By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari, has admonished the All Progressives Congress, APC, not to use the excuse of giving women free forms to relegate them to the background.
The admonition came on the heels of plethora of complaints by women aspirants being pressured to step down and give way to their men counterparts.
The First Lady made the call on Saturday at the female APC aspirants summit, organized by the Office of the APC Women Leader with support from the International Republican Institute (IRI), at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The summit was to ensure that women come together, get educated, enlightened and equipped to ensure their victory at the 2023 forthcoming elections.
Recall that the party had last month declared free nomination forms for female aspirants who intend to contest.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Aisha Buhari said she doesn’t believe in fee gift but expressed confidence that the party will not relegate women to the background.
She said, “I stand before you today as a mother, as a leader, as a sister, believing that today’s summit will make a difference in our lives as women and mothers of the nation.
“To the chairman of our party, governors and party executives, I commend your efforts in supporting women over the years. However, I would like to draw your attention that it is now time to believe in women more and show more solidarity with them.
“Distinguished guests, it is important to mention the efforts made by our great party towards promoting women participation in politics. I appreciate and commend the recent party’s gesture in offering free nomination forms to female aspirants.
“Honorable Emma Eneukwu representing the chairman of our great party, I don’t want the party to use the free forms as a means of sidelining women at the end of the day.”
She added: “I don’t believe in free gifts. But with Dr. Beta (Edu) there as our leader, I believe the APC will not relegate women to the backseat.”
According to Mrs. Buhari, while giving out free forms has created more opportunities for women to contest for elective positions, it however, does not assure aspirants of success in the forthcoming elections.
“I believe that the huge task lies ahead of us. We must solidify our unity of purpose and work hard towards creating an impactful space within the political arena.
“Your decision to contest gives a lot of inspiration to women and I would like to reaffirm my support to all the women contestants.”
The First Lady noted that countries that successfully tackled COVID-19 pandemic are led by women, affirming that the world belongs to women.
She also urged women to shun violence, jealousy and hatred for one another and must also believe and project the party ideals.
She advised the women to seek the development of their various communities, warning that unless the communities are developed, those at the center are wasting their time.
The Wife of the Vice President, Dolapo Osinbajo, on her part, expressed confidence that the women are coming and won’t be stopped from getting a space at the table.
She said: “There’s a question I’ve been asking and I’m still waiting for someone to give me a satisfactory answer. When you go to the hospital to have a child, whether the child is a boy or girl, we pay the same hospital fees.
“Is there anybody here that has paid higher school fees for boys and for girls? Is there anybody that paid a bus fare? airplane tickets, train fair? Did you pay more or less because you’re a woman or a man? Do we pay the same thing? Get ready, get ready, because it’s time for us to take our seats at the table.
“And as the representative of the national chairman said, we must follow through. You must go all the way to victory because when you sit at the table, you’re there to fight to ensure that it is well with the girls or the women.
You’re there to fight for your mothers, your grandmothers, your daughters, your sisters, your aunties, your nieces, you’re also there to fight for your fathers and your sons and your brothers.
“You’re there to fight to make sure that the women are given their place at the table. You’re there to fight to ensure that we no longer see gender based violence, you’re there to fight to make sure the girls gets into school, you’re there to fight to make sure when it’s time for jobs, because you are there we will be given jobs, you’re there to fight to make sure when decisions are being made concerning women. Women have the inputs.“
Mrs. Osinbajo urged the women to support one another, adding that like the image of the party, the broom represents, they can only succeed if they are bind together and fight.