By Ebun Sessou
Some female chieftains of the All Progressives Congress,APC, in Lagos State, have described the party’s promise of free nomination forms for women as not motivating enough to aspiring female politicians.
They stated this recently at the just concluded stakeholders constituency meeting which took place across all the 40 local governments in Lagos State.
According to them, the promise by the party to give freew nomination forms for women in the party as a way of encouraging them to be actively involved in politics is mere words of mouth.
The just concluded national convention of the All Progressives Congress, APC, held at the Eagles Square in Abuja recently had 21 members of the National Working Committee, NWC and 32 members of the non-member of the National Working Committee, making the total number of 53 members of the executives of the APC .
Surprisingly, only two positions were allotted to women. The National Woman Leader among the members of the NWC and Deputy National Woman leader among the non-member of the NWC. While, the remaining 51 positions were allotted to men.
This development also reflects in different arms of the political situation of the party where women are hardly seen taking active positions in government.
It is against this background that WO spoke with some members of the party to ascertain the claim. Speaking to WO in different constituencies, the women lamented that in the history of politics in Nigeria, women take the larger percentage than men adding that hardly are they being represented in the political situation in the country.
Corroborating this, one of the women in Epe constituency 11, Mrs Mopelola Badejo, noted that more women are involved in politics and they are seen at different levels but lamented that only a few of them are given the chance to contest election.
According to her, “The gesture of giving free nomination forms to women is good and it has been there for a while, but the fact that forms are given free of charge does not automatically say women would be given the chance to contest elective positions.
“The leaders only do that to draw women into politics but when it comes to reality, it is different. What would be appreciated is that women should be given the chance to express themselves politically. There should be more women in the local government, house of assembly, house of representatives, the senates, deputy governor, governors and even president. Women should be equally represented as men in all the political cadres of the country so that they can be well represented.
“The number of people who are in elective offices cannot be compared to the appointees. If you compare the number of women who are in elective offices with the number of women in politics, you will see that the margin is wide.
“You will see that women are still at the zero level. At all levels including zonal, local and ward women gather and at any gathering, we have 90 percent of women participation but when they are putting people in offices, you see that less than two percent of women are represented which means our men are shortchanging us.
“Our leaders, our fathers are shortchanging women which is not good. We have been shouting that our national leaders, including Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu should listen to us. Our governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode should listen to us and include more women in his cabinet.
“Naturally, it is human nature that people do not support themselves but when we are talking about politics, women including the market women, traders are ready to go into politics.
“Every aspect of women is in politics especially now that the political affairs is toxic. Besides some of the key people, you hardly find our leaders championing the course of women. Nobody is ready to listen to us.
“There is need to engage more women in active politics. Although the men are there, they do not know us as much as we know ourselves as women. The involvement of more women in politics would give way for better political activities in Nigeria.
In her opinion, Mrs. Ramota Bankole, Welfare Secretary of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Lagos state, said, when it comes to active politics in Nigeria, you hardly see women represented.
Meanwhile, the member representing Epe constituency 1, Mr. Abiodun Tobun explained that the party is compassionately committed to engaging women in politics.
According to him, “Power is not serve ala carte but the APC has tried to encourage women to get free nomination forms no matter the position they are contesting for.
“We give the women free forms and they are free to mobilize themselves they are more than men. The problem is that they are not as courageous as men. That is why we have decided to give them forms free of charge. Even in the National Assembly, we give our women enough opportunities. Also, in the state cabinet, we give them opportunities, but in an elective position they have to contest,” he said.
He added that women are encouraged to participate in the forthcoming election and that measures like free forms are made available for them.
Another lawmaker, Mr. Olumuyiwa Jimoh , representing Apapa constituency 2, said, that women are encouraged to participate in the forthcoming election and that measures like free forms are made available for them.
According to him, “women have always been involved in politics and I am not against gender equality. According to him, “women have always been involved in politics and I am not against gender equality.
“APC as a party takes care of women than men. Women only pay for special interest form which is N10,000 while men pay fortune starting from N500,000 above. Women are encouraged to come on board freely. “In the Lagos state council, there are more women in the state executive council of the party”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Executive chairman, Mrs Oluwafunmilayo Muhammed of the Ajeromi Ifelodun noted that Lagos state is the number one state that encourages women participation and the women have what it takes to compete with the men, giving that a lot of opportunities and provisions have been made available.
“The last executive secretary election that was held, out of 57 local governments,17 women emerged as winners and now we have a lot of women emerging as local government chairman and I know by God’s grace we will have more. The work of a woman is no longer limited to just the kitchen. What a man can do, a woman can do it better, “ she said.