Prof. Funmi Para-Mallam, a member of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, has called on women to unite and fund female political candidates during elections.
Para-Mallam, a specialist in Gender and Development Studies, made this call while summarising commitments by various women groups at the National Women’s Dialogue, tagged the Womanifesto 2019.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that several Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), religious groups, ethnic groups, market women groups and others attended the three-day conference.
According to her, women should unite, choose good female representatives that would protect and advocate their rights, as well as fund the election to enable more women to participate in political elective positions.
“We cannot get this done without sacrifices. We have to make sacrifices, put our money where our mouths are. Let’s bring out our widow’s mite,’’ she said.
Chairperson, House Committee on Electoral Reforms, House of Representatives, Mrs Aisha Dukku, called on more women to join political parties to enable them to choose female candidates to represent the party during elections.
She also reiterated the need for female political aspirants to be accessible to the people at the grassroots, not only during the election to enable them to emerge victoriously.
Also, Chief Whip, House of Representative, Ms Nkiruka Onyejiocha, called for more female representation in governance, to enable them to implement laws like the Child Rights Act, which would further address issues concerning women and children.
On her part, Sen. Abiodun Olujimi advised women to mentor and encourage young women to participate actively in politics.
“A time has come for us to be willing to be mentors, let us drop all the airs and stop running away from women. Let us be able to help each other and it is in doing this that we get to where we are going,’’ she said.
Mrs Bisi Fayemi, the wife of Ekiti State Governor and Founder, African Women Development Fund, stressed the need for women to speak with one voice, to address gender-based violence and discrimination against women.
“We want a Nigeria where girls can reach their full potentials, given appointment without trade by barter, treated with due respect and not as sex slaves, where they can aspire to be Presidents, Senators and others,’’ she said.
Mrs Mary Ekpere-Eta, Director General, National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) said the conference was a clear demonstration of women’s commitment to promoting gender equality and empowerment of women.
“It is important for us to reflect as women, what we want, following the poor outcomes for women in the 2019 general election and representations at all levels of governance.
“This occasion is indeed a time for Nigeria women to set the goals for ourselves and with our daughters who are the emerging generation side by side with us to shape a future and a tomorrow where no one is left behind and gender equality is a norm.’’
Mrs Priscilla Ankut, Component Manager, Access to Justice for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, Rule Of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Project stressed the need to end all forms of gender-based violence.
She added that the Nigeria Sexual Offender Register and the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Referal Guidelines would help to address the plight of women and prosecuting the perpetrators of the act.