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Anambra 2017: Why are women taking the back seat?

by adminV
BARELY three months to the Anambra State governorship election, billed
for November 18, 2017, the political terrain has once again been electrified.
At the moment in the state, the major political parties- the ruling All
Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All
Progressives Congress (APC) and United Peoples Party (UPP) have all released
the names of governorship aspirants who purchased their nomination forms, ahead
of their primaries.
The ruling party in the state has the following as aspirants: Chief
Willie Obiano, who is the incumbent governor; Barr Chinedu Idigo, Dr Elo Afoka
and Chris Orazulike.

The UPP has the following eight gubernatorial aspirants: Chief Osita
Chidoka, former Aviation Minister; Chief Ifeanyi Okonkwo; Prince Ifeanyi
Ezechukwu; Nze Ugonadi Onwuka; Hon. Chudi Offodile, former two term Federal
House of Representatives member; Ejike Okafor Obumeneke; Barr Paul Chukwudi
Obianaso and Nze Ugonadi Onwuka.
The PDP has the following six aspirants cleared by the party’s screening
committee: Chairman, Capital Oil and Gas, Dr Ifeanyi Ubah; Sen Stella Oduah,
former Minister of Aviation; Dr Alex Obiogolu; Mr John Emeka; Lynda Ikpeazu and
Mr Oseloka Obaze, former Secretary to the Anambra State Government.
The APC cleared the following aspirants among whom are: Dr Chike
Obidigbo, Hon Tony Nwoye, Paul Chukwuma, Sen. Andy Ubah, George Moughalu, Barth
Nwibe, Obinna Uzo, Onunkwo Johnnosco, Madu Chukwunonso, Donatus Okonkwo, Ada
Kate Uchegbu.
Meanwhile, other parties such as Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) have
named its flag-bearer to be Chief Goody Ezeemo. Labour Party has Sir Okey
Enemuo as its aspirant. Young Democratic Party (YDP) has Ogbuevi Ozoemena as
its aspirant, while Mega Party of Nigeria formerly Mega Progressive Peoples
Party (MPPP) has HRH Chief Angus Ojukwu as its aspirant.
Quite unfortunately, the participation of women in the forthcoming
gubernatorial exercises is not encouraging.
Of the about 26 aspirants from across the major political parties vying
for their party’s tickets ahead of the November 18 Anambra State governorship
election, just a paltry three are women: Sen Stella Oduah and Lynda Ikpeazu of
the PDP; and Ada Kate Uchegbu of the APC.
This defeats the clarion call for active participation of women in
governance and politics, which according to the British Council Gender in
Nigeria report 2012, has a 
strategic importance not only for women empowerment, but because it has
wider benefits and impact.
It is however worthy to note that Nigeria has made several efforts to
ensure the participation of women who are the excluded to participate in
governance issues through the adoption and creation of some institutions that
will facilitate the full participation of women in governance. 
In 1985, Nigeria ratified the convention on the elimination of all forms
of discrimination against women of 1979 (CEDAW). But it is worthy to note that
the operation of the 30 articles of the convention in Nigeria is not achieved.
Nigeria also adopted the 1985 Beijing Platform of Action and signed the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, The African Charter on People’s Rights, The Protocol on the Rights of
Women in Africa (Maputo protocol).
Nigeria also has the affirmative action of 35 per cent representation of
women in political and non elective positions in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, this is yet to change the participation of women in
politics, as the Anambra forthcoming governorship poll shows.
The patriarchal dominance of the men in Anambra politics, and Nigeria in
general needs to change.
More women are indeed needed to participate actively in politics and
governance in Anambra State and generally Nigeria if they are to obtain fair
representation.
Women politicians seeking the highest office in the state have always
been challenged by the seeming reluctance of men who hold dominion in the state
to give heed to a female chief executive of the state. 
It could be recalled that when Senator Joy Emodi made her memorable
campaign in 1998, the complaint at that time was the question on who would
break kola nut at meetings presided over by the governor. 
Mrs Emodi had responded that she would designate a male commissioner to
be breaking kola nut.
Mrs Emodi’s move for the plum job in Anambra Stae was only derailed by
the death of Gen Sani Abacha and the truncation of his transition
programme. 
Following Emodi, Anambra women had luck smile on them when Dame Virgy
Etiaba, who became the first female deputy governor of the state also became
the first female governor of the state after the controversial removal of the
substantive governor, Mr Peter Obi in late 2006. 
An attempt by Mrs Uche Ekwunife to follow the path set by Senator Emodi
in 2013 was frustrated by APGA in the 2013 contest as she was technically
blocked forcing her to return to PDP. 
Over the years, many women were able to make a difference in Nigeria by
doing their part in Nigerian politics. Many women have indeed proven their
mettle in Nigeria’s fierce political terrain. 
The names of the following women ring a bell in Nigeria, Late former
Director-General of NAFDAC and former Minister of Health, Dr Dora Akinyuli; Sen
Florence Ita-Giwa, who represented the Cross-River South Senatorial District
between 1999 and 2003, and was President Olusegun Obasanjo’s former Special
Adviser on National Assembly Matters.
Also notable in the Nigerian political terrain are women like Former
Senator of Nasarawa North and Minister of Information, Patricia Akwashiki;
Sarah Nnadzwa Jibril, whose political career spans over three decades in
Nigeria, having also vied for the Presidential post for five times.
The list of notable Nigerian women who have earned reputable names for
themselves for their outstanding feat in public service won’t be complete
without the mention of amazons such as former Education Minister, Obiageli
Ezekwesili; former Senator for Imo East, Christiana Anyanwu; former Minister of
Transport and Aviation, Mrs Kema Chikwe; APC Governorship candidate in Taraba
State for the 2015 gubernatorial election, former Senator, Taraba North and
current Minister of Women Affairs, Sen Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan.
Mention must also be made of Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special
Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora and former
Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs; former
Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala among many others.
So, who says women can’t take the front seat in Anambra politics? If
these above mentioned amazons have proven their mettle in the nation’s
political space, then, more women can actually participate in the Anambra
political space.

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