By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the United States Agency for International Development(USAID) through its focal organs, the International Republican Institute(IRI) and the European Union(EU) has embarked on a strategic frontier crusade to strengthen the participation of women in Nigeria’s politics.
The essence according to IRI Resident Programme Director-Somalia, Bojan Ristic while speaking at the opening of a workshop for women in Sokoto Wednesday, said was to change the dynamics of gendre inequality in politics.
The theme of the workshop which was interactive in nature: ” Strengthening Women Political Participation in Nigeria”
According to the IRI official, ” we want to change the narratives by enhancing women participation in politics and elective positions.”
Ristic explained that the drive was not only to ensure their participation but to also assist democratic institutions to be better with women in active involvement through building their political aspirations.
The Official, however, said it such steps would provide an enabling platform for better synergy and exchange of opinions through routine participation at various levels and organs in Sokoto.
” All these, would improve women participation by identifying the numerous obstacles and proffering solutions to further strengthen the scope of their active involvement in elective positions”, he noted.
Also, the EU Minister Councellor , Head of Politics, Press and Information, Pauline Torehall noted that women must see their political aspirations as an obligation with strong urgency to ensure equality in Nigeria’s political activities.
Torehall noted that Nigeria needed many more women in elective positions in governance, saying that” if truly you have to change the trend, you must be prime actors through strong awareness on gendre equality and human rights.
” Your voices need to be heard otherwise, your aspiration cannot be driven to success.”
The EU Official further emphasised the need for women to fast track efforts by securing the collective support of traditional rulers, CSOs, philanthropists and other organs to realise their political aspirations” you have to be your role models. Be the activists to change the face of politics in Sokoto state and Nigeria”, She urged.
In her remarks, Dr. Hafsat Galadima, Special Adviser on Human Rights, NGOs and Donor Agencies to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said it was time for women to shrink off the shackles in the political process for their greatness and aspirations.
According to her Governor Tambuwal had dusted the stage for women to be active in politics and vie for elective positions, citing the numerous opportunities and appointments given to women in his government.
She however, added that” history has projected women of great determination such Queen Elizabeth of England, Queen Amina of Zazzau among others.
” We in Sokoto have stepped up the drive to clinch elective positions as well be represented in the State Assembly”, She disclosed.
The Special Adviser however, commended IRI/EU for promoting gendre equality in the political process not only in Nigeria but globally noting that the international organs anchored by USAID had established its presence and operations across over 78 countries.
The Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs, Kulu Abdullahi Sifawa, noted that women had over time suffered the demon of marginalisation in many respects, urging them to rise up to the task of stamping out inequality especially in politics and elective positions.
Kulu who was represented by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Hajiya Aishatu Dantsoho said her ministry would do everything possible to support women participation.
However, the interactive workshop hitherto, identified among others, lack of self determination and confidence, finance, family consent, lobby group, ineffective communication as basic and fundamental challenges to women political aspirations in party and elective politics.