Archive of ‘Politics’ category

Group trains 50 Edo women in political networking


Photo Credit: African Arguments


No fewer than 50 women in Edo were on Wednesday trained on capacity building and networking in politics by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

Mrs Ebere Ifendu, Convener and President Women-in-Politics Forum, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin that the training was aimed at building the capacity of the women.

She said that it would help equip them to run for elective positions and participate in strategic and effective campaigns.

She noted that the training was also to build network amongst women in order to bring together support groups for female aspirants.

“The objective of the training is to strengthen the capacity of women to participate in politics in two states of Edo and Kano.

“It is also aimed at growing a new orientation towards women inclusion in politics.

“It will help grow a critical pool of voters and mobilise more women into political positions,’’ she said.

Ifendu appealed to women not to see politics as a dirty game, adding that the essence of women participation in politics was to influence decision making on issues that affect women and children.

She advised them to network more among themselves to build a data base of women and also to exchange information and ideas.

Ifendu, however, encouraged women to key into the use of social media and traditional media for effective and efficient networking.

According to her networking bridges the gap between the politicians and the voters.

She also tasked the media and International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) on issues and programmes that would enable women to know their rights.

NAN reports that participants were drawn from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), and National Council of women Societies (NCWS) among others. (NAN)

2019: Edo women threaten election boycott over alleged marginalization


The Edo chapter, National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS), on Tuesday threatened to boycott the 2019 general elections, citing alleged marginalisation.

Mrs Omoluru Aigbokhae-Eniye, the state President of the association, who led other women in a protest march through major streets of Benin, accused the men of making the elective positions their birthright.

“We have been cheated for a long time and we do not want it to happen again.

“We can call their bluff and ask women not to go and vote and let us see how they will win.

“We are taking a stand either to boycott the election because we have the numbers.”

She said that a situation where women always played second fiddle in the nation’s politics would no longer be tolerated.

Women, she said, should be given the chance to seek elective positions and be voted for accordingly.

She decried the appointment of women only into political offices, saying that it was a ploy to hire and fire them at will.

“We have come to tell the world that the women of Edo have been marginalised.”

“They want to give us appointive positions so that they can keep the women aside.

“They want to give us appointive positions so that when we say something that government is not too comfortable with, they fire us.”

Aigbokhae-Eniye recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his speech to the UN General Assembly, had drummed support for the inclusion of women in politics in Nigeria.

However, she expressed disappointment that women were being relegated to the background.

According to her, for 12 years, the Edo State House of Assembly has only had one woman as a member of the assembly, adding that the development negates the 35 per cent affirmative action.

“If at the House of Assembly here, we have 24 members, we ought to have eight women; but we are not asking for eight.

“We are asking that we should be represented across the state.

“From the north, south and central, we are asking for just two so that when decisions that concern women and children are being taken, women will be there to partake,” Aigbokhae-Eniye said.

“You can imagine for 12 years in Edo, only one woman has been in the House and when they want to take critical decisions, what has she to say?

“At times, she is even schemed out as they take the decision because they are in the majority; it becomes binding on everybody,” she said. (NAN)

Independence Day: What You Should Know About Yellow Trumpet, Nigeria’s National Flower


Recently the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle revealed that she had the flower of all 53 Commonwealth countries included in her wedding veil and that was the first time I was hearing that countries have a national flower.

In honour of our 58th independence day, here is what you need to know about the Nigerian national flower.

Costus Spectabilis is the Nigerian national flower. It is also called yellow trumpet.

The flower which is also included in the coat of arms was chosen for inclusion in the coat of arms as it is found all over Nigeria and also stand for the beauty of the nation.

The flowers are painted red in the Coat of arms.

Nigeria is not the only country where the flower is found, it is found from Sierra Leone to Sudan to as far south as Angola and Zimbabwe.

The flowers are showy, yellow, and open singly and die rapidly, but are immediately followed by another. The texture of the flower is soft and thin.

Yellow Trumpet has 109 species and they are closely related to the ginger family.

It is found in wooded grassland and deciduous woodland, occasionally near termite mounds or around rocks.

You can get tips on how to grow and care for the Yellow Trumpet here

Happy Independence Day Nigeria!

