British High Commissioner Seeks Greater Roles For Women In Governance

Mr Paul Arkwright

The British High Commissioner To Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, has called for more participation of women in politics and greater representation in governance.

Mr Arkwright, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, believes it is high time women were encouraged more to run for elective offices in the country.

He said this on Thursday in commemoration of the International Women’s Day, an annual event which takes place on March 8 to celebrate the movement for women’s rights across the world.

While the issues of women’s empowerment, girl child education, and political rights have been on the front-burner in Nigeria, the British envoy said he is in the country to work with the Federal Government to improve the situation.

Explaining why the United Kingdom is so interested in the affairs of women, he said, “We take a particular interest every day of the year, not just International Women’s Day.

“Women represent 50 per cent of the population of the world, 50 per cent of the population in Nigeria; it’s incredibly a prove that women’s achievements should be celebrated.”

Mr Arkwright noted that after the UK general elections were conducted in 2017, 32 per cent of the Members of Parliament (MPs) elected are women.

He then called for more representation in Nigeria, saying: “50 per cent of the population ought to be represented by 50 per cent of the representatives of that population in parliament – we have 32 per cent (in the UK), Nigeria has 6.7 per cent.”

The British envoy further highlighted measures needed to be put in place to address the issues of women’s empowerment and representation in parliaments, as well as what can be done to lower the barriers of political participation for Nigerian women.

He advised that if women are going to be represented in a parliamentary democracy such as the National Assembly, then “we mean Nigeria should be aiming for 50 per cent of women representing 50 per cent in the population.”

Arkwright stressed: “You know women have voices in Nigeria; there are lots of very strong women who speak very eloquently about some of the challenges facing women here, but how can we improve their representation?

“I think there are a number of things that can happen … it’s about party structure, it’s about what the party is doing – at the candidate stage, at the primary stage. How do they make it easier for women to apply to become candidates – we shouldn’t shy away from some of the cultural issues that women face here in Nigeria,”

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