THE National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC) with the support of UNDP have called on relevant stakeholders to rally round to ensure the passage of the Women Participation in Elections Support Bill.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at a stakeholders meeting.
According to Ojukwu, the right of women to participate in the political process through election gender quota contributes to good governance and has achieved significant milestones throughout the world.
“Specifically in Africa, countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have taken constitutional and legal measures to increase women’s representation in elective posts for the political progress of these countries.
”Countries that provide the much-needed setting for women’s participation in politics and encourage them to hold key leadership positions are not only more inclusive and democratic but have advanced in both domestic and global affairs.”
The executive secretary said that the participation of women in elective office and in shaping the political landscape was grounded in their political rights as recognised in human right instruments.
“These instruments assert that women are eligible without any discrimination to be elected into all publicly elected bodies established by law on equal terms with men.
”They further affirm the right of women to vote in all elections on equal terms with men without any discrimination.’’
He said that the stakeholders meeting were aimed at scaling up the advocacy for passing the bill into law.
He said that when passed, the bill would ensure that the rights of citizens to participate in politics did not depend on whether they were male or female.
Mr Edward Kallon, the UNDP Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, said the bill was a step in the right direction as it would help the country achieve the desired 30 per cent participation of women in politics.
According to Kallon, any society where women are left behind does not enjoy development and without women, men will be very weak.
He urged Nigeria to begin to take action to ensure that a good number of women participate in politics as the time for talk was over.
Mrs Abiola Akiode, the Chairperson, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), said that the issue of women participation in politics was both human rights and developmental issues.
According to her, women participation in politics is not new and it is not about removing patriarchy and enthroning matriarchy.
“It is a developmental issue that will boost development in the country and ensure that the rights of women are protected.”
The participants called on stakeholders to rally support, lobby the lawmakers and create awareness for the bill.