"For the first time in history, let a woman be appointed as minister of defense" - Taiwo Oluga, Chairperson Women In Parliament
Taiwo Oluga, the chairperson of the house committee on women in parliament, says a woman should be appointed the defence minister to address security challenges effectively.
On Monday, the Committee on women in parliament at the House of Representatives pushed for a woman to be appointed as the Minister of Defence. Ms Oluga stated that the nation's security concerns would be addressed appropriately if a woman is selected as defence minister.
“For the first time in history, let a woman be appointed as minister of defence, and you will see the action; you will see a positive change in our security architecture,” she said while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja.
Ms Oluga found it discouraging that despite the advocacy and efforts of women's organisations and MPs to promote women's participation in Nigerian politics, little progress appeared to have been made.
“Before the last primary elections, Nigeria ranked amongst the lowest number of women participation in governance in Africa, with about 6.2 per cent of national parliamentarians being women,” she said.
“The question is, of the less than eight per cent of women nominated for elective offices in 2023, how many women would emerge victorious at the general elections?
“The point is that even if all these women win their elections, the figure remains very low and a cause for serious concern and action. Another question is, is there a taboo barring women from vying for the highest decision-making position in Nigeria that is the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
“This is because, out of all the 18 political parties in Nigeria, only the APM (Allied Peoples Movement) fielded a female presidential candidate,” she said.
In several states, including Kano, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara, no women were nominated as presidential or national assembly candidates for the 2023 elections, according to the lawmaker.
"The implication of this is that, even before next year’s elections in Nigeria, it is crystal clear that per cent of states will not have women in elective offices in their National Assembly seats,” she said.
Ms Oluga regarded the development as a significant setback in Nigeria's efforts to achieve 35 per cent affirmative action in elective and appointive positions.
She cited patriarchy, stigmatisation, low levels of women's education, financial concerns, and political violence, among others, as impediments to women's political engagement.
She stated, however, that the committee, along with other development partners, would intensify efforts to prevent religious and cultural traditions that impede women's political involvement.
The event was organised with the help of the European Union, the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, and other partners.