By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Commissioner, for Ministry of Human Services and Social Development (MHSSD), Hajiya Hafsat Baba, has revealed that Governor Nasir el-Rufai, is not happy with the low level of women inclusion in elective position in the State.
The Commissioner disclosed this at the weekend when Gender Unit/Service of Ahamadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State University (KASU) and civil society groups on the review of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) policy, paid her an advocacy visit.
According to her, “In appointive position, we have 46 per cent in Kaduna state. But we have not done well in elective positions and I don’t know what we are going to do differently to get women into elective positions. It is a shame that we don’t have a single elected woman in all the houses of assemblies in the Northwest zone.
“This is something that worries Governor Nasir El-Rufai because he is a gender person. If it is something he could do, apart from picking a woman as his deputy in 2019, he would have done it. So, we need to seat up and look at that because it is a huge gap.
“I’ve contested twice and I know what it means. It is very tedious. I hope women will come out early as 2023 is around. So, I want to thank all of you for your contribution to this ministry and the Kaduna state government”.
She appreciated the team for coming up with the idea to help the state government in reviewing the policy, adding that “the current administration is doing a lot to include all groups in its plans and programmes.
“Yes, you have talked about identified gaps. I remember when UNFPA collected and went through the document, they noted that the issue of reproductive health has not been well captured. There was a time we worked on it. I believe other gaps will be covered once it is reviewed.
“Kaduna state government has tried. For example, we now have a health insurance scheme where about a million people have already been captured. The pension scheme is also doing well because a lot of backlogs have been paid. In the area of education, we are trying but we are not there yet. Free compulsory primary education and scholarship scheme are also in place to ensure inclusion”.
As part plans for review, Kaduna state government is expected to provide political space and supervisory role, the gender unit/service of ABU and KASU are expected to provide intellectuals while civil society groups are expected to provide the technical support to review the identified gaps in the existing GESI document for inclusive implementation afterwards.
GESI is one of the ways to ensure diverse communities are understood and considered in public planning and budgeting.
Earlier in her address, when the ABU, KASU and CSOs team led by Director, Gender Policy Unit, ABU, Prof Eugenia Chika Akpa, Professor Hauwawu Yusuf of KASU told the commissioner and her team that, they had carefully studied the GESI policy and identified some gaps which needed to be looked into to make it’s implementation seamless.
She said “we have studied the GESI policy and a lot of work had gone into it but we noticed some gaps in it. The policy needs to be reviewed. A review of the policy of that magnitude is the basic assignment of the gender units of universities.
“This is because we have the intellectual know-how we have the technical know-how with the help of civil society in our midst. We felt the first place to begin is this ministry to give us space. We are willing to do this work as our contribution to the success of what you are doing.
“We know you have the political power to put in place things that will live after you. So, we are willing to kick start the review of the GESI policy base on the morality you will give to us. We are happy you understand the intricacies of this assignment because you are also a civil society person”.