Excluding women, youths will weaken Nigeria’s potential – Report – Punch Newspapers

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Founder/Executive Director of Agora Policy, Waziri Adio
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An Abuja-based policy organisation, Agora Policy, has said excluding women and youths from social, economic and political opportunities weakens Nigeria’s potential.
This was according to its new report titled, ‘How to deepen gender, social and political inclusion in Nigeria.’
The report noted that while women and girls constituted about half of the population and citizens under 35 years account for at least seven in ten Nigerians, there have been limitations to the capacities of women and youths.
It added that the limitations were due to unequal access to power and resources as well as exclusionary norms, practices, laws and policies.

It warned that the exclusion negatively impacted development outcomes for the country.
The report read, “Low level of inclusion in Nigeria incapacitates not just the excluded groups but the country itself.”
“Nigeria undermines itself by limiting the potentials of significant segments of its population. Continuing on this path amounts to Nigeria shooting itself in the foot or punching grossly below its weight. Deepening inclusion is thus not a favour to the excluded groups but a sensible route to overall national development. It is in Nigeria’s self-interest to be a more inclusive society.”

The report stated that Nigeria’s gender policies of 2006 and 2020 which respectively assigned 35 per cent and 50 per cent of appointments to women had been observed to be largely in breach.
It noted that although females constituted 49.3 per cent of the population, women amounted to only 4.26 per cent of the members of the national parliament, which was below the African average of 23.4 per cent.
It also stated that aside from the political arena, the exclusion of women was equally pronounced in areas such as financial inclusion, ownership of landed property, access to education, health, ICT and wealth creation opportunities and others.
The report stressed the need for expanding access to marketable skills, job opportunities, credits and markets alongside making and enforcing more sensitive and more inclusive laws and policies, providing dedicated fundings, greater implementation-coordination and budget-tracking mechanisms, re-orientation campaigns, and increasing political representations for the excluded through greater devolution and constitutionally-backed power rotation and affirmative actions.
Commenting on the report, the Founder and Executive Director, Agora Policy, Waziri Adio, said, “There is no better time than this critical electioneering and transition period to discuss the need to make Nigeria a more inclusive society.
“Most of the issues causing friction in the country today are rooted in the exclusion of substantial part of the population. This is also a major subtext of the 2023 general election. It is therefore important to use the period before, during and after the elections to discuss and exact commitments on how improve the participation, representation and agency of a significant number of Nigerians who have been alienated, locked out or left behind.”

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