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By Fortune Eromosele, ABUJA

About 22 Civil Society Organisations, CSO, and the Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, WRAPA, have decried money politics in Nigeria and have demanded gender-friendly manifestos.

They tabled their concerns ahead of campaigns, which are to begin on Wednesday this week for the conquest of the various political seats in the 2023 elections.

The women declared that a welcome manifesto is one that prioritizes and concretely addresses Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, as well as see to it that Gender-Based Violence, Harmful Practices and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights violations are eliminated in all parts of the country.

They said, “The harmonization of Anti-sexual Harassment Bill and transmission to the President for assent, the reintroducing and passage of the Gender Equal Opportunity Bill and the implementation of the VAPP Act in all 31 states it has been passed including FCT are key points of every acceptable manifesto to the women in Nigeria.

“In time past women are cajoled with money and materials such as salt and other food items, wrappers and so on, which in four years to eight years of tenure-ship the women testified that “the clothes are worn out, our children leave schools with no jobs while we the mothers are hungry so are the children we laboured as parents to send to school.”

The Women’s Rights Organisations and Civil Society Organisations, autonomous social groups, including Youth groups, disability groups especially those facing multiple forms of discrimination/marginalisation on Monday,  jointly signed an open letter to Nigerian politicians on the agendas that are of priority to women’s movement in the FCT. Topping the list was the elimination of violence against women and girls.

The groups that signed the statement were, the Rock of Ages Empowerment Foundation, Exemplary Ladies Assembly, Association of Wives of Traditional Rulers (ATWR), Network of Community Leaders, Open Arms Women and Child Outreach International, National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), FCT Widows Organization Int., Anwaru-L-Huda League of Women, Women Wing of CAN (WOWICAN), Female Drivers Association of Nigeria (FEDAN).

Others were, Nde Oduko Foundation, Child Education & Crime Eradication Foundation, Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI), League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV), The African Youth Union Commission, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Pad Up Africa, Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture (AWITA), National Grassroot Association of Nigeria, Precious Cares for All Foundation, Catholic Action Committee On HIV/AIDS (OVC, Vulnerable Households, Girl Child/Youths), Hope for The Hopeless.

The letter read, “The “Power Changed Hands” Hashtag spread across traditional and social media on 26th September 2022 in an open letter to politicians as they go about their campaigns beginning from 29th.

“The Ten (10) Pillar Partners (TPPs) organizations were leaders of networks/coalitions with over 5,000 followership in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) (some with national outreach). The open letter greeted the MoU signing of the WRAPA EU-UN Women Spotlight Initiatives to jointly promote the elimination of violence against women and girls including other gender-friendly policies in FCT and Nigeria as a whole placing it as a top priority for women’s agenda in the 2023–2027 political era.

“Records stated that Nigeria has over 200 million estimated populations with women constituting half of this population yet still characterized by gender inequality in almost all areas of human development. Statistics from INEC on voters during the 2019 elections show students (youth) taking the lead with 26%, followed by farmers/fishermen 16.28 and keenly followed by housewives 14.12%.

“This connotes that women and girls in Nigeria including the informal sector at the grassroots actively participate in electoral processes through voting just as their male counterparts do almost in the same proportion or keenly close matrix.

“The ten Pillar partners strategy was adopted by WRAPA to ensure that women’s coalition/networks of Women’s Rights Organisations and relevant CSOs, autonomous social groups, youth groups including disability groups especially those facing multiple forms of discrimination/marginalization commits to cascade WRAPA projects to their various networks and coalition for inclusion, deepening (reach the unreachable), scalability and sustainability.”

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