By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
Empowering Women for Excellence Initiatives (EWEI), an NGO based in Kaduna, at has mobilised women contesting for legislative positions at the state and National Assembly in Kaduna State to pool their strength together for better performance in the 2019 election.
EWEI’s Founder and Programme Director, Safiya Ibn Garba, said that the measure was to address women’s leadership and political participation which remain restricted, both at the local and global level.
Garba explained at a Town Hall Meeting in Kaduna, orgainsed by the NGO under its Civic Education and Participation for Women Project (CEPWOP), that women can only make a difference in 2019 election if they support one another.
She said that the meeting was organised to provide a forum for female candidates to share experiences and challenges and pool their resources and strength together to put a good fight in the 2019 election.
“Women are underrepresented not only in politics but also in the civil service, the private sector and even the academia despite women proven abilities as leaders and agents of change.
“Some of the obstacles to women participation in the political space include structural barriers through discriminatory laws and capacity gaps, particularly education and financial resources,” Garba said.
She explained that CEPWOP was designed to address this under-representation of women and excluded groups in the political space by giving them a voice and encourage them to take their rightful place in politics.
“The goal is to encourage women to support women candidates and mobilise the men and other voters in ensuring that a reasonable number of women wins at the poll in the 2019 general elections,” she added.
One of the resource persons at the meeting, Mrs Theresa Biniat, also pointed out that women are not doing well in politics because they are not supporting themselves.
Biniat pointed out that women have enormous power in deciding who occupies a political office because of their overwhelming population and strength in votes mobilization.
“We need to take advantage of our political power if we want to make any progress in the political space, but first, we must learn to support one another.
“Because even when the men decide to support us, we turn our backs on our own due to lack of unity largely caused by our inherent jealousy to see our fellow women progressing.
“If we all rally around the woman candidates and mobilise our fellow women to support them, believe me, we will put up a good fight at the polls,” she added.
Mrs Comfort Anwe, a contestant for the seat of Sanga Constituency in the Kaduna State House of Assembly under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) noted that women were still far behind in the political space.
Anwe, who was PDP’s Women Leader in the state said she is the only one, out of the 22 women that aspired for various positions that won the party’s ticket.
According to her, women were being under represented in politics because they were not well represented in the party structure and do not have the money to buy their way through like their male counterparts.
Another contestant, Mrs Sarah Galadima, contesting for the seat of Nasarawa Constituency in the state assembly under African People Alliance (APA) also stressed the need for unity among women to make a headway if they hope to succeed in politics.