WOMEN IN POLITICS: A REVIEW OF COMMON AND ISLAMIC LAW PROVISION.

WOMEN IN POLITICS: A REVIEW OF COMMON AND ISLAMIC LAW PROVISION.

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CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0.0:  INTRODUCTION

In spite of the fact that around the world today, democracy has become the pillar
upon which nations are building the hope of attaining sustainable development,
the definition of democracy remains exclusive, politics though remain an integral
part of democracy bearing traditional definition, which characterizes. It was male
dominated and excluding women. It needs to be stressed that women’s political
rights remains an integral part of human rights and women’s rights generally are
necessary aspect of any democratic frame work. This long essay will examine the
extent of women participation in Nigeria politics and the extent of marginalization
of women in politics.

If the definition of democracy allows for diversity opinion and participation of
different groups, then it cannot be thrive by excluding women, which effectively
constitute half on the world’s population and half of each and every single
national population. The fact that the constitution is supposed to promote the
evolution of the notion of the democratic process is not in doubt, what seems
debatable is whether democratic process can flourish in the current dispensation

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where the constitution guarantee for women participation in politics are limited.
In Nigeria despite the significant roles of women before and after independence in
development of corresponding economic,  social and political power  is still
wanting. The fact that military ruled for years helped to institutionalize violations
of human rights that resulted to severe political, social and economic crises. These
anomalies have impacted negatively on the development of women’s right,
despite the many international norms and institutions designed to advance the
cause of women. This long essay under scores the extent of degration on this light
and properly examines the ideal status of women in Nigeria under the relevant
statutes.

The challenge of women’s participation in the political process in Nigeria has
gained additional significance, since the return of democracy. The last election
saw men taking over their male dominated model of politics altogether or
rejecting male single of political. Women’s aspiration to participate in governance
is premised on the following grounds, it is the believed that women constitute half
of the population and hence should be allowed to a fair share in decision making
and the country, secondly that all human beings are equal and women posses the
same rights as men to participate in governance is an entitlement conferred upon

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all citizens by law. By virtue of section 4011 of the constitution states the
following;

“Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other person and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interest:

Provided that the provisions of this section shall not derogate from the power
conferred   by   this   constitution   on   the   independent   National   Electoral
Commission with respect to political parties to which that commission does not
recognition”

Section 422 of the same constitution states further that;

(1)        A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person be subject to any form of discrimination.

This further confirms that you can go to court to seek redress, if as a woman your franchise is violated and that the constitution as a whole prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The constitution also state:

Section 773 provided in inter alia:

(1)        Subject to the provisions of this constitution, every senatorial district of

Federal constituency established in accordance with the provision of this
part of this chapter shall return a member who shall be directly elected to

1Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

2 ibid

3 ibid

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the senate or the House of Representatives on such may be prescribed by an Act of National Assembly.

(2)        Every citizen of Nigeria who has attained the age of eighteen years

residing in Nigeria at the time of the registration of voters for purpose of election to a legislature house shall be entitled to be registered as a voter for that election.

From the foregoing, it appears that there is nothing in the constitution, which excludes the participation of woman in politics in Nigeria, yet when it comes to actual practice, there is extensive discrimination.

On the other hand, The Noble Quran allows women the right to vote, to
participate in politics and express her opinion in public discourse. It is on record
that in the days of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) women were consulted before
Islamic communities choose their leaders, women ask Him questions of different
topics and expressed their opinions as well participated in public life, with the
early  Muslims  especially  in  times  of  emergencies  including  accompanying
Muslim armies to battle to take care of the wounded and prepare supplies.

Also, the equality of women and men is Shariah is not doubt. Nowhere in The
Noble Quran from where the Shariah was derived, is the women made inferior to
the man. The Quran only recognizes differences in their roles as it true of other
religions. Such differences in their roles make the man the leader or head of the

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family. The man provides, protect etc. these do not make the man necessarily superior. This is not peculiar to Islam alone, which states the responsibilities of man and woman.

Finally,  this  long  essay  shall  proffer  effective  and  plausible  solutions  and recommendations to these constraints in a bid to ensuring equality as guaranteed by natural and inalienable rights bestowed on all and sundry.

1.1.0:  BACKGROUND

The general believe is that, there is tendency for people to frown at the idea that
women  should participate  in politics. Politics  is  said to be the science of
governance, it involves the distribution of resources and those who decide how
wealth and other resources should be distributed among the masses usually enjoy
prestige, authority and power. The process of acquiring this type of power often
entails some intrigues bargaining and negotiation for some strange reason, people
assume that men have a monopoly of those skills, thus women are often excluded
from politics and public life in general. They are expected to operate solely within
the family and home arena as wives mothers and home makers. Politics is said to
be too rough a game for women.


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