Source: ThisDayLive
United Nations agencies in Nigeria, including the UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme have pledged their support for Nigerian women in their quest for better representation in government ahead of the local government elections in the country.

The support, which will be multi-dimensional is aimed at improving on the quality and quantity of women in government, starting at the local government level.

The two UN agencies made the declaration at a meeting with members of the advisory board of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, led by its chair, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi Saturday in Abuja.

Mrs. Fayemi, who is also the wife of Ekiti State Governor had led other officials of the NWTF on an advocacy visit to the UN office to intimate them with the fund's immediate and future plans to actualise increase in the number of women in elective and selective positions in the country.

She highlighted the challenges of the average Nigerian woman in her quest for political participation, stressing that the intervention of the NWTF in form of grants to female candidates in the just concluded general elections, had shown that with more support, the percentage of Nigerian women in government would increase.

According to her, “Our goal is to get the right number and the right leadership. Since the local government elections would soon hold in many states, now is the time to bridge divides among women, develop communications and capacity building strategies”

She cited the example of Ekiti State, which now has four elected female members in its Assembly, following sustained efforts by women groups and leaders.

The UNDP Country Representatives, Ms Lekoetje, on behalf of the agency pledged what she described as “strong capacity building from UND and other development partners”

She said since the council poll could be used as a grooming ground,  the agency would work with NWTF to ensure that women make appreciable impact and use it as launching pad for higher offices.

Ongile, the UN Women Representative, said the agency has a particular interest in the local government election. “We don't have to wait till the next general elections in 2015,” she said, adding that the affirmative action of 35 per cent can be achieved in Nigeria same way it was achieved in Kenya.

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Ban Ki-Moon , UN Sec Gen


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