By Adeniyi Adedeji, Ilorin

The Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has advocated for incentives that will encourage the female gender to be strongly relevant in the mainstream of governance, particularly in the areas of decision making.

This, according to AbdulRazaq, while speaking at a virtual conference organised by the Women in Management and Business, WIMBIZ, at the weekend, would boost gender inclusion in record time.

Speaking as the only male panelist at the conference, the governor said such steps would motivate many governments to bring more women on board, and ginger political parties to consider gender inclusions as a key campaign issue in their decisions at the primaries.

The governor said that the Federal Government and indeed development partners could make electing or appointing certain percentage of women a precondition for states to access certain grants or qualify for budget support like the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability, SFTAS, programme for results.

Abdulrazaq said, “Under the World Bank-enabled SFTAS programme, states are required to score certain points or meet some threshold of transparency in exchange for grants that equal their performance in the criteria.

“Many states are now competing hard to score more points because they will be rewarded with funds for doing so.”

He also called for similar measures to encourage states and political parties to work harder for gender inclusion.

Moderated by Simi Fajemirokun, the other panelists at the conference were the Senate Minority Whip, Biodun Olujimi, (Ekiti South); Senator Betty Apiafi (Rivers) and prominent civic rights and gender advocate, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo.

All other panelists took turns to shower encomiums on Governor AbdulRazaq for what they described as his unmistakable commitments to gender inclusion and women empowerment in the state, calling on other governors to emulate him.

The theme of the conference was ‘Get Off the Sideline: 2023 And Beyond.’

Senator Olujimi, in her contribution, emphasised the need for women to mobilise resources and work together to achieve affirmative action.

Senator Apiafi said women need to study their political environment, start from the grassroots, and be part of its political culture to make more impacts.

Toyo condemned what she called “toxic masculinity” that does not recognise the need for gender parity and the imperative of allowing women to make their own contributions to national development.

She said Nigeria often fails to domestic and implement various conventions on affirmative clauses, adding however that women and their friends must begin to challenge violations of such clauses in the law court.

Panelists called for the inclusion in the constitution, an electoral quota for women, which all political parties must abide with, calling on governors and female senators to take the issue up in the ongoing constitutional amendment

Established in 2001, WIMBIZ is a nonprofit platform for women which implements programmes that inspire, empower and advocate for greater representation of women in leadership positions in the public and private sectors.

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