Women are pivotal elements of every society. They are the gearbox that moves the society forward, especially in a democratic dispensation. Without them, a society will hardly function properly. Many of them in Borno State, and indeed, Nigeria, are well educated, have good managers and are responsible. They, therefore, deserve to be given responsibilities in all human endeavours, especially politics.
Although they are relatively respected and treated well, however, due to social, cultural, religious or political reasons, they are hardly given the mantle of leadership through election or appointment, even if they have the capacity to deliver. It should be remembered that a woman can rule; she can be a president, governor or any political appointee.
The history of Borno politics is dotted with courageous and capable women who performed excellently, especially from 1999 till date.
It is because of the realisation of the impact of women in the society that, when the United Nations declared 1975 as International Women’s Year, attention on gender issues shot up, which later gave birth to the fourth world conference on women in 1995 in Beijing, China.
The Beijing conference recommended 35per cent allocation for women in political positions, power and decision making. But Governor Babagana Umara Zulum is not close to achieving that, in view of the number of female appointees in his government.
During the administration of former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff, women participated actively in politics with little hindrance. They were not left behind in many decisions taken by the then governor.
It is worthy to note that the administration of former Governor Kashim Shettima also encouraged women by supporting them to hold key public and political positions, such as commissioners and special advisers/assistants.
Although Governor Zulum has not completed appointments into his government, the list of his commissioner nominees, which has only two women, is enough to tell you that women might not have many political positions in this administration, not to talk of the 35per cent as recommended by the Beijing conference in 1995.
The list of the nominated commissioners has generated different comments by women groups, expressing fear that government would not embrace women in its decision making process.
It is pertinent to remind the governor, politicians and other political officeholders that women can effectively hold political offices and even perform more wonderfully than them as evident in the positions they held previously at both federal and state levels.
A former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet said, “When one woman is a leader, it changes her. When more women are leaders, it changes politics and policies.’’ The former president’s statement on women’s participation in politics is enough to tell the entire world that engaging women in the act of governance brings positive development to a nation.
A lot can also be achieved in the years ahead if concerted efforts would be made towards strengthening and supporting women in politics by appointing or electing them into various strategic positions.
Governor Zulum should, therefore, reciprocate women’s unwavering support for his government by giving them a reasonable number of positions so that they will help him in taking Borno State to the next level of development.