Why Nigerian Women Shy Away From Politics  —Lawmaker

•Adebimpe Akinsola

•Adebimpe Akinsola

Eromosele Ebomele

Sexual harassments and intimidation are two major reasons why women shy away from politics, representative of Ikorodu Constituency 2 at the Lagos State House of Assembly, western Nigeria, Mrs. Adebimpe Akinsola, has said.

Akinsola, a first-term lawmaker at the House, who spoke with newsmen recently, said many women are in tune with the general belief that politics is only meant for men. She also argued that sexual harassment could only be experienced by women who are very desperate to be politically relevant.

“A lot of women are actually intimidated; they feel that politics is mainly for men, and that men too feel politics is for them only. The moment they see a woman, they would start feeling jittery that instead of staying with her husband, the woman is coming into politics.

•Adebimpe Akinsola
•Adebimpe Akinsola

“But I can tell you that politics is not designed for a certain gender, it is for all of us and we can all play it neat.

“Any woman that wants to come into politics would face sexual harassment if she is desperate, if you want to get there at all cost and put in everything.

“Even, you as a woman, if anybody is putting pressure on you, you would do what you are not supposed to do. So, if you want to get to office at all costs, you would be harassed sexually. Men are not crazy; it is the way you present yourself that matters.

“You know we have 33 men in the Lagos State House of Assembly, who slept with the men before they were given tickets? I am sure nobody,” she said.

She said a major challenge facing women in politics is lack of unity adding: “when we want to contest, it is fellow women that would say: ‘don’t vote for women because when they get there they would not see us; it is the men that would help us’.

“I have a friend who always say that ‘I would not vote for men because before they do anything for you, they would say they want to sleep with you’. But some women would say they prefer men.”

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She noted that despite this challenge, that the situation is changing as people are getting to realise that women are better managers and that they are better in politics.

“As I am in politics now, any extra money that I have would not be taken to the club house, and I would not spend it on girlfriends. I would use it to put smiles on the faces on my constituents.

“It could be very difficult for women that are still in their prime, who are still bearing children, to cope with politics. But I found it easier because at the time I joined politics, my children could take care of themselves and at that time, my last child was about to get into the university,” she said urging men to encourage more women to go into politics and that “they should not think that any woman that is up there slept her way to the top,” she said.

The lawmaker attributed the increasing incidents of abduction in the country to moral decadence and absence of societal values.

“We don’t want to know where anybody gets money from, once someone becomes rich, he would be given chieftaincy titles and people would be praising him or her without knowing the source of his income. So, those who cannot make it academically want to make it through other means.

“One of the problems is poverty; we have a lot of youths that are not engaged and an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. They don’t have anything doing, and they have to feed anyhow.

“Also some people engage in this as a way of protesting against the government and the society at large. All of us need to check this and parents should take adequate care of their children.

“When you go out on the streets, you see many children hawking instead of going to school. Parents are no longer discharging their duties as they ought to; father would take the north in the morning and the mother would take the west all because of survival.

“We need to talk to people around us. There is a meeting I hold in my constituency every Wednesday where we enlighten ourselves on issues. I use the opportunity to give them a lot of information on security issues,” she said charging the nation’s security agencies to really wake up to their duties.


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