Adaora Onyechere Sydney-Jack gives reasons behind her book, ‘Politics, X and Power’

More Nigerian women would participate in politics when negative stereotypes, perception and other challenges are eliminate

Dr. Adaora Onyechere Sydney-Jack, author of ‘Polititics, X and Power, a critical book on the Nigerian politics has said she wrote the book to underscore the shrinking opportunities for women participation in politics in Nigeria.

The popular broadcast journalist, gender activist and Executive Director of Gender Strategy Advancement International (GSAI), made this disclosure recently in Abuja at the public presentation of the book many have described as bold, provocative and revealing.

She said she once aspired to represent her people in the House of Representatives in 2019, but learnt firsthand, how frustrating and suffocating politics in Nigeria could be, especially for women, irrespective of their leadership capacity and talent.

Addressing the book, the author, Sydney-Jack said she ventured into politics with the view to bridge the gap between the leadership and the led but find herself in the murky water of politics.

“With every chapter, I can tell you that I wrote this book out of my deep concern for the shrinking spaces for women’s participation, the looming resignation and the distorted and negative gender identities emboldened by socialisation for a long period of time,” Adaora said,

Speaking further at the book presentation, she said, “I wrote this book not just as a reference to every individual who believes that for Nigeria, full circle means to have a country where everyone counts and all citizens have a true stake, but to revisit our convictions of who we can be,” she said.

Giving more insight about what motivated her to write the book, she said, “Interestingly this book was already in pictures in my mind’s eye after daring to run in the 2019 elections, which I call baptism of fire, wind and rain.

“A journey I refer to as the uncovering of the wool over my eyes, especially as I journeyed between two worlds — that of active journalism and the underbelly of politics — where I experienced a complex variety of a new kind of participation which were previously unknown to me as a broadcast journalist.”

Stakeholders at the event also echoed her concerns, adding that stereotyping, negative perception were some of the factors hindering participation of women in politics in Nigeria.

According to them, more Nigerian women would participate in politics when negative stereotypes, perception and other challenges are eliminate.

They assured that when this is done, there would be more representation and participation of women in leadership positions.

In her remarks, one of the stakeholders, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, called for more participation of women in leadership roles, saying God has prepared them for such assignments.

The minister said women must be treated with all sense of responsibility and equality.

“For me, women should be treated with all sense of responsibility,” she said

“We are very important people created by God and we should not be put down either in politics or power.”

She said the increased participation of women in politics would enable them to occupy their rightful positions anywhere they find themselves.

On her part, the book reviewer, Amina Salihu, noted that until men shift ground and make sacrifices by giving chance and space to women, fifty ( 50) percent of its population will not be able to meet their potentials, which is counter productive for the development of the country.

She said, “Nobody holds down fifty of their population which is women and you hope to make progress. The person held down, the person holding down, everybody will be performing at less of their optimum.”

In his address, the keynote speaker, the Director General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Abubakar Suleiman, noted that some of the challenge in achieving true gender parity in politics include patriarchy (cultural barriers), deep-rooted stereotypes and biases against women, financial constraints, among others.

However, he continued, as societies evolve and progress over time, a push for greater gender equality in politics from official and unofficial quarters such as the book written by Sydney-Jack, has resulted in more women breaking barriers and assuming leadership positions previously limited to men.

Commenting on the book, he stated, “First, though there are many books that seek to address politics and power, Adaora’s is quite truly uncommon and unique. Predicated upon the gender perspective, the book is unarguably refreshing, going beyond the smokescreen to demonstrate the intricate connections of women, sex and power relation in the governance framework of our society. The book challenges us to think critically about the nature of power, its manifestations, as well as the manipulations of sex as an instrument of political domination in various political systems, and its impact on society at large,” Abubakar said.

Former Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, in his remarks, asked women to be more supportive to the cause of their fellow women.

He noted, “Oftentimes, when a lady contests for election, I will use the case of Sarah Jubril for instance. She came to run for President. The Minister of Women Affairs voted against her at the convention. I am sure women leader, if you have that opportunity, you may do the same today.”

Other dignitaries present at the event include a former Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke; National Women Leader the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ), Hon. Amina Divine Arong; Actress Monalisa Chinda; Media executives, Leaders of Civil Society Organisations and others.

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