By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
Ahead of the 2019 general election, Nigeriaâ€™s political parties registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Bauchi State have vowed to boost the active participation of marginalized groups in the political process and ensure that they have equal political rights.
At a one day workshop for political stakeholders, comprising representatives of political parties, government officials, state electoral officers, civil society groups, the media and the physically challenged persons held Wednesday at the Hazibal Event Centre in Bauchi, the parties reinstated their commitment to ensure that women, youths and persons with disabilities take up elective positions within the political parties during the conduct of the 2019 general election.
The International Republican Institute (IRI) conducted the workshop under its United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded election and political processes assisted project which the aim to help political parties to adopt better governance practices and intensify interaction with their constituents.
The state secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Buhari Dasina, said that the APC manifesto has made a strong provision for marginalized groups in the party’s constitution, adding that there is a provision for women and persons living with disabilities to be included in all positions.
According to him, “It is wrong for any political party to marginalize any group for any reason. For APC, there are positions specifically reserved for women, youths and disabled persons and we encourage them to contest all positions.”
In his submission, the state secretary of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Sabiu Zaranda, lamented that young people are not being encouraged to fully participate in politics, but preferred to be used and dumped, pointing out that NNPP as a party has provided opportunities for youths to excel as all the party executives are young people.
In her presentation at the workshop, the IRI Resident Programme Officer (RPO), Husna Hassan, said that the aim of the workshop was to bring marginalized groups together in order for them to understand the processes in their respective political party structures and demand their electoral rights.
She noted that women groups in political parties are usually marginalized because there is lack of sensitization on the part of the women to support their fellow women seeking electoral offices.