By Segun Giwa
Akure – The Association of Female Politicians in Ondo State has advocated that the position of deputy governor be conceded to women across all political parties ahead of the gubernatorial election in 2020.
Mrs Olawumi Ohwovoriole, a former Commissioner for Women Affairs and one of the leaders of the association, made the call on Tuesday in Akure at a press conference in commemoration of the June 12 Democracy Day celebration.
Ohwovoriole said female politicians, irrespective of political affiliations, came together to celebrate the June 12 Democracy Day and 20th anniversary of uninterrupted democratic rule.
She said it was time women were given the 35 per cent affirmative action and equity in political processes.
“We female politicians in Ondo state, irrespective of our political parties, operating under Association of Female Politicians, came together in celebration of June 12 Democracy Day and the 20th anniversary of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria.
“We conducted a historical scan of the political participation of women in Ondo state and Nigeria at large and observed that over the 20-year period from 1999-2019, Ondo State women have continued to witness abysmal representative percentages across the state.
“In elective offices and legislative arm, the highest representation ever attained by women in Ondo state was 11% in 2011 with three women elected to Ondo State House of Assembly as against the recommended 35% affirmation, which is operative under the law.
“This unacceptable low representation further reduced, drastically, to 3.8 per cent with just one female representative presently in the state House of Assembly and none in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“The same trend is observed in the state allocation of appointments through which, persistently, few women are allowed the golden opportunity of service to their state and nation relative to the men in spite of the tireless political participation of women in Ondo State,” she said.
Ohwovoriole said that Ondo State ranked high amongst state with gender insensitiveness in the country.
Mrs Janet Adeyemi, the Chairman of the association in the state, who was represented by Mrs Adebunmi Osadahun, said the situation became very worrisome when only one woman was elected into the Ondo State House of Assembly
“We call on Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to hearken to the voice of women in the state and ensure a change of this negative narrative which has led to lack of political interest and created sense of injustice and marginalisation in women in the state.
“We implore the governor to see women as partners in progress in the state, and we equally insist on massive increase in appointment of credible women into key political offices,” she said
Also speaking on the sidelines of the press conference, Mrs Yemi Mahmud, a stakeholder, noted that men and women representation in Ekiti were almost at par.
Mahmud noted that party structures in Ondo State had done nothing to encourage gender inclusion in its polity.