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Keyamo urges political parties to reserve exclusive seats for women

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Keyamo

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has called on political parties in Nigeria to stop paying lip service to women’s inclusion in politics by reserving seats for them.

Keyamo made the call during a three-day workshop on Advocacy and Communication for Women’s Cooperatives and Economic Empowerment Collectives.

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The workshop was organised by Development Research and Project Centre (DRPC) under the Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED) project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS).

At the event, which ended yesterday in Abuja, Keyamo said it is time for parties to stop mere talks about women in politics and take action to increase their participation.

He said the Federal Government is working with the National Assembly to ensure the inclusion of women’s economic development in the ongoing constitutional review. According to him, this will empower 49.32 per cent of Nigeria’s critical population and ensure inclusive development of the country.

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In a communique issued by DRPC, Keyamo noted: “Political parties are the vehicles upon which people ride to power, so the parties must be more flexible to accommodate women. It is time for political parties to deliberately leave some offices open for women to contest.

“It doesn’t make any sense to cut down 50 per cent cost of forms or make it free for the women and still leave men populating the race. It is a mockery. Forms should not be sold to men for women-only offices.

The Director-General of MINILS, Mr. Issa Aremu, said the institute supports the advocacy of the Federal Government to review the 1999 Constitution to capture women’s participation and gender equality in leadership positions.

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He said only inclusive economic empowerment can ensure sustainable political inclusion of women. “Women need both power and money to catch up in the race for development and poverty eradication,” he said.

DRPC Coordinator, Dr Yahaya Hashim, said working with women’s economic collectives is an opportunity to strengthen a critical sector of Nigeria’s population to demand improvement in their lives.

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