EFFORTS to enhance women's participation in politics beginning from the 2015 general elections received a boost during the week in Calabar, Cross River State, when a five-point demand presented by the woman leaders got unanimous endorsement by the chairmen of political parties in the country.
The occasion was the National Dialogue on Enhancing Women's Political Participation in the 2015 Elections facilitated by the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The two-day dialogue had in attendance chairmen of political parties under the auspices of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) as well as members of Forum of Nigerian Women in Politics (FONWIP).
Canvassing the position of woman leaders at the close of the dialogue, Mariam Ahmed of Citizen Popular Party (CPP) listed sensitisation and education of women in politics; amendment of party constitution to be gender responsive; adequate funding; eradication of violence associated with electioneering; and continuous dialogue for better understanding and commitment as some of the demands to foster women's participation actively in the forthcoming general elections.
Responding, IPAC Chairman, Dr. Yunusa Tanko said the demands were not only legitimate and constitutionally justifiable, stressing that he had the mandate of his group to create a platform of engagement with woman leaders of all political parties in Nigeria to ensure that all impediments to political aspirations of womenfolk are dismantled henceforth.
Tanko, who is also Chairman, National Conscience Party of Nigeria (NCP), however, solicited the cooperation of FONWIP in the struggle by IPAC to “liberate political parties that are not in power (both at state and federal levels) from financial obstacle created by the ruling parties to keep other parties down.”
He disclosed that IPAC would soon visit the National Assembly to canvass for the reinstatement of budget allocation to registered political parties by the INEC.
Earlier, IPAC, through its scribe, Peter Ameh had urged women in politics to make use of other political platforms rather than focusing mainly on parties in power while calling on the National Assembly to domesticate 35 per cent affirmative action as part of condition for political party's registration among others.
Representatives of UNDP, Dr. Sadeeque Abba and Mufuliat Fijabi underscored the essence of the dialogue which they said, “is in line with DGD's Roadmap towards the 2015 elections on enhancing women's political participation in order to increase the number of women who win elective positions and participate in decision making processes in the next political dispensation.”