The term ‘inclusive governance’ generally relates to the fundamental right of all citizens to meaningfully participate in the decision making processes that affect their lives, this expectation began to play out in Nigeria on 22 October 2019 in Kwara State, where Governor Adulrahman Abdulrazaq announced the nomination of his cabinet with nine women on the list of sixteen nominees, representing 56. 25 per cent, while men would be 43. 75 per cent.
In a quick reaction to the national feat, the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Women Radio (WFM91.7FM) and Women in Politic Forum (WiPF) jointly organized a press conference on the 25th of October 2019 at the NUJ headquarters in Abuja. This conference was primarily aimed at commending the state Governor for setting a pace towards the achievement of gender inclusivity in Kwara state.
In her reaction, the Chief Executive Officer of NWTF, represented by Ms. Lois Chinedu stated that Nigeria women expressed delight on the State’s accomplishment of being the pilot state in the country to have more women appointed to lead the affairs of governance as commissioners. In her words, “the announcement of the final batch of appointed commissioners which included five more women (youths inclusive) to the cabinet of Kwara State is laudable”. Ms. Fijabi further described this as a demonstration of the will to fast track the deepening of democracy in Nigeria and to close the gender gap in order to achieve the much required and desired development. She concluded by urging women groups to channel necessary support in order to ensure their success as women representatives.
The President – WiPF, Barrister Ebere Ifendu mentioned that against the background of years of struggle with patriarchy and non-inclusion of women in governance at all levels, Nigerians are pleased with the giant stride made by the government and people of Kwara State. She asserted that the announcement by the Governor is recognized by all as a great achievement not only for the people of Kwara state but Nigerians as a whole. Similarly, the MD/CEO of Women Radio, Mrs. Toun Okewale Sonaiya in her speech encouraged Nigerian media personnel to support the feat celebrated in Kwara state by placing the state on a positive spotlight for running a gender sensitive government. Mrs. Sonaiya showed admirations for the Governor’s leadership disposition which is unprecedented. She admonishes nominated women to discharge their duties to their motherland with all zealousness and transparency. “if you fail, we all have failed and if you succeed all Nigerian Women have succeeded”, the MD/CEO emphasized.
While women movements across the nation still basks in the euphoria of the nomination, the Kwara State House of Assembly on Thursday, 31 October 2019 confirmed the appointment of 16 Commissioners with the nine women making the Governor’s cabinet.