With only six women nominated for ministerial positions, it is certain that the representation of women in the FEC, consisting of 37 ministers, would fall short of women’ expectation.
According to a recommendation from the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijin, China, women are expected to enjoy 35 per cent representation at the highest levels of national and international decision-making bodies.
Also, at its 41st Session in 1997, the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women reaffirmed the need to identify and implement the measures that would redress the under-representation of women in decision-making bodies. The removal of discriminatory practices and the introduction of positive action programmes were advocated as effective policy instruments.
Though, the level of political awareness among women is very high, this has never translated to their occupation of elective positions.
In the current dispensation, only eight women are members of the 109-member Senate. The situation is not different in the House of Representatives, where women have 17 representations in the 360-member Green Chamber. Cumulatively, women have only 25 members (representing 5.3 per cent) in a 469-member National Assembly.
When the FEC is constituted, women would have 16.2 per cent, a far-cry from the expectations of the Women Lobby Group and Change International Network.
Analysts say the women should not heap the blames on their male counterparts. They argue that women have always participated actively in the electoral process, pointing out that they possess the numerical strength to get more than 50 per cent representation in elective positions.
Not a few believe that women in Nigerian have not squared up to the men as far as political struggle is concerned.
“Rather than compete for positions, they believe slots should be reserved for them, forgetting that power is never served ala carte. Women should stand up and prove that they are up to the task on the political turf. For as long as they continue to see politics as men’s game, they will continue to occupy the back stage,” an analyst said.
But, a source said the number of women in the cabinet has nothing to do with representation.
“What matters is the quality and pedigree of those appointed. The most important thing is for the few women in government to prove their mettle and justify their appointment. After all, they are not going into government to serve the interest of women. They will serve national interest”, the source said yesterday.
A celebrated politician, Mrs. Khadija Buka Abba-Ibrahim is the wife of the former governor of Yobe State, Senator Bukar Abba-Ibrahim. She is a former Commissioner for Transport in the Northeast state. She was elected into the House of Representatives thrice. But, she could not realise her bid for the Deputy Speaker of the Green Chamber. The daughter of the late leader and presidential standard bearer of the defunct Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP), Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim, attended Headington School, Oxford, United Kingdom. She also attended the Padworth College, Reading and the University of Surrey – both in the UK.
Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed is the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).Until her appointment, The Kaduna-born technocrat was a member of the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) of NEITI and the former Managing Director, Kaduna Industrial & Finance Company. She holds a degree in Accounting from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago Iwoye in Ogun State. Mrs. Zainab Ahmed acted as Chief Finance Officer of Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTEL), a subsidiary of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL). She is a member of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria and Fellow, Institute of Certified Company Commercial Accountants of Nigeria among other professional organisations.
Born in Taraba State on September 16, 1959, Senator Aisha Al-Hassan is a politician who won the Taraba North District seat and served from 2011 to 2015 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). She was one of four women elected on the platform of the former ruling party. She later defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), where she clinched the party’s ticket for the April 11 governorship election in Taraba.
This victory saw her become the first female to clinch the governorship ticket on the platform of the APC. Many saw her as the leading candidate, until the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the polls inconclusive. Her ambition of becoming the first Nigerian woman to steer the ship of a state as a democratically elected governor suffered a setback as she was defeated in the election re-run held on April 25. She rejected the results and approached the tribunal for a judicial redress.
Though cleared for a ministerial position by the Senate yesterday, Alhassan, known as “Mama Taraba”, has vowed that she would not jettison her ongoing case at the tribunal against Governor Darius Ishaku of the PDP. She dismissed insinuations that she is being appointed minister by President Buhari to compel her to drop her case against the governor.
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun served as Commissioner of Finance in Ogun State in the last dispensation. Her name had been forwarded to the House of Assembly for approval for reappointment before her inclusion in the ministerial list to represent the Gateway State.
She was born in 1967 and bred in London. Adeosun is a graduate of Economics from the University of East London and she has been a finance professional for more than 23 years experience in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. A member of the Institutes of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales, as well as Nigeria.
The initial confusion over her nomination fizzled out on Monday after she told the Senate Committee on Ethics and privileges that she would be representing Gombe State. Some groups from Kaduna State protested her nomination with a written petition to the Senate, thinking that the President nominated her to represent Kaduna State. They withdrew their petition when she cleared the air on her state of origin before the panel ahead of her screening. Born in 1961, she was appointed a Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning on June 7, 2012. She worked as senior adviser to the Nigerian President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for six years. Amina, whose mother is Caucasian worked in the UN Millennium Project as a coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education between 2002 and 2005.
Representing Sokoto State, Miss Aisha Abubakar is the daughter of a former Finance Minister Alhaji Alhaji Abubakar. Until her nomination on Monday by President Buhari, Miss Abubakar, was a senior manager at the Pension Commission (PenCom). She is an indigene of Dogondaji in Tambuwal Local Government Area.
Her nomination has created disquiet in the fold of All Progressives (APC). Those kicking against her nomination allege her elder brother, Alhaji Aminu Abubakar, ran on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the House of Representatives seat former Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, now the governor.
Though her brother lost the slot to Abdulsamad Dasuki, the younger brother of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd), APC members argue Aisha, who allegedly worked against the APC interest should not get the Caliphate’s slot.
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