Dame Pauline Tallen

By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

The Federal Government has rejected moves by some political parties to offer nomination forms to women, youths and Persons Living With Disabilities who are vying for various elective positions at no cost ahead of next year’s general election. 

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, spoke at a briefing jointly organised by Women Radio in partnership with the Women Trust Fund following the recent court judgment on 35 per cent affirmative action for Nigerian women.

It would be recalled that penultimate week, the Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered the enforcement of the National Gender Policy following a suit filed by some women’s groups seeking improved gender inclusion in public appointments. 

In her remarks, the Minister stated that though President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to ensuring the implementation of the court judgment, political parties must also show considerations for women when giving out tickets. 

She warned the leadership of political parties against playing the vulnerable groups out of the game through unfair tactics during their various primaries.

According to her, offering free nomination forms without a level playing field would do little or nothing to ensure the much-needed inclusiveness for women, youths and PWDs in the governance of the country.

She described the announcement of free nomination  forms by some political parties as a ‘Greek gift.’

The Minister said, “Giving women free nomination form is not the main issue. Giving women free nomination forms and then playing them out is unacceptable. Until a woman scales through the primaries, it is not yet Uhuru.

“So, we are appealing that they (political parried) should ensure that women are given some respite and considerations. When she is accepted by her people and well received, she should be allowed to take the ticket, but the party leadership and caucus are the ones that decide who gets the ticket

“So, until women scale through the primaries, they cannot effectively participate in an election. So, it’s not about giving some free nomination forms, we want to see women scale through the primaries and become candidates and the party takes over; we can, then, be sure that we are making progress.”

She cited the recent appointment of three women by President Buhari as commissioners into the National Population Commission (NPC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as a positive step. 

Speaking also, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, Mufuliat Fijabi, said a new Nigeria would emerge for women with the April 6 judgement. 

According to her, the government must put value where it belongs by implementing the judgment totally. 

Afolabi also urged the National Assembly  to acknowledge that Nigerian women deserve to be honoured with passing all the gender related bills before it.

“The history made on 6 April 2022 is being documented and upon completion, it will be widely disseminated as a learning point for other strategies and other countries of the world to emulate and learn from,” she said

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