By Henry Oduah
Former executive secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) Prof Suleiman Bogoro has called for inclusion of all in governance without discrimination.
Bogoro made the submission while delivering a paper with the topic ‘Burden of Inclusivity, and Nigeria’s Democracy’ at the fifth anniversary lecture of Penpushing Media held in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
The guest speaker pointed out that political marginalisation of women in Nigeria can be attributed to factors such as cultural and religious beliefs which are further institutionalised 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 marginalisation of vulnerable groups. This is reflected in the constitution of the party leadership, membership management, and candidate nomination. All these processes are skewed to favour a select few,” he said.
“In addition, to the hurdle women face at the party level, there is the challenge of mobilising voters to vote for a woman and then contesting in a flawed, highly commercialised and violent electoral process. These challenges make it difficult for women to emerge as candidates or win the election,” he added.
Bogoro stressed that people living with disabilities are mostly disadvantaged in the political structure, stating that discrimination against them should be critically looked into.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Chief executive officer of Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD) David Anyaele frowned at what he described as institutionalised marginalisation of people living with disabilities.
Anyaele noted that the only time these set of people are remembered in governance is during charity or campaigns, which he said 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 (PWD) in government, emphasising 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.
Founder of Penpushing Media Prince 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 was deliberately chosen as part of the media organisation’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 its inception.
The journalist, who is a member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) and International Press Institute (IPI), explained that Penpushing Media has been robustly nurtured on the journalistic ideology of adding value to journalism worldwide, by ensuring credible sources of news around the world.
“Penpushing is indeed set to correct and tackle the menace of fake news which is almost becoming daily occurrence in the world with its greater negative impact in our clime, particularly owing to myriad of online communication channels,” Kayode-Adedeji said.
“Similarly, it aims to revive the dwindling fortune of journalism practice and be a credible platform for genuine news to its readers across the globe. In line with our mission we shall consciously want to err on the side of caution to authenticate news for dissemination on Penpushing platform.”