Alliances for Africa (AfA) Statement on the Just Concluded Political Parties’ Primaries and its Gender Implication for Nigeria’s Democracy.
Several days, after the just concluded political parties’ primaries election in Nigeria with special reference to the South-Eastern Nigeria. Citizens especially women have raised concerns querying the fairness of the primaries.
Nigeria is on the verge of embracing another democratic governance that proposes free, fair and credible election and inclusive governance. Political Party’ primaries were concluded on October 7, 2018 in line with INEC’s schedule for the General elections in 2019. Looking back at 1999, a journey of democracy and assured restiveness from military rule and dictatorship, this singular act should have reflected our dividends of democracy, most importantly a sign that political parties in Nigeria are complying with the National Gender Policy (NGP) of 35% affirmative action on women’s inclusion in politics.
Realistically, the primaries signified that election violence has become part and parcel of democratic transmission that does not favor women in the country. The primaries, were marked by violence, thugry, cheating, death threats, intimidation and with the loss of lives recorded in Ebonyi State. These vices are rooted from the patriarchal orientation of silencing women who dare to occupy decision making positions even where it affects them negatively.
The five south-eastern states, Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states respectively had their own peculiar political intrigues. Women who were screened, nominated and obtained costly nomination forms to vie for different elective leadership positions were coerced to step down for their male counterparts and asked to direct their supporters to same. Some political party members at the election field backlashed the female aspirants, disbursing cash at will to divert votes wrongly, whilst rescheduling their set dates repeatedly to buy time for atrocities.
This indeed, is a tale of a collapsed system with dysfunctional rule of law, high disregard of international treaties and instruments as a member state; and a lack of clear understanding of what truly is an inclusive democracy. It further shows that the leadership of almost all the political parties in Nigeria lack the understanding and importance of building a sustainable democracy that addresses the concerns and needs of its citizens especially that of women.
The development of any country in all its ramification depends largely on her ability to produce balanced leadership of equal gender representatives able to address, redress and put resources, both natural/human and material resources together in decisions that affect interest groups at large for a better societal change unto growth and development. Democratic process in Nigeria dwindles every 4 years start leaving women psychologically, financially and socially disfigured. But the Watchdogs’ will not relent in fighting this course to correct the anomaly for the sake of the younger and unborn generations.
By this, Alliances for Africa (AfA) calls on INEC, electoral bodies, political parties and security agents and various other to:
A review of the electoral policies with regards to due process in electioneering in Nigeria.
Ensure that proper sanctions are enshrined in INEC’s electoral law and punitive measures taken for non-compliance from any political party.
Political Parties should copy from member states e.g. Kenya on Political Party Acts that govern the activities of political parties to ensure adequate representatives of all persons in political leadership especially interest groups such as women, people with disabilities, youth and other vulnerable groups to exhibit democracy even in pursuit of power and positions.
The Law and public policy makers should ensure full compliance of the above or stand the risk of being sanctioned by the international organizations as signatories over ratified international treaties and conventions on elimination of discrimination and violence against women.
Lawmakers should of necessity re-visit the pending GEO Bill to fulfill her obligations of Nigerian Gender Policy, in order to create room for more women’s inclusion in political participation.
Security Agencies to give special protection to women both politicians and non-partisans on election grounds who are constantly under threats during and after elections.
We finally call on all CSOs, NGOs, CBOs, and FBOs as community and society’s watchdogs to give their voice and encourage them not to relent in advocating for gender equity in all public and private spaces for better governance. We commend the resilience and dexterity of committed women who were determined irrespective of the ill treatment received and its negative outcomes from their various political parties.
Alliances for Africa is an International, Africa led non-governmental human right, peace and sustainable development organization concerned with protecting, promoting and advocating for the rights of women and girls in Africa.
Alliances for Africa (AfA)
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Phone: +234 8168 702 759
Signed: Ogechi Ikeh