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Do not run away when called upon to serve, WIMBIZ tells women

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Nigerian women of all ages and class have been urged to step up and step out, not only to participate in partisan politics, but to run and be elected for political office as the only way to stir the desired change in the country.

At the Women In Politics 2019 Town Hall Meeting held in Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Wednesday, women running for office in different capacities gathered together to tell their stories and challenges, urging and encouraging fellow women to not only vote and be voted for, but also join political parties and participate actively.

The town hall meeting organised by the Women In Management, Business and Public Service (WimBiz) with the theme, Run, Vote, Get Involved! saw the women contestants address pertinent issues especially voter apathy amongst women, battling dangerous stereotypes and violence women politicians suffer.

Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya, Vice Presidential Candidate for Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) declared that her passion for women and education would help reposition the country to where it is supposed to be.

“We will reduce government costs, reform, restructure and re-orient. As a woman, when called upon to serve, just go ahead and do it. In the North where I am from, many people wrongly believe that women in politics are prostitutes and our husbands must be stupid for allowing us join politics.”

Omolara Adesanya, gubernatorial candidate for Lagos state on the platform of Providence People’s Congress (PPC) said she was invited to join the party and she stayed when she realised that the party’s visions aligned with hers. “I was asked to run for governor and I initially said no, but after discussing with my husband who urged me to go for it, I decided to run.”

Adesanya who said she would be focusing on healthcare, security, quality education, rule of law and transport/traffic said: “We don’t have godfathers in my party as others do, so nobody is waiting to be “settled” at the end of the month. A miserly N126 billion is being put into education, this is grossly inadequate and we can see the results today.”

Oluwayemisi Busari, Lagos State Deputy governor candidate on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) urged Nigerian women to stand up for what they believe in. Narrating her journey into the world of politics, she said it started from a phone call and “after meeting with Jimi, I realised we were destined to do this together as he ticked all the boxes of someone we should believe in. Women, when we get the opportunity to impact, let’s take it up and play our roles.”

Lagos State House of Assembly candidate on Social Democrtaic Party (SDP) platform, Arinola Oloko, told women to first and foremost, join a political party. Recounting to the audience how she joined politics, she said she wanted to join a big political party with established structure on ground, but was sorely disappointed and went to look for a smaller party that shared her ideologies.

“Women are extremely important in politics. When I started, I heard all kinds of stories about how only prostitutes participate in politics but I stood firm because I realised these kind of lies and misconceptions are what is keeping many women away. Despite the numerous challenges I have experienced, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything because I am putting my money where my mouth is and I intend to win this election,” she said.

Tolulope Akande-Sadipe urged women to stop sitting on the fence and complaining and instead, get involved.

“We are naturals at this, nurturing our homes for free, let us nurture our country to greatness. I have several constraints including finance and suffering violence but I am not deterred. We don’t have the spending power of male politicians or the penchant for violence, but we remain persistent. What spurred me to run was when I was watching the news one day and saw the footage of an old man that raped a two-year-old child and I decided no more! I have to enact laws that will protect women and children. The present people making policies for us, their children are abroad, this angers me,” she said.

Moderated by Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director of Enough is Enough Nigeria, the panelists all urged women to wait and vote this year no matter what and encourage other women to go to the polls today.

Lamenting that the statistics for the number of women running for office this year was abysmal and worse than previous election years, the EiE boss challenged women to change the status quo and confidently embrace leadership at all levels.


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