly, the bigger parties such as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) have only 7 and 4 female senatorial candidates respectively.
The leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has 10 candidates across the entire country while the Young Progressives Party (YPP) whose presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, professes empowerment of women in politics, has only 2 women on the list.
If the elections are conducted today, it is safe to aver that female representation in Nigeria’s senate is not likely to get any better than the current situation where there are only seven females in the red chamber.
In the 7th assembly, there were 7 females compared to the 6th Senate which had 9.
Given this kind of scenario, the clamour for affirmative action seems to be more of rhetoric than a push towards reality.