OrderPaperToday – Stakeholders and experts in gender equality have reviewed 21 years of democracy in Nigeria and the state of affairs regarding women participation and came to the conclusion that while some grounds have been covered, more still needs to be done.

Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Women in Parliament, Mrs. Olukemi Taiwo Oluga; and the Nigeria Director, ONE Campaign, Ms. Sarah Makka- Ugbabe, led discussions on this line of thought at a webinar held on Friday on ‘Women in Parliament and Policy Development’ organized by OrderPaper Nigeria in collaboration with WeWe Network Afrique to focus on “21 years of democracy in Nigeria and the place of women.”

Read the full details of the meeting outcome here.

On the journey so far for women after 21 years of practicing democracy, Mrs. Oluga who is a member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) from Osun State said a lot of progress has been made but more still needs to be done.

She said: “21 years is a long journey but if you look at where we are, we would say we are not doing badly. We are trying to navigate but there’s a storm. Though, we cannot sit down and watch even if we had 35% affirmative action implemented.  For instance, some African countries are doing well, like Rwanda, they have come a long way. They didn’t just sit down and watch.

Mrs. Oluga also spoke on mentorship of the women folk, saying “mentoring someone should be a deliberate action. It is high time women in Nigeria so things together. We need to start speaking with one voice. We have to walk shoulder to shoulder with our male counterpart. It is unfortunate that the 36 States Houses of Assembly have 45 women, out of 360 House of Representatives we have just 12 women and for me this is not acceptable. Women must continue to speak up.”

On her experiences in the House of Representatives, Mrs. Oluga revealed that she has done a lot in a space of one year, noting that “a s a first timer, I have introduced 8 bills and 3 motions.

I must say we have been receiving support from the men and it is quite interesting to let you know that we have been receiving partners who are willing to sponsor our campaign across the six geopolitical zones to enlighten women. Some State governors have been queuing into the 35% affirmative action. For instance, Lagos State is willing to but women must first of all show interest.”

She called on civil society organizations not to relent in demanding for implementation of existing laws on gender equality and if need be for a review of the old laws as well that no country can move forward without policy implementation.

On her part, Makka-Ugbabe said women “must fight to for economic development. We have to look at economic policies as well” while calling for increased education among women on the political process.

 

Reporting by Vivienne Dehinde-Joseph

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