About 60 female politicians who contested for one political office or the other in the 2023 general elections in the North-West have converged in Kaduna to review the election process and at the same time restrategise ahead of the 2027 round of elections in their respective States.
Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN) with support from Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARD-C) in collaboration with Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternatives (WRAPPA) and funding by MacArthur Foundation had organised the meeting to encourage and provide safe space for female politicians in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Jigawa States.
In an interview with newsmen on the sideline of the event at a hotel in Kaduna, Director, Gender Awareness Trust (GAT) and North -West Zona Coordinator of Gender and Constitution Reforms Network (GECORN), Dr Lydia Umar said, the meeting became necessary as a catalyst to boost their boldness to come out to contest for elective offices whether they won or not.
According to her, “the 2023 general elections may have come and gone but a lot is still happening at the post elections level.
“One thing we have observed is that once elections are over, people are carried away with the euphoria of celebration of those who have won in the elections; nobody remembers those who struggled, those that campaign or those who tried to get elected into public offices but lost.
“This is why we decided that in the North-West, we are going to invite the seven coordinators and asked them to bring ladies that contested in the 2023 elections whether they won or not considering how strategic the zone is.
“For us, for you to come out to contest whether you won or not, so far you are a woman, that was already a win-win because we know the terrain is not that easy.
“So, we want to celebrate them in this meeting. We want to give them a safe space to share their experiences with us during those elections.
“At the end of the meeting, we hope to come up with a strategic action plan that will propel us into 2027. We don’t want a situation where we will be running here and there in 2027.
“We want to be systematic in this journey now, especially with these ones that have stepped forward to contest elective positions”, she said.
A participant, Amina Umar Bibi Farouq, who contested for Gezewa/Gabasawa federal constituency in Kano, under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), promised to keep pushing until victory comes her way.
According to her, since 1999, “women have been contesting up till now and we are not given up though the number of those women that are winning keep decreasing.
“It is a good thing that we have a forum like this where we can come together to see how we can do better in the coming election processes. We are doing better in terms of women coming out and unfortunately, more women are losing. The last election was a sorry situation but we have to carry on.
“Left to me, we should have only women’s party which will be like half of the population having a political party of their own. I know they will not want to allow it but that might just be the only way forward.
“I don’t know what the fear is for women to participate in politics because so far I don’t think we have serious bad records as far as women are concerned when we look at it numerically.
“We have had a lot of women that contested, won and did well in those seats which should be the more reason we should get more women to political seats.
“We may begin to mount enough pressure on the government to reserve positions for women. And for those that have problems with women in political offices, there could be a place where we can showcase what we can do so that when it comes to election, they can have that trust that women can do well.
“The political terrain needs to change somehow for women to have access as much as men do have”, she added.