2019: European Centre predicts more Nigerian women in power


The European Centre For Electoral Support (ECES) has predicted that more Nigerian women would be brought to the centre of power in 2019.

The ECES President, Ms Monica Frassoni, made the prediction while interacting with women aspirants and candidates of different political parties in the 2019 general elections on Saturday in Abuja.

She expressed joy about the great energy that Nigerian women were displaying and their willingness to work together irrespective of party differences, ahead of the elections.

“I believe the 2019 general elections can be a moment for Nigeria, where more women are brought to the centre of power.

“In many occasions l could see in my travel around the world, where society has strong participation of women, not only in institutions but also interested society with recognised leading roles, the society is better.”

Frassoni, however, said that at this moment, there was need to strengthen more women participation in politics.

She also stressed the need for men to support women who were change makers, saying “we have to support women in politics and positions of power’’.

Frassoni, a former member of EU Parliament, also stressed the need to mobilise women to come out in their numbers for the 2019 general elections.

“I understand Nigeria a country with more women than men, therefore those women have to be mobilised to go and vote,” Frassoni said.

Mrs Moji Makanjuola, one of the facilitators of the interactive session, said that they were motivated to organise the meeting due to gaps and challenges confronting the women aspirants and candidates.

These, according to Makanjuola, include gaps in articulating their ideas, public speaking and other challenges.

“We thought if we come to a table and speak to some of these gabs and challenges we will probably be able to network among women in politics who are successful in politics.

“For those who are still aspiring what lessons they can learn from these other ones so that together there can be synergy for women in politics holding each other hands, networking and helping each other,’’ Makanjuola said.

On money politics, she said that women may not have the money to spend like their male counterparts, but they were agents of change ready to turn things around.

“The women are saying no to money politics, yes to politics of change, ideology and sacrifice. Women should be judge on their capacities to deliver and not on capacity to buy votes.”

Ms Harirat Yakubu, member of Nigeria Youths Parliament and House of Assembly aspirant, Olamboro state Constituency, Kogi, identified patriarchy, poverty, god-fatherism and inadequate funds for election activities as some of the challenges facing women in Nigerian politics.

“Patriarchy is system of society or government in which men dominate or hold the political system while women are largely excluded from it,” she said.

Yakubu, contesting under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), called for legislation that would compel the political parties to make women running mates for elective and political offices.

A presidential candidate of the National Interest Party, Madam Eunice Atuejide, expressed optimism that more women would secure elective positions in 2019.

“There are a lot of strategies we are putting in place now, especially because we are working together trying to help one another however small the resources may be,” she said. (NAN)

ECOWAS extols establishment of 50-million women platform project in Nigeria



ECOWAS has said that the establishment of 50 Million Women Speak Platform (50MWSP) project will help to promote women empowerment in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

Mrs Siga Jagne, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, said this in her address at the inauguration of the Nigerian 50MWSP team installation team workshop on Thursday in Abuja.

The event was organised by Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in collaboration with ECOWAS, designed to create network for women entrepreneurs in Africa.

Jagne said that the project, which would last between three to five years, would strengthen regional integration and visibility toward gender growth and women advancement in Nigeria.

According to her, the platform will make Nigeria the country where the rights of women and girls are respected and also give them easy access to create and finance their businesses.

The commissioner said “this project is in line with the ECOWAS Gender Programme reinforced in 2005 by the Authority of Heads of States and Government through adoption of the gender policy document.

“The project is part of the framework of article 15 of chapter 5 of the additional Act on Equal Rights for Women and Men for sustainable development in the ECOWAS area.

“The Act called on member states to adopt all legislative and regulatory measures to ensure women’s equal access to economic and gainful opportunities.

“This is in the areas of trade and entrepreneurship, including access to public procurement and taking into account their contribution in formal and informal sectors.

“This initiative therefore brings together all of our efforts for the empowerment of women in West Africa and in this beautiful country.”

She urged participants to coordinate the collection and transmission of data and information that could help to encourage women and girls to engage meaningfully in businesses in Nigeria.

