Key women inclusion advocacy groups in Nigeria and other stakeholders have kick-started a robust conversation on how more women would participate in politics going forward, especially starting from 2027 general elections in the country.

 These women groups were led in the conversation in Abuja, by Gender Strategy Advancement Initiative, SheForum Africa and Well-being Foundation Africa, among others, on Wednesday where they brainstormed on how to secure more political positions for the women folks come 2027 General election.

The gathering which was tagged "The Godmother's Mentorship Series" was also aimed at mentoring young female Nigerians to stand up for their rights in the realisation of gender equality as part of the article of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The organizers said that Ahead of the 2027 elections and "Due to the shrinking spaces for women in politics and leadership in the nation,

it has become important to deliberately and strategically engage women, especially stakeholders in the political

sphere to help shape and build our  younger women, engaging actively through partnerships and mentorship."

According to them the 'Godmothers’ Mentorship' series, becomes an in-road to galvanise  towards preparing women for leadership. 

Ms Inimfon Etuk, founder, SheForum Africa, in her contribution, said that there was no point waiting until 2027 before the female folks could start galvanizing themselves for the realisation of gender equality in the country's political arena.

She said that her organisation has come to the understanding that no group can do it alone in building Nigeria to the desire of many.

According to her, SheForum Africa's objective is to  leverage on strength of members, other individuals and organisations to move things on a positive direction in the country, adding that the NGO not only dwells on gender equality but other developmental issues as well.

"No one person, no one organisation can do it alone; we all know there are a lot of targets right now globally, there is the United Nations 2030 target for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"Part of the SDG goals is gender equality, there is also goal which talk about partnership, our target in Nigeria is surrounded by the achievement of democratic dispensation by 2027.

"We are getting ready for the election, there is so-much that has happened  in our politics in Nigeria, we don't need to wait until the year of election before we start gearing up for it.

"We want to influence who emerges as the candidate of party A or Party B, the advocacy that is on the table right now is that we are targeting the political parties.

"We want political parties to fill female candidate for the 2027 election, we want to leverage on the strength of numbers of women and young people in Nigeria," she stressed.

Sen. Biodun Olujimi who advocated for a backup of the legislation for the realisation of gender equality in Nigeria, stated that that was the only way to go to achieve such aim.

According to her, Sierra Leone was able to back such idea with legislation before it could have 50/50 equal gender representation in its parliament.

Olujimi also mentioned Senegal as having 42/58 per cent inclusivity of both gender in its parliament, adding that there was need to form a forum to encourage younger people to fill the political space in Nigeria. 

Mrs Toyin Saraki,, founder, Well-being Foundation Africa stressed the need for knowledge transformation into young female Nigerians, adding that that was the reason some of them were invited to the programme.

"We are invited here basically to this roundtable to begin to talk about knowledge transformation, especially in the different generational ways some of us have move and become experts to meet with the younger exploit.

"We are putting together modalities by which we expose them, to also spring up and learn from each other, so that by the time the next election take place in Nigeria, we would have exposed more people who wish to take up leadership position.

"We must understand investment in the education of our children, it is one of the process of development of a child, we must begin to grow children in the right way before they grow to become adult," she stressed.    

Dr. Adaora Sydney-Jack, Executive Director, Gender Strategy Advocacy International and Co initiator of the Godmothers’ Mentorship Series stated that Godmother Mentorship Series is all about  bridging the gap for leadership especially for young women in Nigeria.

She said having participated in the 2019 elections herself and seeing the challenges women face during election, it was important for women to be  deliberate about first building synergies across generational lines to look at active partnerships through active mentorship and shared aspirations.

She also spoke about the importance of documentation and story telling on women’s trajectories in elections and leadership so that the right stories and the right narratives are repositioned and reimagined for not just the next generation of girls but also for Africa. 

She said Nigeria needs to become the agency that shapes the conversation for women positively starting from the community level where development largely depends on women as curators  of sustainable development.

Sydney-Jack who is the of  host of Africa’s number one Policy literacy program for women Gender Agenda programme on Africa Independent Television (AIT) stated that there was need to change the narrative and have more women in political positions in Nigeria especially in parliament.

She also called on the 10th National Assembly to decisively look at the thoroughness of the 5 gender bills as the in-road towards having more women in political positions and in addition a legislation that emboldens and embraces a population key to national development .

Ene Obi, Former Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria said the time is now for Nigeria to shun the issue of Godfatherism in politics and allow more women to participate in it 

She said that, Godmothers’ Mentorship series is an intergenerational mentorship initiative aimed at nurturing more women into leadership positions in the country.

According to her, not enough women are in the leadership position in the country, and that was abysmal for a country like Nigeria known as giant of Africa which supposed to served as example to others in terms of politics.