EU worries over apathy among women in politics

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European Union (EU)

The European Union (EU) is worried that since its huge investment in Nigerian politics, there had been no improvement in women participation.

The EU expressed worries over the low level of Nigerian women participation in politics in spite of several efforts to encourage them since 1999.

Amb. Ketil Karlsen, the Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, made the assertion at a Pre-EU Day press briefing in Abuja.

Karlsen spoke with newsmen on his assessment of Nigeria’s implementation of the recommendations by EU Elections Observation Mission in 2017.

He expressed concern that “not much has been realised in women’s participation in politics”.

The envoy noted that it might be a little difficult to assess the Nigeria’s level of implementation of the recommendations at this stage, calling for improvement of internal democracy in the nation’s political parties.

The ambassador, however, advised policy makers and lawmakers to ensure that the electoral process reform was done on time, preferably six months to the conduct of elections.

Karlsen also said that EU took seriously the issue of elections and democracy in Nigeria, adding that EU had continued to support efforts at improving them.

“Since Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999, EU has provided funding to support Nigeria’s electoral processes.

”The European Union’s intervention in the electoral cycle targets key stakeholders, including election management body, INEC with the overall goal of contributing toward the consolidation of Nigeria’s democratic process.

”Ahead of 2019 elections, supporting the process of electoral reforms that will enhance capacity of Nigeria’s institutions to carry out their statutory duties in an effective and transparent manner remains a key priority for EU.

“The EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN), an ambitious 26.5 million Euros multifaceted programme, was designed in pursuit of this goal,” he said.

Rural women

According to him, the programme is being implemented in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the key stakeholders, and will run until 2021.

He said that the programme, with five key components, involve support to INEC, support to the National Assembly, support to political parties, support to the media and civil society organisations.

The envoy said that EU’s interest was to strengthen the national leadership, consolidate democracy by ensuring that winners take over power and not to decide whom to be elected.

“We don’t have a preference. All we do is to bring our expertise to support credible elections in Nigeria,” he said.

Karlsen said that other areas of support by EU were to expand outside electoral matters, issue of migration and mobility, trade and infrastructure development. (NAN)

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