She advised the participants to make the platform their main tool for networking and accessing local, national and continental funding opportunities.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, said that the 50MWSP was
in line with the ministry’s mandate on reduction of poverty and empowerment of women.

Alhassan, who was represented by Mrs Ifeoma Anagbogu, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry,
said that the project was important to help reduce gender gaps and promote empowerment through skills acquisition.

The minister, who inaugurated the project, said that women formed major chunk of the nation’s population, therefore the need for the project to enhance efforts to mobilise women and girls.

According to her, women are traders and farmers who must be empowered to be able to sell and market their produce.

She said that the ministry would partner with other stakeholders and evolve measures to monitor and also supervise the project to ensure effective implementation.

Highpoint of the event was the presentation of the project and adoption of three months roadmap.

FG to empower women, girls through 50m Women Speak Platform


The Federal Government says it will empower women and girls through the 50 Million Women Speak Platform (50MWSP) project to reduce gender gaps and promote entrepreneurial skills acquisition.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, hajiya Aisha Alhassan, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja during the inauguration of the project organised by the ministry.
Alhassan, represented by Mrs Ifeoma Anagbogu, the Permanent Secretary at the ministry, said the initiative was borne out of the ministry’s operational mandate to reduce poverty and empower women and girls.

She said that the ministry would partner the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other sectors to achieve the desired goal.

“The project has become important because women form the major chunk of the nation’s population.

“Looking at our country, we are estimated to be 180 million people and almost half of that number makes up the women folk who are 90 million.

“So, targeting 50 million women is not being over ambitious and in particular, it is not for Nigeria alone, but also the West Africa sub-region’’.

She said: “The significance of the project is to get women across Nigeria to be empowered, to trade better, as well as sell and market their produce better.

“Not doing all the farming then somebody comes and takes and gives them pittance only to sell it at a higher rate.

“We want to teach them entrepreneurship for them to work with other people, especially the men folk, to have access to finances, to be more financially literate through technology.”
The minister noted that the project which sought to empower women to access funds and other resources using ICT and record keeping, would last from three to five years.

On the advantages of the project, she said they include reduction of gender inequality as well as encouragement of self-reliance among women in Nigeria and other countries that would be involved.

She, however, assured that strategic mechanism would be in place to monitor and supervise the project in a bid to ensure its effective implementation.

“There are several systems existing to monitor this; we are not going to do this alone, we are going to work with various sectors to implement this.

“They will be operating in different areas, overseeing larger groups and smaller catchment areas, to promote and improve the livelihood of women and vulnerable persons in the country,” she added.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the high point of the event was the presentation of the project and adoption of a three months roadmap. (NAN)

FAO, AU advocate support for African rural women as agents of change to end hunger


African Union (AU) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have called for greater support to rural women as agents of change to end hunger.

The agencies made the call in a report released in New York on Thursday at a joint event with the AU on the margins of the ongoing UN General Assembly.

The report said that the gender gaps in agriculture in Africa was holding back progress toward ending hunger and must be urgently addressed.

Graziano da Silva, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organisation said it had become imperative to recognise and harness the fundamental contribution of women to food security and nutrition.

According to him, to ensure adequate food security, the persisting gender gaps in agriculture in Africa must be closed.

The Director-General called for better representation of women in governance mechanisms and decision-making processes, as well as adequate and equal access to land, financial resources, social protection programmes, services and opportunities for women in rural areas.

“We need to put in place gender targeted programmes that address women’s specific vulnerabilities but also their key role in household nutrition and resilience.

“Evidence shows that when women are empowered, farms are more productive, natural resources are better managed, nutrition is improved and livelihoods are more secure,” he said.

The Director-General noted that in some African countries, women account for up to 60 per cent of the labour force in family farming.

Da Silva said that women were largely responsible for agricultural activities such as growing vegetables, preserving harvests, raising small ruminants and family nutrition through the preparation of meals.

“Closing productivity gaps could increase food production and consumption by up to 10 per cent and reduce poverty by up to 13 per cent.

“If women have the same access to skills, resources and opportunities as men, they can be powerful drivers in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

“Empowering women in agriculture, value chains and trade will accelerate the achievement of the Malabo Commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals,’’ he said.

