Stakeholders have called on government at all levels to include more women and people with disabilities in appointments, saying that discriminating against the set of people in the society is succidal
This form the focus of discussants at the 5th anniversary lecture of Penpushing Media in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.
The guest speaker, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, a former Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), while speaking on the topic, “Burden of Inclusivity, and Nigeria’s Democracy, submitted that there is a need for everyone to be included in governance without discrimination.
He also noted that political marginalization of women in Nigeria can be attributed to factors such as cultural and religious beliefs which are further institutionalized by Nigeria’s political party system and structure.
“For instance, Nigeria’s current political party structure is built on party practices like the lack of internal party democracy, political exclusion, and marginalization of vulnerable groups.
“This is reflected in the constitution of the party leadership, membership management, and candidate nomination. All these processes are skewed to favor a select few.
“In addition, to the hurdle women face at the party level, there is the challenge of mobilizing voters to vote for a woman and then contesting in a flawed, highly commercialized and violent electoral process. These challenges make it difficult for women to emerge as candidates or win the election”, he added
Bagoro further stressed that people living with disabilities are mostly disadvantaged in the political structure, saying that discrimination against this sets should be critical looked into, to avoid margination.
“In 2017, YIAGA AFRICA’s Centre for Legislative Engagement conducted a study to determine the extent of the representation of women, youth (under 35 years old) and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria’s legislative bodies. In the Senate, the study found women made up just 6.4 per cent of seats and there were no members of the youth and no PWDs.
“In the House of Representatives, only 5.8 per cent of the representatives were women, while youth made up 0.8 per cent. There were no legislators with disabilities. At the state level, the study found that only 4.9 per cent of representatives across all the State Houses of Assembly were women; 5.8 per cent were youth and 1.4 per cent were persons living with disability”, he noted.
Also speaking, the CEO, Center for Citizens with Disability (CCD), David Anyaele, frowned at what he described institutionalized margination of people living with disabilities.
He noted that the only time the set of people are remember in governance is during charity or campaigns, which according to him deprived the special people of living their full potential, while contributing to the development of the country.
He therefore called for a consistent and deliberate efforts at including the People with disabilities in government, saying that there is much more ability in disability.
“Everyone at a point in our life time would have disabilities. So, it is so wrong to discriminate or neglect the critical value of the set of people, which we all belong to one way or the other.
“We want to assure equal opportunity if we have people with disability as commissioner in the state is not bad”, he added
Meanwhile, the founder of Penpushing Media, Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji called on the government and critical stakeholders in the country to avoid the act of neglecting people with disabilities, advocating that, they should be involved in the government.
He noted that the theme of the event” Burden of inclusivity and Nigeria’s Democracy” was deliberately chosen, as part of the media organization’s effort to make the voice of people with special needs heard, which is part of the social responsibility that the media outlet has taken upon since it’s inception.