By Kingsley Chukwuemeka Ubani
A lot has been said and is being said about growing the interest of Women in politics. However, genuineness and sincerity to this worthy cause has remained elusive.
For most of the time, women are engaged in politics based on consideration or quota system. Support for Women who have shown strong commitments to political contests has equally not been encouraging. An average female politician is often faced with gender discriminatory comments – comments capable of waning her desire of seeing through her intentions. Sadly, women are not extensively showing support for their own.
Let’s look at the numbers with respect to women in key elective positions across the country: In the 8th Senate, out of the 109 Senate seats only 7 is being occupied by women. The southeast has only 1 woman out of its 15 Senators. For the National Assembly members in Anambra state, there are 2 women out of 15 members (1 Senator, 1 Rep Member). For State Assembly, it’s 4 out of 30. Of course, you wouldn’t be needing google to tell you how many female State Governor’s we have in Nigeria – It’s 36 over 36 in favour of the gentlemen!
The need for women to play active political roles is critical for many things, one of the reasons is that women being natural change agents bring to the table a leadership driven by empathy. Another is, to serve as role models to our daughters and their fellow women – the can do message a performing woman sends to others in the gallery is very much needed to build the courage and belief in the women folk.
In Anambra State, we do not need to go far to find a woman whose numbers in terms of participation and performance in politics and governance have been outstanding. Over the decade one woman has against all odds endured in the political arena, her name is Senator Uche Ekwunife.
Senator Ekwunife by her records has managed to subdue the demon that has kept women away from seeking and winning elective positions. Her victories at the polls in 2007, 2011 and 2015 against strong oppositions have distinguished her. She has shown interest to participate in elections for a record FIVE times. For Ekwunife the courage to participate in elections has never been in short supply.
Taking a more indepth look at Ekwunife’s record, as Member of the 7th House of Representatives, Senator Uche Ekwunife chaired the House Committee on Environment. She equally represented Anambra state in the constitutional review committee of the Assembly and was the Caucus Leader of the eleven Rep members in Anambra state. In her short stay at the Senate she showed that women can perform at the highest level.
Clearly, Ekwunife’s political successes is a proven litmus test that women can do better if given the chance and support to play active roles in governance.