- Urges FG, States to implement 35% affirmative action
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Women Situation Room Nigeria (WSRN) has urged the major political parties in the country to look towards adopting female candidates or deputies for electoral offices in order to give women in Nigeria the opportunity and bridge the huge gender gap in socio-political positions in the country.
To this end, the women advocacy group suggested that the two major political parties in the upcoming governorship election in Edo State including the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), could have adopted female deputies as part of the design to ensure proper representation of women in the political evolution of the country.
The National Coordinator of the WSRN, Ms. Joy Onyesoh and other members of the group, made the call recently during the maiden media launch of their programmes and activities in Abuja.
Onyesoh said the call is timely since the race is a straight contest between Mr. Godwin Obaseki of the APC and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of PDP, adding that female deputies could have made the electoral process more democratic.
She assured stakeholders gathered at the event that the group would be ready to mobilise women voters in Edo state in support of any of the candidates that picks a female running mate.
According to her, the women advocacy group would always be ready to mobilise support for female contestants in elections at all levels, irrespective of party affiliations.
She also called for the full implementation of the 35 per cent affirmative action at both the state and federal levels, saying that the “existing political parties is denying women the needed leverage in electoral contests, as they are always overwhelmed by their male counterparts during nominations.”
She asserted that the WSRN would be engaging the nation’s political parties in the next few days, with the view to articulating the rightful position of women in the political system.
Onyesoh said the group would demand a review of the constitutions of the parties for the purpose of reserving some party offices and elective positions exclusively for women.
She identified material inequalities and domination of party machinery by the men folk as some of the factors working against women’s active participation in the electoral process.
The WSRN coordinator appealed to the political class to stop the trend in which women are seen and treated only as singing and dancing groups at political rallies. She called on political party administrators to consider making nominations to elective positions free for women in all political parties.
She added that the WSRN was already working on a position paper to be articulated into a bill for onward transmission to the National Assembly for consideration.
Onyesoh called on government at all tiers to increase the number of women appointees in their various administrations, arguing that present empowerment options for women appear constricted.