(ED, WINF, Barr Abiola Kamardeen, former FIDA Chairperson in Kaduna, Barr Sidikat Adegboye during a political sensitization programme for women in Kaduna recently)
//Godwin Ekosin, Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria//
As a result of non representation of female politicians in the present Kaduna State House of Assembly, women politicians in the state through the help of a non-governmental organization known as Women In Need Foundation (WINF) is strategizing to have proportional representation in the forth coming local government election to bridge the gap.
The submission, which was arrived at the end of one day capacity building workshop organized by WINF specifically designed for grassroots women, held at Arewa House Kaduna seek maximum collaboration from electorate especially female vogue which usually forms the bulk of voters at any giving election, husbands and other stakeholders in electioneering.
A grassroots female politician from Chikun Local Government Area of the State, Lahra Ahmed Tukur, challenged her fellow women especially, those doing well in their respective businesses to come out and made their intention known early enough so as to plan ahead.
According to her, ‘’It is time women come out to occupy elective offices. The truth is that, any decision or policies taking by those who represent us in governance affect us more. It was against that backdrop that I started by challenging rural women the need for them to get involved in politics because any decision the policymakers made will affect them at the end of the day. All those things they think we can’t do, we can actually do better than them.
‘’Look at what is happening presently in Kaduna State House of Assembly where we don’t have single female representation. So, how can policy that is likely to affect women and children be given needed consideration when there is no single woman who would have probably understand those issues better among them?
‘’Some of women politician face challenges such as funding, inability to attend late night political meetings, inadequate support from female vogue among others. However, all those things are changing now through awareness programmes. We are assisting them on how to raise funds, getting other women support and things like that. This training is just another opportunity for us’’, she said.
Guest Speaker, former Chairperson, Federation of Women Lawyers, Kaduna Chapter, Barrister SidiKat Adegboye lamented that, women are still Lagging behind in Nigerian politics despite the awareness saying, knowing the constitutional and electoral provision will equally help them to summon courage and go for elective positions at any level.
She said, ‘’in terms of elective positions, women are still left behind. That is why we dim it fit to reenergize the women and encourage them to be prepared to take responsibility. The local government election is coming up this year and that is why we are organizing this training on electoral law to assist the women to navigate their part if they are interested in coming up for post like counsellorship or even chairmanship’’.
Earlier, Executive Director of the Foundation, Barrister Abiola Kamardeen while highlighting some of the objectives of her foundation which include but not limited to strengthening capacity of women and girls especially in the area of their health, economic status, political issues and other socioeconomic factors noted that, women must rise and take up their political positions to better the lot of larger society.
Commenting specifically on the rationale behind the workshop she said, ‘’it is a follow-up to so many things that we have been doing in the state. Specifically this time around, we are mobilizing women for political participation because we noticed that women especially in this part of the country are beginning to go out of polity not in term of the political affairs of the nation alone but even domestically, they are not that much involved. So we started at community level to mobilize women and then we begin to train them on how to be productively engaged with skills and training they need.
‘’As women we need to know how to conduct ourselves as good leaders not to involve in anything that can tarnish our image. This can be achieving through leadership training and fund raising because you need to have these for you to actualize your dreams. Women like any other person must know the constitution and electoral laws and not just operate in a vacuum’’, she stressed.