Nigeria’s political parties agree to mainstream under-represented groups in the political processNov 28, 2014
Nigeria’s political parties registered by INEC have unanimously agreed to facilitate the active participation of under-represented groups (women, youths and persons with disabilities) in the political process and to ensure that their voices count.
At a one day forum on November 28th 2014 as part of the ongoing monthly political party dialogue series, the parties have agreed to sign a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the next few weeks, to ensure that women, youths and persons with disabilities take-up elective positions within the political parties during the on-going primaries.
Speaking at the forum, the Chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Dr. Tanko Yunusa said, Nigeria’s political parties have not fulfilled promises to open up opportunities for women, youths and persons with disabilities. “I think the time has come for us as politicians to show good faith by mainstreaming the marginalized. This is one good way that political parties can show their relevance because statistics have indicated that the population of persons with disabilities alone in Nigeria is up to 23 million. This is a big constituency that we can no longer ignore” Dr. Tanko said.
Indeed a recent guide published by the facilitators of the Political Parties dialogue affirmed that “competitive electoral politics especially regarding the marginalized, is in poor shape in Nigeria, and generally falls far below statutory provisions for good electoral governance in the country’s constitution; electoral laws and international conventions and standards on credible elections.”
Following the forum on November 28th, political parties have agreed on a number of action points that will help underrepresented groups in Nigeria to be mainstreamed in politics as serious partners in the decision making process. These include providing free tickets for women, youths and persons with disabilities during the upcoming primaries to ensure that their voices count; creating opportunities that are favorably bias towards women to ensure that they hold elective positions and opening up opportunities for women to vote and be voted for as well.
Since June 2014, the Democratic Governance for Development Project (DGDll). DGD has been supporting the Inter Party Advisory Council, an umbrella group of all Nigeria’s political parties, to conduct its monthly dialogue series to increase political parties' effectiveness in their engagement with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders in the electoral process.
DGD II is a joint donor funded project managed by UNDP in support of deepening democracy in Nigeria. The project is funded with contributions from the European Union (EU), UKAid, Canadian Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFTAD) and UNDP. The project provides technical and financial support to the Independent National Electoral Commission, civil society organizations, and institutions such as the Judiciary, the Media, National and State assemblies, and political parties as a means of strengthening accountable and responsive governance institutions, and consolidating democratic governance in line with international best practices.