By David Odama, LAFIA
THE wife of acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Zainab Abiola, on Monday expressed disappointment at the low level of women participation in active, elective positions in the nation’s political system.
Speaking to Women Against Violence, WAV, in Abuja, Queen Akasoba of Kalabari Kingdom said it was disheartening seeing Nigeria women still playing backward roles rather than taking a centre stage in the scheme of nation building.
According to the founder of Aspire Women Forum, AWF, Foundation, she said the need for Nigerian women to participate fully in revamping the process of choosing political leaders is long over due.
“Is it because my Presidential Nomination Form 001 was confiscated by ex-President Jonathan in 2015 that women are no longer interested in politics?
“Or it is the deja vu of political misogynism.
“In order to enhance quality participation, representation and ensure good governance in the country, women must rise to the challenge of making their voices heard by participating activily in the democratic processes.
“Even if your nomination forms are stolen, don’t give up. Don’t quit. It is a national service,” her majesty questioned.
While calling for value reorientation and conscientiousness among Nigerians, especially the women folk towards improving the nation’s electoral process, the British-trained Barrister Zainab Abiola, said there was need to return to vibrant and quality representation.
She added that Nigerian leaders must desist from skewing the electoral process in favour of moneybags against those with requisite capacity.
“A great nation is reckoned with based on her adherence to gender sensitivities.
“Women must avoid the ‘siddon-look’ approach and participate in the process.
“They must guide, educate, inform and most especially partner with the men towards collective prosperity,” Her Majesty stated.
According to her, “there are voices calling for the disintegration of the nation that My late husband and other heroes died to keep as one.
“In proferring solutions to these crises all hands must be on deck — both feminine and masculine hands.
“Nations are not called Motherland because they wear skirts, although every Nation has in-skirts and outskirts paraphernalia.”
The Chairperson of Akasoba Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution declared that “Although Nigerian unity is nonnegotiable, yet we must negotiate and re-negotiate the non- negotiableness of Nigeria’s unity.
“You can quote me on this original point.”