Some Nigerian women groups have spoken out in discontent over what they consider the neglect of women in President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent appointment of principal officers.
The President of Women in Politics Forum (WIPF), Mrs Ebere Ifendu raised the concern at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, September 3, 2015 adding that the non-inclusion of women in the appointments so far made by the present administration would hamper the country’s democracy.
“We warn that this exclusion of women if not immediately checked, may lead to a situation where the generality of Nigerian women will regard themselves as outsiders in President Buhari’s administration.
“We want to sound a note of caution here, that this deliberate policy of ignoring the aspiration of Nigerian women for representation through this outright negligence or non-recognition in the scheme of things will not help the growth and sustenance of the country’s democratic project.
“It is foolhardy for anybody to believe that governance can be successful in a democratic setting in Nigeria, without the inclusion of a critical segment of its population. “The value of having women contribute their experiences, their ideas and their skills in improving the lives of millions must be recognised. “
She urged Buhari administration to implement the 35 per cent affirmative action as contained in the National Gender Policy, among other promises made to women during his campaign.
Ifendu said: “The President should appoint INEC Chairpersons and Commissioners with a clear representation of women in line with the National Gender Policy.
“In implementing the National Gender Policy, attention should be paid to integrity, intellectual capacity, credibility, administrative competency and antecedents of the appointees.
“The President (should) strengthen the Ministry of Women Affairs as an effective monitoring agency to track the delivery of results for women and girls across all ministries, departments and agencies”.
In the same vein, Mrs Hauwa Shekarau, the National President, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), said that women possessed all the qualities required for any leadership position in the country.
According to Shekarau, there is no political will to encourage the participation of women in nation-building.
“Are you saying that women are not critical to the sustainable development of this country? I assure you that just as you have the best man for the job, you have the best woman for the job.
“We have women who are highly qualified in terms of educational qualification, experience; we’ve got these women. If you are talking about transparency, accountability, credibility, I think it takes a woman to achieve all these criteria that have been set out.
“And so, I think it is actually beyond the issue of these are critical appointments that have been done.
“The basic issue is that there is no political will at all, there is no broodiness to engage the women.”
She stated that it was the votes of women that ensured the success of the President; hence Nigerian women deserved more from his administration.
The recent appointments made by President Buhari has been generating a lot of criticisms from Nigerians being that majority of the appointees are from the North.