INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day is usually celebrated yearly on the 8th day of March and it is very significant and remarkable as a day dedicated to celebrate women for their existence and worth all over the globe.
Women are agents of change that can make a difference in governance. No good governance can exist without the participation of women.
Women are by all standards not inferior to men, they are to complement each other.
Governance is the practice of leadership by example, transparency, honesty, accountability, equity and promotion of the rule of law.
It is not an exaggeration that the masses have suffered undue hardship, oppression, discrimination and humiliation from solely controlled men government since Nigeria got her independence from her colonial masters in 1960. The solely controlled men government, over the years, have failed to promote egalitarian and conducive society devoid of insecurity, poverty, unemployment, lack of basic facilities etc. The time has come when the entire women should no longer see themselves as second class citizens.
Men controlled government have had enough opportunities to deliver the dividends of democracy to the satisfaction of the masses but the opposite is the case. Men in government have failed woefully but succeed in criminally enriching themselves and their immediate families at the expense of the teeming, toiling, neglected helpless majority.
Women should no longer restrict themsel.ves to working hard to ensure that men get elective positions at the end betraying women and marginalizing them in governance. Therefore, women should aspire and get to the top to prove their worth and be the captain of the ship themselves and no longer be crew. The women have watched men controlled government for six decades since independence without much gain in spite of God’s given huge human and material resources.
The women major concern should be on how to get to the saddle of power by due process to make the desired change that will prove the worth of women hood. The women folk should prove the slogan “What a man can do, a woman can do better” and to show that “women are salt” in a society.
The women should “take the Bull by the horn” and press for progress that will metamorphose to a new Nigeria that is rid of poverty, a new Nigeria where life and property are saved. A new Nigeria where basic amenities are provided and enjoyed by the masses, where corruption is
wiped off to the barest minimum through commensurate punishment for culprits
The issue(s) to be on the front burner of women now should be how to prevent the few women in politics from dropping from elected or appointed positions. . The gender policy of Nigeria guarantees 35% affirmative action in favour of women in holding of public offices and the Constitution which guarantees non discrimination and parity for women should be implemented by all levels of government. International Women’s Day celebration to worth her salt should be a forum to assess Nigeria government conformity with the four UN global conferences on women giving rise to the Beijing Plan of Action, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To actualize political will of women, they should form a formidable pressure group to assist themselves by funding those women seeking political offices. Women should support themselves in cash and kind. They should stop pulling themselves down. They should have confidence in themselves. They should remember the aphorism “Heavens help those who help themselves”. Stop eating your own intestine, this sound proverbial but that is the truth. Women should no longer fold their arms and see the government solely controlled by men, leading us astray for so many years since independence.
Women who are yearning for good governance are obliged to first of all inculcate the fear of God into their children in the way, they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it.
Women should be given chance to make practical and feasible changes that we have been clamouring for so many years, which the previous governments, controlled solely by men, have not been able to achieve.
The full participation of women in governance is strategically important. Women should be adequately represented in decision-making bodies at all levels, where and when crucial resources are distributed for the welfare of the citizens.
Since 1999, in elective positions it is evident that women have not attained 10% representation. From 1999 till date no woman has been Vice President of Nigeria though in 2011, one woman contested for the post of the President in Nigeria and she did not scale through the primary election, when she got one vote despite the large number of women that attended the primary election but refused to vote for her even on sympathy basis. The women folk need a re-think and to be more focused to enable them contribute their quota to the growth and development of our great nation in anticipation of getting to our El dorado, Canaan land.
Women should know that it is their feminine role to put an end to the notion that public offices are meant for personal enrichment and aggrandizement. Women should stop selling their conscience for vague promises and for a loaf of bread which may later turn to several loaves of affliction and oppression.
In conclusion, women too are not saints, because we have seen some few women in authority who have performed woefully and below expectation and subjected to litigation. Men controlled government have steered the ship of governance in this nation for quite six decades after independence, without leading us to our Canaan land. I wish the baton is given to the womenfolk and see how they will perform. Women are the backbone of the society and also in the majority in population; they deserve to occupy highest positions and not to remain in the background.
Ogungbemi writes from Ibadan.