The Women’s Leadership and Mentorship Initiative (WOMFOI) says it is mobilizing support for female candidates running for state and national assemblies in Kaduna State in the 2023 general election.
President Ms Florence Aya had this to say in Kaduna on Saturday during a media dialogue with women and socially excluded groups organized to influence party candidates on health and education issues.
The dialogue was facilitated by the Partnership for Engaging Reform and Learning (PERL), a governance program in conjunction with The Agenda, an issue-based campaign platform.
Aya said three of the group’s 18 women who ran in the primaries for various political seats were successful, a development she called “encouraging”.
She said the three women won the primaries and ran as candidates for the state assembly.
She identified the women as Ms. Larai Ishaku, Jaba State Constituency and Ms. Munira Tanimu, Lere Constituency, all on the APC platform.
She said the third woman was Ms. Comfort Anwe, the outgoing member representing Sanga State constituency on the PDP platform.
Aya described her victory as “very little progress” from the 2019 general election, where 26 women contested, two won party tickets and only one ultimately won.
According to her, the group is currently developing a strategy to make a big difference ahead of the 2023 general election.
“What we are doing now through WOMFOI is ensuring that our local government chapters are properly mobilized to support them in the election.
“We will mobilize our members from other local governments to support local government areas with candidates.
“We are also reaching out to men to help us mobilize the electorate to come out in droves and vote for female candidates in the elections for greater female representation in the State Assembly.” She thanked PERL for helping women and other socially excluded groups take the lead in demanding good governance and a place in the governance process.
Sharing her experiences, some of the candidates described the democratic process as “highly competitive and characterized by choosing money over competition and corruption over manifesto”.
Ms. Hauwa Gambo, House of Representatives candidate, African Democratic Congress (ADC) federal constituency, said lack of voter education was a big problem in the electoral process.
Gambo said people were suffering but she did not know she was contributing to the problem through her action or inaction during the election process.
According to her, voter education will solve more than half of the problems affecting Nigeria’s electoral and democratic space.
Similarly, Mrs. Godiya Ayuba, who ran in the Jaba State constituency under the PDP and lost, expressed her dismay that no women supported her in the primary elections.
“The women didn’t support me and I don’t know why.
We complain about the marginalization of women, but when some of us show up, our colleagues don’t support us.
I wonder why this is so,” she said.
Mr. Yusuf Goje of The Agenda advised candidates to partner with community leaders, community development associations, political actors, media, civil society organizations and professional groups.
Goje said the electorate must ensure that politicians do not abandon good governance for selfish political gain, but instead focus on issues related to people’s safety and well-being.
According to him, government is a people business, and as such, the electorate must scrutinize candidates to understand their manifesto and choose those that will bring them democratic dividends.
Earlier, Mr. Adjor Abel, Senior State Facilitator of PERL, explained that the dialogue should reflect and examine the quality of participation of women and marginalized groups in the governance process.
Abel stressed that the general elections were fast approaching and highlighted the need for strategies to influence party candidates to sign social contracts based on health and education demands.
He added that the dialogue also provided an opportunity to exchange ideas on technological tools and platforms that fostered the participation of women’s platforms and marginalized groups in governance.
Mr. Nuhu Shadalafiya, who represents Sanga constituency in the State Assembly, advised the electorate to sign a social contract with any politician wishing to hold political office.
According to him, the contract will oblige the politician to work hard to keep the promises and satisfy the desires of the people he represents.