Buhari urges women to contest, effect change
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday charged women to contest political positions across party divides to effect change in the country.
He made the call at women political aspirants’ summit organised by the Women in Politics Forum of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS).
Buhari said the summit signified the spirit of Nigerian women to support female political aspirants.
He stressed that women constitute more than 50 per cent of voters, and are by experience more dedicated and principled than their male counterparts.
This is even as he expressed optimism that women will turn out en masse to vote for him in the 2019 presidential election, as they did during the 2015 poll.
He said: “Politicians rely on women voters because their word is usually their bond.
Women stand by candidates they believe in all the way, so politicians do a lot to gain their confidence.
“On this note, let me recall and thank Nigerian women who put their confidence in me and voted for me in 2015.
It is my hope that the confidence is still there; seeing this gathering. I am confident that it will remain.”
Buhari explained: “Nigeria is a country of opportunities and possibilities. It is blessed with productive and skilled manpower, coupled with resources still being harnessed.
“With the right leadership at all levels, appropriate mindset and strong institutions, we can attain great heights.”
He revealed that: “A few months ago, I met with female parliamentarians and they raised issues concerning the passage of Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill, now before the National Assembly.
There was also the implementation of 35 per cent affirmative action, among others.
“I am fully in support of both positions because these measures will improve the representation of women in our politics,” he said.
The president also urged all political parties to create the enabling environment for free and fair playing grounds, where women can contest elective positions and participate in the political process.
Director-General of Women Development Centre, Mary Ekpere Eta, said the coming together of women was evidence that Nigeria was only aligning with the renewed global thinking.
The moves will allow them to know how to adequately harness the untapped capacity and talents of women and women’s leadership.
Eta disclosed that over the last two decades, the rate of women’s representation in national parliaments globally has incrementally increased from 11.8 per cent in 1998, 17.8 per cent in 2008, to 23.5 per cent in 2018.