PROJECT TOPIC- WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN NIGERIAN POLITICS: A STUDY OF AFIKPO NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE
This research titled, “Women Empowerment In Nigerian Politics: A Study of Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State” this research is aimed at ascertaining the relationship between politics and women participation, to examine the factors that hinders women from political participating in politics in Afikpo North Local Government Area, to examine if high educational attainment can enhance women’s participation in politics and to ascertain if economic empowerment of women can enhance the chance of women participation in politics of Afikpo North Local Government Area. The researcher adopted survey research design, data were collected and analyzed based on the analysis it was recommended grassroots enlightenment campaign should be organized to change the negative attitude of most people to woman participation in politics as well as to inspire women to vie for elective position, “Godfathers” should be extended to women political aspirants in relation to sponsorship. They should give women a chance, economic empowerment of women should be vigorously pursued since it will provoke greater participation of women in electioneering, above all, women should encourage themselves and support female political aspirants. Equally, husbands should encourage and support wives with political visions and ambitions.
1.1 Background of the Study
Politics involves the activities of the official institutions of state. This can be ascertained that the stability, cohesion and level of socio-economic development that any society enjoys are reflective of its political leadership. It ensures that human, natural and economic resources are controlled by few people who are interested in the art of management, on behalf of the generality of the people.
These are of course positions of responsibility that confer on the holders, certain rights, authorities and privileges of the politicians. In order to take care of all human interests, the two genders are supposed to be fully engaged in politics. However, the reverse is largely dominated by the male gender, often to the detriment of the female (Afolabi, 2008). The result is a “malevolent” militarization of politics in Nigeria.
Participation in politics refers to different ways in which people exercise their rights over the political process. It is seen as a means to an end, where the end may be referred to as political leadership Milbrath (1955) sees it as ranging from voting to taking part in decision process, attendance, at political meetings, funding and holding public and party offices participation according to him involves discussion, debates, and lobbying (both formally and informally). The concept of participation lies in the culture of democracy. The first principle of democracy adopted by the council of the inter-parliamentary union Cairo, 16th September 1997, is stated as being:
“… a universally recognized idea as well as a goal, which is based on common values shared by people through out the world community irrespective of cultural, political, social and economic differences. It is thus a basic right of citizenship to be exercised under conditions of freedom, equality, transparency and responsibility, with due respect for the plurality of views, and the interest of the policy.”
This concept gives room to every human being to have rights to share in the making of decisions that affect their lives and that of their community. This right was affirmed by the establishment of the commission on the status of women (to promote women’s political and economic rights) by the United Nation in 1946. The year 1952 saw the adoption of the convention on political rights of women world; wide, and in 1967, the convention for the elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CE DAW) was endorsed.
This convention is upheld by all international, regional and national legal instruments that concern children and women, such as the convention on the Right of child (CRC) and the organization of African unity (ONU, New African Union, AU). Charter on the Rights and welfare of the child. It also includes the National policy on women (NPW) adopted by the federal government of Nigeria.
In July 2000, with the ratification of CEDAN in 1985, Nigeria undertook to work towards the elimination of discrimination against women and goals in all fields, whether political, economic, social or cultural. Since the adoption of this policy by the government, very little improvement in the exercise of women’s rights (especially in the area of politics) has been witnessed. The Beijing conference of 1995 on women articulated. Some areas crucial to the empowerment of women.
These include poverty, education, healthcare, violence against women, effects of conflicts on women, power-sharing and decision-making mechanisms to promote the government of women, management of natural resources and the environment and the girl child. The Beijing platform for action made concrete plans to ensure women’s equal access to and full participation in power structures as one of its strategic objectives.
It also affirms the needs to increase women capacity to participation leadership and decision-making processes and bodies. One of the key initiatives in this ongoing process was the security council resolution of 1325, which urged member states to ensure increased representation of all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institution and mechanism for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict (UN, 2000AD/1325).
Taking the census of political activities both in the country and in the world at large, the number of political practitioners is quite insignificant as it is infinitesimal compared with men. In African, with particular reference to Nigeria, no women have been elected as governor of a state either during the civilian or military rule. Much they have been commissioners in the state or ministers at the federal level not to take of presidency, though some critics may be quick to mention, the case of Dame V. Etieba of Anambra State, but the truth remains that she was not elected.
However, when the seat became vacant due to the treacherous and kangaroo impeachment of the PDP led house of Assemble, being the second in command she had to boss the show for the in term which she did credibly well more than most of her male counterparts in other states. No other event can adequately represents the inhibitions and political road-blocks set for women than, in which even when Hon. Patricia Etteh managed to emerge as the first female speaker of the National House of representatives, these male chauvinists working round the clock saw to her exist. It is therefore, on this background that this work. “Women and Political Participation sin Nigeria” is born.
PROJECT TOPIC- WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN NIGERIAN POLITICS: A STUDY OF AFIKPO NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE
1.2 Statement of Problem
Since Nigeria independence women in Nigeria have been given unfair representation in public affairs and with increased demonstration of their managerial capabilities in all spheres of human endovear, there is therefore, the need to give attention to the quest for wider participation of women in public affairs especially in leadership responsibilities. Politics as well as I know is a game of numbers, the history of Nigerian politics is mostly with male domination, which have systematically excluded women from equal participation in Nigeria political activities. Women usually constitute a smaller of political partly membership because of the social, cultural and religious attitudes of different Nigerian societies which most often lend to relegate women to the background. As a result, only very few men, even among the educated, allow their wives to come out and participate in politics.
The essence of this research work is to investigate the various causes of marginalization of women in Nigeria politics, were the call for women empowerment. To achieve this target, we therefore, pose the following research questions:
- Is there any relationship between politics and women participation?
