Women have not really gotten much representation from the local to the state and federal levels since the return to democratic governance in 1999. Social commentators and public affairs experts have described this over time as the persistence of the historically pervasive exclusion of women from public administration. They claim it also means that various initiatives and policies aimed at increasing women’s participation in politics are still just paper tigers.
Few women were senators from the eighth to ninth national assemblies (particularly in the senate section). This was because political parties presented fewer female candidates during the elections that resulted in the composition of the two national assemblies. Apart from this, existing gender bias and cultural issues have been significant factors preventing a significant number of women from serving in the Senate, State Assembly, and House of Representatives.
Our analyst looks at the most recent list of candidates submitted by political parties to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the general elections of 2023 get closer. Similar to the few female senators from previous assemblies, our analyst found that less than 10% of the 1,098 candidates for senate positions submitted by political parties are women. Voters are anticipated to choose 109 senators from among the 1,098 candidates to represent their various constituencies. According to analysis, political parties have fielded 92 female candidates, compared to 1,006 male candidates.
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According to a state-by-state analysis, Akwa Ibom (8), Gombe (7), Anambra (6), Lagos (5), and Rivers (5) have the most female senatorial candidates. This does not imply that the states are gender sensitive. According to our analyst, the figures fall short of the percentages predicted by various women-led organizations and existing provisions for women’s representation in Nigerian politics. The states with the most male candidates are Imo (41), Delta (37), Kano (36), Rivers (33), Niger (32) and Zamfara (32). When one considers previous promises and policy thrusts toward adequate women participation in politics, political parties in these states and states where female candidates are not presented remain gender insensitive.
Exhibit 1: Senate candidates by gender
Which of the Dominant Parties is Gender Sensitive?
The four major political parties have 402 senatorial candidates out of 1,098 total candidates. 94.77% of the 402 candidates are men, 5.22% are women. Analysis shows that the People’s Democratic Party and New Nigeria Peoples Party are more interested in including women than the All Progressives Congress and Labour Party. Our analyst observes that APC doesn’t seem to replicate the impression that women have of it over time. This submission is made in accordance with a recent survey that found that more Nigerian women expressed support for the party than for the PDP.
These insights imply that women’s political marginalization in Nigeria and closing the gender gap in the national assembly will be difficult to achieve in a short period of time. The insights also suggest that the structures for implementing women-focused political participation policies and initiatives should be reconsidered.
Exhibit 2: Dominant political parties and their sensitivity to women representation