Social Policy and Leadership Effectiveness on Gender and Child Development Issues in Nigeria during COVID-19

Charles O. Okwuwa, Kennedy O. Ololo, Vivian Njemanze, Emmanuel Eyisi


The goal of this paper is to assess the vulnerability of women and children during COVID-19 and the need for social policies that would protect these vulnerable categories in Nigeria. This research recounts the documented pre-COVID-19 degraded quality of life of the majority of Nigerian women and children, classified generally as vulnerable. With the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and within the extant poor-performing economy, this research predicts a continued neglect for these vulnerable groups in state policies and practices. Deprivation breeds discontent, a deviant subculture, stress and trauma, and retards development. Managing the pandemic demonstrates leadership quality that manifests in the critical domains of empathy, human values, responsiveness to emergency needs, inclusiveness, responsibility, and accountability to the sovereigns, the electorates. This empirical qualitative research, carried out in a suburban location in Southern Nigeria, evaluates the COVID-19 era quality of leadership in terms of the responsiveness shown at all governmental levels in regards to meeting the life and livelihood needs of Nigerian women and children, perceived as state duties. The results reveal the usual apathy towards Nigerian women and children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency care concerning medical, material, and psycho-social support are largely lacking for these categories. Life and livelihood are secured mainly through self-efforts, perseverance, cost reduction, begging, adaptive ingenuity, and non-state actors’ philanthropy. Nigeria needs full activation of extant statutory women and children protection provisions and re-orientation on social values, purposeful people-driven social policies, programs, and practices.


Keywords: equity, social justice, inclusiveness, childhood, Nigerian women.

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