Asa Regner, UN Women’s Deputy Executive Director, said that FAO recognised the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment within the organisation “and gender is a major priority’’.

“It is a known fact that when women have decision-making power, all of societies will benefits.’’

Regner said that the partnership between UN Women and FAO had proven especially fruitful in turning words into concrete action.

She noted that FAO and partners were providing technical support to many African countries in order to empower rural women.

“One example is the joint programme on accelerating progress toward the economic empowerment of women in Ethiopia, Liberia, Niger and Rwanda, implemented with the World Food Programme, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and UN Women.

“The programme has already enabled more than 40,000 women to receive training on improved agricultural technologies, and aims to enhance their access to financial services and markets,’’ she said. (NAN)

Lagos APC primaries: Chieftain urges party to consider more women


Mrs Omotayo Oduntan, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Deputy Chief Whip in the Lagos State House of Assembly, has advocated increased women representation in politics ahead of party primaries.

Oduntan, who represents Alimosho Constituency II in the Assembly, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday.

According to her, there are so many qualified and capable women seeking tickets to vie for elective positions in 2019 general elections that must be considered.

She said:“ In this dispensation, we don’t have enough women representing people of Lagos State in parliament.

“It is not as if we don’t have competent women, but most women do not either come out to vie for positions or when they came out, they are shortchanged, which is not good enough for our state and democracy.

“When we want to talk on women issues, who will do that if women are not given the opportunity?

“When we want to talk of children-related issues, who do we want to talk to, if women are not there?”

The lawmaker said that the increasing needs of Nigerian women and children had made it imperative to have more women at the helm in the country.

“I want to move up with the hope of collaborating with seasoned and passionate legislators like myself, to be able to move the nation forward and address women and child-related issues.

“If we have more women, we would be able to speak as a strong and unified voice.

“Since Alimosho Federal Constituency was created, no woman has ever represented it at the House of Representatives and I want to be the first woman to be there from this constituency,” she said.

Oduntan said she would build on whatever legacies past representatives of the constituency had left behind to put smiles on the faces of majority of the constituents.

On her chances of securing the ticket, Oduntan said her scorecard would speak for her, as no one had been able to beat her record in terms of good representation and empowerment given to people as a state legislator.

She said her sterling performance would guarantee her the party ticket and her eventual victory at the poll.

The lawmaker said that she would support a woman to take over her seat in the Lagos Assembly when she leaves for the House of Representatives.

Oduntan said that more women had to be supported as their representation in politics was still unsatisfactory, and the 35 per cent affirmative action had yet to be attained.

“We have not got there at all. What we plan to do is to bring up more women, mentor them to replace us,” she said.

According to her, the fear of sexual harassment that discourages many women is not real.

She encouraged women to become adventurous and courageous to vie for elective positions and urged the party in the state to give qualified women a chance. (NAN)

Vote for competence, not gender, APC female senatorial aspirant says


Lagos businesswoman, Mrs Adesola Elegbede, on Friday advised voters to choose competence over gender while making electoral choices.

Elegbede gave the advice on Friday in Lagos, while declaring interest in the Lagos West senatorial seat on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC).

She said that she was prepared to fiight for the interest of indegent members of the senatorial district.

“A lot of women are fond of creating the impression that they deserve pity and electoral support simply because they are women.

“Both men and women are equally endowed and should be elected based on competence and capacity,” she said.

Elegbe promised members of her constituency that she would make visible impact if elected as senator.

“The major reason why I am entering this race is because representation of Lagos West, presently, is not efficient, and I am prepared to change this,’ she said.

The aspirant urged the leadership of APC to create a level playing field for all aspirants in the spirit of fairness.

Elegbede, shortly after her address, headed for Abuja for the screening exercise of the APC for all aspirants.

