On May 11, 2017, during the Women’s Day of the Rivers Golden Jubilee celebration in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike during his speech prescribed a recipe on how women can take up more spaces in leadership positions in Nigeria. His prescription was for women to work harder and equip themselves. He further went ahead to reiterate that power will not be given to women, they must struggle to get it. Governor Wike also insinuated that nobody is stopping women from excelling in the political arena. He also assured women in the state that he will continue to work for their development and growth in all spheres of life.
Governor Wike has a point, except for one thing. His submission that ‘nobody is stopping women from excelling in the political arena’ is not true, considering the huge barriers impeding women’s advancement in politics. Deep-seated patriarchal beliefs and disposition both in the rural and urban part of Nigeria continue to shrink the space for women to thrive in the democratic space – both appointive and elective.
Governor Wike has a female deputy governor but how many states have female governors? Is it that there are no competent women in their political parties? Women have proven themselves to be great leaders in different sectors, if ‘nobody was stopping’ them, we would have achieved parity across board now.