This research work discusses women participation in politics and democracy in Nigeria. The research focused on how women participation in politics has brought about the growth of democracy in Nigeria. The research also talks about the reasons why there is low political participation of women in Nigeria and also the linkage between political participation and democracy. The work recommendations made include, creating decent awareness and enlightenment campaigns for women to remind them of their rights to vote and be voted for.

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1.1   Background of the Study

The role being played by women in the political scene in Nigeria from the country’s independence in 1960 till date has been a subject of controversy. For some, women have been seen to be neglected in the scheme of things. This ugly situation has prevailed in the country despite the fact that the country returned to a democratic system of government after over 30 years of military rule. With the democratic system of government seen as (ideally) including those factors responsible for promoting freedom and equality among all its citizens irrespective of their gender or ethnic differences, there was hope that the situation will be remedied.

Despite the fact that women constitute about 49.7% of the total Nigerian population according to 1991 census. (Alapiki, 2004:179), it can be authoritatively argued that the neglect and segregation which they suffer in the Nigeria society remained a reoccurring phenomenon throughout the history of the country. This marginalization is seen in all aspects (economy, social, cultural and educational sectors etc.) of the society.

The ramification of this apparent neglect of women, seen also as telling on democracy, provides the focus of this work. It should be noted, however, that since Nigeria is professing to practice a democracy and that same democracy hinges its very foundation on freedom, equality and human rights, the female citizens should be given an equal opportunity to execute their rights and privileges in the society. This invariably means that they should be allowed to partake in whatever endeavor they wish to involve themselves in as long as it is legal and does not infringe on the rights of others. This in extension means that they should be allowed to take active part in the political activities of the country.

In recent years, several efforts have been made to change the situation of women all over the world. Notable among these effort are the Beijing conference of 1995 (Alapiki, 2004: 193), and at the local or national level, the family support programme (FSP) of the Abacha regime and the Committee set up by the House of Representatives in 2009 on Women Empowerment, whose aim was to detect and give remedies to the peculiar challenges facing women in Nigeria politics (Ministry of Women Affairs, 2009:4)

The Committee was also mandated to ensure that women’s rights are preserved and that they have a greater level of participation in Nigerian politics. The lingering inadequacy of women participation provides the background for this work.

1.2   Statement of Problem

The study’s primary aim is concerned with the persistent neglect women suffer despite global and radiance attempt. What are those factors that continue to stand as obstacles in the path of women full engagement in politics?

In the contemporary world order, in which we find ourselves today, it has become a known fact that, there exist a mutual relationship between good governance and economic development in every society. The former which happens to be a prerequisite if the latter is to be achieved, is largely facilitated by a democratic system of government. If that be the case, then it will be a major abnormality on the part of a society, if it fails to acknowledge the infinite role which the women have to play in contributing to the total development of society.

Democracy therefore cannot adequately stand on any part sectorial participation. Therefore, this research work will critically analyses women participation in politics and identifies the implication for democracy in Nigeria.

1.3   Objectives of the Study

The primary objective of this research is to see the implications of women neglect or under participation in politics for democratic practice in Nigeria.

Secondly it will also intend to identify dangers of women’s non participation in a democratic government.

1.4    Research Hypothesis

In attempt to understand the implication of women involvement in politics on democracy in Nigeria, the research is built on the following hypotheses;

1. There is a strong relationship between effective women involvement in politics and the growth and health of democracy in Nigeria
2. Weak women participation in politics is a challenge to democracy in Nigeria

1.5    Theoretical Framework

According to the new Webster’s dictionary, a theory is defined as a formal set of ideas that are intended to explains, (the new Webster’s dictionary). The concept theory, is thus viewed to be the principle which performs the function of enhancing one’s understanding of a social phenomenon. The theory in question is arrived at through the medium of systemic observation or studies on which general assumptions are made.

The basis of this study is derived from the structural functionalist theoretical perspective. The structural functional perspective is that framework in the social sciences which addresses the social structure in terms of the functions of its constituent elements namely, norms, customs, traditions and institutions (Parson, 1951: 121). Structural functionalism studies society as a structure with interrelated parts. A common analogy popularized by Herbert Spencer, regards these interrelated parts of society as organs that work towards the proper functioning of the body as a whole. In this context structure primarily refers to the normative pattern that operates in a system. This theory in question was adopted because of the nature and effect of women participation in politics in Nigeria.

The structure of Nigeria’s democracy is set up in a way that excludes the uniform representation of all the sectors of the Nigerian society in the socio- political activities of governance. This short coming observed by the Nigerian State, has facilitated the exclusion of women who by all means have a great role to play in the democratic system, form active participation thereby leading to the makeup of an exploitative democratic arena largely dominated by the males in the country. It is in accordance with this exploitative nature of democracy in Nigeria that the theoretical framework was chosen so as to enhance or aid our understanding of the level of women participation in social political activities in Nigeria. Also the theoretical framework seeks among other things to point out the systematic importance of women in the democratic structure of Nigeria through the auspices of socio-political activities. The central argument is that the general working and performance of the system is impaired when some sectors or a sector is deliberately made to underperform or function.

Finally, it aims at enhancing our understanding of the need to come up with an informed solution to the structural problem of Nigeria that reflects on the importance of women. This is because if the problems of Nigeria are ever to be reduced then equitable distribution of roles or activities in the social-political sphere of societies should be of utmost priority to the Nigerian government.

1.6   Significance of the Study

The study is not only helpful but also important to the development aspirations of any society and this is largely due to the emphasis if lays on women participation in politics in Nigeria. It is hoped and believed by the researcher that this study will shed more light on the level of the implication of democracy in the political participation on politics in Nigeria.

Finally the study will enable us appreciate the need for greater women participation in politics. Also hopes to serve as a source for further research work as other persons or groups who might wish to carry out a research on the same or related phenomenon. We note that there have been researches in this in the past.

1.7    Research Methodology

In other to obtain the information needed for this study, the secondary methods of data collection were employed to enable the researcher facilitate and present accurate results. Thus the research heavily draws from:

  • Journals
  • Magazine
  • Internet
  • Books
  • Newspaper
  • Electronic news items

1.8    Scope of the Study

The scope of the study is on Nigeria with a special focus on the fourth Republic of Nigeria (from 1999 to date). The angle taken is women participation as it affects democracy in Nigeria.

1.9   Limitation of the Study

Apart from the restricted time from 1999-to date, as normal in mini research, there was also time and financial constraints.



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