- Does culture constitute a hindrance to women’s participation in politics in Afikpo North Local Government?
- Can high educational attainment enhance women participation in politics and lack of finance?
- Can economic empowerment of women enhance the chance of women participation in politics of Afikpo North Local Government Area?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to investigate women’s participation and factors that affect their participation in Nigeria. The specific objective are therefore, as follows:
- To ascertain the relationship between politics and women participation.
- To examine the factors that hinders women from political participating in politics in Afikpo North Local Government Area.
- To examine if high educational attainment can enhance women’s participation in politics.
- To ascertain if economic empowerment of women can enhance the chance of women participation in politics of Afikpo North Local Government Area.
- There is a relationship between politics and women participation.
- Cultural factor is a hindrance to women political participating in politics in Afikpo North Local Government Area.
- High level educational attainment can enhance women’s participation in politics.
- Economic empowerment of women can enhance the chance of women participation in politics of Afikpo North Local Government Area.
1.5 Significance of the Study
Every research endeavor is prompted by a societal need to address a pressing problem. This study therefore is no exception, it has both academic and political importance. The study will fill the existing gap in knowledge; it will also serve as an academic contribution to the movement for the recognition and realization of gender quality in the Nigeria matrix, particularly since Nigeria is a nation constitutionally based on the principle of democracy and justice.
The practical significance of this study include among other things that its findings and recommendations will be useful to policy makers, non-governmental organization, women organization and other stakeholders in the quest for gender equality. It will equally be of importance to students, scholars and researchers in the field of political science and public administration that are saddled with the task of organizing and managing the public issues and affairs of the larger Nigerian society.
1.6 Theoretical Framework
This work is based on “Group theory” as the framework of analysis. The intellectual roots of the group theory lies in the doctrine of pluralism as explained by a number of early twentieth century English writers. Particularly by John FIGGIS, F.W. Mattland and G.D.H Cole. On the other hand, the group theorist tried to establish the group, rather than the individual or society as the basic unit in the study of politics.
Bentley stated that the “raw material we study in politics is never found in one man by himself, it can not even be stated by adding, men to men. It must be taken as it comes in many men together”. It is an a relation between men or the action of men with or upon each other. Group theory begins with the proposition that interaction among group is the central fact of politics. Individuals with common interest band together formally or informally to press their demands upon governments.
According to David Truman, an interest group is “a shared attitude group that makes certain claims upon groups in the society” such a group becomes political if and when it makes a claim through or upon any of the institutions of government. Individual are important in politics only when they act as part of or on behalf of group interest. The group becomes the essential bridge among group to influence public policy.
The tasks of the political system is to mange group conflict by establishing rules of the game in the group struggle, arrange compromises and balancing interest enacting compromises in the form of public policy and enforcing these compromises. According to the group theorists; public policy of any given time is the equilibrium reaction in the group struggle. The equilibrium is determined by the relative influence of interest groups. Changes in the relative influence of any interest groups can be expected to result in change in public policy, numbers, wealth, organizational strength, leadership, access to decision makers, and internal cohesion.
Group theory purports to describe all meaningful political activity in terms of the group struggle. Policy makers are viewed as constantly responding to group pressure, bargaining, negotiating and compromising among competing demands of influential groups. The politicians attempts to form a majority coalition of groups, in so doing, they have some latitude in determining what groups are to be included in the majority collation.
The larger the constituency of the politician the greater, the number of diverse interest and greater his latitude in selecting groups to form a majority coalition. The group theory leads logically to a particular concept of the social system and of political behavior. It is therefore, through the social system that the various groups seek to realize or maximize their interest. The group theorists are interest in the fact that the society keeps going in spite of the perpetual conflict among groups in which each is frantically pursuing its own narrow self-interest.
Groups theorist have shown a great deal of interests in the internal organization and process of various groups and discussed questions concerning boundary, size, territory and forms of integration. Claiming to understand politics and political behavior in terms of group’s conflict, the group theorists have evaded any clear – cut definition of politics. Politics according to Bentley was a rather high-level activity carried on largely by groups that some how reflected or represented the underlying force in society. Since groups could be taken as representing, than political activities, political activities could be regarded as simply one part or aspect of the total activity of groups.
Further more, since group theory deals with the interaction amongst various groups which aim at upholding and satisfying specific objectives as determined by group interest. It can then be said that women empowerment and participation in politics is a reflection of the product of the product of the group deliberation. It is note worthy to understand that individuals with common interest could come together to press home and struggle for their political right. As a result of these individual not withstanding their sex can, as important or principal factors in political participation.
The group’s internal cohesion, leadership, strength, and access to decision-making determine the impact of groups on politics in Nigeria since the actors determine the question of “who get what, when and how”. The authoritative allocation of societal values is determined by how strong a group is, that is why the more powerful a group is, the more favored it will be in terms of how it part in government decision-making. It is for this reason that group serves as the best approach to the topical issue of women empowerment and political participation, because it is an approach that incorporates the individual and group interest towards participating in politics.
Finally, since group theory conscientistes people on the need to struggle and gain access to decision-making, it has gone a long way to reduce women, under representation and gender in equality among both sex. This theory, has been chosen for this work to it’s practical application in the analysis and understanding of the behaviors of political actors, especially as it affect the place and insignificant role of the “women group” when it comes to political participation and activities in Nigeria.
1.8 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study was restricted to the investigation of women and political participation in Nigeria with particular references to Afkipo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The un-complying attitude of some of the administrators and workers in responding to my question to enhance data/information collection resulted in a lot of time which would have been used for my study was exhausted in the work. Finally, inadequate fund was also limiting factor in this study as this made it difficult to source some of the secondary data/information needed.