- Background to the Study
Today, there is a misleading belief among Christians that politics is a dirty and immoral activity. This belief has determined and shaped the disposition of a considerable number of Christians towards politics. This misleading belief is capable of placing Christians at a disadvantage. If there are some observed moral defects in the game of politics in our society, and Christians choose not to be part of it, how do they then inject sanity into it? Christianity is the religion that is based on the teachings and the way of life of Jesus Christ through His death, resurrection, ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers. These teachings were given by Christ to His apostles through a special revelation. The beliefs and practices of Christians are directed and motivated by the injunction and precepts of Christ as contained in the Bible. Unger (1996) opines that Christianity is a way of life while Mu‟azam (2002) observed that Christianity is a way, manner and system of life which are ordained by God Almighty and therefore sacred.
The exclusion of women from political processes in
Nigeria can be traced back to the colonial time when women were forced to give
up many of their political rights. As a result of colonization, the resurgence
of women‟s movements demanding greater political
participation in Nigeria took place later than other countries. For instance,
women living in northern Nigeria received suffrage as late as 1978. Some women
who made the mark on the political scene at that period include Mrs. Margaret
Ekpo of the famous Aba riot of 1929, Madam Tinubu of Lagos and Egbaland, Mrs. Funmilayo
Ransome- Kuti of Abeokuta Union of 1948 and Hajiya Gambo Sawaba of Northern Element
Union (NEPU) (Awe, 1992). Though women enjoyed high democratic authority in southern Nigeria, this was not a general phenomenon because men had always been dominant in the political structure with women complementing them.
Gender has come to be a very crucial instrument for shaping the society. Based on this, the world‟s government adopted Gender Equality and Women Empowerment as part of the third Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000. Previously, United Nations Conferences such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1997), The World Conference on Women (Beijing 1995) and Security Council (2008) all focused on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in the democratic structure. With this, most Nigerian women still have little influence and control over economic resources. This is a situation that has wasted the potentials in women and has brought about a decline in economic development.
Just like women in other patriarchal societies, the subordinate position which Nigerian women are subjected to predispose them to various acts of gender-based discrimination. Being a patriarchal society, male dominance is reflected in marriage institutions where a woman is regarded as the property of the man. She has no right to take any decision that concerns her except with the permission of the husband. Also, in political and governing institutions where the Ministry of Women Affairs has a male as commissioner or permanent secretary, religious institutions such as non-inclusion of women in the Board of Elders in some churches. Some public and private institutions would not employ women because they would go on maternity leave or if they are employed they are not paid salaries during such leave.
ASSESSMENT OF CHRISTIAN WOMEN INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICS IN NIGER STATE, NIGERIA