Redefining women’s position in politics

On many occasions, women across the country have been demanding for more recognition in the political activities to secure key positions in governance in the country.They observe that in spite of the adoption of 35 per cent affirmative action aimed at getting gender balance in that regard, women low participation in politics is still worrisome.According to them, Nigeria needs to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 by involving more women in politics.Also available record indicates that in 1999, women recorded only three per cent representation in contested offices.In 2003, the figure rose to four per cent followed by a further improvement to six per cent in 2007 but from 1999 to date, no woman has been elected the governor of a state.The record states that while some women contested and won elections into the Houses of Assembly in some states, the level of representation is still very low.According to it, in 2003, there was no female member of the Houses of Assembly in Adamawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano State, Katsina State, Kebbi, Nasarawa State, Oyo State, Sokoto State, Yobe and Zamfara.Some of the women then observe that there are some policies in politics that make women participation difficult.For instance, Mrs Gloria Shoda, the National President, National Council of Women Societies, observed that the cost of nomination forms among political parties had been a major concern to womenfolk.He urged political parties to reduce the cost of their nomination forms for women to enable women to participate in elections, particularly in the 2019 general elections.“The cost of nomination forms is out of the reach of women that are interested in elective positions and only few women would be able to afford it.“We are praying that the parties should allow women to emerge as candidates, but with this amount of money, I don’t see how women will be able to buy forms.“How many women will be able to buy form for N45 million, it is very difficult. So I am pleading with the authorities to review this.“I am not saying that the women should not pay at all but they should pay very little money because our pockets are lean,’’ she explained.The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Nomination form costs N45 million, while that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) costs N12 million.The APC governorship form is N22.5 million and that of the PDP for the same office costs six million.She argued, however, that the 1999 Constitution stipulates that no political party nomination form should be more than N1million.She also solicited a level-playing ground for greater participation of women politics, policy-making processes and political leadership and review of land and inheritance for women.During the recent National Women Summit in Abuja, Shaoda declared that women “want to address the gender imbalances embedded in the Federal Character Commission which restricts married women from utilizing their husbands’ state of origin for contesting elections.“We want gender quotas to improve women’s access to political power and fair representation in decision-making processes that shape our country.“We want the right to affirmative action as an avenue to redressing the inequalities created by history, culture and tradition.“We believe that it is time to domesticate the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the international treaty to foster equality between men and women’’In apparent reaction to Shoda’s view, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on SDGs, said that Nigeria was committed to gender concerns.She said during the 60th anniversary of the National Council of Women Societies that concerted efforts must be made to ensure gender equality and women empowerment at the centre stage of development.Sharing the concerns of women in this regard, Chief Afe Babalola, a senior advocate of Nigeria and founder of Afe Babalola University, said that a lot ought to be done to give women more room for participation in politics.“It appears that the huge and overwhelming representation of women at most political rallies has not transformed to increased opportunities for women to contest election,’’ he observed.He observed further that women are universally acknowledged to constitute an important unit of any electoral or political demography.He said that it is worrisome that political parties seemed to be content with letting women bear titles as women leader and deputy women leader, among other such titles.He observed that women in Nigeria, due to decades of forced submission to outdated ideologies regarding the role of women in society, might have come to regard themselves as eternal followers in the political schemes of events.He, nonetheless, said that increasing public discourse on the role of women in politics spurred by women themselves would stimulate their increased participation in politics.In one of such public debates on roles of women in politics, Prof. Remi Sonaiya, a former presidential election candidate, said that women should rise above any form of discouragement and strive to make a difference in political career.She expressed the feeling that some men believed that women in leadership positions in politics would be achieved at their own expense and they tried to bring a certain degree of resistance.Similarly, a woman politician, Mrs Remi Adikwu-Bakare said that there was a clear lopsided membership of legislatives in favour of men and called on women to become effectively involved in politics.At the just concluded National Women Summit, the women recalled that Rep. Edward Pwajok, had presented bills to the National Assembly in favour of the need for more women representation in political engagements in the country.According to them, one of the bills is to amend the Electoral Act 2000 to ensure that all political parties are gender-sensitive and to eliminate all forms of discriminations in all political parties.Another bill, according to them, is a bill to for an act to amend the Federal Character Commission to give married women the option of being indigenes of their husbands’ places of origin.Irrespective of men’s opinions on women’s involvement in politics, Gender Advocate Blessing Okoro, in her view during the International Women’s Day, said “women have made their mark in politics, different careers and; I think women should be given equal opportunity as long as they are qualified.’’(NANFeatures)

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