Omoni Oboli, an actress and film director, says most Nigerian women are discouraged from contesting elections because of the country’s “dirty” politics characterised by “violence”. 

The award-winning actress, who spoke at a citizens’ town hall on electoral reforms organised by YIAGA Africa on Tuesday, said women would vie for elective positions when the political process is transformed.

Oboli also said it is unfortunate that several other factors such as patriarchy and inter-ethnic marriage have continued to leave women marginalised in the country’s political system.

“Women have been greatly marginalised. It’s very dissappointing that even till now, we don’t want women in key elective positions. They’re mostly appointed into offices not elected,” she said.

“And when it comes to financing for instance, a lot of women won’t even bother to come out because they know they don’t have what it takes to pull through. Most of the people that are financing politics are men and they are pretty much going to finance people that they think would win. So, these are the problems women are facing when it comes to politics.

“Another major problem is that a lot of women think that politics is dirty, and the truth is that we have seen that politics in Nigeria is actually quite dirty.

“So a lot of women don’t want the stress of going through dirty politics. They would rather just be away from it and not have to face that. Men, on the other hand, feel they have the stamina to pull through. That’s why women are shying away from politics and even the few that come out, they are not being supported.

“If we ensure that our electoral processes are free, fair, inclusive and save, more women would come, more of them would want to get into politics.”

On his part, Cobhams Asuquo, Nigeran-born songwriter, called for more reforms that would facilitate better inclusion of those with disabilities in the country’s electoral process.

According to him, Nigeria’s extant electoral system, by design, has continued to deny people with disabilities of their civic responsibilities during every election circle.

“By the design of the electoral system, a lot of people with disabilities have not been able to exercise their civic responsibilities and I feel that this is a major concern because going through the electoral act, you’ll discover where people living with disabilities are mentioned, it is at best not inclusive. It’s not very extensive,” he said.

“Inclusion is very important. From personal experience, I come out whenever it’s time to vote and I find it disheartening that for reasons such as these, the interests of those with disabilities are not being well registered.”



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