LEVEL OF WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS AND ITS EFFECTS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

              No country should call itself a Democracy if it denies equal participation in policy-making to women –Bella Abzung (1996).

It is the duty of government to ensure equal participation of women in politics, to vote, and be voted for and to held public office. There are at least three levels of Political Participation; Consciousness raising, involvement in Partisan politics, and Standing for office. Women all over the world are good at Consciousness rising; they provide majority of voters.

               However, they are not adequately represented in partisan politics as of major actresses, nor do many of them, get elected and become office holders in government.

Over the years women has been relegated to the background in issues of the overall development especially in the developing nations like Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State in particular. This is borne out of the Sentimental attachment on feminine gender. Historical evidences are available to prove that the Nigeria Women have long been playing crucial role in political life of the Country, and this has contributed in no small measure in shaping the political system of the nation. For development of any kind to be successful, a vantage position should be accorded the women, as they constitute larger proportion of the populations. In this regard, they should not be left out in issues of decision-making that bothers even on the lives as a people.

        Today, women are participating more actively in political issues than ever before as a result of political re-wakening and awareness. More often than not, they are being signed with challenges of which discrimination is rifer. Majority of the men more on Charismatic disposition are preoccupied with the nation that decision making is exclusive for the men folk while women are to be instructed on what to do. This idea of seeing the women playing the number two role at home has come to play itself out in the political life of the people, and this ought not to be so with regards to the ever dynamic nature of things globally as women are now seeing in other communities as avant-garde in developed nations. It is surprising that some mindset of yester years is still what is obtained in our Country Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State in particular.  

               Despite the difficulties faced by women in politics, they continue with their political ambition, contributing enormously to the political  and national development in their own way as the challenges militating against them are not present, although Akwa Ibom State is yet to have a female president, Senate president, Governor, Speakers of State House of Assembly and House of Representative respectively. Women over the years could be said to have recorded some measure of appreciable political achievement in the political fields of endeavors, meeting their political objectives with imitated support any resources at their disposal. The essay attempt to explore the extent of involvement of Akwa Ibom Women in politics, although not much has been written on the subject, effort would be made to make original contributions to the existing knowledge. However, it is the irreversible conviction of this researcher that for the purpose of genuine human progress, there is the need to cherish the ideal of a democratic force society in which all people are accorded equal opportunities in the struggle to political power irrespective of sex.

              This position is legally supported by the 1999 Nigeria constitution, chapter two which states interlia concerning political objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria that discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, circumstances of birth, sex, religion status, ethnic or linguistic association or tribe shall be prohibited.

              The justification of this research lies in the fact that even though Akwa Ibom Women participated actively in the so called Aba women’s riot of 1929 and actually laid down their lives for the independence of Nigeria, their effort or contribution were neither recognized, rewarded or mentioned in the most Nigeria history books. It is therefore the basic pre-occupation of this writer to bring to limelight the role played by Akwa Ibom women for the political struggle for the emancipation of our Country, Nigeria. To correct the age-long male chauvinism, which women sees as a cog in the wheel of their political progress, this paper would encourage Akwa Ibom women to abandon this defeatist approach and beef up their political power and numerical strength to compete with their male counterparts for political positions.  This is so because no political position has ever been wrested on a platter of gold without struggle.

THE LEVEL OF WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE STATE BUILDING

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