The Federal Government on Thursday said giving out free nomination forms to women was not enough to guarantee their adequate representation in elective positions in the 2023 general election and beyond
The government described it as a “Greek Gift” a situation where political parties give free nomination forms to women but later scheme them out during primaries.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen raised the concern in an interview with journalists on the sideline of a press conference by a coalition of women groups led by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund on the court judgment on 35 per cent affirmative action for Nigerian women.
The event was organized by Women Radio in partnership with NWTF, 100 Women Lobby Groups, and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre.
The PUNCH reported that a Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered the Federal Government to enforce the National Gender Policy following a suit filed by some women groups for improved gender inclusion in public appointments.
Tallen said that although the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was committed to ensuring the implementation of the court judgment, political parties must also show consideration for women when giving out tickets.
The minister said, “Every politics is local. You must start from the grassroots and engage your people. Make yourself available and reassure your people that you could be a true representative.
“I don’t want to wave it off completely, but giving women free form is not the main issue. Giving women free nomination forms and then playing them out is unacceptable. Until a woman scales through the primaries, it is not yet Uhuru.
“So, we are appealing that they (political parties) should ensure that women are given some respite and consideration. When she is accepted by her people and well-received, she should be allowed to take the ticket, but the party leadership and caucus are the ones that decide who gets the ticket
“So, until women scale through the primaries, they cannot effectively participate in an election. So, it’s not about giving some free nomination forms, we want to see women scale through the primaries and become candidates and the party takes over; we can, then, be sure that we are making progress.”
Tallen cited the recent appointment of three women by Buhari as commissioners into the National Population Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission as a positive step.
The Chief Executive Officer of NWTF, Mufuliat Fijabi, said a new Nigeria would emerge for women with the April 6 judgement.
According to her, the government must put value where it belongs by implementing the judgment to the latter, adding that the National Assembly should “acknowledge that Nigerian women deserve to be honoured with passing all the gender-related bills before it.”
“The history made on 6 April 2022 is being documented and upon completion, it will be widely disseminated as a learning point for other strategies and other countries of the world to emulate and learn from”, she said.
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