OrderpaperToday – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said he would recommend to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressive Congress (APC) the creation of a special fund for women to sponsor their political activities.
Gbajabiamila stated this while delivering a keynote address at a WIMPOL Dialogue organised by the Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WimBiz) on Saturday in Abuja,
He said the fund is to assist in recruiting more women who will contest elections on the platform of the APC.
His words: “I will at the next National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the political party to which I belong, the All Progressives Congress (APC), propose the creation of a special Women’s Victory Fund to support efforts to recruit more women who will contest elections on the platform of the party. The Victory Fund will allow the party, independent of its other activities, to engage with organisations such as WIMBIZ to identify willing and capable women from all works of life to contest for elections at all levels of governance.
“Through this fund, we will provide them with training, support services and assistance with the enormous funding requirements of electoral contests. This fund will be credited from a percentage of the income from the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms by the party. I encourage leaders of the other national political parties to consider and implement similar proposals.
“In Nigeria, we contend with a culture that has created, and too often, continues to encourage and tolerate practices that disenfranchise our women, limit educational and economic opportunities available to them and restrict their ability to reach their highest potential. And any and all successful efforts at reform must begin because our present circumstances are not a function of statutory obstacles for women who wish to participate in politics or the absence of laws that protect your interest in this regard.”
According to him, with the right candidates with good ideas, funding and organisation, more Nigerian women would get elected into political offices. adding that as a politician, he believes that Nigerian women could also engage in more advocacy, lobby, peaceful protests, among others to drive home their point to get into more elective positions.
Speaking further on gender participation in politics where the idea of imposing quotas and allocating elective political office are canvassed for by the women folk, the Speaker advised that there should be respect for the basic human right of all people to choose their leaders in free and fair elections without interference and imposition.
“This is a fundamentally anti-democratic idea, and the proposition collapses under the weight of its contradictions. The constitution of Nigeria, imperfect as it may be, does not impose any restrictions on women’s participation in politics. In fact, the constitution expressly prohibits any gender-based discrimination.
“Therefore, any conversations around gender quotas in political office cannot occur outside of a constitutional amendment. I worry that the peculiar history of our country is such that we are unlikely to achieve a more equitable society by amending the constitution to accommodate discriminatory practices no matter how well-meaning our motivations may be. The fault lines in our society are too deep, our unresolved conflicts are so great that the worst consequences of such attempts will arrive sooner than our best aspirations no matter how deeply held they might be.”
The event was attended by some key female politicians like Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, Minister of State, FCT, Ramatu Tijani, Hon. Nnenna Ukeje, founder of Wimbiz, Abiola Azeez.
In their different remarks, they charged women to change their narrative on the ways of doing things stressing that they must come together as women if they want significant difference in 2023.