Dear Nigerian Women, Are You Scared Of Joining The Senate?
There are 109 people of Nigeria's approximately 200 million that have the rare opportunity to be members of the upper house of parliament.
Competing for a seat within the Senate's hallowed red chamber is no small feat for meek women and men.
But despite the clamour for improved representation of women in more arms of government, it appears Nigerian women are either not interested, scared or being scammed out the legislative process.
The recently published list of candidates by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows that the nation's political class has again refused to yield to the demand for 35% representation of women into elective offices.
The ruling All Progressives Congress and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are notable culprits in this regard.
A close review of the 1,900 senatorial candidates cleared to contest for 109 senate seats, shows only 233 females made it to starting race marks.
The logical expectation would be that the new and more contemporary parties would act differently; but alas it's a case of apples and trees.
Some political parties have a miserly number of 2 women seeking to represent them in the senatorial polls in February.
Parties in this category include: Freedom Justice Party (FJP), All Grassroots Alliance (AGA) and Alliance National Party (ANP).
The states where these ‘lucky’ female candidates will run for seats in the senate are Abia, Lagos, Oyo and Niger.
On the flip side, the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Mega Party Nigeria (MPN), Accord Party, Green Party of Nigeria (GPN) and Labour Party (LP) have the highest number of female candidates for senate posts with 15, 14, 13, 10, and 10 women respectively.
Sadly, the bigger parties such as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) have only 7 and 4 female senatorial candidates respectively.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has 10 candidates across the entire country while the Young Progressives Party (YPP) whose presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, professes empowerment of women in politics, has only 2 women.
So, where lies all the talk in the debates about running inclusive governments with more parties willing to exclude women from governance?
In the 7th assembly, there were 7 females compared to the 6th Senate which had 9.
The 8th Assembly is barely hours away from walking into history as we await the 9th.
One thing is clear - we are still paying lip-service to the anticipated political revolution that would usher in the real leaders of the people.
Or perhaps our dear women in Nigeria are actually not prepared to challenge the status quo and speak directly to egos along our poorly lit corridors of power.