President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has called for a consideration and passage of Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill now before the National Assembly and implementation of 35% affirmative action by all political parties. He made the call during a Women Political Aspirants and Advocacy Summit organized by National Council for Women Societies, Women in Politics Forum and Office of Wife of the President. The event held at the National Center for Women Development on Thursday 30th August, 2018.
“I am happy to say that I am in support of both issues because they will improve the representation of women in political office” said the President, calling on all political parties to create the needed enabling environment for women to have level playing field to contest elective positions.
The President stated that politicians rely on women because their word is usually their bond, “they stand by candidates they believe in, and therefore politicians do a lot to gain this confidence.” He used the opportunity to thank Nigerian women for having confidence in him and voting for him in 2015.
In her remarks, wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari charged women to aspire for political office, noting that with political office, they can effect the changes they want to see in society. She quoted access to clean drinking water, hygiene and sanitation, health care and effective educational systems as those things in the minds of every woman. She said election of women is achievable because women make up the larger body of voters and as such can determine the fate of any election.
She called on religious and political leaders to support and encourage women candidacy; she also called on women to support each other, especially when more than one are vying for the same position.
Mrs. Buhari charged political parties to implement the 35% affirmative action and provide an enabling environment for women aspirants to contest and win elections.
National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, said in his remarks that he identifies with the call for more women involvement in politics, noting that what women need is a level playing field. He promised to comply with the request of the wife of the President to provide the enabling environment for women aspirants to contest for positions under the APC.
Earlier, Barrister Mary Eta, Director General, National Center for Women Development said the Summit is aimed at bringing critical stakeholders in the political process together to rub minds and share strategies for a more transparent political process, especially for new aspirants. She stated that there is growing recognition of the need to take action towards significantly increasing women’s participation in politics, especially now that global thinking is on how to adequately harness the untapped capacity and talents of women and women’s leadership.
She called on women not to sell their votes, stating that vote buying and selling is a crime and it further keeps women out of positions of authority.
National President of NCWS, Mrs. Gloria Shoda in her remarks stated that until women participate fully and contribute their quotas in governance, there will, consistently, be a huge gap in governance. She stated some of the impediments against women as lack of funds, violence and outright discrimination at political party levels.
The event was attended by women political aspirants across party lines.