By Umar Yusuf, Yola
Ahead the 2019 general elections, the International Republican Institute, IRI, has been collaborating with women in Adamawa State to enable them take their rightful positions in the scheme of things.
The mobilization of the womenfolk which was supported by the European Union, EU and the United States Development Agency, USAID, according the IRI, has become imperative owing to their low participation in either party election or elective position at all levels in the country.
Women in their hundreds were assembled at the American University Hotel, Yola with an agenda “Strengthening Women Political participation in Nigeria”,
The participants included women in politics, market women, women Engineers, women in the civil service, as well as those in other fields of human endeavor and the disabled.
Facilitators at the two-day event included Barrister Ebere Ifendu, President Women in Politics Forum; Halima Hayatu, Co-ordinator women for women; Honourable Justina Nkom and Sodom Tayedi Daniel, both female legislators in Adamawa State House of Assembly among others.
The facilitators discussed topics ranging from the importance of women in political structure and process: constituency relations and decision making; enhancing women participation in constituency outreach with their state legislatives among other topics.
At the end of the two-day brainstorm sessions, the participants came-up with some resolutions and recommendations on the way forward for women political advancement.
The participants identified some barriers hindering women from effective participation in politics to include cultural and religious barriers, systemic discrimination by political parties, lack of internal party democracy, godfatherism, intimidation by the dominating men and lack of funds.
The participants also noted that male political members do not value their female counterparts and regard them as incapable.
The workshop in session, according to the communiqué observed that “lack of support for the women aspirants is greatly hindering the capacity of advocacy and consensus agreement on a wide range of issues affecting them in political representation and governance”.
It however noted that through sharing experience and learning, the womenfolk would be more focused and determined to unite and forge ahead in their advocacy efforts and support one another to enable them achieve their political aims.
The communiqué added that the workshop in session frowned at the under-representation of women in Adamawa political and electoral processes, irrespective of their commitment and contribution to the growth and development of the democratic system.
“Political parties have continued to limit the participation of women in their structures and activities through limited inclusion in the critical committees and networks”,
“Participation of women in decision making processes in political parties are mostly limited to free forms which has its disadvantages; the participants regretted.
The workshop maintained that the key issues on which the participants shared common vision included a reform in the internal political processes within the party, a conscious effort by successful leaders to mentor others, free, fair and credible elections and increased participation of women in the structures of Adamawa’s political parties and other political and electoral processes.
The communiqué tasked the political parties to avoid imposition of candidates during party congresses and conventions, and ensure level playing ground devoid of discrimination.
They also asked political parties to adhere strictly to the political finance rules and regulations in campaign finance and party administration that is devoid of money politics.
They further demanded that quota system for women in all committees and activities of the party based on 35% affirmative action should be strictly adhered to, even as they called for the nomination of more women for political appointments.