Report of ONE DAY ANAMBRA WOMEN FORUM WITH GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANTS, held at the SUNCITY Exclusive Hotels Ltd, 41 Regina Caeli Road Awka Anambra state.On November 8th 2013

Date of event: 8th November 2013

The event started with the registration of all invited participants at about 8.00 am.
An opening prayer was led by Mrs Duru Evelyn.
The Women Foundation of Nigeria gave its welcome remark through her Executive Secretary who said it was imperative for women to make sure they held politicians accountable to their promises and encouraged them to seek gender equity in the political landscape as well as in every area of livelihood stressing that for proper development and a high standard of living to be achieved women must participate in all aspects of nation building. He further cited Korea, South Africa and Brazil as countries that have better living standards because they allowed women to participate in nation building.
He said that building Anambra to the enviable height envisaged cannot be achieved in a day but by constant efforts to bring pressing issues of the front burner and settling the issue. He asked the women to make sure they hold their representatives accountable

He thanked the UNDP DGD and the donors for their support. Encouraging women to make their would-be representatives stick to their promises.
the Project Director of the UNDP-DGD II Dr MOURTADA DEME who was represented by a Senior Gender Expert at DGD, Anne Ikpeme had in his remarks commended the achievements Nigeria had made in its democracy by saying “though Nigeria has seen a remarkable change in terms of democratic freedoms previously denied to citizens by successive military rulers, the benefits of this democracy are yet to be equally available to all citizens”.
He lamented about “the on-going low representation of women amongst national, state and local elected leaders”. He listed the reasons for such low representation of women as follows:

“Control of entry into elective offices, which is largely a male dominated affair, in the hands of political party leadership and their financial benefactors, voters’ socio-cultural biases that privilege men as elected leaders over women; the high cost of contesting for public office which disadvantages women and other undemocratic party processes that rig out women and other credibly elected candidates in favour of the more financially capable and influential personalities; political violence; women’s lower political experience and the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system with its winner take all outcome.”

He further stated that although the number of women voted into elective positions has steadily increased from 3% in the 2003 elections to 7% in the 2007, but he described it as low representation.
As women who are almost half of the population of the country, hold less than 8% of elective and 15% of appointive positions at all levels. Nigeria ranks 46th in Africa for the number of female parliamentarians (7.28%) when the regional average is 19.8%. In fact the 2011 Gender Inequality Index placed Nigeria 120th out of 135 countries.
He explained that balanced representation and involvement of women at all levels of any democratic process is a vital indicator that the democracy is responsive and effective.

He stated that Nigeria was a signatory to many conventions and treaties that ensured that equal rights were given to women in the political and public life of the country, and to participate in the formulation of government policy and the implementation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government.
He urged the women of Anambra state to use the opportunity to negotiate with the aspirants to ensure the endorsement of minimum standard needs of women in the state by the candidates. He asked them to ensure they hold the politicians to their word.
In their goodwill message, the INEC representatives spoke about the gender friendly policies INEC was pursuing through the leadership of Professor Attahiru Jega and they sought the support of women and gender friendly CSO’s to support their efforts.
The activities were broken down into three sessions and the first session was led by Mrs Chinwe Anowei of the WDPC who led a discussion on Women’s Political Participation and Democratic Governance. Immediately after which there was a question and answer session.
There was an interlude for a tea break after which an interactive station started. During her speech in the session the president of women foundation of Nigeria and immediate past minister of women affairs Iyom Josephine Anenih stressed that 35% affirmative action for women was an all-encompassing formula that would see women control 35% of not only political offices both appointed and elected but also get 35% in every sector of corporate governance and economy.

The event climaxed with the arrival of party representatives who delivered their party manifestos and promised to convey the demands of the women to their party’s candidates.

The women reviewed and presented their demands to the representatives of the candidates.

Party representatives alongside INEC representative

Participants having their say to the politicians

Iyom Josephine Anenih demanding for equal representation of all gender in all area of governance.

The deputy governorship candidate of the PPA alongside Iyom Josephine Anenih at the event

WFN Members in attendance

Cross section of participants

A cross section of participants at the event