Only 13 percent (3,163) of candidates that vied for different positions in the 2019 general election were women, leaving the balance of 87 percent (21,190) for men, in a total of 24,353 contestants.
These were part of the data in a 125-page INEC report entitled “Review of the 2019 General Election: Report of the Commission’s Retreats and Stakeholder Engagements”, presented by INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, last Friday.
The report, which covered the electoral umpire’s general preparedness, voter registration and PVC collection, recruitment, logistics, training and transportation, among others, also made recommendations for future election processes.
According to the report, the least representation for women was in the governorship election, where they constituted just 7.5 percent of 1,066 candidates, but high in numbers (80).
However, in numerical terms, the least representation for women was in the presidential contest. Among 73 candidates, only six were female. Their highest was in the states houses assembly, where among 14,580 candidates, women were 1,872. But in percentage, it was still low (12.8).
Others were Vice President, where women were 22 or 30.1% of 73 candidates; FCT councillorship, 89 or 12.7% of 701 candidates; governorship, 7.5% of 1,066 candidates; deputy28.5%.
Similarly low were women participation in senatorial, House of Reps, FCT chairmanship and deputy FCT chairmanship: 12.3% of 1,904; 11.6% of 4,680; 12.4% of 105 and 27.6%, respectively.
Recall that in the pursuit of gender balance, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 advocated 30% representation for women in government, while Nigerian National Gender Policy pegged it at 35.
However, in spite of promises to give women more slots in elective and appointive positions, the INEC data above and the number of women in governments at all levels reveal unfulfilled promises.
For instance, only seven (3.08) of 44 ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration are women.
Meanwhile, the INEC report made recommendations geared towards “deepening internal party democracy” and “the management of the parties”, which could further help more women contest and win slots.
The recommendations included “Amendment of the Electoral Act to address gaps in the provisions for campaign financing to strengthen mechanisms for campaign finance monitoring and compliance;
“Immediate publication of the report on 2019 general election campaign finance monitoring; and engagement with IPAC, party leaders and relevant stakeholders to promote inclusivity and popular participation especially for women, youth and people with disabilities.”
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