Ministerial list: New height of misrepresentation, says group

July 24, 2019
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Some advocates of women in politics have described the ministerial list submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate on Tuesday as a new height of misrepresentation against women in the country.

Only seven women made the list of 43, about 16 per cent. This was no different from the six women out of 42 nominees appointed by President Buhari in 2015.

The new women nominees are: Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna), a former finance minister; Paulen Talen (Plateau) a former deputy governor; ¸ Ikeazor (Anambra), the Executive Secretary of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD); and Maryam Katagun (Bauchi), Nigeria’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO.

Others are: Ramatu Tijjani (Kogi), former All Progressives Congress (APC) women national leader; Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara), former federal lawmaker; and Sadiya Umar Faruk (Zamfara), the Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs (NCFRMI).

There has been a visible increase in efforts towards bridging inequalities between men and women in the political space across the globe but Nigeria has kept falling short even when women constitute almost half of the voting population.

Of the 84 million registered voters in the 2019 election, women accounted for almost 40 million (47. 14 per cent).

Even with increased commitments geared towards improving female political participation ahead of this year’s polls, women still had a poor outing.

According to a former governorship candidate in Osun state, Mercy Ayodele, women have once again been marginalized, saying low representation of women in political office in Nigeria is set to continue with the next set of ministers.

“The highest people that vote are women. But when it comes to sharing positions, we take the back seat. We suggested a minimum of 15 women in that list.”

Salma Anas-Kolo, a former Borno State commissioner for health, also expressed disappointment at the ministerial nominees’ list.

“We expected at least 35 per cent of the ministerial appointees to be women. However, I am happy with the caliber of women appointed and I wish to congratulate them.”

“16.3 per cent representation is abysmal”, Ndi Kato, a 28-year-old female politician said on Tuesday. “It shows that this government has no regard for women.

“We have an abundance of qualified women and we have been advocating throughout the process of selecting ministers. The disrespect of tossing women’s request like it doesn’t matter is traumatic.”

Salma Anas-Kolo, a former Borno State commissioner for health, also expressed disappointment at the ministerial nominees’ list.

“We expected at least 35 per cent of the ministerial appointees to be women. However, I am happy with the caliber of women appointed and I wish to congratulate them.”

A 2019 report by the International Republic Institue (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) revealed that the Nigerian Senate has the lowest rate of women’s legislative participation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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