She is a woman, a mother, with a heart full of meticulous planning for her household. She leads in her home and implement awesome plans to nurture, grow and develop her home. She has contributed greatly to the progress of her family, community and humanity in general. Her role in nation building cannot be probed. Alas! The woman has been consigned to the background on issues of development, leadership and peace building in Nigeria. Nigerian women have contributed greatly to the consolidation of politics and democracy in Nigeria. Women like Mrs. Okonjo Iweala, former Minister of Finance, mrs. Obi Ezekwesili, Late Prof. Dora Akunyili, former minister of information performed incredibly while in service leaving a huge landmark in the development of Nigeria. As the Director General (DG) of National Agency for Food Drug and Control (NAFDAC), Late Prof Dora Akunyili waged war against adulterated drug dealers starting in her own state. I would not fail to mention the Nigerian female doctor; Ameyo Adedavoh  who gave her life in service of saving Nigeria from the deadly Ebola epidemic. The positive result of their contribution to sustainable development yet remains.

Evidence that women have worked hard to overcome the entrenched stereotypes and discrimination that have prevented their participation in politics, leadership, peace building and economic growth is preponderant. However, peace building is a business for every one with particular and urgent priority given to the women to contribute their quota to nation building and achieving sustainable development. Many women are participating in politics today, and yet, more are contributing to the economic growth of Nigeria by changing the face of business in the country and building business empires across Africa. Women’s effort in peace building is not unfamiliar as we all witnessed how Nigerian women protested for the 200 chibok girls that were abducted. Recently, the coalition of Nigerian women has raised voices against the insurgencies, hate speech and violent threat across the country through the NGWomen4Peace platform. Indeed women’s struggle for human rights, peace and justice is consistent. With no further emphasis, women are capable of building the nation, creating our dream Nigeria and it is only proper to integrate women into governance, decision making and peace processes.

There has been an ongoing agitation for restructuring in the country but whatever the result, women should be involved. Women make half of the Nigerian population and their concerns must be articulated and addressed. Moreover, every decision and policy definitely affects the country’s populace; primarily women, and children thereafter. Hence, women need to be in corridors of decision making where issues that concern them are addressed and where they proportionately contribute to building the nation. Nigeria, as  a signatory to international treaties such as the UNSCR 1325, CEDAW, Maputo protocol, and of course our own domesticated National Gender Policy needs to fulfill its commitment to the Nigerian women. Whatever has stalled the process of inclusion of in leadership, decision making and peace process should be addressed by the relevant stakeholders now because WOMEN are the NATION BUILDERS.

Anozie Chinwendu

Alliances for Africa