….It has nothing to with the law, religion—former Minister
By Chris Ochayi
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Wednesday, decried the low number of women seeking for elective offices during electioneering process in the country, regretting that the development was inimical to deepening of democracy tenet and national development.
The electoral empire, which aired this view during the 3rd edition of Osasu Show Symposium, with theme, “The 21st century women and her role in national development”, held in Abuja, described women participation at all level of elections in Nigeria as poor.
Speaking at the occasion, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, charged women to endeavour participative actively in the political electioneering process by seeking to occupy elective office in order to change the narrative in governance of the country.
Alhaji Bello said women wishing to occupy elective offices should henceforth, not to wait for slot but must be ready to strive to slug it out with their male counterpart.
According to him, “Women who want to aspire to lead will not wait for slot; they have to slug it out in order for them to be where they want to be.
In fact, former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and other women who were Prime Minister in their country, one of them was a Prime Ministers of their various countries through slot.
“Our women should stand up to fight, not with weapon for political emancipation and participation. I urge you all to participate actively in politics.”
Bello also added that the INEC was ready to create enabling and level playing field for women and vulnerable people to vote and be voted for during elections in Nigeria.
He regretted a situation where only one woman was elected Councillor in the whole six Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
According to him, “In FCT, we have six Area Councils, we have six Council Chairman, and we have six Vice chairmen elected during the last Council’s election. We have forty to forty-four Councillors, but only one woman was elected as a Councillor. “
In his paper, the former Minister of Sports and Youths Development, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, said the exclusion of women from elective office in the land has nothing to with the law but that of lack of commitment and focus.
He said, “Over the years, we have also experienced the so called state derived feminist which ended serving only the interest of an elite class.
“We have witnessed how the discussion of feminism was hijacked by some strong men who created all manner of poverty alleviation schemes that were primarily designed to mobilise women for the legitimatisation of the military dictatorship in this country.
“We have seen the same pattern continues in the last twenty years under our democracy. However, as long as the few party women are allow to cynically in women political participation in terms of how many women are dressed in Aso-Ebi, and hire to political rally, women cannot have the right place in the corridors of power.”
Mr. Abdullahi also queried whether the women in politics are actually representing the women, which according to him, “Brings us to the issue of hierarchy of identity.”
The annual event initiated by the daughter of former Gabriel Igbinedion of Edo State, Osasu Igbinedion, attracted prominent personalities including the Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philips Shuaibu, wife
Ekiti State Governor, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi and the wife of former Governor of Edo State and mother of the celebrant, Mr. Eki Igbinedion among others