By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA- President of ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA), Sen. Stella Oduah has called on women to rise up and participate in politics to develop Africa.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament, Oduah said that women constituted the larger population in the sub-region and could not be left aside in developmental moves.
Oduah, the vice Chairperson of the Committee on Women Affairs in the Nigerian Senate, said that participation of women in the politics of West Africa was still very low and needed to change.
She stressed that women were capable of contesting and holding any political office in the sub-region adding that women should not play second fiddle but must rise up to the occasion and participate in politics to developing Africa.
The ECOFEPA President stressed that it did not make sense to disrespect or disregard women who constituted about 60 per cent of the population of the sub-region.
“West Africa cannot attain its intended developmental strides without the involvement and participation of women in politics and policy making and implementation.
“You lose their strength, their brilliance, their contributions and you lose their participation.“If the women who make up more than half of our population do not participate in developing West Africa, it means that we are using less half of our strength.
“Women do not have to beg to be allowed to participate, we constitute the larger population. We must participate because governance belongs to the people not to a particular gender,” she said.
The ECOFEPA President disclosed that the association was set to build a school for Women Leadership Training in the capital city of Nigeria, Abuja.She said that the school will impart in its trainees, leadership skills which is a requirement for emerging women leaders.
Oduah added that ECOFEPA was currently collaborating with other international agencies to anchor national and community development of women.“Involvement of women in both elective and selective offices is cardinal to the goals of ECOFEPA,” she said.