Providing opportunity for female politicians to access knowledge products to enhance their productivity for effective participation in politics

    COMMISSIONING OF THE RESOURCE CENTER FOR WOMEN IN CROSS RIVER STATE - Rev. Eyoanwan Otu Calls On Men To Support Effective Participation Of Women In Governance By Esther Okoi/ Afiong Ndem
    12th July 2023

    Her Excellency, Rev. Mrs. Eyoanwan Bassey Otu, has called on men to see it as a necessity to support the effective, effcient and euitable participation of women in governance accross all spheres of life while assuring that the women resource centre will be replicated across the three Senatorial Districts of the State. Rex , Mrs . Eyoanwan Otu who stated this during the commissioning of the Women Resource Centre at the Power House Centre of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Calabar, assured that the resource centre will be maximally utilised, informing that “ while the resource centre will support experienced female politicians, it is my desire that it will also motivate young women to participate in politics and governance and serve as a source of information to bridge the existing information gap.”
    The Wife of the Governor who was represented by the Special Assistant Religious Affairs, Office of the Wife of the Governor, Ms. Odo Bassey, stated that as women struggle to actualize the 35 percent affirmative action across all divides, it is her sincere wish that “women and men who support inclusivity and gender equality will use the knowledge gathered from this resource centre to improve the legislativee environment to address the issue of underrepresentation of women in political decision making.”
    According to her, it would also “strengthen the mechanisms t o support women in overcoming structural and other barriers in choosing a political career and to raise the public's awaremness around gender equality and inclusivity.” In his keynote address, the Deputy Country Representative U N Women, Dr. Lansana Wonneh emphasized that the Cross River State centre is second after Abuja. He stated that the programme is a collaboration made possible by the Government of Canada through UN Women to work with the Government of Nigria in different parts of the country to establish centres of this nature.
    According to Dr. Wonneh , “Nigeria which is the giant of Africa is and has been the leader in almost every aspect of development on the Continent except one and that is women's leadership and participation in governance and leadership,” inferring that societies need women in leadership positions to make their nations better. He noted that there are many distinguished women in Nigeria who are doing so well in the diaspora and Nigeria but are not given opportunities to participate adequately in the Governance of the country. He stated that all over the world, “when women are at the head of the table or at the helms of decision making, the outcome is usually good for everybody.” He ascribed the exclusion of women in governance to patriarchy and social cultural norms across the country.
    Dr. Wonneh further explained that the Resource Centres are part of efforts to make sure that women step forward very boldly and challenge patriarchy because they have the capacity , wisdom, level of education and inuence to be in government to become presidents, governors and members of parliaments. “It is about time that we truly promote gender equality as it is the critical ingredients for promoting development in every society. Why is it that Nigeria has 50 percent of its population that are women and yet less than 5 percent of women are representatives in the National Assembly,” he said.
    In a Special Remark to formally launch the Zonal Resource Centre for Women in Politics, the Director General, Maryam Babangida National Centre for Women Development, Abuja, Hon. Dr. Asabe Vilita Bashir, revealed that the centre in Cross River State is the second being launched in Nigeria for women in politics, stating that the resource centre will promote women's political engagement, advancement and mentorship for aspiring female politicians.
    According to Dr. Bashir , “women's representation in Nigerian politics has been on a downward slide since 2011 but the current administration under the leadership of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has begun strategising to change such narratives.” She added that the launch of the resource centre will complement the current administration in pursuit of the mandate to promote gender equity for sustainable national development in all sectors of the Nigerian Economy and particularly in politics.
    Earlier in her welcome address, the Permannents Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Dr. Mrs. Alice Egbe informed that the Resource Centre for Women in Poltics is designed to add value to efforts in improving women participation in politics. She added that then programme has been designed within the context of the ongoing electoral sector and the background of the extreme low participation and representation of women in politics in Cross River State and Nigeria at large.
    Secretary mentioned that “emerging from the 2023 general elections in Cross River State, women secured only about 8 percent of legislative seats in the State House of Assembly (2 out of 25 seats),” adding that Nigeria currently, ranks 184 out of 192 countries when it comes to women in national parliaments. She noted that low women participation has been attributed to structural barriers that limit women's option to run for such office as lack of access to education and resources, unequalled playing field, lack of internal party democracy, and high cost of campaigning. According to her , “ as Nigerian women continue to clamour for equitable representation, the indices of the current political structure in Nigeria show that the realisation is a herculean task.” Stating that it is an effort to address these realities, that women political participation and leadership has become a core area of concern for the Ministry of Women Affairs in the State. It is worthy of note that the Resource Centre for Women in Politics will serve as a hub for that and it provides opportunity for female politicians to access information and knowledge, produce electronic equipment, internet facilities, counselling and contacts that would enhance their productivity for effective participation in politics.

   List of books in the resource center