Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party has asked women to be ready to pay for nomination forms instead of waiting to be asked to pick them free by political parties.
It said this would enhance their participation and also earn them respect in politics.
The Chairman, National Caretaker Committee of the party, Ahmed Makarfi, stated this when he received the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Jummai Alhassan, at the PDP headquarters in Abuja on Monday.
Makarfi said the PDP would support the enactment of a law in support of the gender parity in politics and participation in governance.
He said, “If it is in compliance with the law, everybody will comply, but if you leave it flexible, it is an escapist route. Forget about the nomination form, pay and get the ticket. Let us do the right thing.”
He also made a case for consideration of the women’s move to secure legislation backing the 35 per cent affirmative action on women participation in politics and government in the ongoing constitutional amendment process.
While praising the minister for her productivity, Makarfi said, “I am not very surprised that you are doing well because you were trained and brought up by the PDP.”
Earlier, the minister had asked political parties to adopt a policy of voluntary electoral party gender quota system as a means of guaranteeing more participation of the womenfolk in politics and governance.
She described the initiative as a deliberate strategy of earmarking constituencies solely for female candidates during an election.
Alhassan lamented that Nigeria remained one of the most backward and poor performing countries on the African continent, in the area of women’s political participation and leadership.
She said, “Although the Nigerian constitution guarantees equality for everyone in all spheres, women have not enjoyed this constitutional right. As a result, we have been overtaken by countries like Rwanda with 66 per cent women’s representation in parliament, South Africa with 40 per cent, Seychelles over 50 per cent, Ghana, 35 per cent and a large chunk of the other African countries with over 25 per cent.
“Unfortunately, Nigeria stands at less than six per cent, making the country, though the ‘Giant of Africa,’ a midget in comparison to others in this area.”
She begged the party leaders to join hands with women as various political parties commenced preparations for 2019 general elections.
Apart from seeking gender quota, the minister said women were demanding that the APC, the PDP and other political parties should make women’s wings within political parties to be part of the political party decision-making structures, formulate strategies for prevention of violence against women in elections.