THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN NIGERIA POLITICS (A CASE STUDY OF EGOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA)

THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN NIGERIA POLITICS (A CASE STUDY OF EGOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA)

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Abstract

This study is on the role of women in Nigeria politics. A case study of Egor local government area of Edo state. The total population for the study is 200 staff of Egor local government area of Edo state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up heads of department,counselors, senior staff and junior staff was used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background of the study

It has been established that the development of any country requires the participation of both men and women.  There is global recognition that gender equality in political participation is a fundamental aspect of modern democratic governance. It is expected that both men and women should have equal rights and opportunities to participate fully in all aspects and at all levels of political processes. But in practice, women face challenges and the number of women in leadership and decision making positions is abysmally low. Meanwhile, it has been proven that countries with increased women’s participation in politics and leadership position tend to be more inclusive, egalitarian and democratic.Over the years women have been relegated to the background in issues of the overall development especially in the developing nations like Nigeria. This is borne out of the sentimental attachment on feminine gender. Historical evidences are available to prove that the Nigerian women have for 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 population. In this regard, they should not be left out in the issues of decision making that bothers even on their lives as a people. Today, women are participating more actively in political issues than ever before as a result of political re-awakening and awareness. More often than not, they are besieged with challenges of which discrimination is more rife. Majority of the men more on chauvinistic disposition are preoccupied with the notion that decision making is exclusively 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 homes 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 the same mindset of yester years is still what is obtained in our country. 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 Nigeria is yet to have a female president.  Women over the years could be said to have recorded some measure of appreciable political achievement in other political fields of endeavors, meeting their political objectives with limited support and resources at their disposal. In 1957 during the pre-independence era of Nigeria, a couple of women political activists such as, Mrs. Margaret Ekpo, Mrs. Janet Mokelu and Ms. Young were members of the Eastern House of Assembly.  The late Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, though not a full-fledged politician, was a very strong force to reckon with in the politics of the Western Region.  And Hajia Gambo Sawaba waged a fierce battle for the political and cultural emancipation of women in the North. One can say that women have always played viable political roles in Nigeria in spite of all the limitations and encumbrances. The Babangida era marked a turning point in the history of women struggle in Nigeria, when Maryam Babangida institutionalized the office of the first lady in 1987. She became the first working First Lady and launched the “Better Life for Rural Women” program. Other women who have made impact in the country’s political scene include, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala former minister of finance, who saved the nation records of billions of Naira as a result of her hard working nature as a public officer. Mrs. Obi Ezekwesili also laid a land mark in the history of Nigeriapolitics. Prof.. Dora Akunyili, the NAFDAC boss has also performed credibly; leading the fight against adulterated pharmaceutical drugs, her name can never be forgotten in the annals of history.  There are myriads of women in politics even presently that have done very well and are still performing excellently well. Liberia’s head of state Ellen Johnson Sir-leaf has made history as Africa’s first female president. In the United States, Senator Hillary Clinton has made a positive impact in America’s politics. Also the Republican Party’s presidential candidate John McCain picked a woman - Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska as his running mate for the U.S election. This could be seen as the strong factor women constitute in the political parlance of any nation. Today, many countries of the world are making efforts to bridge the gap between men and women in politics. But in Nigerian the representation of women in Government even though has improved than before is still very low compared to what obtains in other nations of the world, particularly in the developed nations. The representation of women in the last republic, 2003 election, was poor only 3 women made it to 109 members senate house, while 21 were elected in 360 members lower house of representatives. As it were, the number of serving female Ministers is still very few. There is no doubt that women have some potentials and rights to contribute meaningfully to the development of their country. Therefore, the Nigerian government should work towards achieving gender equality in democratic governance, increase women participation and access to politics. It must be realized that the role of women as home makers cannot be down played in that it equally has an extended impact on their responsibility in service, the women touch anywhere cannot be matched. 

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

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 Nigeria is yet to have a female president.  Women over the years could be said to have recorded some measure of appreciable political achievement in other political fields of endeavors, meeting their political objectives with limited support and resources at their disposal. In this background the researcher wants to investigate the role of women in politics. A case study of Egor local government area.

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The objectives of the study are;

1.   To ascertain the role of women in Nigeria politics

2.   Explore ways of ensuring full participation of women in Nigeria government

3.   Examine the relationship between women and Nigeria government

1.4      RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0:women do not play any role in the development of Nigerian politics

H1:women do play a significant role in the development of Nigerian politics

H02:there is nosignificant relationship between women participation in politics and the growth of Nigeria’s politics

H2:there is asignificant relationship between women participation in politics and the growth of Nigeria’s politics

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study brings clear insight on role of women in Nigeria politics. The study will be of benefit to women, government and political parties. Finally the research work will be of help to scholars who wish to carry further research on role of women in Nigeria politics as the material of the work will be of great importance for enquiries.

1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the role of women in Nigeria politics. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study       

b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.  

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

ROLE: A role is a set of connected behaviors, rights, obligations, beliefs, and norms as conceptualized by people in a social situation

WOMAN:A woman is a female human being. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent.

POLITICS: Politics is the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group. It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state.

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study


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