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By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

The Minister for Women Affairs Minister and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, has appealed to women seeking to occupy political offices in 2023 to form a culture of always identifying with those at the grassroots.

She explained that every politics is local, warning that next year women will find it harder to win elections into powerful positions if they have lost touch with the grassroots of their respective constituencies.

Tallen spoke on Monday during the All Political Party Women Leaders’ Summit 2022, organised in Abuja by the 100 Women Lobby Group in collaboration with MacArthur Foundation.

Speaking on the topic ‘Women Working Together in Party Administration’, the Minister said, “Every politics is local. If you don’t start by holding the people down in your constituency, you are making a mistake. So, identify with your people in both good and bad times.

“Make your impact felt. You should be instruments of change for good. Let us love one another because it is key. Politics is your everyday life with your community.

“I am challenging you to go back to the basics and face reality. That is the surest way to succeed because it is the people at home that will vote for you. Make sure your presence is felt in your community. If we don’t have good women on the decision table Nigeria will never move forward.”

She, however, cautioned the women against treating genuine critics as political enemies.

“Do not make political enemies. Anyone fighting the opposition is mistaken; because today you are ‘here’, but tomorrow you don’t know where you will be. Almost half of us in the ruling party today were founding members of the PDP. So, don’t take anything, including politics too hard in life. All we need is a platform,” Tallen added.

Also, the first National Woman Leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Iyom Josephine Anenih, cautioned the women against actions that amplify feelings of discouragement and hopelessness.

According to her, “You have to come down to the level of the people in your locality. The important thing is communication and bonding. It worked for me.

“We have to change the narrative and negative perception (of women in politics). We cannot do it through political parties alone, but by consistent actions.

“Always make yourself visible and audible; quietly but seriously. Most women are foisted by men. It is men who put you there. You didn’t fight or struggle on your own. So, the tendency is that your loyalty will go to the man, and that makes you ineffective.

“Even if you were imposed, try to find your voice and be somewhat independent. That will help the struggle and make the job of working for women’s inclusion in governance easier,” Mrs Anenih who is also an ex-Minister of Women Affairs stated.

In her remarks, the Country Director of UN Women, Ms. Comfort Lamptey said there will not be meaningful progress in the country except women were adequately represented in government.

“When women have a seat at the table, that is when the country moves forward. A country cannot make progress when half of the citizens are not being considered when decisions are being made,” she stressed.

Earlier, the National Coordinator, 100 Women Lobby Group, Mrs. Felicia Onibon, said women needed good tidings from the forthcoming general elections, hence the need to create synergy among all women leaders of political parties in Nigeria.

“We really need to strategies as women, particularly as women leaders in this country. While you work with your party faithful, your allegiance to the many millions of Nigerian women should actually be stronger. We must work across party lines as women while respecting your boundaries as members of different political parties,” she said.

Onibon, therefore, explained that the specific objective of the summit was to build the women’s capacity in sportsmanship in party processes and also strategise on how women can win at primaries for the 2023 elections.

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