2023 NASS: Woman politician, activist react as only 3 women emerged senators-elect

Some women politicians and activists in Edo have expressed displeasure with the abysmal low number of female senators-elect in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that only three women emerged senators-elect in the list released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday.

Nigerians went to the poll on Feb. 25 to elect a new president, 109 Senators and 360 House of Representatives members.

Reacting to the outcome of the low number of female representation in the 2023 National Assembly, Elizabeth Ativie, a former Speaker, Edo House of Assembly, told NAN that the situation is not only sad and abnormal, but unacceptable.

Ativie said women who were eligible to hold offices in Nigeria had demonstrated interest but the environment was very harsh and unconducive to them.

“This is very unfortunate for a country that has over 200 million population; still it does not have space for women.

“I think it gives cause for alarm and for us, all Nigerians now to join hands and find out where the challenges are and face the challenges.

“It is no more fashionable to allow women face the challenges alone because women alone did not cause the problem; the problem is caused by all of us,” she said.

Ativie expressed regret that the electoral processes of political parties were always arranged before party primaries and skewed against women.

The former lawmaker however called on party leaders to be deliberate about creating the desired political space for women politicians.

“So these gatekeepers, the leaders of the political parties must be brought on board to face the challenges and to proffer solutions,” she said.

The first Edo female speaker also advocated legislation that would allow for certain percentage of women representation in government.

Ms Angela Okoye, a women advocate, said the underrepresentation was not surprising, judging by the outcome of party primaries.

“I am not surprised with the situation. We have seen the direction during the party primaries.

“Only few parties chose women as candidates and many of those parties are not strong like the APC and PDP.

“We already knew it and when it came to even campaign, there was no resources for women to mobilise.

“It is not surprising that this is the outcome because the party is already bias when it comes to choosing women candidates.

“Although, most of them said they give free forms to women, but even then, they give free nomination forms to women, but when it comes to primaries, women are never selected to become flag bearers,” said Okoye.

The female activist therefore advised women to begin to prepare ahead of the 2027 elections.

She assured that on the part of women activists, they would continue with advocacy to ensure women have a voice.